Thursday, September 14, 2006

Can Sharia Law be the Law of the Land?

For those who treat Islam as simply a religion, misunderstand it as well as any religion. A religion or "religio" binds the person's life to the deity worshipped, as in Islam, so in Christianity. An interesting article below strips Democracy to its essence. Please read and let's discuss the challenge facing the Dutch in Sharia could come via Democracy.

I have a couple of immediate reactions. If we reduce Democracy to majority rules, then any block of people who gain the majority get to have their way, within the confines of a republic based on its constitution (which also can be changed via the majority).

Now, I do get a bit tired of Christians who treat American Democracy as if it were a branch of Christianity. This "Americanism" which has been so prevalent in our country, is a doctrine that was decried by Pope Leo XIII. He saw it as a heresy and a challenge to authentic Christianity. In Christianity, the majority does NOT rule, Christ does. So, democratic principles where the body politik is the basis of authority does not fit Christ's kingdom. Sorry, but Democracy is not a Christian idea (I hope not to lose my Christian friends who think otherwise).

The idea of Democracy is not new but old as the hills. As a matter of fact, Plato discussed it in The Republic, but not in glowing terms. In fact, he recognizes the possibility that Democracies can implode, being a precursor to despotism. If a political majority becomes unjust and imprudent, it will enact laws and form a civilization that will eventually undermine itself. This is why, according to Plato, Democracy is second from the bottom of the list of governments. This is NOT something we "Americanists" typically want to hear. We want to have God on our side in the cause of Democracy. It is telling that Jesus in the Gospels doesn't advocate Democracy; as reiterated by Leo XIII.

This is why I treat the evangelization techniques of President Bush regarding Americanism with extreme skepticism. The "principles of freedom" that Democracy proposes never transform a people or race like religion transforms. It will give immediate relief to an oppressed people. However, this new found "freedom" eventually allows the unfettered action of political movements to establish a government that will ultimately REFLECT THE ATTITUDES, VALUES AND MORES OF THIS FREE PEOPLE. So, the only transformation Democracy brings is political.

What happens now if the majority's attitudes, values and mores are summed up in the principles of Sharia Law? What Democratic principles can stop this? Or say a new democracy, like Iraq, makes friends with a current American foe, like Iran? Can America, being true to democratic principles, have the right to alter what's happening in Iraq? I say no. This is democracy in action.

If anyone wants to bring social tranformation to a country must use religious means other than Democracy. However, then you get into proselytizing and coercion. If there is to be a true transformation of a nation of citizens, it must be done freely and uncoerced. This is why I think the Bush Doctrine is short-sighted: it equates the political structures of Democracy with the transformative structures of religion. Second, it forces this "religious structure" on a people who neither understand the consequences nor wish to give up their religious and social mores.

This is why all along I have seen the ill-named "War on Terror" as a clash, not only of civilizations, but a clash between religions. It fails to call a spade "a spade." It completely misunderstands the nature of the war, and the means that are required to fight it. Call me a medievalist (don't worry, I won't be insulted if you do!), but our fathers from the 7th Century forward saw it as such, and still found it an extremely difficult battle to wage. It requires all our resources: religious, economic, and military. It is no different now. The utopian zeal and flag-waving in favor of Democracy is NOT going to solve this problem.

I have another observation. I find it interesting that those, described in the article above, will run to "principles of Democracy" in the face of Sharia, not knowing that the very principles they call "Democratic" are really the Judeo-Christian/Natural Law principles of our Western Culture that much of Europe is allowing to slip. These are certainly religious in nature as well and affect an entire culture. This is why any call for the private practice of Religion is a stupid one.

Given the Dutch response, I think they see the seriousness of the situation but are failing to face the solution. The key is in what kind of battle this is: a simple and influential religious force is overwhelming a decaying and decadent Christendom. It is high time they repudiate the stupidity seeing religion as a private affair and engage in a personal and social reform based on Judeo-Christian and natural law principles. And, this is something we proud American better learn too, or we follow the course of the Dutch.

Let me sum up with a few key thoughts:

1. Democracy doesn't transform a society, it reflects it; it is not a religion.

2. Extreme forms of Islam are not simple religions whose adherents behave by practicing it privately; they want to either convert all mankind, or kill them. They have no preference.

3. Those who lean on "Democratic principles" are really leaning on the Judeo-Christian principles and natural law; the religious ones they often deny that form a basis of our culture.

4. The clash we are experiencing is not one between terrorists and non-terrorists, but a clash of religious ideologies. The predominent ideology in the West is "Decadent Christendom", which has lost its moral compass. This is the face the jihadists' see.

5. Currently, I doubt we Westerners have the collective guts to face such a ominous opponent.

6. If we are going to win this clash, we as a people MUST regroup, reform and return to the principles that formed the greatest culture in history. We must have a massive religious conversion and repudiate Decadent Christendom and Hedonistic Western Culture.

7. Lastly, our Islamic enemies are not afraid to die for what they believe and in order to stop them, we must be willing to die for what we believe. Which brings us to the greatest question of our time: my friends, what do you believe, and will it give you the courage to die for it?

