Last weekend, onlookers witnessed crazy left-wing protesters attacking anti-Sharia demonstrators for voicing their opinion. Although such acts are clearly contemptible and should never be regarded as acceptable, they are backed by a reservoir of tense political and religious indoctrination that can cause a great divide.
It is my belief that many of the arguments supporting and opposing the anti-Sharia Marches have been wildly mischaracterized and underreported. I believe that every person of faith should be guaranteed their right to practice any religion they deem necessary for their spiritual well-being. I strongly believe in the notion of religious freedom. I am proud to identify myself as pro-Faith and, indirectly, pro-Muslim (as well as pro-Jewish, pro-Catholic, pro-Hindu, etc.).
Because of the mixed feelings that a claim like this elicits, it is important to point out that faith is vital to living in secular, Western society.
We can all respect the fact that there are millions of law-abiding American citizens who freely exercise their freedom of conscience to identify that they practice the faith of Islam. They are not much different than their Jewish and Christian counterparts. Granted, American Muslims are more politically liberal, but there are certainly Muslims out there that are highly conservative and libertarian in their political beliefs.
Before you throw me to the fire, many of these citizens are willingly living in the constructs of a Western society. That is what is most important. It is especially important that Western society, although secular, is strongly influenced by the Judeo-Christian ethic.
Now, let me address the touchy subjects that are undoubtedly arising from the anti-Sharia crowd reading this op/ed. I am Christian, a conservative-leaning libertarian, and I fundamentally disagree with the teachings of the Quran and Sharia law. To me, Sharia law is, in fact, a system of laws that are in direct conflict with the Constitution of the United States.
However, like other religious legal codes, Sharia should be practiced as such, not as civil law. As we have seen across the world in Muslim majority countries and places where Sharia is considered civil law, there are atrocious human rights violations and repression of basic civic freedoms; however, when practiced at the micro level, it is the doctrine for one of the oldest faiths known to humanity. Of course, that is only when it is not interpreted to justify violence against women, gays, etc.
When you can incorporate faith alongside a respect for civil law and secular government that doesn’t willingly repress any faith, your society will be richer and more culturally dynamic. We need to keep our free, representative republic, and we do that by keeping freedom of religion.
Although our government has grown out of control, the United States is still one of the freest places in the world, both economically and socially. After we install a policy that eliminates social constructs, that is when we become oppressive. Liberty is a basic human right that must be maintained for all.
The public should remember that this is a society of nearly unhindered public choice. Individuals are free to choose their associations, their business partners, their faith, their politics, their favorite consumer goods, and so forth. A government is only there to be the referee, not your goalie. When individuals use government as a weapon to advance self-serving agendas, you create sides and conflict. That must be stopped whether it is Sharia Law or any other threat to our form of governance.