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July 26, 2010

Comments

Again: ... this cheap demagoguery is actually counterproductive in terms of weakening al-Qaeda and other extremists groups that pervert Islam.

Perhaps we should dispense with the idea that high ranking Republican Party officials care about such things?

Not to mention that such a blithe disregard to a fundamental Constitutional protection is alarming in its own right.

See id.

"al Qaeda recruiter Ron Ramsay" has a certain vicious ring to it that I'd like to see in Democratic attack ads this Fall.

That and "John Wilkes Booth Groupie Zach Wamp".

Crazy, dangerous people.

Send in the drones.

Apparently 22 communities have been established in the United States that operate under sharia law.

Who knew?

Also, while the Constitution proclaims "freedom of speech", if one is advocating for some Communist idea such as Medicare For Everyone, can such poisonous rhetoric injected into the veins of the body politic truly be called "speech"? Can a search that uncovers child pornography or drugs truly be called "unreasonable" under any circumstances?

I wonder if he's bright enough to realize that he's shredding the Constitution. Or, if he does, whether he cares.

Carleton, you lack a proper appreciation of what "reverence for the Constitution" means for Ramsey et al.

It means that you get to cite the Constitution when doing so will support allowing you to do what you want to do anyway. But if it might restrain you from doing what you want, you either reinterpret the words to mean the opposite of what they say, quote the words you like (and ignore the rest of the sentence, even if the word "not" is part of it), or just claim that anyone citing the Constitution against you is evil-intentioned and so should be ignored.

Clear now?

I am really jammed, but a couple of thoughts seem worth mentioning.

First, Islam as practiced in many countries (Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, to name a few) isn't just one religion among many, it is the state religion that informs if not dictates much of the jurisprudence, culture and way of life. Further, Islam does patently treat believers differently from non-believers.

Referring to anyone's religion as a cult is bad manners (not that bad manners keeps any number of progressives from saying substantively about Christianity what Ramsey said about Islam). That said, raising the question of whether aspects of Islam fall under the "free exercise" clause is fair game. Freedom to believe is virtually unlimited, not so freedom to act on those beliefs. Honor killings, the role of women, polygamy, etc. are all within Islam, or subsets thereof.

As for blithely disregarding constitutional protections, this site, among many on the left, was outraged that corporations have free speech rights and barely batted an eye when HCR mandated that every citizen buy a prescribed insurance policy or pay a fine.

Perhaps one person blithe disregard is another's careful discernment.

Finally, it's a bit overwrought to say that what some jack ass from Tennessee says is going to play into Al Qaeda's hands. I mean, really.

McTex,
I dont know what "Islam as practiced in other countries" has to do with anything. Perhaps you are unfamiliar with a country known as Israel, which has Judaism as it's state religion. Shall we also regard Judaism as a cult unworthy of 1st Amendment protection? If some country should adopt Christianity as a state religion and enforce it on its populace, what in tarnation would that have to do with how we ought to enforce our Constitution?

"That said, raising the question of whether aspects of Islam fall under the "free exercise" clause is fair game. Freedom to believe is virtually unlimited, not so freedom to act on those beliefs."
Surely this is true of all religions, so I dont know why you would single out Islam for notice on this point.

As for blithely disregarding constitutional protections, this site, among many on the left, was outraged that corporations have free speech rights and barely batted an eye when HCR mandated that every citizen buy a prescribed insurance policy or pay a fine.

Both arguments were IMO effectively rebutted at the time. Now you may not find those rebuttals effective, but it is nonsensical to advance obviously contested positions such as the free speech rights of corporate "citizens" (which were obviously not envisioned by the authors of the First Amendment) as equivalent to the abridgment of freedom of religion based on a majoritarian view that minority religions are "cults"- a viewpoint profoundly at odds with both the Founders' clear statements on the subject, modern jurisprudence and precedent, and common &%*#*$ sense.
You may hold views on the Constitutionality of various matters that I disagree with. But I would not accuse you of hypocrisy for holding your own good faith beliefs on the matter, and your accusations that others here do so accomplish nothing but poison the atmosphere.

Belching at the tables is bad manners.
Calling a religion a cult is downright insulting. Especially when it's followers number 1.5 billion.

As for historical sins of Christianity, I'll just note that it tolerated slavery for many years. And offshoots have endorsed polygamy.
Mote, meet beam.

I dont know what "Islam as practiced in other countries" has to do with anything.

Well, as Islam is practiced in other countries might be an indicator of how Islam might try to be practiced here, for example, a Muslim run business might try to impose Muslim views on women on its women employees. If this happened, would the free exercise clause trump Title VII? I think not.

Sorry for poisoning the atmosphere. I was just trying to raise some seeming inconsistencies.

"Both arguments were IMO effectively rebutted at the time."

I few them as ineffectively hand-waved at personally. And the recent death penalty cases and the liberal interpretation of the 2nd amendment are worse.

But that isn't any reason to embrace patently unconstitutional craziness from Republicans.

Islam is a religion. Religions have some particular level of Constitutional protection. Get over it.

Well, as Islam is practiced in other countries might be an indicator of how Islam might try to be practiced here, for example, a Muslim run business might try to impose Muslim views on women on its women employees. If this happened, would the free exercise clause trump Title VII? I think not.

Im not sure why you think anyone would believe the opposite. As I said, the idea that the Free Exercise clause protects enforcing one's religion on others is not supportable, regardless of the religion in question.
But that is a general statement. It is certainly not unimaginable that a Christian employer would attempt to enforce his views on his female employees, or that individuals might object to eg contraception use by other individuals on Christian grounds. And yet, we still permit Christianity the freedom to operate as a religion.

You mentioned polygamy as a reason for considering that Islam might not deserve protection under the First Amendment. Surely you're aware that Mormons historically practiced polygamy and some sects still do so- ergo, by your logic, since some self-proclaimed Christians have followed this illegal doctrine, Christianity may be a cult and not deserving of full First Amendment protection?

First, Islam as practiced in many countries . . . isn't just one religion among many, it is the state religion that informs if not dictates much of the jurisprudence, culture and way of life.

Irrelevant to the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

Further, Islam does patently treat believers differently from non-believers.

As do Judaism, Catholicism, Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses, and a dozen others that I'm too lazy to think of at the moment. Thus, irrelevant.

Referring to anyone's religion as a cult is bad manners (not that bad manners keeps any number of progressives from saying substantively about Christianity what Ramsey said about Islam).

Yawn. Irrelevant tu quoque.

That said, raising the question of whether aspects of Islam fall under the "free exercise" clause is fair game. Freedom to believe is virtually unlimited, not so freedom to act on those beliefs.

Native Americans and peyote, Christian Scientists and withholding medical treatment from children, etc., etc., etc. If you're going in for a dime, here, you'd better be willing to go in for a dollar.

Honor killings, the role of women, polygamy, etc. are all within Islam, or subsets thereof.

And, of course, "the role of women" and "polygamy" aren't issues in any major American religions at all. No, sir.

As for blithely disregarding constitutional protections,

Another irrelevant tu quoque.

for example, a Muslim run business might try to impose Muslim views on women on its women employees. If this happened, would the free exercise clause trump Title VII? I think not.

Is the Salvation Army or the Catholic Church required to hire homosexuals?

I few them as ineffectively hand-waved at personally.

I dont think we need to rehash the arguments themselves. I would just observe that isolating your position as not merely the best choice among good-faith arguments but as the single possible good-faith interpretation may be comforting, but it is usually inaccurate and promotes isolated thinking.

not that bad manners keeps any number of progressives from saying substantively about Christianity what Ramsey said about Islam

Progressives have said that Christianity doesn't deserve the protection of the First Amendment? I doubt that very much. Unless "any number" is literal, and the number is "five" or "zero" or somesuch.

Ramsey's remarks were made in response to a question about the presence of a mosque and a community center for Muslims. So, presumably, he was responding to that: to the issue of public buildings for the practice of Islam. And he appears to be agin it. And thinks that that the Constitution does not provide protection for Muslims who wish to build a mosque or community center.

Which makes him a religious bigot. He's not just some jackass: he's and increasingly common kind of Republican politician jackass. He has company: Sarah Palin, for one. And he seems to think his remarks will play well with his base.

McK raised another question altogether: the question of what to do if a religious practice is illegal. Homemade clitorectomies, for example, or the blood sacrifice of goats.That's a stickier issue and one not raised exclusively by Islam.

It is certainly not unimaginable that a Christian employer would attempt to enforce his views on his female employees, or that individuals might object to eg contraception use by other individuals on Christian grounds.

Indeed. It goes well beyond "not unimaginable," and well beyond "objecting." From here:">http://www.nwlc.org/pdf/PharmacyRefusalPolicies-June2010.pdf">here:

Fewer than half of the states in the country explicitly address the issue of refusals to provide medication to patients in the pharmacy. Eight states require pharmacists or pharmacies to ensure that that patients receive their medication. Seven states allow refusals but prohibit pharmacists from obstructing patient access to medication. Only five states permit refusals without critical protections for patients, such as requirements to refer or transfer prescriptions.

