Freedom of conscience simply means that government cannot enslave our minds. We are free to believe whatever we choose to believe. That has never meant, though, that our beliefs are beyond inquiry – that they may not be criticized and regarded as foolish or dangerous. And our law has always made a sharp distinction between thought, which is free, and action inspired by thought, which may be regulated: a neutral law of general application (i.e., not targeting any religion and literally governing everyone’s conduct) must be followed even if it burdens one’s religious practices. Thus, for example, you can believe peyote has spiritual significance, but if you try to use it in your religious rituals you will be in violation of the narcotics laws. There is no religion exemption for the distribution or consumption of illegal drugs, any more than there would be for, say, human-sacrifice.The whole interview is da bomb. Read it. You really must.
Similarly, we don’t try to stop Muslims from believing that sharia is Allah’s mandatory prescription for the good life. But many of sharia’s provisions are antithetical to our law and our culture – beginning with its bedrock presumption that people are not free to make law for themselves, irrespective of sharia. You are entitled to your belief system, and to my respect for your right to your beliefs. But that’s all. You are not entitled to my respect for your beliefs themselves. And still less are you entitled, by labeling your beliefs “religion,” to have your beliefs enshrined in law or to have actions based on your beliefs insulated from law.
As for the Ground Zero mosque, it bears emphasizing that Americans are the most tolerant people on earth. We are not a Muslim country, yet there are over 2300 mosques in the U.S., including scores of them in the New York area, despite the fact that about 80 percent of American mosques are controlled by Muslim Brotherhood-tied Islamists who want the Constitution replaced by sharia.
Nevetheless, Muslims don’t have a right to put a mosque anywhere they choose to put one. That is not intolerance. It is common sense, decency, and national security. We would not permit a Shinto temple to be erected at Pearl Harbor. When Muslim terrorists have mass-murdered thousands of Americans at a site, it is wildly inappropriate even to consider building a mosque on that site – particularly when our enemies in the ongoing war (a) are supremacists waging a concurrent propaganda campaign against us and (b) have a history erecting their icons atop those of the peoples they intend to conquer.
If you want to talk tolerance, in Mecca and Medina, they not (only) refuse to permit the building of churches and synagogues; the Saudis do not even permit non-Muslims to enter. That is traceable directly to an injunction in the Koran (Sura 9:28). Why would we build a monument to intolerance in the name of tolerance?
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Here's a Quote o' the Week For Ya!
In an interview with Diana West, one of the few people 'mongst the punditry that has the nasty habit of asking the right questions 'bout
the religion of pieces Islam, Andrew C. McCarthy, author of The Grand Jihad, said: