Friday, February 08, 2008

Archbishop says some Sharia law in England should be passed.

One of the looniest religious figures on the Religious Left is Rowan Williams, a man who likes to think of himself as the Archbishop of Canterbury. You know what an Archbishop is? It is a man who is elevated to a higher office in the church than was obtained by Jesus himself. (I don’t remember who said that but I’ve been looking for an excuse to quote it.)

Williams is a multicultural Left winger. And in my humble opinion such people are almost as bad as the Right-wing Christian fundamentalist types. Both sides are authoritarian, just authoritarian on different issues.

Williams is one of these types who argues that you must respect all religious values simply because they are religious values. I don’t believe that any belief must be inherently respected. All values must be challenged and proven. They all have to stand up to scrutiny. A scientific theory about the origin of life has to be be subjected to reason and analysis. If it doesn’t hold up then it must be modified or rejected. This is true about every secular value we hold. And I see no reason that religious values should be exempted and plenty of danger if they are exempted.

There is a wide spread assumption, especially among the religious, that all opinions and values are open to scrutiny except for religion. The religious want a free ride where they can propose any policy they want, and when asked to support that policy they think invoking a deity is sufficient to close the debate. The phrase “it’s my religion” is supposed to stop all intellectual discourse and rational debate. Suddenly the proposal is supposed to be off limits for discussion.

So what has the the multi-cultural Archbishop done this time? He got up and told the British that Islamic Sharia law, at least in some aspects, “seems inevitable” and that it ought to be incorporated into British legislation.

What is surprising is that the Archbishop is not finding the support he expected on the Left, at least not so far. The chairman of the Equality and Humans Rights Commission, Trevor Phillips, called the Archbishop’s “thinking” “muddled and unhelpful.” He said this will “give fuel to anti-Muslim extremism and dismay everyone working towards a more integrated society.”

Okay, so this guy is a bit wonky as well. I would think he’d be worried it would give fuel to Islamic extremism but that didn’t seem to be the guys concern. But at least he called the Archbishops thinking “muddled and unhelpful. But then Williams is an archbishop after all. And “muddled and unhelpful” goes with the job.

Baroness Warsi, a Muslim, was more on target. “All British citizens must be subject to British laws developed through Parliament and the courts.” She said the Archbishop was helping create “confusion” in the Muslim communities in England. Muslim member of parliament Khalid Mahmood said: “This is very misguided. There is no half-way house with this.”

The Archbishop said that because some people hold Islamist values they don’t relate to the Western legal system. So he wants to change the legal system to become “relevant” to them.

The worst remarks came from the tiny Religious Right who immediately start pushing the idea that “This is a Christian country with Christian laws. If Muslims want to live under sharia law then they are free to emigrate to a country where sharia law is already in operation.” Apparently this individual, Stephen Green of Christian Voice, believes in a Christian version of law instead of a Western version of law. He is, in fact, no different than the Muslim clerics only disagreeing on which religion must be imposed on the populace by the force of law.

Considering that so many religious people want religion to be free of intellectual scrutiny, and so many politicians seem to hold the same view, it is very dangerous to have religion serve as the foundation for law anywhere. This is basically the desire to have laws which can’t be challenged or scrutnized. It is the advocacy of law based on mere assertion and not open to debate. It is a recipe for dictatorship and tyranny.

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