So in some states pharmacists can in effect force their religious views on customers by refusing to provide them with contraceptives. And personally, I wouldn't say "only" five states, I would say "fully" five states.

More here.

Similarly in Britain.

IANAL, and I'm sure there's some complex answer to this question, but it beats me why the employers of pharmacists can't just say when hiring: "Are you willing to do the job you're applying for? Because if you're not, you can go look for work somewhere else. Maybe even in a new profession."

If a teetotalling Baptist applies for a job in a liquor store and then refuses to sell liquor to other people because drinking liquor is against her religion, can the liquor store fire her for refusing to do her g*d d*mned job?

I was mistaken. He wasn't responding specifically to a question about the mosque. He was responding to a loaded question from the audience about the US being invaded by Muslims. So he responded more generally by belittling Islam as a cult.

First link corrected.

"Again: aside from the sheer ugliness of the bigotry on display here, this cheap demagoguery is actually counterproductive in terms of weakening al-Qaeda and other extremists groups that pervert Islam."

Maybe this got the Lt.Gov a wee bit riled up:

July 15, 2010
Tennessee mosque board member suspended after terror support revealed

The battle over the expansion of a mosque in Murfreesboro, TN has claimed one victim, namely one of the mosque board members, Mosaad Rawash, who was suspended from his position earlier this week after congressional candidate Lou Ann Zelenik publicly aired evidence about his open support for Islamic terrorism.

The Rutherford Daily News reports:

The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro suspended board member Mosaad Rawash late Monday in response to accusations about him from Republican congressional candidate Lou Ann Zelenik, according to the center’s website.
Prior to the suspension, Zelenik’s campaign on Monday accused center board member “Mossad Rowash” of being a supporter of Hamas and “violent Jihad and martyrdom of Palestinians fighting against Israel.”

The center later that day issued the following statement:

“The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro was made aware of the allegations against Mr. Mosaad Rawash, a current board member at the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro. Mr. Rowash is being suspended pending further investigation about these allegations, a proper action will be taken based on the outcome of the investigation. The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro as a religious, non political organization does not support any radical views of any kind by any individual or group.
Sincerely,
Islamic Center Of Murfreesboro”

Mr. Mosaad Rawash, a suspended board member, allegedly made inflammatory remarks on his MySpace page supporting Hamas and asking members to pledge money to "support violent jihad and martyrdom of Palestinians fighting the Israelis."

"Further, Islam does patently treat believers differently from non-believers."

As do Judaism, Catholicism, Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses, and a dozen others that I'm too lazy to think of at the moment. Thus, irrelevant.


Only someone with zero sense of proportionality could make such a patently misinformed assertion. Or haven't you heard about the way Baha'is are treated in Islamic countries, Iran for instance.
More HERE
And HERE

This isn't political persecution, or economic persecution, or racial persecution -- it's religious persecution pure and simple.

Lou Ann Zelenick?

Let's put her in a two-year competition with Mosaad Rawash and count the dead American bodies at the end.

I say Zelenick, the wanna-be Republican murderer candidate piles dead American bodies higher than the trash-talking Rawash -- and that's if we count only her pledge to deny Americans with pre-existing conditions access to health insurance by repealing every page of Obamacare.

I expect the rest of her white-trash platform to add to the fatalities, but the fact that she plans to kill her victims one at a time instead of by the planeload seems quaintly small-town and free markety.

The Methane detector on her stinking, fascist gob was disabled a long time ago.

The two of them can kiss my ass.

I live out West. I once saw a rodeo clown's nuts hoisted on the petard of a Brahma bull at a local rodeo.

The funny thing is he had zapped the bull a few seconds earlier with an electric prod to get him started.

I think he quit one of those jobs.

Well, as Islam is practiced in other countries might be an indicator of how Islam might try to be practiced here

Then again, it might not.

Most likely, Islam will be practiced all kinds of different ways in this country. Like every other religion practiced in the USA.

Why do I feel confident in making this prediction? Because Islam *is* practiced all kinds of different ways in this country, right now.

Some of those ways are, no doubt, quite strict.

Ditto Christianity, Judaism, and no doubt Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, and whatever else you can think of.

There are, I'm sure, blinkered dogmatic fundmentalist Unitarians running around somewhere.

"You will be tolerant and kindly, or there will be hell to pay!!"

Who cares?

It's idiotic to speculate in public if Islam is a religion, or a nationality, or a cult. It's idiotic to speculate about those things in private, too, but when you do it in public your idiocy is on display for all to see.

It's idiotic because it demonstrates a profound ignorance of any kinds of people other than the ones you're familiar with and comfortable with.

It's nice in a kindergarten-y way to not have to encounter or deal with anybody who aren't familiar or comfortable with, but it's a luxury that increasingly will only be available at the price of making your world very, very small.

JJ, if I say you are ObWi's organ grinder monkey, will that become your new nick?

Honor killings, the role of women, polygamy, etc. are all within Islam

Anecdota:

My next door neighbor's son is a very conservative orthodox Jew. His wife has a lovely singing voice, but she's not allowed to sing in front of men. His young daughters are not allowed to wear shorts or bathing suits, and wear tights or pants under their dresses.

Lovely people, intelligent, funny, worldly, and accomplished. Just saying.

I know Christians who believe that whatever the husband says, the wife must obey. Period. Some non-trivial subset of those folks find it acceptable for the husband to employ force if needed to convince their wives of their wisdom.

Quite recently we were treated to the spectacle of a splinter Mormon group whose elders married their teenage female relatives off to each other like trading cards.

Muslims hold no monopoly on ill treatment of women.

Terrorism? If you were to arrest every person in this country who contributed money to the IRA *specifically to purchase weapons and other ordinance* you would have to arrest a significant proportion of the NYPD, and close down pretty much every Irish bar in the city of New York.

That's a cute story until you consider that those dollars put some English family's son, daughter, husband, or wife six feet under. For real.

We could also talk about Cubans in Miami, or any number of other nationalities in this country who send money back home to support political violence.

Those dollars kill people.

Hate is an equal opportunity employer. Nothing special about Muslims as far as that goes.

c.w. I dont know what "Islam as practiced in other countries" has to do with anything. Perhaps you are unfamiliar with a country known as Israel, which has Judaism as it's state religion.
There's no perhaps, you don't know what you're talking about.
There is no 'state religion' in Israel.
Israel recognizes five religions -- Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Druze, and Baha'i

Perhaps you are confusing "state religion" with "allows no other religion". Many Muslim countries such as Egypt have both a state religion and recognition of other religions. Off the top of my head I can't think of a single country that refuses to recognize any religion but the official state-sanctioned one.

and the only advantage for Jews under law is the controversial Law of Return, which gives preferential treatment to Jews who want to immigrate to Israel.

from wikipedia:

The 2004 U.S. State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices[189] notes that "Approximately 93 percent of land in the country was public domain, including that owned by the state and some 12.5 percent owned by the Jewish National Fund (JNF). All public land by law may only be leased, not sold. The JNF's statutes prohibit the sale or lease of land to non-Jews.
"Israeli-Arab organizations have challenged as discriminatory the 1996 "Master Plan for the Northern Areas of Israel," which listed as priority goals increasing the Galilee's Jewish population and blocking the territorial contiguity of Arab towns."
"According to a 2003 Haifa University study, a tendency existed to impose heavier prison terms to Arab citizens than to Jewish citizens. Human rights advocates claimed that Arab citizens were more likely to be convicted of murder and to have been denied bail."
"The Orr Commission of Inquiry's report [...] stated that the 'Government handling of the Arab sector has been primarily neglectful and discriminatory,' that the Government 'did not show sufficient sensitivity to the needs of the Arab population, and did not take enough action to allocate state resources in an equal manner.' As a result, 'serious distress prevailed in the Arab sector in various areas. Evidence of distress included poverty, unemployment, a shortage of land, serious problems in the education system, and substantially defective infrastructure.'"
The 2007 U.S. State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices[202] notes that:"According to a 2005 study at Hebrew University, three times more money was invested in education of Jewish children as in Arab children."
According to The Guardian, in 2006 just 5% of civil servants were Arabs, many of them hired to deal with other Arabs, despite the fact that Arab citizens of Israel comprise 20% of the population.[183]
Although the Bedouin infant mortality rate is still the highest in Israel, and one of the highest in the developed world, The Guardian reports that in the 2002 budget, Israel's health ministry allocated Arab communities less than 0.6% of its budget for healthcare facility development.[

Thanks for playing, you've been great, really.

If you can produce evidence Judaism is the state religion in Israel, I'll eat the paper the law is printed on.

From the Israeli Declaration of Independence: This right is the natural right of the Jewish people to be masters of their own fate, like all other nations, in their own sovereign State. Thus members and representatives of the Jews of Palestine and of the Zionist movement upon the end of the British Mandate, by virtue of "natural and historic right" and based on the United Nations resolution… Hereby declare the establishment of a Jewish state in the land of Israel to be known as the State of Israel

Is there enough wiggle room for you to say that Israel being a "Jewish state" and 'having Judaism at the state religion' aren't the same? Only if you toss your dignity aside.
Anyway, I doubt they'll let you eat their founding document.

