Sharia By Any Other Name

For a while now a lot of folks on the Right have been concerned about “creeping Sharia”, the fear that Islamic law will take root in America. Bills have been put before states and the Federal government “banning” Sharia law, lest it overturn two and a half centuries of American jurisprudence overnight.

I’ve noticed, however, that the people who seem to be most virulently opposed to Sharia have no problem turning around and then stating that America’s laws should reflect Biblical values. I guess to a Christian that’s a big deal, but from an Atheist point of view that’s like saying that we need to avoid to-may-toes and cling solely to to-mah-toes.

Let’s take a look at Sharia law. Oh, we don’t have to research actual Sharia law, just what the opponents of Sharia law define it as. Who knows, maybe it will resemble the real thing!

I’m not going to link to these places because god knows I don’t want them coming over here, but the sites I’m looking at are shariahthethreat.org, David Horowitz’s discoverthenetworks.org, and a couple others. Let’s look at what they’re concerned about here.

Bold parts here are quoted directly from the websites.

Islam teaches that shari’a, as God’s revealed law, perfect and eternal, is binding on individuals, society and state in all its details. By logical extension, any criticism of shari’a is heresy.

“We have Judeo-Christian values that are based on biblical truth. … And those truths don’t change just because people’s attitudes may change.” That’s Rick Santorum, who is running for President.

“…Government…derives its moral authority from God. It is the minister of God with powers to “avenge” to “execute wrath” including even wrath by the sword (which is unmistakenly a reference to the death penalty).” That’s Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

“No, I don’t know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.” That would be former President George H. W. Bush.

And Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association has stated that he believes blasphemy should be against the law.

In addition to direct quotes like the above, I think it’s pretty safe to say that there’s a strong feeling that America is Judeo-Christian above everything else, that its laws and way of life (and economic system) are blessed by the Judeo-Christian god, and that anyone who feels otherwise should, at least, sit down and shut up.

Discrimination on the basis of religion is fundamental to shari’a. By religious edict, Islam must be dominant; only Muslims are considered to be full citizens. Jews and Christians are defined as dhimmis (literally “protected” i.e. permitted to live). However this protection is on condition that they do not bear arms, know their lowly place in society, treat Muslims with respect, and pay a special poll tax (jizya).

See above. How often are we told that this is a Christian nation, of and for Christians? The people who oppose Sharia law are often the ones who shriek the loudest when they feel that Christianity has not been sufficiently elevated above all else. (And the “Judeo-” is mostly there for window dressing. Most fundamentalist Christians have no use for Jews except as part of their Revelation story and as allies in their hatred of Islam.)

We heard a lot recently about Dominionism, most of which was poo-poohed and handwaved away as a bunch of left-win spook stories. But Dominionism is real and influential. (Rick Santorum seems to be a Dominionist in all but name, given his love of invoking Biblical law.)

Shari’a discriminates on the basis of gender. Men are regarded as superior. Women are treated as deficient in intelligence, morals and religion, and must therefore be protected from their own weaknesses. Shari’a rules enforce modesty in dress and behavior and the segregation of the sexes. These regulations place women under the legal guardianship of their male relatives.

Now, the idea of the Right being oh so concerned about discrimination against women is laughable. Let us not forget that when stories broke of Hermain Cain sexually harassing women, his support went up. The Right, especially the fundamentalist Christian Right, has never been shy about expressing what it thinks of women. And if you think modesty in dress and behavior and guardianship by male relatives (especially the father) are limited to Islamic culture, take a moment and Google purity balls, courtship, quiverfull, and other wonderful fundamentalist traditions which present a woman as subservient to her father until a husband is chosen for her, at which point she is subservient to him and her primary task is to have babies.

Shari’a courts often display a clear gender bias. This is seen in the widespread practice of accusing rape victims of illicit sexual relations…

As you well know, Conservatives are always the first to defend a woman who claims to be raped.

Islam commands that homosexuals must be executed.

Now it’s time for the Religious Right to pretend they’re concerned about the lives and rights of gay people. While it’s true that few American Christians are calling for the executions of gay people (at least few of higher rank than, say, Roy Moore, the Ten Commandments judge and Tea Party darling), I think the fact that gay gayness now outranks abortion as the number one Christian boogeyman is enough to induce eye rolling at the fretting over the welfare of gay people. I think it’s safe to say that while execution may not be in the cards (experiments in Uganda notwithstanding) at the very least some folks would love to see gay people imprisoned or sent to some kind of “cure” facilities.

Islam orders unmarried fornicators to be whipped and adulterers to be stoned to death.

Again, the stoned to death thing is more than our radical clerics advocate, but making adultery illegal is something that Tony Perkins’ Family Resource Council would like to do. (Santorum is a big ally of the FRC.) I’m not sure why the Republican party would want to come down hard on adultery, given their history, but then again they’re anti-gay-people-soiliciting-sex-in-airport-bathrooms too, at least on paper.

So this is just a sampling of the horrors that Sharia law would inflict upon America, pretty much all of which would be happily endorsed by the same critics if we did little searching and replacing.

(There’s one big difference I should point out: Islam is totally cool with contraception, whereas Santorum would like to make that illegal.)

I’m not defending Islam here, mind you — I have no interest in being ruled over by any archaic totalitarian patriarchic religion — just pointing out how ridiculous this whole farce is. It’s almost — almost — as though the whole thing is a smoke screen designed to obscure a more realistic threat to regular ol’ Americans.

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One Response to Sharia By Any Other Name

  1. Curtis says:

    But Dave, the important difference is that the Judeo-Christian God is *real.*