Sharia, Maria and Levi; A Tale of Three Religions

Sharia

A popular new law [approved by 70% of Oklahoma voters] that bars Oklahoma courts from considering Islamic law, or Shariah, when deciding cases was put on hold Monday after a prominent Muslim in the state won a temporary restraining order in federal court…U.S. District Court Judge Vicki Miles-LeGrange ruled that the measure, which passed by a large margin in last Tuesday’s elections, would be suspended until a hearing on Nov. 22. -Reported Fox News.

So children, in an unprecedented move the Oklahoma voters banned Sharia law and international law from consideration. Yet, neighbor, the Muslim activists in the state have sued and gotten a hold placed on the law.

I mean, I’m all for religious freedom, but the problems with Sharia law is that it advocates against the other laws in a given country. You can find other specific concerns here. Among other concerns are the one stated as #9 on our source page:

Testimony from women is given only half the weight of men [in most sources outside of Wikipedia Sharia states that a woman's testimony only carries the weight of 1/4th of a man's], and testimony from non-Muslims may be excluded altogether (if against a Muslim).

Representative Rex Duncan has said the amendment was not intended as an attack on Muslims or Islamic law in particular but an effort to prevent activist judges from relying on international law or Islamic law when ruling on legal cases. The law simply states that in making rulings the judges judge as American judges within the American legal system, if that’s a travesty, or draconian pig-headedness, I don’t understand.

A U.S. Muslim advocacy group is suing Oklahoma state for barring judges from considering Sharia rulings in Muslim cases, stressing that the ban runs against the constitutional right of religious freedom to all Americans, reported the Wall Street Journal on Friday, November 5. Here’s an interesting article that highlights some practical concerns.

Levi

As I mentioned before, the Muslim activist group is suing Oklahoma, which I find awesome. Sue your way to religious freedom, one fatwa at a time little clerics, one fatwa at a time.

Therefore, I too would like to throw my hat in the ring and sue Oklahoma over measures banning Levitical law from the courts. I would like to sue for the right to be held to all 613 commandments of Levitical law, and this is how it will work:

I mean, if I need to stone an adulteress I should have the religious freedom to do it, right? If I want to decry my neighbor for yoking oxen on the sabbath, shouldn’t i have a right to express my religious freedom? Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. I mean, I’ve always wanted that under the table live-in gardener. Isn’t it my right to offer sacrifices of bulls on the brazen altars of the Lord and send up a pleasing smell to His presence.

I have a religious right to shut down every cheeseburger and pizza joint I can find and be protected under the Levitical Law and religious freedom clause. Obviously.

I have a neighbor who works on Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states that she should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill her myself, or should I ask the police to do it? Perhaps, the Spanish Inquisition? Aren’t these part of my expression of religious freedom?

My inner Jew feels we should strip NFL players of their dignity and ostracize them into hovels outside our cities for playing with pig-skin; they are obviously unclean. IHOP is right out, and the numbers of our counting should be in Hebrew. Right? I mean, I can sue for that…right?

Levitical law should just like Sharia law be applied to those who appeal to it. And that’s why I’m becoming an activist for Levitical law in America. It makes my blood sing to think that just like Muslims across the globe I too can stone an adulteress. Religious freedom means that Americans too can amputate the hand off a thief. It sends a clear message and sends them on their way. What a way to reduce prison time and be more cost effective!

Levitical law should be an express part of my religious freedom, and since it’s good for penal systems everywhere, it should just then be universally imposed, should it not?

Update: Post publication a breaking story has been reported by The Telegraph and I had to post it. A woman is being put to death for blasphemy against Muhammad. This is where it gets good! Some people say she never even committed the blasphemy but because she’s A Christian the charges stand. That’s what I’m talking about! Capital Punishment needlessly is the way to keep those women in check!

Maria

Ok. As a Catholic, I only have a few specific points on this matter.

1) We are in a world at war culturally.

We can and should look to the peacemakers for assistance, for they are the sons of God. None stands out more than St. Francis of Assisi who in my opinion is one of the greatest saints recognized in the Christian canon of saints. In a time of war, bitter open bloodshed, he spoke with the sultan, and sought to make peace through conversion.

His tolerance was a patient, thoughtful openness to understanding the one deemed an enemy by the Christian empire, but he still did not consign himself to agreement with Islam. Anyways, the point is, we can make peace, but only if we stick to being Catholics, only if we retain our Christian identity will it make sense. We must be committed to our God, and to our faith, but that does not rule out conversation, evangelization and a quest for lasting peace. Radical Islam seems to want none of that, and therefore we must pray.