Only someone with zero sense of proportionality could make such a patently misinformed assertion.

The question was whether various religions discriminate, not to have a beauty contest to see which state treats it's religious minorities the worst. You see, the original assertion was that Islam didn't deserve First Amendment protection because its followers treat outsiders differently than they do co-religionists. Your "point", such as it is, is merely inflammatory without even a meager attempt to speak to the matter being discussed by the adults.

"You will be tolerant and kindly, or there will be hell to pay!!"

I like the motto of the militant agnostics:
"We don't know, and YOU don't either!"

I do NOT like this, from McTx:
Referring to anyone's religion as a cult is bad manners (not that bad manners keeps any number of progressives from saying substantively about Christianity what Ramsey said about Islam).

So McTx is welcome to dislike this, from me: it's not "progressives" who think Christianity is exactly as much a "cult" as every other religion. It's atheists. Given that "any number" of conservatives are atheists, and "any number" of progressives are Christians, McTx ought to get his insinuations straight.

--TP

TP: [atheists] think Christianity is exactly as much a "cult" as every other religion.

Hey now. I'm an atheist and I don't think Christianity as a whole is a cult, in the modern sense. I think certain Christian churches might act in cult-like ways sometimes, but I wouldn't make that general characterization.

Actually even modern cults mostly aren't cults in the sense of exhibiting the extreme manifestations of control like the most notorious cults. Mostly they're pretty harmless and surely similar to every currently-major religion in its earliest days.

"is there enough wiggle room for you to say that Israel being a "Jewish state" and 'having Judaism at the state religion' aren't the same? Only if you toss your dignity aside."

You're the wiggling worm, Carleton, trying to wiggle off the hook of your own blatantly ignorant misstatement. It's bad enough you won't admit you misspoke, but then you compound your misstatement with a misdirected and adumbrated quote from the sraeli Declaration of Independence.

Here's the part you omitted:

THE STATE OF ISRAEL will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

What part of that says Judaism is the State Religion?
I repeat, where does it say JUDAISM IS THE STATE RELIGION?!

Your problem is you're more interested in pontificating than making sense. That's why you spin out all those prolix tangled sentences, a lot of cotton candy signifying nothing.

Here's an example of Constitutional wording declaring a Nation's religious intention:


From The Iranian Constitution - General Principles - Article 12

The official religion of Iran is Islam and the Twelver Ja'fari school [in usual al-Din and fiqh], and this principle will remain eternally immutable.

Got it? No? Here's more--

Article 1- The form of government of Iran is that of an Islamic Republic, endorsed by the people of Iran on the basis of their longstanding belief in the sovereignty of truth and Qur'anic justice...

Article 2 - The Islamic Republic is a system based on belief in:

1.the One God (as stated in the phrase "There is no god except Allah"), His exclusive sovereignty and the right to legislate, and the necessity of submission to His commands;
2.Divine revelation and its fundamental role in setting forth the laws;

Article 4 - All civil, penal financial, economic, administrative, cultural, military, political, and other laws and regulations must be based on Islamic criteria. This principle applies absolutely and generally to all articles of the Constitution as well as to all other laws and regulations, and the fuqaha' of the Guardian Council are judges in this matter.

Got it now? Probably not--

Jacob,

I will defer to your definition of "cult", since English is your native language, and not mine. At any rate, I do acknowledge that certain words (cult, regime, discrimination, etc.) have taken on pejorative connotations in modern usage.

But even so, I'm not sure that when a modern historian of antiquity refers to "the cult Pallas Athena", or a modern churchman refers to "the cult of Our Lady of Fatima", the usage carries all the pejorative freight that referring to Scientology as a "cult" usually does.

Being neither a historian nor a churchman, I admit that I was being a bit pejorative when I said "Christianity is exactly as much a 'cult' as every other religion", but I should have emphasized the "exactly as much" part. Christianity as a whole (whatever that is; it's for Christians, not atheists, to decide) and Islam as a whole (same caveat) are either both "cults" or both NOT.

Every atheist can probably hold that view unreservedly. I'm fairly sure that not every Christian or every Muslim can.

--TP

"I would just observe that isolating your position as not merely the best choice among good-faith arguments but as the single possible good-faith interpretation may be comforting, but it is usually inaccurate and promotes isolated thinking."

Yes Carleton, sometimes you've been quite good at that.

Sometimes there really is a right position. For example, Islam is a religion that is protected by the 1st amendment. That is pretty much the only possible good-faith interpretation. People who say otherwise either don't understand the Constitution, or are twisting the issue into what they wish the Constitution said. What they most certainly are not doing, is engaging in good faith Constitutional interpretation.

Similarly, there is very little to no evidence that there has been a large nationwide moral shift against the death penalty for particularly heinous 17-year old murderers, and negative evidence for a nationwide moral shift against life without the possibility of parole for the same. You can in good faith believe that there ought to be such a shift. You can't in good faith believe that such a shift actually happened. When you base your 'Constitutional' ruling on such a shift you either don't understand the Constitution, or are twisting the issue into what they wish the Constitution said. What you most certainly are not doing, is engaging in good faith Constitutional interpretation. Even if you are 5 Supreme Court justices.

Carleton Wu: Shall we also regard Judaism as a cult unworthy of 1st Amendment protection? If some country should adopt Christianity as a state religion and enforce it on its populace, what in tarnation would that have to do with how we ought to enforce our Constitution?

Way back when the Framers were writing the Constitution, the United Kingdom had Christianity as a state religion (as indeed we still do...) and was then enforcing one specific form of Christianity on its populace, with imprisonment and fines for dissenters.

You think maybe this might actually have inspired the Constitution, McKinney? Or does it just make you decide that Christianity is a cult?

Well, as Islam is practiced in other countries might be an indicator of how Islam might try to be practiced here, for example, a Muslim run business might try to impose Muslim views on women on its women employees. If this happened, would the free exercise clause trump Title VII? I think not.

Good point. Christian cultists try to practice Christianity in the US by enforcing Christian views on women on women customers and employees. When this happens, such Christians frequently claim that it's their right to freely practice their religion by denying contraception and/or abortion to women.

I don't support this. But many conservatives do support the enforcing of Christian views about abortion and contraception on women who do not share them.

We could also move on to the enforcing of Christian views against the rights of same-sex couples to marry, which conservative Christians likewise got up and claimed it was their right to freely exercise their religion by denying rights to others.

So if you're really concerned about the US government supporting the denying of rights to others in the name of their religion, you have targets much closer to home and much more powerful in enforcing their religious views.

Of course it's much easier to bully Muslims, a minority group in the US, than to take on right-wing Christians, a group powerful enough to enforce their views in multiple states of the US.

adumbrated

Good word, that.

From The Iranian Constitution - General Principles - Article 12

WTF does this have to do with the comments of the governor of TN?

McK correctly points out that Islam is the state religion in some other countries.

We don't live in those countries.

In some Islamic countries, folks who aren't Muslims don't share all of the same civil rights as folks who are.

That kind of thing has, historically, been quite popular right around the world.

And, we don't live in those countries. We live in this country, where we *very specifically* do not make legal distinctions between people based on the religion they practice, if any.

It's right there in the Constitution. You can, as the great man said, look it up.

During a political meeting, some ignorant boob asserted that the nation was in danger of being undermined, or taken over, by Muslims.

There are 22 communities ruled by sharia law! Trouble, right here in River City!

To which the governor of Tennessee replied by speculating about whether Islam was actually a religion, or a nationality, or a lifestyle, or a cult, and if perhaps it didn't deserve 1st Amendment protection.

I don't care what your personal opinion is of Islam or Muslims, or any other religion, or religion at all. Ramsey's comments are pure dumbassery. They display a profound and perhaps willful ignorance of the Constitution, of Islam, and of the history of the United States.

Way back when the Framers were writing the Constitution, the United Kingdom had Christianity as a state religion (as indeed we still do...) and was then enforcing one specific form of Christianity on its populace, with imprisonment and fines for dissenters.

This isn't true.

If it has not been changed since I went to school, Sweden has still a Christian denomination as state religion. Iirc it required/s an explicit act of leaving the state church otheriwse a citizen is assumed to be default member by birth. In Greece (and increasingly in Russia) non-orthodox people are discriminated against. And I personally know people that left Poland because they had enough of the RCC meddling with law and politics/cy. Not to forget that rogue Polish priest with his Radio Marya that makes Fox News look fair and balanced and most RW evangelical screechers moderate. The Polish GOP equivalent is currently undergoing a similar process of banning all moderates and moderation in favor of rabid ultracatholics united in their hatred of Jews, Russians and Germans*.

*including the pope. That stinking liberal is in league with the forces of darkness that want to stamp out the only light of true faith on Earth and exterminate God's chosen people (i.e. true Poles). No, I am not making that up.

