We must raise $703 by March 31st to pay critical bills. Essential to continue our mission. Donate now!
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Congressman, once Catholic, discusses conversion to Islam

Catholic World News - September 02, 2011

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), the nation’s first Muslim congressman, left the Catholic faith because “I just felt it was ritual and dogma.”

“Of course, that’s not the reality of Catholicism, but it’s the reality I lived,” the 48-year-old congressman told CNN. “So I just kind of lost interest and stopped going to Mass unless I was required to.”

Later, while in college, “"I investigated [Islam], it worked for me, and it made me have a sense of inspiration and wonder, and I became a Muslim,” he said. “It's been working for me ever since.”

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Progress toward our March expenses ($703 to go):
$35,000.00 $34,296.96
2% 98%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 11 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Art Kelly - Sep. 05, 2011 1:26 AM ET USA

    If Ellison did not like the dogma and ritual of the Catholic Church, there are other CHRISTIAN denominations that have no ritual and little dogma or, at least, different dogma. But to leave Christianity COMPLETELY and become a Muslim indicates that Ellison had a lot MORE problems than just dogma and ritual. Furthermore, don't they have their own dogma and rituals in Islam?

  • Posted by: Defender - Sep. 04, 2011 12:35 PM ET USA

    I'm afraid it's worse, sometimes, than you might think. How about a Catholic school principal who changes the lyrics to songs because we "worship" Mary too much? Another shining example of a Jesuit college (which, of course, doesn't use the mandatum) education which is actively recruited!

  • Posted by: R. Spanier (Catholic Canadian) - Sep. 03, 2011 11:57 PM ET USA

    Jesus is God (i.e., Allah, in Arabic) as the Apostles & Church Fathers have taught and Eucharistic Prayer 1 reveals "In union with the whole Church we honor Mary, the ever-virgin mother of Jesus Christ our Lord and God." How is it possible that some Catholics and other Christians not know this?

  • Posted by: Defender - Sep. 03, 2011 2:09 PM ET USA

    The recently completed Cardus Survey states, "This research finds that Catholic schools are providing higher quality intellectual development, at the expense of developing students' faith and commitment to religious practices." Ellison obviously didn't get it, so many of our Catholic schools don't seem to get it, either. What happened to the teaching maxim, "If there is only one hour in the school day (for some odd reason), religion should be taught?"

  • Posted by: koinonia - Sep. 03, 2011 1:25 PM ET USA

    It is certainly possible that his education and formation in the Faith was inadequate. For many over the past 40 years this has been the case. However, it is quite a leap to abandon Christianity altogether. The fundamental question is that posed by Our Lord to St. Peter and the Apostles: "But who do YOU (my emphasis) say that I am?" I'd hate to be among those to whom Our Lord replies: "Wrong Answer!"

  • Posted by: Baseballbuddy - Sep. 03, 2011 11:08 AM ET USA

    Rep. Ellison is on a journey. Sometimes we have to stand back before we see what we truly need. "It worked for me", is a very self-centered approach which is why Islam "works" for him. He is really saying it is not a religion but a type of theosophy that "works" for him. Without ritual or sacraments, he receives a grace that he cannot fully grasp because it is so subjective. His faith is what he says it is. Come back soon, Mr. Ellison! I will pray for you to seek Truth.

  • Posted by: Gregory108 - Sep. 03, 2011 6:00 AM ET USA

    I think it is profoundly sad, a tragedy, potentially the loss of a soul. Yet, this man's Jesuit high school in Detroit takes it as a point of pride that one of their graduates is the first Muslim in Congress. To possess the truth and to just let it go! "Thinking themselves wise, they became fools and exchanged the Truth of God for a lie."

  • Posted by: cusack.m7426 - Sep. 02, 2011 10:25 PM ET USA

    I'm sorry that you left the Body and Blood of Christ to adhere to the Muslin faith which is much more ritualistic than Catholicism. May God bless you and open your eyes to the True Faith.

  • Posted by: BobJ70777069 - Sep. 02, 2011 9:54 PM ET USA

    Like most who reject Catholicism, he doesn't know much about it.

  • Posted by: mwean7331 - Sep. 02, 2011 9:38 PM ET USA

    well at least he doesn't have to worry that the Catholic Church places a death sentence on him. If it was the reverse ( Muslim to Catholic) He would hve to "watch his back" I hope he recognizes his error before his last breath. I pray for him.

  • Posted by: jeremiahjj - Sep. 02, 2011 7:19 PM ET USA

    People do what they have to do. Adios, Congressman, and may God have mercy on you.

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org
Shop Amazon

Recent Catholic Commentary

Insights on the enigma that is Pope Francis March 27
Our Most Characteristic Vice? March 27
Recognizing the Noonday Devil March 27
Patricia Jannuzzi on gay activists: And the real problem is? March 27
Surrogate parenthood = exploitation of desperate women March 27

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope announces Jubilee: a Year of Mercy CWN - March 13