Catholic World News

Congressman, once Catholic, discusses conversion to Islam

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.”


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  • 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: - 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: - 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.