Should courts excuse Muslim men who beat up their wives on account of freedom of religious practices and beliefs? Do religious and cultural “sensitivity” count more than individual rights?
It seems incredible that we even must consider such questions, but the indiscriminate, unthinking tolerance of our times has brought us here.
Consider this most recent news headline:
NYC Muslim Beats Wife to Death, Lawyer says Beating Women is “Customary” in his Culture.
The story reports:
A Pakistani immigrant beat his wife to death in their Brooklyn home after she made the mistake of cooking him lentils for dinner instead of the hearty meal of goat meat that he craved, according to court papers.
Noor Hussain, 75, was so outraged over the vegetarian fare that he pummeled his wife, Nazar Hussain, 66, with a stick until she was a “bloody mess,” according to prosecutors and court papers.
Defense attorney Julie Clark admitted Hussain beat his wife — but argued that he is guilty of only manslaughter because he didn’t intend to kill her. In Pakistan, Clark said, beating one’s wife is customary.
“He comes from a culture where he thinks this is appropriate conduct, where he can hit his wife,” Clark said in her opening statements at the Brooklyn Supreme Court bench trial. “He culturally believed he had the right to hit his wife and discipline his wife.” [Source: Daniel Greenfield, FrontPageMag.com 5-23-14]
This is what happens when you erase the concepts “right,” “wrong” and objective from your conceptual vocabulary.
If it’s true that there’s no such thing as right or wrong, then we have no standard for making a law in the first place. You cannot protect people’s “rights” unless you first establish — and choose to stand by — some concept of “right” (and “wrong”) in the first place.
The defense attorney in this case is saying, “There’s no legitimate or objective basis for claiming this man’s religion or cultural tradition is any better or worse than any other.” If his religion says it’s OK to beat up his wife, rape her, hold her hostage, or anything else he feels like doing — well, who are we to judge otherwise? And if his religion teaches this is OK, then we have to change the law because it’s his religion. So we’ll have a double standard for people who practice this irrational religion in favor of those who do not. Oops — we’re not supposed to call one’s religion (at least not a politically correct one, such as Islam) “irrational,” because that’s rude, mean and judgmental.
By the way, what does it mean to “culturally believe” something as opposed to merely “believe” it? Are we so divorced from responsibility for the content of our own minds, thoughts and emotions that we can now claim (at least if we’re Muslim) that our culture (i.e. millions of other people) literally do our thinking for us?
Sooner or later, rotten ideas come home to roost. Subjectivists in psychology and its parent field, philosophy, have made this claim for decades: What’s true for you isn’t true for me. They’re not just talking about legitimate options and preferences; they’re talking about everything. Physical abuse, rape, torture, initiation of violence? Well, if that’s all you know, or if that’s how you were raised, it’s an excuse for whatever you do.
According to this ideological view: The fact that each of us has our own mind proves that there’s no one reality, no provably correct right or wrong, not in any context. Here you have it, now playing out in courts we’re counting on to protect us from brute force initiated by others.
You can laugh at philosophy as well as psychology, and claim these fields have no relevance to your daily life. But conclusions in these areas have life or death meaning for what government will do or not do to you; or permit done to you.
Oddly silent in all this are the feminists and other opponents of domestic violence against women. Will Hillary Clinton come out against this? Not if it offends Muslims. Will our current president, Barack Obama? This man loves Islam. This is the man who once said, “America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles of justice and progress, tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.”
Seriously, Barack? Try living for five minutes under Sharia (Islamic) law, and see how much overlap you will find between that and America.
OK, you’ve got your cultural sensitivity. You’ve got your diversity for its own sake, and you’ve got the emotional sense that, “I’m compassionate, I don’t judge anybody else ever, not for any reason. Now people can like me. Look at what a sensitive, gentle and completely non-judgmental human being I am.” It has been my observation that people who claim to uphold these views don’t necessarily mean them, but badly want to be seen as meaning them. A tiny number of intellectuals and judicial officials actually do hold these incredibly insane viewpoints, and they’re paving the way to death and destruction throughout the free world, so long as the rest of us remain silent and/or stupid.
You can’t have your justice and eat it too. You can’t claim that Sharia law — the Muslim approach to “justice” which upholds such atrocities as this Brooklyn defense — is morally equivalent to, or “overlaps” the American, individual rights-based approach to justice. In areas of differing principles, you have to choose one, or the other, but not both.
So what’s your choice?
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