Everybody focuses on Islam when it is Sharia law that needs to be stopped.

Hartmut: If it has not been changed since I went to school, Sweden has still a Christian denomination as state religion. Iirc it required/s an explicit act of leaving the state church otheriwse a citizen is assumed to be default member by birth.

No, it hasn't changed, and I know that for an odd reason - Sweden is the only country in the world which requires ministers of religion employed by the state church to marry same-sex couples where at least one is a Swedish citizen in the state church, regardless of the minister's personal views about gay marriage. (Apparently the same law applied to mixed-sex couples, it was just equalised after same-sex marriage came in.)

ajay: This isn't true.

Picky. Okay, the United Kingdom didn't have a state church, sort of: only England did and does.

The fining and imprisonment of dissenters, however, is perfectly true and I'm surprised you don't know it: though the law was gradually passing out of use, the Blasphemy Act 1698 remained in force (Thomas Woolston died in jail in 1733 for publishing religious dissent, G. W. Foote was jailed for a year in the 1880s for publishing The Freethinker: the 1698 Act itself was only repealed in 2008, and the last conviction for blasphemy in England was in 1977 when Gay News and Denis Lemon, GN's editor, were fined for publishing a poem about Christ.)

Well, as Islam is practiced in other countries might be an indicator of how Islam might try to be practiced here

Then again, it might not.

You're right, "it might not." But that is not the safe money bet. That is not what we see in France or in England. As the number of Muslims increase, there is a demonstrated trend toward a more assertive form of practicing some of the more troubling aspects of their religion.

Is this true of every other religion? Yes, but in the US, it's a matter of degree. Our social contract--widely accepted across nearly the entire political and ideological spectrum--holds that everyone is free to worship as they please but not to engage in universally proscribed acts: discriminate against women, practice polygamy, genital mutilation, etc.

Are their Christians and Jews who, in the name of their religion, flaunt the social contract? Sure, but these are by and large fringe elements. A distinct minority. Not so much for Muslims in England and France.

There are 22 communities ruled by sharia law!

Isn't this an issue, even if on a small scale? Suppose in ten years its 222 communities? Seems to me there are constitutional issues raised here that merit examination. If you counter with the Amish and Quaker communities, I will be forced to turn over my king on consistency grounds, but the issue still remains.

Ireland did have a state church in the eighteenth century, the (Anglican) Church of Ireland, and the civil, religious and economic disabilities enforced on the majority Catholics were extreme. (One lord chancellor summed it up as, in effect, "Under the law, there is no such person as an Irish Catholic.") Even after Catholic emancipation, Catholics continued to pay tithes to support the Church of Ireland until 1871.

Our social contract--widely accepted across nearly the entire political and ideological spectrum--holds that everyone is free to worship as they please but not to engage in universally proscribed acts: discriminate against women, practice polygamy, genital mutilation, etc.

McTex, you're a lawyer. And my guess, a pretty good one.

Surely you remember from law school, and your Con Law studies, that freedom of religion is not a license to violate the law.

If a Sikh or a Hindu or a Muslim undertakes an "honor killing" it is a crime. That is not relevant to the current discussion about the right to build houses of worship, and if one of the world's major religions is a cult.

There is not much polygamy or genital mutilation from Muslim communities in France or England, and little reason to think they will be imported here.

As for discrimination against women, what about the female teacher that was just fired from the Xtian school because she got pregnant before she was married (though she did subsequently marry)?

I mean, Christianity and Judaism are not exactly great on women's issues, each with millenia of historic discrimination.

As for blithely disregarding constitutional protections, this site, among many on the left, was outraged that corporations have free speech rights and barely batted an eye when HCR mandated that every citizen buy a prescribed insurance policy or pay a fine.

I don't really want to get bogged down in a thread jack, but there are important distinctions here.

Citizen's United overturned precedent. Meaning, in the previous 200 some odd years of Constitutional jurisprudence, corporations were NOT treated as citizens, now they are. It's at the very least a controversial Constitutional issue. Whether or not an established major world religion should be treated as a cult is not really controversial at all, and a basic Constitutional tenet.

Similarly, the HCR legislation engaged in what is a common tax law practice. Just as non-home buyers pay more because they can't deduct interest, and non-University students can't take a lifetime learning credit or Hope scholarship deduction, so too do non insurance holders face a slightly higher tax bill.

This form of mandate has been in use for years in States like Mass. And the legal challenges that are almost universally deemed weak, if they even do proceed, will not succeed at the SCOTUS.

Again, to compare that to loose talk about negating the status of Islam as a religion, and thus allowing legal discrimination, is worse than apples and oranges. It's peanuts and watermelons.

Eric, if you go back and read my comment, I note that every religion has its outliers and individuals, and small groups, who do run against the social contract. Narrowing the discussion to where a church or mosque might be built or whether it's wrong to label anyone's religion a cult artificially limits other very real issues attendant to Islam.

Islam and Sharia law are inseparable in many Muslim communities and in most Muslim countries. Certain tenets of Islam, mandated or allowed by Sharia law, don't square with liberal democracy. Period. This is not a debatable point. And, this inability to square the circle does raise real constitutional issues. Simply positing that "we're not talking about that right now", particularly when it's not at all clear that such is the case, doesn't make those issues go away.

McTex, you're a lawyer. And my guess, a pretty good one.

I've got a lot of people fooled. Not Phil or Carleton, but a lot of others.

Russell, would you (or would anyone) explain 22 "communities operating under sharia law"? I assume it was something in the Ramsay video at TPM, but

1) IE crashed every time I tried to follow that link, and

2) I won't know why yet another one of us should waste time watching it anyhow.

Googling, all I got was hysteria from sources I wouldn't trust to take out my trash.

Catholics live under Catholic "law," in effect. They don't eat meat on Fridays, don't go to communion when they have mortal sins unconfessed, don't miss Mass on Sundays, etc. (These were some of the rules when I was a kid growing up Catholic. I don't know and don't care what the rules are now.) The Catholic Church has spent, and continues to spend (half a million $ in Maine last fall?), plenty of resources in efforts to force the rest of us to live by Catholic rules. When it does that, it should be fought uncompromisingly. But that's different from Catholics making their own choices about how to live their own lives.

The same distinctions go for Muslims. As people have said above, sharia law doesn't nullify US, state, or local laws, any more than Catholic rules of conduct nullify them. If the Select Board of my town voted that the town had to live under sharia law, I would be in court before they could blink, arguing that that's an establishment of religion and unconstitutional. (Does the First Amendment apply to municipalities? Heh.)

What are these 22 "communities"? Are they actual governmental entities? If so, I don't see how "operating under sharia law" isn't an establishment of religion in violation of the First Amendment. If not, what are they? Gated neighborhoods? The equivalent of Catholic parishes?

That is not what we see in France or in England.

The history of Muslims in the UK and France is quite different than the history of Muslims here. Among other things, Muslims in the UK and France largely come from former colonies of those countries. It changes the dynamic.

It might no longer be true, but the largest Sunni Muslim community in the world outside of the Middle East was, for a long time, in Dearborn MI. Those folks have been there, in large numbers, for over a hundred years, and are as thoroughly assimilated into American life as any other immigrant community you might care to name.

They're just people. I'm sure there are a worrisome number of Muslims in this country who are intent on political violence, but most, by which I mean "the ocean" as compared to "the drop of water", are not.

To be dead honest, survivalists and skinheads worry me a lot more.

If you counter with the Amish and Quaker communities

AFAIK the Quakers are pretty mainstream, but I would definitely counter with the Amish, Hutterian Brethren, some Mennonites, the Hasidim, some very orthodox Jewish sects, lots of Mormons, the Santeros, snake handling primitive Baptists, and probably the Nation of Islam (not the same as mainstream Muslims).

There are lots and lots of religious communities whose practices range from odd to scary-odd. Muslims are in now way exceptional on that count.

If there are 22 "communities" ruled by "sharia law", what you're talking about are religious communities, and sharia is no weirder or more onerous than any number of other fundamentalist religious codes.

If there are 22 actual polities -- civil governments -- that observe sharia rather than forms of civil government that comply with the Constitution and the US Code, I will be quite surprised. If there is one, I will be quite surprised.

And if there is one, or 22, or 222, we'll sort it out, like we do everything else.

American Muslims don't freak me out. They live and work in the same communities I live and work in, they own, operate, and work in businesses I patronize, and there are several Muslims in my own workplace.

They're normal people. Some of the women wear headscarves. So does my neighbor's orthodox Jewish daughter in law.

Chacun au son gout. It doesn't bug me.

Plus, some of the scarves are really beautiful. Much nicer than the heavy black stuff my Italian great-grandmother used to wear whenever she left the house.

"Christians" in America.

Jes, this bit

"was then enforcing one specific form of Christianity on its populace, with imprisonment and fines for dissenters"

isn't true. You said that there was only one permitted form of Christianity - that enforced by the government - and the penalty for not believing in the right form of Christianity was imprisonment or fines. That's not the case.