You can read another article on the subject of Catholics and Sharia here. My biggest observation in this whole situation is that even if we are not citing the extreme cases where hands are removed or women are forced back into abusive marriages, we are still dealing with a system that dehumanizes, and how!

When a woman’s testimony is weighed less than a man’s as a legal system, it’s pretty stinkin’ awesome. (Besides, who wants to listen to women anyways?) It puts women back where they belong, in the kitchen, cooking up terrifyingly delicious dinners. It champions the heterosexual adult male at the cost of all other aspects of society (obviously, as God intended).

Ave Maria Gratia Plena! There’s no natural law at work here, and thus it is a system that does not coequally stand alongside the Judeao-Christian traditions, despite the claims of some people. That’s ok though, because when it’s all about toleration, everyone wants to be tolerant.

Seriously, who wants to be seen as a bigot? Surely, not I. Everyone except the infamous Father Z anyways, (likely a jesuit spy, working against the hard fought battle of global toleration for Islam) has “two cents” to chime in as well. Another of those pesky Catholics has a response to the good Archbishop of Canterbury seen here. These Practical Catholics seem to want to undermine the Islamic position with some intent. They’re harping on issues of religious freedom, and human dignity and the nature of Western Civilization.

Catholics find themselves wishing to uphold religious freedom and human dignity, and therefore should do nothing. Seriously, say nothing, do nothing, think nothing of it. The Catholic role is apolitical, marginal, and weak. What can a single person do? St. Francis of Assisi sought peace with the Islamic invaders through conversion, patient, loving conversion preaching, but nonetheless, he saw Islam as incompatible with the Christian way. It is not bigotry to disagree, it is bigotry to disagree without listening and to disagree for the sake of disagreement. That single man, has spawned entire religious orders, and inspires even Protestants who hate Catholics left and right to contemplate the love that a single soul can have for all of creation.

Catholics in the modern world have a role to play, and that role is crucial in the reshaping of societies in which they find themselves. The nature of God in our two societies is different, and therefore Muslims must understand that while they may have a lot to bring to the table, sharia courts should have no bearing on the way a secular Western nation does legal proceedings. Is this law passed in Oklahoma capitalizing on Islamophobia, maybe. Maybe is probably an understatement, but not without reason. There have been leanings towards international readings of law by some judges. The New Jersey story unsettles me, and I hope it unsettles you too.

Catholics can be a light in the world, and a city on a hill, but only if we actively engage in transforming the world with little steps.

I for one, will champion the way of St. Francis in all sincerity, and see our two empires as incompatible but able to communicate. I will practically argue that Sharia has no place in American law, and I will argue that when it comes to legal proceedings, there is nothing that can be done but to disagree.

Just one final thought:

If I were to find myself in the court of law for breaking a law, how would I be tried? As an American, a Jew? A Catholic? Obviously, there is no clear answer folks. Moral ambiguity is the only answer we really have. I suppose. But that’s ok. Because I am Religious Freedom, and you can too!

Thanks for reading.

Here’s a lift of my hot cocoa to you the reader, and to me not being a regularly political blogger. This post has been exhausting and fun, but exhausting. I think I’d like to retire my pundit wings now.

-Eli

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About Eli

Brazilian.Catholic.Lover.Photographer.Adventurer.Theologian.

10 responses to “Sharia, Maria and Levi; A Tale of Three Religions”

  1. Nathan French says :

    Always look forward to your updates, good post!

  2. Joshua Michael says :

    While I am also against the idea of imposing Sharia law in the US –canon law being my system of choice — the Oklahoma prohibition goes further than that.

    In the American legal system it is a long established custom to look to international law or religious law when there isn’t relevant US precedent, when US law grants discretion to a judge, or when the religious law is particularly relevant to the case. For instance, if the congregation of a closing parish sues a bishop to prevent the closing, a good judge will consider what canon law has to say about the subject. (It won’t end well for the congregation.)

    The Oklahoma law prohibits this sort of consultation for Islam, but not for any other religion. As such, it seems to violate the First Amendment. To pass the First Amendment test, you’d probably need to ban consulting any sort of non-American law.

    Like I said, I’m not a fan of Sharia, but this seems like a really poorly thought out law.

    • Eli says :

      I have to disagree with your conclusions, I don’t think that’s what the law intends, nor is it conclusive that those are the results of said law.

      But given the precedent you might have a point.

      Therefore, as I have tweeted before, I’m suing for the right to be held to granny law in the American courts. Free, warm chocolate chip cookies on rainy days, and a slap on the wrist for everything else.

  3. Alex J. S. says :

    This is so absurd; I can’t believe we’re seeing serious discussion of this issue in our country. It’s akin to arguing that Canon Law ought to be applied to Catholics in federal court rulings.

