Wednesday, May 11, 2011

When Two Or More Are Gathered…

Tennessee does not have a history of being in the forefront of passing good or even intelligent laws when it comes to religion. You’ll remember that it was there that they passed a law banning the teaching of evolution that led to the Scopes “Monkey Trial” in 1925 — and gave us the background for a great piece of American theatre; Inherit the Wind. Now they’re at it again, this time going after Islam.

Tennessee is one of more than fifteen states trying to push laws banning Sharia — referring to the legal code of Islam. The bill says Sharia is “inextricably linked” to its “war doctrine known as jihad.”

The February version of the Tennessee bill was spiked for specific references to a particular religion, but caveats in the new incarnation make clear that only Islamic practices are in the cross-hairs. The bill says it:

neither targets, nor incidentally prohibits or inhibits, the peaceful practice of any religion, and in particular, the practice of Islam by its adherents. Rather, this part criminalizes only the knowing provision of material support or resources…to designated sharia organizations…or to known sharia-jihad organizations with the intent of furthering their criminal behavior.

So abiding privately by Sharia (ie, being an observant Muslim) is fine. But when a Muslim starts practicing Islam with partners or in a group, they are forming a “Sharia organization”:

“Sharia organization” means any two (2) or more persons conspiring to support of acting in convert in support of, Sharia or in furtherance of the imposition of sharia…

That means, in Tennessee, a Muslim could not form a non-profit that operated a mosque, a religious charity, or any other organization that goes beyond practicing religion in solitude.

I do hope the good people of Tennessee have put aside a lot of money to pay for the lawsuits that will come from this.

Aside from the fact that laws like this are so laughably unconstitutional that a high school debate team could beat it in court, it tells you a great deal about the cowardice and weakness of these lawmakers: the mere mention of another religion drives them to this extreme.

People with such weak wills and utter lack of trust in their fellow human beings have no place in a position of authority over anybody else.