This is not a problem that is simply solved by militaries and politics. Our jihadist enemy has correctly defined the nature and principles of this war which we decadent westerners must realize and accept: This is a holy war! I know this may anger some, but the history of this conflict shows it to be as such. Our enemy is fueled by a religious zeal to the death, to embark on a religious campaign no matter what the cost, with religious benefits that are out of this world, with a goal to set up an Islamic religious kingdom that requires either our participation or death; either will do. In the face of such a challenge, political and social mores are not only at stake; but our souls as well!

So we must reform and re-arm ourselves for the real battle. My fear is that our decadent and hedonistic ways will weaken our resolve in the name of false "Pluralism" to meet the challenge, causing us to wimp out and roll over like dogs. Some have been known to give up their immortal souls for the sake of the world. Do we give up our immortal souls for simply one more orgasm, one more cocaine high, one more pizza roll, one more beer, one more plasma TV, or one more private "Shall we gather at the river?

My friends, we face some stark choices. What will it be? Convert, be "converted"...or be killed?


At 3:30 PM, Blogger Cranky Yankee said...

Not to side-step your substantial content, but why are the radical Muslims "at war" with only western Christians and our interests? I know there is some localized fighting between Muslims and Hindus in India, but why isn't the fight for Islamic reign being for to it's own east? Indonesia is the world biggest Muslim country and all of the violence there has been against westerners. Why are they not attacking their Buddhist and Shinto neighbors.

Cloaking the entire conflict in religious terms is too simple and ignores the roots. I think the religions are the symptoms more than the cause. The current middle east conflict is a continuation of the disintegration of the Ottoman empire nearly a hundred years ago. In the wake of WWI the West divided the middle east up into conveniently manageable chunks ruled by friendly monarchs and despots. The "people" have never had a say in their own affairs. From their desperation religious extremism has grown. It is a upside down bastardized nature vs. nurture situation. The people never had an opportunity to begin to define themselves.

We Americans are still trying to do this, define ourselves. Our bumbling as the sole super power proves that we are adrift. Is the answer religious? I don't think so, but that doesn't mean it isn't so.

The last real test we faced was our Civil War. We did the right thing at a great cost for our own good. It was the beginning of defining ourselves. When we stood up for the people of Europe and Asia in WWII we moved along the same path. Today we are lost. America has no meaning any longer. We worship greed and the pursuit of wealth.

That is the true tragedy of 911. When America had to dig down deep and ask itself what it was, it came up empty.

Sharia law like all religious law is aimed at controlling weak minded people. To understand Sharia law and the state one has to consider the Islamic concept of the Ummah. It refers in a general sense to the greater community. The Ummah itself submits to the will of God the same as individuals in Islam. The concept is at the root of the notion of Sharia law ruling the land and Islamic Republics being ruled by clergy.

This ground is not new. To see what the world would look like under Sharia Law one has only to look at Medieval Europe. All law derived from the Catholic Church and its instruments. Kings and Queens were divinely anointed by the Church. Witness the Inquisition and how Heretics (Infidels) were treated. We have seen it all before. Look at the Spanish conquest of America under god's name.

At 5:28 PM, Blogger Underground Logician said...

I don't think radical Islam is at war with just western Christianity. They fight against the Hindus and Buddhists in India for control of territories as well. Locally, in a suburb of Detroit, a Hindu temple was burned to the ground due to Islamic/Hindu tensions that exist.

I do think that the focus is on the United States principly because we are to them "The Great Satan." To them, our decadent ways are a threat to Islam.

Your point from history is well taken, and of course, anything can be used to manipulate the masses if it is said to be done in the name of Christ. Hopefully, we will learn from history. What I hope we also learn is that a decadent religious culture doesn't have the moral grit to face the dangers of Islamic ideology. The Turkish invasion of the 15th and 16th centuries was not only due to superior military tactics of the Turks, but a decadent Christendom in Eastern Europe had difficulty mustering the will to ward them off.

It is easy to site bad medieval examples as reasons to avoid the significance of the religious. It's also easy so say that since some have used religion to control the masses that that is what religious laws are for. I can't agree with you there. The abuse or corruption of something does not entail that that is it's purpose. The fact that something is corrupted entails that this same something can be good. The key is to know what is good and stick with it.

At 9:17 PM, Anonymous Judy Callarman said...

I agree with your #6 and #7 points. I pray that there will be a radical religious awakening. But I see bad signs. On TV tonight, I saw a few minutes of a "comic" feature called "The Word," I think it was. In it, the speaker was ridiculing everything Christian, particularly the idea of "awakenings." One thing I remember was that he showed a picture of Jonathan Edwards of the "Great Awakening" of the 1700's and quoted Edwards as saying something like "the unconverted belong to hell." There was great laughter in the background. They don't want to see that it is true.

And...why is it perfectly all right and acceptable for people to ridicule Christianity--but they would not dream of ridiculing any other religion?

At 12:45 AM, Blogger Underground Logician said...

Christians today, Judy, do not threaten people with death in retaliation for an insult to their religion. Second, I think that there is a spirit at work in the world that has done this from the beginning. We shouldn't be surprised when it does occur.


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