Is this true of every other religion? Yes, but in the US, it's a matter of degree. Our social contract--widely accepted across nearly the entire political and ideological spectrum--holds that everyone is free to worship as they please but not to engage in universally proscribed acts: discriminate against women, practice polygamy, genital mutilation, etc.

Are their Christians and Jews who, in the name of their religion, flaunt the social contract? Sure, but these are by and large fringe elements.

Now, wait just a damned minute. Fringe elements? Are you serious? I have a feeling you're trying to stack the deck here. The Catholic Church's entire clergy is predicated on discriminating against women. Likewise most of the mainline Protestant denominations, Mormons, Orthodox Judaism, the various Orthodox Christian churches, etc. That's hardly a "fringe element."

Most US states have a law which exempts caregivers from child abuse charges if they withhold medical treatment from children in favor of prayer. How many groups take advantage of it? I don't know. But the fact that the laws are on the books means its a significant enough factor not to be considered a "fringe element."

To the extent that circumcision is "genital mutilation," well, I hardly need to explain how un-fringe that practice is. And if you're still in doubt, consider whether, as an adult, you'd volunteer to let someone cut off your foreskin for religious reasons.

There's a whole cottage industry, including the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, devoted to finding ways to exempt religious bodies from generally applicable laws like zoning and public nuisance ordinances.

"Fringe elements." Come on.

McK:

"Narrowing the discussion to where a church or mosque might be built or whether it's wrong to label anyone's religion a cult artificially limits other very real issues attendant to Islam."

The person who "narrowed the discussion" was Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey. No liberal held a (second amendment protected!) gun to his head and forced him to expound "artificially" on the why Islam doesn't deserve 1st amendment protection.

Secondly, you say:
"Islam and Sharia law are inseparable in many Muslim communities and in most Muslim countries."

"Many" and "most," my old nemeses. Many Muslim communities where? Which countries? What does this have to do with the U.S.? It *seems* like you're arguing that because these some other people in some other countries act a certain way, we should assume some people in our country will act the same way, and we should ... preemptively treat them differently? Religiously profile?

"Certain tenets of Islam, mandated or allowed by Sharia law, don't square with liberal democracy. Period. This is not a debatable point."

Firstly, who here has debated that?

Secondly, what you just said is also true of Christianity.

I anticipate that you will rightfully point out to me that most Christians in the U.S. do not strictly obey the "certain tenets" of Christianity that do not square with liberal democracy. And then I say most Muslims in the U.S. behave just as lawfully.

Now what? Are you arguing that there is a coming ultraconservative Sharia literalist immigrant explosion? And we need to start adjusting the application of our civil liberties accordingly?

Islam and Sharia law are inseparable in many Muslim communities and in most Muslim countries. Certain tenets of Islam, mandated or allowed by Sharia law, don't square with liberal democracy. Period. This is not a debatable point.

Are they really? And aren't there different interpretations of Sharia?

What about Turkey and Indonesia? How does Turkey manage to incorporate democracy?

Also, since it is not even debatable, could you name those tenets of Sharia law that are incompatible? And if they are so incompatible, how do American Muslims manage? What about Dearborn, as Russell mentioned?

The moral panic over Sharia is quite strange. You're never going to get significant numbers of people of Western background accepting it.

But law of whatever type originates from customary agreements between people, for marriage, for debt contracts, for wills and estates. In (some) Muslim cultures those kinds of agreements are called Sharia, although what exactly they consist of varies a lot more than you'd think if all you know about it comes from reading right-wing moral panic rants on it.

So when two people from one of those backgrounds who have made one of those customary agreements under terms common to both of them, and they need to work something out, it's not crazy to look at their understanding of what is effectively their own common law. As a result I think that consideration for Sharia (which again, is a very varied & complex thing) is likely to become more common in US law in communities where there are a lot of Muslims. Only to the degree that it is compatible with existing American law and the Constitution, but that could be substantial.

So what? So what if some contract disputes or family law among people from Muslim backgrounds take account of their customary agreements while remaining compatible with US law? The lack of trust in the ability of local communities & courts to deal with this stuff sort of puts the lie to the idea that conservatives think that disputes should be settled at the lowest reasonable level according to the norms of a particular community.

Are their Christians and Jews who, in the name of their religion, flaunt the social contract? Sure, but these are by and large fringe elements. A distinct minority. Not so much for Muslims in England and France.

Ok, but what you're asking for is a wholesale stripping of Constitutional rights based on the predicted bad behavior of a subset of people. And this is not something that we could possibly tolerate under other circumstances (or, these circumstances).
In general, we don't predictively restrict groups of people based on their religion even if we did have a basis for thinking that some of them might break the law. For example, those communities of Mormon polygamists are not broken up or preemptively jailed, or even prevented from making additional converts or raising their offspring in their religion.
Maybe this discussion would be more clear if you could articulate what sorts of restrictions or lack of religious freedom you think would be appropriate for Muslims. Im not really sure what you're envisioning here.

There are 22 communities ruled by sharia law!

Isn't this an issue, even if on a small scale? Suppose in ten years its 222 communities? Seems to me there are constitutional issues raised here that merit examination. If you counter with the Amish and Quaker communities, I will be forced to turn over my king on consistency grounds, but the issue still remains.

Ill counter with the obvious influence of Christianity on laws in virtually every municipality, county, and state as well as the federal government. Shall we ban Christianity for it's noxious influence on our legal system?

For one specific story in which the Catholic Church played a huge role in shaping law in the US: Liberty and Sexuality, by David Garrow (a history of decades of efforts to legalize birth control, plus a quick look at subsequent related developments).

Also Liberty of Conscience, by Martha Nussbaum, in which the Catholics are by turns persecuted and persecutors. Ironic, that.

McKinneyTexas: As the number of Muslims increase [in France and England], there is a demonstrated trend toward a more assertive form of practicing some of the more troubling aspects of their religion.

Pish and poppycock.

There is no such "demonstrated trend", and the only people claiming that there is are the racist bigots who read the Daily Mail, where the racist bigotry of their dish is served up to them, warmed over with liquid ordure for sauce.

Jay,
I think pointing out that you're a fool more than once or twice per thread/banning is inhumane.

Ajay, Jesurgislac may have formed her statement in a way that is slightly off, but it isn't off in any way pertinent to the conversation--which was to draw the correct conclusion that the free exercise clause of the Constitution really was inspired by the practices of England to force people into certain religious sects and persecute those who would not conform. Do you disagree with that general point? Or merely her exposition on the facts regarding that point?

"Citizen's United overturned precedent. Meaning, in the previous 200 some odd years of Constitutional jurisprudence, corporations were NOT treated as citizens, now they are."

This is something I disagree with both in fact and implication. Corporations have been citizens of at the very least one state (their incorporation state) for more than 100 years. They have traditionally been recognized as having the rights (no takings without due process of law for example) of citizens in cases where it makes sense to consider them as an aggregate of or for their members (i.e. certain physical rights or duties don't exist for corporations if they don't make sense in aggregate--the don't have to register for the Selective Service.) Also you're really complaining about corporate personhood, which so far as I can tell from the case, at the very least 8 out of 9 justices believed corporations had. And the importance of 'precedent' in general, seems pretty well NOT accepted at obsidianwings as one of the more important aspects of Constitutional law--again see our discussions on the Roper v. Simmons case and the Graham v. Florida case. I also note that Graham v. Florida shares another feature with Citizens United in that its critics point out that the decision could have been made on lesser grounds (that this particular LWP sentence was cruel and unusual, but that some of them--i.e. murder--might not be). Neither that, nor the precedent issue touched the liberals here much.

"I would just observe that isolating your position as not merely the best choice among good-faith arguments but as the single possible good-faith interpretation may be comforting, but it is usually inaccurate and promotes isolated thinking."

Yes Carleton, sometimes you've been quite good at that.

What, it's been so long since the schoolyard that you think the rubber-glue thing is effective? Here I am saying the *exact opposite* of what you claim about me, and this doesn't make you, I dunno, embarrassed maybe?

I mean, Id perfectly willing to admit any number of faults. But constantly arguing that others hold their positions in bad faith isn't one of them.

When you base your 'Constitutional' ruling on such a shift you either don't understand the Constitution, or are twisting the issue into what they wish the Constitution said.

I have never made this argument. I am not sure how the existence of a bad liberal argument on a Constitutional issue somehow makes it Ok for you to brand any liberal position you disagree with as bad faith though.

IANAL but the topic of corporate personhood is of interest to me. Here is my understanding of the legal history.

The right of corporations to enter into contracts, and to have those contracts respected as if they had been made between actual persons, goes back in this country at least to Dartmouth v Woodard, decided in 1819.

The awarding of full legal personhood to corporations is generally seen to have occurred with Santa Clara v Southern Pacific Railroad, decided in 1886, where the the railroad was seen as a "person" for purposes of the 14th Amendment.

There's a lot of debate about whether that's actually what the decision in Santa Clara did, or meant to, say, but the principle has been considered to be settled law for quite a while.

