Chuck Colson weighs in on the Archbishop of Canterbury and his proposal that British law cede some of its jurisdiction to Islamic courts based on sharia law.
At first I thought the Archbishop misspoke.But it turns out, no. He calls this “supplementary jurisdiction” unavoidable. He compared it to accommodating Christians in areas like abortion or gay adoption.
With all due respect to the Archbishop, there is no such parallel. The only thing that is unavoidable here is his failure to see sharia as it is practiced in the real world, as opposed to in seminars.
In a way, Colson is right. Muslims are only asking for Islamic principles to be applied to other Muslims, whereas conservative Christians are trying to get their sectarian principles imposed on everyone regardless of religion. But there are parallels, even if Colson can’t see them.
In real-world Muslim communities throughout Europe, coercion is so commonplace “that duly-constituted governments there” no longer wield justice among its citizens. The imams do.
David Mills reports, in his book Atheist Universe, that he once tried to organize a protest at a “healing” service in which the Christian evangelist urged diabetics to stop taking insulin and cancer patients to discontinue chemotherapy. When he tried to get support from the local police, however, he found that policeman after policeman not only refused to provide the protesters with any protection, but often threatened to assault them. Christians in America routinely dictate public policy in ways that support and promote Christianity, from adding theistic references to our currency and the pledge of allegiance, to passing constitutional amendments against homosexuals marrying the person they love, to turning a blind eye to harassment and persecution against unbelievers. Islamic law may seem harsh by Christian standards, but if we’re going to allow that one group’s code of behavior and punishment ought to be judged by secular standards, why not apply the same principle to Christianity’s sectarian impositions on our legal system?
And where would the Archbishop draw the line? At husbands beating their wives for wearing Western clothes or maybe stoning a woman accused of adultery?…
[Arabic bishop] Nazir-Ali, whose father had to leave Pakistan after converting to Christianity, told the UK Telegraph that sharia is “in tension” with “fundamental aspects” of Anglo-American law. That is because our “legal tradition” is “rooted in the quite different moral and spiritual vision deriving from the Bible.” This crucial difference seems to have escaped the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The “crucial difference,” which Colson seems to have overlooked, is that Christians no longer practice Biblical injunctions requiring women to be stoned to death for adultery (just as the Bible also demands death by stoning for holding seances, cursing, worshiping other gods, disobeying parents, or gathering firewood on Saturday). And yes, I know all about the “New Covenant,” but let’s not kid ourselves, Christians are pushing for the observance of such Old Covenant passages as the so-called “Ten Commandments.” Say that God’s old laws are unreasonably harsh and cruel, or say that they were just and fair, but it’s pure hypocrisy to brag about our legal tradition being better than sharia because ours is “rooted in a spiritual vision” derived from a Bible that commands the same things the imams are practicing.
The West’s greatest contribution to civilization has been the rule of law, the bulwark of freedom, captured in Anglo-American jurisprudence. Now a ranking religious official proposes compromising that with a theocratic church rule? Please.
Amen, Chuck, amen. Now can we please get the theocratic church rules out of our government?