Once again great controversy has arisen over the building of a Mosque; this one in Murfreesboro, TN. Once again no one is getting to the heart of the problem. The fear is not over Islam, but of Sharia Law and the solution lies in preventing foreign law not interfering with a religious practice. We have a nation built on fundamental principles of liberty and law, not fear. If we are ruled by fear, we will lose liberty.
How serious did our founders take the threat of foreign law?
John Adams warned in his 1797 inaugural address:
“[If our nation can be influenced] by foreign nations by flattery or menaces, by fraud or violence, by terror, intrigue, or venality, the Government may not be the choice of the people but of foreign nations. It may be foreign nations that govern us and not we the people who govern ourselves;”
George Washington in his farewell address says this:
“Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government.”
How adamant were they, that we must support Constitutional liberty?
John Adams said if we are to have a free republican government, then we must have an attachment to the Constitution and a conscientious determination to protect it. George Washington said “the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake”; John Philpot Curan stated in 1790, “the condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance”, (a quote apparently repeated by Jefferson), and the list goes on.
Our founders were adamant that we the people resist the encroachment of foreign law AND defend Constitutional liberty. Can we do BOTH?
First and foremost we must protect religious liberty for ALL faiths (and non-faiths). We were established as a government of the people, by the people, for the people. However, our founders knew through history and experience, to truly protect liberty we must have a representative form of government and not a democracy. Democracy can never grant true liberty, because the voice of the majority will always silence the rest. Were we a democracy instead of a Constitutional Republic, women would still be unable to vote and the civil rights movement would have certainly failed. A republican form of government grants a voice to those outside of the majority. Jefferson explained in his Notes on the state of Virginia, “One hundred and seventy-three despots would surely be as oppressive as one. An elective despotism was not the government we fought for.” Jefferson knew in order to maintain liberty we must be educated in its principles; else we would digress to a “mob rules” mentality and become a country ruled by a tyranny of the majority.
The issue of building Mosques anywhere in the United States must be viewed within this Constitutional framework. We cannot allow the government to dictate the practice of religion, even if the majority of the people demand it. Our Constitution stands as a guardian against the encroachment of foreign law, yet its 1st Amendment stands as a sentinel against the restriction of religious liberty.
Richard Henry Lee remarked, “It is true, we are not disposed to differ much, at present, about religion; but when we are making a Constitution, it is to be for ages and millions yet unborn, why not establish the free exercise of religion, as a part of the national compact.”
Our founders envisioned a nation “whereas all should be equally free, Jews, Turks, Pagans, and Christians” to worship “in that way that he can best reconcile it to his conscience”. (John Leland, The Rights of Conscience Inalienable, A Chronical of His Time in Virginia 1789-1805) It is proven through history and experience that where the government is involved it will dictate and regulate. Many of our founders knew that to preserve religious liberty for all was to preserve Christianity. We cannot give the government the power to dictate the conscience of men, because today’s majority is tomorrow’s minority and there is liberty for no one.
What then is the solution to the conundrum of Islam and Sharia Law?
The conscientious determination to support the Constitution cuts both ways: for many Muslims, Islam is not only a religion but also a theocracy, it mixes religion and government. The other side of this Constitutional sword is the key to solving the conundrum of Islam and Sharia Law. When we stand on the foundation of the Constitution, we acknowledge that it cannot support the infiltration of foreign law. George Washington made this point abundantly clear in his farewell address noted above.
Our founders’ own Bill of Rights, the English Bill of Rights of 1689 required their representatives – including the King and Queen – to take the following oath: “And I do declare that no Foreign Prince, Person, Prelate, or Potentate hath or ought to have any jurisdiction, power, superiority, preeminence, or authority ecclesiastical or spiritual within this realm, so help me God.” We must have representatives that are willing to step up and name the enemy; its name is FOREIGN LAW.
No foreign law affords the protections to liberty that our Constitution does, and much of foreign law would directly threaten the liberty of individual Americans.Properly upholding the Constitution, maintaining the laws of this nation, is the way to prevent foreign law’s baneful attack. The Constitution will not support the interference of religious liberty. If we push the courts to decide these issues the results will likely be disastrous. The courts will either follow the Constitution and rule in favor of the Mosques, empowering the Islamic theocracy as a by-product; or the courts will not follow the Constitution, allowing the government to dictate where and how worship can take place. Our forefathers had already been down that road.
We know the Constitution and the history that produced this foundational document will support the exclusion of foreign law. What we are concerned about is the apparent danger of the courts ignoring the both the Constitution and the warnings of history and our founders, thus allowing foreign law to infultrate our nation. This is where we need representatives on the state and national level to step up to support and defend the Constitution. These true Patriot leaders will say, “we love our country and our Constitution so much that we will allow Mosques, but we will not allow foreign law”. They will put the courts on notice that the people will not allow the Constitution to be destroyed by either ignorant or activist judges. Foreign law has no place in this nation regardless of whether it is called religion or not. Think about it. The same principles that do not allow the practice of poligomy or human sacrifice in the name of religion will support the denial of unconstitutional Sharia Law.
The point is, Islam is not the enemy, foreign law is the enemy. We cannot preserve the Constitution by picking and choosing which provisions are convenient. The same Constitution that gives us religious liberty, gives us a foundational law that rejects foreign law. We must make a conscientious decision to support the Constitution, IN ITS ENTIRETY, or it will be destroyed by the very people charged to protect it. We must remember that tyranny is no different whether it is in the hands of one man or in the hands of many.
We the people MUST educate ourselves on our history and Constitutional principles. We the people MUST make a conscientious decision to stand for the Constitution, every part of it. We the people MUST require our elected representatives to do the same. As Daniel Webster said, “Hold on, my friends, to the Constitution and to the Republic for which it stands. Miracles do not cluster and what has happened once in 6,000 years may not happen again. Hold on to the Constitution, for if the American Constitution should fail, there will be anarchy throughout the world.”