Sharia Law and The “Right” to Violate Rights

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed a bill aimed at keeping state courts and agencies from using Islamic or other non-U.S. laws when making decisions, his office said on Friday.

The bill doesn’t specifically mention Shariah law, which broadly refers to codes within the Islamic legal system. Instead, it says courts, administrative agencies or state tribunals can’t base rulings on any foreign law or legal system that would not grant the parties the same rights guaranteed by state and U.S. constitutions.

The law has been dubbed the “Sharia bill” because critics say it targets the Islamic legal code. Sharia, or Islamic law, covers all aspects of Muslim life, including religious obligations and financial dealings. Opponents of state bans say they could nullify wills or legal contracts between Muslims.

Of course, all the usual offenders in the chattering class are outraged.

But let’s consider for a moment what Sharia law actually is. Sharia law is the supreme will of God, according to Islam. It’s not merely a code of ethics and practices for Muslims to quietly and actively practice on their own. It’s a code which is designed to obliterate human law in favor of religious law—specifically, the religious law of Islam.

If a court or judge in America applied Sharia law in a case, he or she would, by definition, be rendering a decision which rests on the proposition that Islamic law overrides all other law—including rights guaranteed to Americans by the Constitution.

Sharia law deals with many topics addressed by secular law, including crime, politics and economics, as well as personal matters such as sexual intercourse, hygiene, diet, prayer, and fasting. Though interpretations of Sharia vary between cultures, in its strictest definition it is considered the infallible law of God—as opposed to the human interpretation of the laws.

For the Governor of Kansas to sign a bill forbidding state courts from using Sharia law does not involve a violation of separation of church and state. Why? Because the application of Sharia law would, by definition, obliterate the separation of church and state—and by extension the whole U.S. Constitution itself!

What on earth could motivate anyone—least of all, a liberal Democrat, the type most likely to object to this law—to oppose such a thing? It’s liberal Democrats who want abortion to be legal, and sex between consenting adults to be legally protected. Sharia law would eliminate all these things—and a whole lot more—in the moment it takes to chop off a hand, an arm or a head. Is this the kind of obscene and barbaric religious fundamentalism that liberals seek to support?

Sharia ‘law’ is not, by any rational or civilized definition, law. It’s barbarism. To outlaw its implementation is to simply reinforce what the U.S. Constitution already attempts to do: Outlaw barbarism.

Also, religious freedom does not justify the violation of individual rights. If a man kills someone else in the name of religion, we don’t excuse the criminality of the act on the principle of church and state separation. If a priest molests a young boy, we don’t claim that laws outlawing sexual molesting of children cannot apply if a religious principle is involved. If it’s not a violation of church-state separation to prosecute fundamentalist Mormon adults for forcing minors into childbearing, it’s likewise not a violation of church-state separation to outlaw a judge from imposing a death sentence on someone who’s gay or lesbian or who doesn’t follow the prescribed Islamic diet.

This is more than an abstract issue. Legislators supporting the Kansas bill said there were many cases around the country where judges or state agencies cited Sharia law in deciding cases, especially involving divorce-related custody and property matters where Islamic code differs from U.S. law.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington DC denounced the Kansas law and said it is considering legal action. ‘Legal action’ — based on what principle? Sharia law seeks to undermine the very concept and practice of individual rights. How could you make a Constitutional case for the rights of Muslim judges to decide cases without reference to the Constitution? And why do Muslims have the right to violate the Constitution and existing laws, while non-Muslims do not?

Federal courts reportedly struck down an Oklahoma law voters approved in 2010 that barred state judges from considering Sharia law in making decisions. The court called the law discriminatory.

Yes, some laws are discriminatory. The law discriminates between proven killers and peaceful people. The law discriminates between those who initiate force and fraud (when proved, of course) versus those who do not. Similarly, the law should discriminate between judges who apply principles consistent with the U.S. Constitution, versus those who explicitly ignore the Constitution to impose a religious dictatorship on the population. It’s actually sad that such a law is needed.

Political and religious correctness have become so much a part of our culture that now governments must pass laws saying, ‘Don’t forget—the Constitution still applies!’ This is what happens when we elect a President who refuses to use the word “terrorism” because it might offend a Muslim.

You can laugh at the idea that radical Islam will ever be part of the American culture. ‘It can’t happen here.’ But the only basis for such a confidence is the willingness of our state and federal courts to make sure that it, in fact, will never happen here.