United Citizens is just the logical outcome of all of that.

Neither that, nor the precedent issue touched the liberals here much.

Ah yes, the tried-and-true "you didnt talk about X and X is just as bad as Y so you must not care about Y very much" defense.
The reason I havent gone on about those cases is that I dont think that they are very important in and of themselves- the practical effect is small (whereas I think that Citizens United is a very dangerous decision- we already have de facto legalized bribery, so opening the door to unlimited contributions by profit-seeking entities virtually guarantees more abuse). They may be important in terms of the rigor of Constitutional interpretation, but IMO there are approximately one zillion areas where the Constitution ought to be interpreted differently, so my not dwelling on your pet peeve may be excusable in that context.

"When you base your 'Constitutional' ruling on such a shift you either don't understand the Constitution, or are twisting the issue into what they wish the Constitution said.

I have never made this argument. I am not sure how the existence of a bad liberal argument on a Constitutional issue somehow makes it Ok for you to brand any liberal position you disagree with as bad faith though."

It is the liberal Supreme Court justices who did--i.e. the liberals with actual power. And, ANY liberal position? There are plenty of issues where you can disagree in good faith, but decisions like Roper make it seem like the liberal jurisprudence style on the Constitution (not particularly worried about the history and not particularly moored to the text) really might just be judicial preference in other cases which aren't as obviously cheating.

And the reason I bring it up, is not to tar you with it per se, I'm aware you didn't personally make the decision. But the problem is that you don't seem too troubled by the style of analysis, which makes invoking Constitutional principles in an argument very suspect, because they don't really mean much than "this is the policy preference I like" in that style.

I also note that Graham v. Florida shares another feature with Citizens United in that its critics point out that the decision could have been made on lesser grounds (that this particular LWP sentence was cruel and unusual, but that some of them--i.e. murder--might not be). Neither that, nor the precedent issue touched the liberals here much.

ISTR that this is 100% false when applied to the Citizens United case; that, in fact, nearly all of the liberals here agreed that the court could have -- and should have -- found for CU on the narrower issue without making the ruling that they did. In fact, I'm certain that that's exactly what occurred in the related threads, and if anyone wants me to, I'll go back and look it up. Sebastian, would you like me to go back and look it up?

Sebastian seems to argue that since corporations have property rights just like persons, then it's logically inconsistent to limit corporate speech rights more than personal speech rights.

But one difference between property and speech seems obvious: taking property from a corporation (without due process, just compensation, etc.) is taking property from persons. Before the taking, the stockholders owned some property; after, they don't.

Speech is not like that. Limiting the corporation's speech does NOT diminish the stockholders' personal speech rights. They are still just as free as you and I to talk, blog, form 527 organizations, and so forth. Do the stockholders of XYZcorp want to speak as a body? Fine: they can form XYZ-PAC just like real people. If some of the stockholders choose NOT to participate in the PAC, that's fine too.

If Seb wants to argue that corporations ought to have speech rights over and above the speech rights of the real persons who own its stock, I wonder whether he is willing to carry consistency far enough to argue that corporations ought also to have the right to own property which does not ultimately belong to their stockholders. That would be consistent. Bizarre, but consistent.

--TP

ISTR that this is 100% false when applied to the Citizens United case; that, in fact, nearly all of the liberals here agreed that the court could have -- and should have -- found for CU on the narrower issue without making the ruling that they did.

Yes. This point was made over and over again at the time by numerous commenters, myself included. It was also serially ignored, at least by Brett, and maybe others. It's frustrating to argue with someone who pretends you're saying something other than what you're actually saying. CU can show PPV commercials on whatever they like 24-hours a day in perpetuity for all I care.

And the reason I bring it up, is not to tar you with it per se, I'm aware you didn't personally make the decision. But the problem is that you don't seem too troubled by the style of analysis, which makes invoking Constitutional principles in an argument very suspect, because they don't really mean much than "this is the policy preference I like" in that style.

I have no idea what leads you to infer my level of dissatisfaction with the Court's death penalty jurisprudence.
But apparently, you're unwilling to hear argument based on Constitutional principles because of this perceived failing. I must be a hypocrite to invoke Constitutional principle since I havent had "Screw the Roper Decision" tattooed on my forehead. Or maybe I have, who knows?

Interesting sidenote: I've never heard you complain about the Court's odd view that the 11th amendment bars suits by individuals against their own states (when the langauge of the amendment goes out of its way to avoid this implication) or the mentally challenged viewpoint that the 11th amendment was passed despite some penumbral soverign immunity that existed in the Constitution broader than the actual amendment.
Since you havent complained about this, and since I consider it an obvious breach of good faith Constitutional interpretation, you must be some species of hypocrite who ought not speak of Constitutional principles.

It is the liberal Supreme Court justices who did--i.e. the liberals with actual power. And, ANY liberal position? There are plenty of issues where you can disagree in good faith...

Totally mystified as to why you brought it up then. I will stipulate that bad faith arguments exist, although I would not as you have limit this to liberal judicial thinking.

"ISTR that this is 100% false when applied to the Citizens United case; that, in fact, nearly all of the liberals here agreed that the court could have -- and should have -- found for CU on the narrower issue without making the ruling that they did. In fact, I'm certain that that's exactly what occurred in the related threads, and if anyone wants me to, I'll go back and look it up. Sebastian, would you like me to go back and look it up?"

Ummm, you're seriously misreading my point. I'll try to be clearer: "In both Graham and Roper, neither the possibility of a more limited ruling, nor the precedent issue touched the liberals here much.

Which interpretation makes more sense than the one you made, because then I'm contrasting two cases with outcomes liberals seem to be generally ok with as sharing quite a bit analytically with one that you don't seem to be generally ok with. That contrast doesn't really work if I think you held the same views of the Citizens United case as you do in the Roper case. So not only am I aware that you were willing to have Citizens United drawn more closely, I *actually used that in my argument*. So you don't need to look that up and prove it to me. It is essential to my argument.

So I'm confused by your strange attacking posture on the issue.

"I have no idea what leads you to infer my level of dissatisfaction with the Court's death penalty jurisprudence."

That's very coy.

So let's avoid coy: Do you have a high level of dissatisfaction with the Court's death penalty jurisprudence?

I would have suspected not considering your previous discussions on the matter here for example, but if you have some deeply hidden reserve of dissatisfaction with it, I'd be comforted to hear of it.

Really. Because my impression is that liberals are pretty much ends-justifies-the-means when it comes to the Constitution and the results they want out of punishment, so it would be encouraging to hear that some of you aren't.

I would have suspected not considering your previous discussions on the matter here for example

Is this some crafty way of winning the debate by wasting my time? I go back to a year-old thread to find myself:
-snarking that not all slopes are slippery
-observing that congress ought not be able to determine "cruel and unusual"'s definition by legislation
-observing that separation of powers is a good thing
-scoffing at euro-phobia
-scoffing at the idea that "cruel and unusual" ought to be determined by popular opinion
-observing that restraining the court to only look at guaranteed USA sources to understand "cruel and usual" is unnecessary
-scoffed at the idea that the 14th amendment originally intended to make the Constitution colorblind

I did find this nugget:

So on what hook do you hang changing social mores? Whose are changing enough to cause a Constitutional shift from allowing something to prohibiting it?

I thought we were discussing why the SC could look at outside sources to determine whether mores had changed, not whether Constitutional interpretation ought to take into account those changing mores.
I mean, we can have that other discussion (and apparently are), but we *were* talking about the legitimacy of citing of foreign sources.

That's me specifically disavowing the idea that I'm passing judgment on the actual case. Im trying to talk about the original subject of the post- the use of foreign sources in USSC decisions. Apparently you're still so miffed that you couldn't have the thread-jacking conversation you wanted to have that you're carrying a grudge about it.

Because my impression is that liberals are pretty much ends-justifies-the-means when it comes to the Constitution and the results they want out of punishment, so it would be encouraging to hear that some of you aren't.

You keep saying this as if it were unique to liberals. Do you really need a list of conservatives saying things that aren't good faith readings of the Constitution?

And, since this is your impression, and you appear to hold me disproving it as a bar to actually having a conversation, I don't see why I should be bothering. You may continue to inhabit the world where Sebastian has the only true understanding of the Constitution unmolested.

So I take it you are invested in remaining coy?

You may take it that I don't see any point in having a conversation with you. Answering your trollish threadjack of a question seems pointless to me, since there's no hope of a reasonable conversation.

You may take it that I don't see any point in having a conversation with you. Answering your trollish threadjack of a question seems pointless to me, since there's no hope of a reasonable conversation.

The problem with Roper and Graham isn't just that they are wrong, it is that they are so frighteningly blatant. They really appear to me to be cases of "we 5 justices of the Supreme Court don't give a crap about the rest of you".

It gives the impression that perhaps that is how the Supreme Court works in general, in which case talk of jurisprudence becomes rather more complicated.

And the fact that the stakes are relatively low (effects very few people) should in theory make it easier/safer to have a contained discussion about what ought to be out of bounds in Supreme Court practice. But it doesn't seem to.