    I mean, it’s one thing when you’re a Muslim country, but the very idea of emigrating to a country and then demanding that you receive special attention according to your laws boggles the mind. The arrogance.

    • Eli says :

      agreed. Glad to find common ground with you on this. I am not a hardcore nationalist by any stretch of the imagination, but I see nothing wrong with banning special treatment based on arbitrary and dehumanizing religious laws.

  4. Mike says :

    I’m going to have to agree with Joshua Michael on this one.

    There are two issues I see here.

    Firstly, as Joshua said, this law specifically targets Sharia law to the exclusion of other laws. You say that:

    “I see nothing wrong with banning special treatment based on arbitrary and dehumanizing religious laws.”

    I would argue then that you should actually be against the Oklahoma law, because this is not what it does. It names one specific set of religious laws. I understand that your post is exagerrating to make a point, but in your exaggeration you stretch beyond what can be reasonably connected. You say that:

    “Therefore, I too would like to throw my hat in the ring and sue Oklahoma over measures banning Levitical law from the courts.”

    Again, I understand that you’re exagerrating, but it’s my understanding that currently Levitical law is not banned from the courts in the same way that Sharia law is. Your argument rests on the assumption that if these laws weren’t banned, people would be using them to enforce unjust rulings. But (correct me if i’m wrong) Levitical law is not banned, and up until November neither was Sharia, and no one was going around stopping you from eating pork. You seem to be afraid of a situation that has demonstrably not happened.

    You acknowledge later on that this law is probably (I would say certainly) capitalizing on Islamophobia. This is my second issue. The end that you are in favour of is banning dehumanizing laws. The way that you have gotten to that end, though, is by capitalizing on an irrational fear of Islam.

    Is this not a classic do evil so that good may come scenario? Should we support an end, the path to which is paved with the fear of our Muslim neighbours? Does supporting this law tacitly support the recent reactionary backlash against them? If so, no matter how noble the law may be, I want nothing to do with it.

    As a disclaimer, I am not from the US, so I don’t know how things work there regarding religious laws, or the full extend of Islamophobia. In fact, where I am there is an interesting situation of positive discrimination from the government towards Catholics which may hit on similar themes to this, though I probably wouldn’t discuss that in the comments for anonymities sake, plus it would take a while to explain the whole situation. If you’re interested we can find some way to exchange emails or something.

    Peace,

    Mike

    • Eli says :

      Mike, my email is on the about me page, but I’ll drop it here too. It’s e[dot]silva501[at]gmail.com.

      I was just being over the top for the sake of fun, it was both satire, and exaggeration on all fronts. My case is truly against dehumanizing laws, and sharia in particular seems to embody more of those than it negates.

      Again, I think that this situation is complex and does captialize on Islamophobia, but at the same time, most other world religions don’t have actively militant fringe groups that would love to militantly and violently destroy other religions and states.

      I’m not a hard-core republican, and would label myself as nominally nationalistic at best, but while the law needs to be revised perhaps, my concern was at the time of this writing that a special injunction not being made could allow for legal spousal abuse through Sharia courts. The New Jersey ruling which is linked to above is an example of this very thing.

      All in all, very thoughtful and welcome comment, as always. And you’re right, I do stretch beyond believability, I should have restrained a bit to make the point clearer. I still think something like this law should exist, that explicitly allows nothing like the cited New Jersey ruling to ever happen again.

      Great thoughts Mike, as always.

      Eli

      • Kenneth W. Maltz says :

        Eli, I understand your satire. I, too, am Jewish, and I have looked up Shariah law. What I found is very disturbing. You only touch on a few of the problem points. Shariah law states that if you are not a Muslim, you are a dhimmi. The dhimmi is almost a slave. He must pay a special tax, and it must be paid right when demanded, and the person demanding it can beat upon you while you are getting it out. You cant defend yourself against it. You have no standing in any court. you can either leave, or convert, or in some cases die, or be killed. Dont trust those advocating Shariah law, as they want to take over the US and abolish the Constitution. The Constitution has served us very well for over 200 years. Let’s stick to it, and forget Shariah. If the Muslims wish to practice Shariah law in their own places of worship, let them, but the harsher aspects of it must be brought into conformity with US law. Now honor killings, or killings because of conversion. Let freedom ring.

        Ken Maltz

        • Eli says :

          Hey Ken, welcome to the blog and thanks for the comment!

          Agreed, Shariah is a very complicated legal system, and the problem is that it’s a religious law that could possibly impinge upon the freedoms of conscience, religion and speech that shaped the country from its founding. In any case, let’s be wary of those advocating Shariah and press them down on exactly what they want to see happen and create a middle-code of laws that can apply to muslims and not impinge upon the rights of Muslims as Americans.

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