Tag Archive for: Sharia Law

Florida Judge Ruled Correctly That Islamic Law Must Be Used

Just this past week there was a media frenzy sparking fear across the nation with headlines like, “Florida Judge Orders Use of Sharia Law!”  The case in question involves former trustees of a local Tampa mosque, the Islamic Education Center of Tampa, who are suing because they claim they were unfairly removed as trustees.  The Judge stated in his order, “This case will proceed under Ecclesiastical Islamic Law…pursuant to the Qur’an…”

The enemies of Liberty know the power of fear, otherwise the warning attributed to Benjamin Franklin, “Those who trade Liberty for security deserve neither Liberty nor security” would have very little meaning.  But I fear, that is exactly what we are about to do as a nation, ignore the warnings of our Founding Fathers and trade Liberty for security based upon fear.

In order to properly understand what happened in that Florida courtroom this week, we must make a distinction.  There is a difference between First Amendment religious liberty and criminal acts unconstitutionally sanctioned under the guise of religious liberty.  Our Founders, moved home and family, sacrificed honor and fortune, bled and died for religious liberty.  It was so important to our Founders that when proposing the ratification of the Constitution, several states, including Virginia, refused to ratify if there were not greater protections for religious liberty.  The Virginia Baptist General Convention made the statement:

 “Whether the new Federal Constitution, which had now lately made its appearance in public, made sufficient provision for the secure enjoyment of religious liberty; on which it was agreed unanimously that, in the opinion of the General Committee, it did not.”

They understood that every man has to give an account for himself to God one day, therefore every man should be free to serve God according to the dictates of his own conscience; that it is repugnant to the spirit of the gospel for the government to proceed in matters of religion.  They believed that God needed no such compulsive measures from the government and for government to engage in the regulation of church activity would be the destruction of religious liberty.  In a Letter from a Federal Farmer  IV the author, looking forward to a day when our nation would grow into a great country said:

“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 hoped, for ages and millions yet unborn, why not establish the free exercise of religion, as a part of the national compact.”

As if there were any question as to the Founders’ intent regarding true religious liberty, John Leland, arguably the founder of our First Amendment, stated that “all should be equally free [in religious matters], Jews, Turks, Pagans and Christians.”

Our Founders believed that government regulating the affairs of the churches would be the death of religious liberty for all and they were willing to forgo the entire Constitutional experiment without proper protection from it.  Our courts have adopted that principle in the legal doctrine of “judicial abstinence”.

According to the well-founded legal doctrine of judicial abstention, “matters of calling a pastor, excluding members from a church, electing church officers and the conduct of other routine church business is purely ecclesiastical, that the jurisdiction of the church as to such matters is final and that the civil courts have consistently declined to assume jurisdiction of them.” Epperson v. Myers, 58 So.2d 150, 151 (Fla. 1952).

Our courts are obliged by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution to defer to internal church decisions in matters of church government.  The Supreme Court of the United States recognizes that “[e]xcessive entanglement with religion occurs when the courts begin to review and interpret a church’s constitution, laws, and regulations.”  Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 US 602 (1971).

We should commend Judge Richard Nielsen for his courage to stand up for this TRUE AND PROPER application of separation of church and state in a time when he had to know it would bring great fear and controversy.  He was acting as a true constitutional conservative and patriot, supporting and defending the Constitution of the United States and of the State of Florida.

Judge Nielson had to understand that for the court to become involved in the ecclesiastical affairs church government would open a precedent that has thus far never existed.  It would eliminate EVERY church’s ability to govern itself according to the dictates of its religious beliefs.  What would that mean for Christians?  It would mean that churches could no longer discriminate on the basis of doctrinal beliefs; the acceptance of homosexuality even if against religious beliefs, the requirement of non discrimination for pastoral positions even if against religious beliefs, the compulsion of teaching even if against religious beliefs…the list is endless.

A very important decision was written in 1871 by the Supreme Court of the United States in Watson v. Jones, 80 US (13 Wall), 679, 727 (1871):

“The law knows no heresy, and committed to the support of no dogma, the establishment of no sect.  The right to organize voluntary religious associations to assist in the expression and dissemination of any religious doctrine, and to create tribunals for the decision of controverted questions of faith within the association, and for the ecclesiastical government of all the individual members, congregations, and officers within the general association, is unquestioned.  All who united themselves to such a body do so with the implied consent to this government, and are bound to submit to it.  But it would be a vain consent and would lead to the total subversion of such religious bodies, if any one aggrieved by one of their decisions could appeal to the secular courts and have them reversed.”

So before we react in fear that will ultimately end the religious liberty that we ALL enjoy, we must become steeped in history and fact.  History teaches that “all should be equally free, Jews, Turks, Pagans and Christians” and when government engages in the ecclesiastical affairs of an assembly, religious liberty for all is dead.  The fact is this legal dispute was over a decision by the mosque leaders regarding issues of church governance, a purely ecclesiastical matter.

Judge Neilson’s court ruling is NOT a permission in the law to stone your children, beat your wife, or murder your daughter because she is marrying outside the faith.  These are afforded no more affording constitutional protection than someone bombing an abortion clinic in the name of Christ.  These are CRIMINAL acts and NOT ecclesiastical governance.  If this distinction is not made, then a disingenuous lawyer or an activist judge could unconstitutionally use this ruling to allow a criminal act, as the court did in New Jersey in applying Sharia Law to allow a man to rape his wife.  Fortunately, the New Jersey ruling was overturned, and our Constitution ruled the day.  We need to be watchful so that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land.  We must be steeped in history and in fact so that we don’t undo the very document by which we are protected.

I am not willing to trade liberty for any fear.  I am not willing to trade the ability for my church to govern according to the dictates of my conscience due to a fear of foreign Islamic invasion.  If we allow fear to dictate, the enemies of Liberty have succeeded and tyranny is already established.

The Threat of Foreign Law

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.”