...my impression is that liberals are pretty much ends-justifies-the-means when it comes to the Constitution ...

Aside from the silly generalization of the liberals-must-be-wrongly-interpreting-the-Constitution variety, there's a more profound problem with Seb's language here.

The Constitution was CREATED as a "means" to certain "ends". It was not written merely for the purpose of being adhered to. The "means" the Framers chose, explicitly stated in Articles 1-7 and Amendments 1-10, they justified based on the "ends" they explicitly stated in the Preamble.

It's "ends" all the way down, Seb. Even the Framers had "ends" in view -- ends they considered good enough to justify the "means" of throwing out the Articles of Confederation and writing the Constitution instead.

--TP

Your typical requests for continuous explanation from others, paired with a coyness about your own views is duly noted Mr. Wu. Thanks.

You're welcome. I think you're not here to have a discussion Sebastian. You're here out of some insecurity in your intellect that forces you to attempt to 'win', over and over again. You criticize on minutiae or even invented grounds, offer pedantic lectures, and- typically as here- cannot stand someone else having the last word, even if it's just saying that they don't want to talk to you. As long as you get the last point and manage to maintain your facade of engaging in debate, you can get to sleep alright- but you apparently wake up with the same set of insecurities.

So why are you here Mr. Wu? Are you here to have discussion?

I was, I think. Im pretty disillusioned these days.
To be clear- I dont mind talking about the death penalty. I dont mind talking about any number of cases. But I just didnt, and dont, see you wanting to engage here- you want to prove that liberals don't respect precedent or good faith Constitutional interpretation. Not even "have a discussion about precedent and good faith Constitutional interpretation", since I've offered a few times to broaden the discussion to include conservatives.
No, you are focused like a laser- once threadjacked, this conversation is about how liberals misuse the Constitution. And it turns out, that just isn't an interesting conversation to me. Id just as soon be trapped in an elevator with Brett for four hours.
Im thinking "where is this going to go"- I tell you what I think about a case, you either decide that Im in agreement with you and ask me to condemn liberal judges, or you disagree with my position and decide that I have no respect for the Constitution.
Either way, not a fun conversation and not one where Im going to learn anything beyond "Sebastian doesn't like liberal judges". I already know that, so Im opting for the richer, more pleasant experience of playing some music.
Or I was, but I keep getting sucked back into this thing. One thing I can't &%&$ do is quit a conversation even when I know I should, a trait I think we share.

But to be perfectly honest, I'm definitely a bit [ahem] OCD about certain things. Which has served me well sometimes and poorly at others.

And I DEFINITELY tend to hold on to things longer than is good for me. Take for instance the Republican party (please).

So I apologize for that. The good news is I'm tenacious and loyal. The bad news is I'm tenacious and loyal.

But yes. I'm still working on it.

Russell, would you (or would anyone) explain 22 "communities operating under sharia law"?

Sure.

The TPM piece Eric links to includes a video of Ramsey's comments. His comments were given in smallish public meeting, in response to a concern offered by a gentleman in the audience.

The gentleman's issue was that, in his opinion, the US was under some kind of internal stealth attack from Muslims. As evidence of this, he asserted that there were "22 communities" in the US that were "under sharia law".

Details were never offered, and I have no idea WTF he was talking about.

Russell -- thanks. I wasn't sure whether you were writing from something you knew independent of that video, or not. So now I know just about how much credence to give the information.

Wow, this thread got derailed quickly.

Back on-topic, MattY had a post today about Islamophobia and the Great Recession, where he says "Simply put, when economies head south xenophobic and anti-foreign sentiments tend to rise." Which is hardly controversial, a quick survey of national and world history, or a comparison of places with more economic growth and stability (most bigger cities and traditionally liberal areas) versus places of lower economic growth, more inequality, less stability, more poverty etc (decayed cities, portions of the Deep South, etc) and see it. When people are insecure, they look for a scapegoat, for an "other" to blame.

Hysterical ranting from Fox, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, and the rest only amplifies and directs the fear that's already there.

Wow, this thread got derailed quickly.

Ah, my work here is done.

Back on-topic...

Hey, wtf?

Seriously- McTex, if you're still reading, I never got an idea of what your position translated to on the ground. If it's just 'we need to make sure that various people don't break the law in the service of their religion', then that's one thing. If it's 'it's ok for communities to prevent mosques from being built since they have a reasonable fear about Muslims', then that's another. If you're still interested, I think that's a next reasonable step.

"Take for instance the Republican Party, (please)."

I usually skip over Sebastian's comments when I'm not in the mood for humor, but a little Henny Youngman never hurt anyone.

ajay: You said that there was only one permitted form of Christianity - that enforced by the government - and the penalty for not believing in the right form of Christianity was imprisonment or fines. That's not the case.

That's not actually what I said, either.

Sebastian: but it isn't off in any way pertinent to the conversation--which was to draw the correct conclusion that the free exercise clause of the Constitution really was inspired by the practices of England to force people into certain religious sects and persecute those who would not conform. Do you disagree with that general point? Or merely her exposition on the facts regarding that point?

Don't take this as a sweeping statement of approval, Sebastian, but, just for once: you're right.

That was funny.

The problem with Roper and Graham isn't just that they are wrong, it is that they are so frighteningly blatant. They really appear to me to be cases of "we 5 justices of the Supreme Court don't give a crap about the rest of you".

It gives the impression that perhaps that is how the Supreme Court works in general, in which case talk of jurisprudence becomes rather more complicated.

Given the recent McDonald Second Amendment case (among others) I'm not sure you can continue to pin this on liberals.

You're here out of some insecurity in your intellect that forces you to attempt to 'win', over and over again

Unless you're licensed to practice psychoanalysis over the Internet, it's probably best to refrain from these kinds of statements.

it's just 'we need to make sure that various people don't break the law in the service of their religion'

Yep, that is my main point, added to which is the notion, not well received here, that Islam and Sharia law present a number of problematical issues for liberal democracy particularly for a constitutional liberal democracy with fundamental rules on the separation of church and state, equality of the sexes, races, etc.

And, whether it's a hijacking or not (I think not), I am in firm agreement with Seb, with this added proviso: progressives and arch-conservatives, as opposed to the broader group of generic liberal or conservative leaning jurists, tend heavily toward outcome jurisprudence at the expense of precedent, predictability and, ultimately, intellectual coherence.

Take free speech for corporations: it's always been recognized and political speech has never, until CFR, been subject to prior restraint. Arguing otherwise is simply counter to every decision and the plain language and jurisprudence of the First Amendment. That CU was not unanimous in its result, if not in its rationales (that's what concurring opinions are for) is disturbing, to put it mildly.

Which is why Seb didn't hijack anything. If anyone did, it was me in noting that progressives tend to be hyper-constitutionally aware when it suits them, but not so much if it doesn't. Arch conservatives (my term for the progressive counterpart) operate in the same fashion.

And, just as an aside, we have a very conservative, result oriented Supreme Court in Texas. Ideology trumps jurisprudence (and the facts) everyday here in the People's Republic of Texas. It's bizarre, like living in One Hundred Years of Loneliness.

it's just 'we need to make sure that various people don't break the law in the service of their religion'

Yep, that is my main point, added to which is the notion, not well received here, that Islam and Sharia law present a number of problematical issues for liberal democracy particularly for a constitutional liberal democracy with fundamental rules on the separation of church and state, equality of the sexes, races, etc.

I agree.

I agree because I think we need to make sure that various people don't break the law for whatever reason.

I agree because I think many religions as practiced by some people present a number of problematical issues for liberal democracy, particularly for a constitutional liberal democracy with fundamental rules on the separation of church and state, equality of the sexes, races, etc.

"Back on-topic...

Hey, wtf?"

What, an explanation of the popularity of anti-Muslim bigotry isn't on-topic for this thread?

"Yep, that is my main point, added to which is the notion, not well received here, that Islam and Sharia law present a number of problematical issues for liberal democracy particularly for a constitutional liberal democracy with fundamental rules on the separation of church and state, equality of the sexes, races, etc."

Is this radically different than many other religions? At least the extreme kind that want to make everyone live under their rules? Look at any country that has had a major state religion, with significant political power, and you'll see "problematical issues for liberal democracy", especially with "fundamental rules on the separation of church and state, equality of the sexes, races, etc."

Look at say, the Catholic Church. Or many Southern Baptist denominations. Or the Christian Right as a whole. Or Prohibition. Or Hindus or even some Buddhists when they've been in power. Or officially atheist places like the Soviet Union.

Do you have anything backing up the claim that Islam is somehow unique and different in this respect, rather than being something that happens with pretty much EVERY religion or ideology if they get enough power to promote their "in" group's ideas and practices over anyone else's? Seriously?

added to which is the notion, not well received here, that Islam and Sharia law present a number of problematical issues for liberal democracy particularly for a constitutional liberal democracy with fundamental rules on the separation of church and state, equality of the sexes, races, etc.

