A Muslim Civil Liberties Union?
By Frank Pastore
Sunday, January 21, 2007
A few weeks ago, remember how we were all a buzz about Keith Ellison (D-MN) choosing to make his oath on the Koran as the first democratically-elected Muslim to sit in Congress? We all agreed it would be unconstitutional to prevent him from doing so (“no religious test,” Art. VI Sec. 3). Yet, something was deeply troubling about it even though we couldn’t quite put our finger on it.
Then, last Tuesday, this posting on the website of the North Carolina ACLU (here),
“A unanimous North Carolina Court of Appeals ruled this morning that the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina (ACLU-NC) can proceed with its lawsuit, filed against the State in July 2005, which chal-lenges North Carolina state courts’ practice of refusing to allow people of non-Christian faiths to swear re-ligious oaths using any text other than the Christian Bible.”
The lawsuit filed by the ACLU-NC in July 2005 seeks a court order clarifying that North Carolina’s existing statute governing religious oaths is broad enough to allow the use of multiple religious texts in addition to the Christian Bible. In the alternative, if the Court does not agree that the phrase “Holy Scriptures” in the North Carolina state statute must be read to permit texts such as the Quran, the Hebrew Bible and the Bhagavad-Gita in addition to the Christian Bible, then the ACLU-NC asks the Court to strike down the practice of allowing the use of any religious texts in the administration of religious oaths.
This lawsuit asks the Court for an interpretation of the phrase “Holy Scriptures” that is broad enough to include multiple religious texts.
The ACLU believes that all religious texts should be honored with the title “Holy Scriptures,” revealing their contempt for the Bible, and their total lack of appreciation to the set of Judeo-Christian values that gave birth to Western Civilization in general and America specifically. To paraphrase C. S. Lewis, don’t they understand they saw at the log upon which they sit? Without those values there would be no ACLU. Ever heard of a CCLU, a Chinese Civil Liberties Union? Or a MCLU, a Muslim Civil Liberties Union?How does the Left express appreciation for the intellectual soil out of which they have grown? By declaring war on those values that gave them life. They commit intellectual patricide. When was the last time you heard of a Western Civ class in a public school that didn’t rail against all things Western?To return to the North Carolina case, the ACLU’s argument is essentially, “all or nothing.” Either accept all religious texts as “Holy Scriptures” or accept none of them as such. And if it’s the latter, then eliminate the practice all together. Either way they win.
Why stop at “religious texts”? Who is to say some whacko can’t create his own religion and choose to make an oath on a rock as his holy text? If the adjective “religious” would apply to everything, then it would apply to nothing. It would cease to have any meaning. Exactly what the Left has been after since the French Revolution, the utter irrelevance and meaninglessness of God, religion, and everything sacred.
Again, this is not about religion it is about values. Different religions obviously make different and often opposing reli-gious and theological claims, yet can share a common set of values. Dennis Prager, Michael Medved, and I certainly have different views on whether Jesus was the Messiah, but we all share the same Judeo-Christian values. And, oddly enough, members of the same religion do in fact hold opposing value systems. Jim Wallis, Tony Campolo and I are all Christians, yet they hold to a value system foreign to me and most of my conservative Christian friends. This helps to explain why I feel much closer culturally and politically to Dennis and Michael than I do to Jim and Tony.
America specifically and the West generally are under attack by enemies both foreign and domestic. The Judeo-Christian values that gave birth to Western Civilization are under attack externally by Islam and internally by secularism. Strangely, both the Left and the Islamofascists function as two blades on a set of scissors, they are independent yet working to-gether, to shred the fabric of Western culture.
It was the genius of the founders to solve the church-state problem by intentionally forming a secular, rather than a Christian, government. They would confidently allow for religious pluralism, even atheism, and prohibit all religious tests, yet while at the same time promoting and sustaining the Judeo-Christian moral values that would limit that secularism by encouraging the practice of religion without the establishment of a state religion. It was all about sharing a common set of values, not about sharing a common religion.We have lost something when we no longer honor the Source of our values in our public rituals.
Americans are alarmed by the advance of Islam into our society, and properly so, for who will assimilate to whom? Could a Muslim have written the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, the Constitution? Does Islam believe in the separation of church and state, that all men are created equal, that there should be no religious test for political office holders, that government ought to be secular?
Or lastly, would a Muslim Civil Liberties Union champion the right for a Christian to give an oath on the Bible?
The Frank Pastore Show is heard in Los Angeles weekday afternoons on 99.5 KKLA and on the web at kkla.com, and is the winner of the 2006 National Religious Broadcasters Talk Show of the Year. Frank is a former major league pitcher with graduate degrees in both philosophy of religion and political philosophy.