I'd ask for specifics.

And ask what sets Islam apart from Christianity and Judaism in this respect.

How many municipalities in this country still have Sunday blue laws forbidding the sale of liquor and other naughty consumables, or even requiring businesses to be closed? Isn't that a prime example of religious fundamentalism "present[ing] a number of problematical issues for liberal democracy particularly for a constitutional liberal democracy with fundamental rules on the separation of church and state, equality of the sexes, races, etc."?

When it comes to this stuff, given the relative size and power of the US Muslim population, I'm about a zillion times more concerned about, say, Catholics (and evangelicals) fighting to limit the availability of RU-486, or Christian Scientists (and some evangelicals!) letting their children waste away from treatable illness, than I am whether everybody's about to have to start wearing burqas. And so is anyone with a lick of common sense.

Arch conservatives (my term for the progressive counterpart)

Cute, but logically speaking, the polar opposite of progressives would be regressives.

In fact, I'd go so far as to say that ALL organized religions "present a number of problematical issues for liberal democracy particularly for a constitutional liberal democracy with fundamental rules on the separation of church and state, equality of the sexes, races, etc."

Every single one.

And some of them have real power in this country, and some of them don't. Sitting there fretting over the ones that don't -- and, in all likelihood, never will -- is the height of silliness.

McKinney: Yep, that is my main point, added to which is the notion, not well received here, that Islam and Sharia law present a number of problematical issues for liberal democracy particularly for a constitutional liberal democracy with fundamental rules on the separation of church and state, equality of the sexes, races, etc.

So, basically, you're going to "participate" by ignoring everything everyone said to you to date pointing out the factual flaws in this statement you made earlier, and repeat the same statement?

This works when you have the facts on your side. When you're just repeating bigoted BS, not so much.

Slartibartfast: Unless you're licensed to practice psychoanalysis over the Internet, it's probably best to refrain from these kinds of statements.

Now, what did he really mean by that?

I'd ask for specifics.

And ask what sets Islam apart from Christianity and Judaism in this respect.

Stoning/hanging adulterers, homosexuals, mandating that women where oppressive clothing, abiding honor killings, issuing fatwas calling for the death of fill-in-the-blank, etc. See Saudi Arabia as an example of life under Sharia. Or Iran.

How many municipalities in this country still have Sunday blue laws forbidding the sale of liquor and other naughty consumables, or even requiring businesses to be closed?,

I don't know. Blue laws passed constitutional muster, not because of a deference to religion, but because of a state's secular right to set aside a day for diminished commercial activity and thus a day off for people. Blue laws are also fading, for the most part, into history.

I am well aware that the US has had plenty of friction with religious encroachment. For the most part, religion comes in second place when it intrudes into the public/governmental arena.

Blue laws, even being pro-life, are orders of magnitude less intrusive than, say, stoning women for adultery. You can argue the substantive equivalence of modern, mainstream religion in the US with modern, mainstream Islam practiced around the world, but it's a losing argument outside blogs like this.

Yeah, what Janie said. I thought it was a legitimate stat.

Stoning/hanging adulterers, homosexuals, mandating that women where oppressive clothing, abiding honor killings, issuing fatwas calling for the death of fill-in-the-blank, etc. See Saudi Arabia as an example of life under Sharia. Or Iran.

You do realize, I'm sure, that the Old Testament calls for many of the same punishments/illiberal policies, right? See, ie, Leviticus.

Also, Sharia does not actually call for women wearing oppressive clothing. That is more cultural than religious.

Honor killings are also cultural, not Sharia required/condoned. Other religious groups engage in the barbaric practice. See, ie, Sikhs and Hindus at times.

As a counter example to SA and Iran, check out Turkey.

And the fatwas are not Sharia.

But, regardless, Islam and Sharia are practiced and interpreted differently in different countries.

See, again, Turkey and Indonesia as counterweights to Iran and SA. Further, the US would not be adopting Sharia, and Muslims have lived in the US for centuries, and had to abide by US laws which they do. Without resistance.

You can argue the substantive equivalence of modern, mainstream religion in the US with modern, mainstream Islam practiced around the world, but it's a losing argument outside blogs like this.

But that's a poor comparison.

The proper comparison would be comparing how Islam is practiced in the US with how Christianity and Judaism and Hinduism are practiced also in the United States.

There are cultural reasons that it looks different in Iran than the US, and Iran and Saudi Arabia.

We are the United States, though, and should stick to how Islam is practiced here.

We don't have a lot of stonings.

We do have some weird Christian sects where middle-aged men get to have sex with 12-year-old girls. That's here, in America.

I don't know. Blue laws passed constitutional muster, not because of a deference to religion, but because of a state's secular right to set aside a day for diminished commercial activity and thus a day off for people.

Ha! You are perhaps familiar with the word "pretext?"

mandating that women where oppressive clothing

If you're ever in Cleveland, come visit my neighborhood, where all the Orthodox Jewish women age 10 and up (Orthodox Jews account for about 90% of my neighbors) are required to wear ankle-length skirts and long sleeves 365 days a year. Depending on the degree of orthodoxy, they're also required to either wear scarves over their hair, or to cut their hair extremely short (or in some cases shave it) and wear wigs.

Stoning/hanging adulterers, homosexuals,

From yesterday at Andrew Sullivan's blog:

This is a poster from Maggie Gallagher's National Organization For Marriage's bus-tour campaign in Indiana, as reported by Bil Browning and photo by Alice Hoenigman.

You can argue the substantive equivalence of modern, mainstream religion in the US with modern, mainstream Islam practiced around the world, but it's a losing argument outside blogs like this.

And here I thought we were discussing mainstream Islam as practiced in the United States, and particularly in the alleged "22 communities under sharia law!" I mean, do you suppose Judaism is generally practiced differently in Tel Aviv than it is in the US? So what if it is?

If you're ever in Cleveland, come visit my neighborhood, where all the Orthodox Jewish women age 10 and up (Orthodox Jews account for about 90% of my neighbors) are required to wear ankle-length skirts and long sleeves 365 days a year. Depending on the degree of orthodoxy, they're also required to either wear scarves over their hair, or to cut their hair extremely short (or in some cases shave it) and wear wigs.

Or come to certain Brooklyn nabes (or certain areas of Westchester) to see the same.

And that's keeping in mind that the weather in Clevo right now -- before lunchtime -- is 86F, with a heat index of 92. Those skirts and long sleeves are probably feeling really good right now.

The other day, I was biking home from work and went past a house on my street. Sitting in the front yard was a double stroller, and two of the women had left their wigs sitting in it. It struck me as really creepy.

Blue laws passed constitutional muster, not because of a deference to religion, but because of a state's secular right to set aside a day for diminished commercial activity and thus a day off for people.

Sure. But now you seem to be mixing positions. That is, a law condemning adulterers to death by stoning may well not pass Constitutional muster- but *not* because of the 1st Amendment, and I cannot imagine anyone arguing that the 1st would protect such activity. Since freedom to practice one's religion doesn't ever extend to enforcing its dictates onto others, it's not even really relevant- seems that "cruel and unusual" would cover this, and/or right to privacy.

You seem to be saying that the US *might* have problems in the future integrating Muslim immigrants into our society. And that may be true (altho I think the track record so far indicates otherwise). But I just dont think that this is a First Amendment issue per se- there is nothing in your concern that would cause us, as a nation, to allow a Muslim any less freedom of conscience to worship as they see fit- within the confines of their own lives, as we do with all religions. As long as we continue to maintain our existing Constitutional and legal protections, we will not suffer from eg toleration for honor killings.

So Im still trying to understand this- I hear your concerns about what could happen, but I don't hear your recommendations or how we would change our current Constitutional protections for religion.

McKinneyTexas:

What are you specifically afraid is going to happen, and what about our laws do you want to change, and what effect do you hope the change will have?

Currently, my impression is that you are worried that Muslims in the U.S. are going to radicalize (or that extremely strict and conservative religious Muslims will move here) and begin enforcing sharia law. You seem to think this is possible or likely because Saudi Arabia and Iran are autocratic states which enforce sharia law.

If you're concerned that American Muslims are going to start violating U.S. law, the Constitution, etc., so what? We have a criminal justice system for lawbreakers. Do you want to change it? How and why?

Are you afraid that Constitutional protections for religion, in their current form, will ineluctably protect stonings and honor killings?
If so, why?

A simple point of fact: the US likely *will* have trouble assimilating *some* Muslims into our forms of civil society.

Same as every other group of immigrants who ever came here, period.

We'll deal with it.

Muslims currently make up about 2% of the US population. They do not appear to be stoning gays, mutilating their women, or otherwise behaving illegally in numbers that make them any more worrisome than any other religous group that contains some fringe fundamentalist or separatist elements.

There is no statement being made about Muslims that hasn't been made, in essence if not in the details, about *every other* immigrant group who were "different" than the people who were here "first". And all of those folks assimilated into US culture just fine.

There is nothing unique about Muslims that should cause us to treat them, as a group, differently than anybody else.

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