Monday, December 22, 2008

Taking Things A Bit Too Far

Iraq war veteran Kevin Murray, with the support of the Thomas More Law Center and on behalf of U.S. taxpayers, has filed a lawsuit against Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and the Federal Reserve claiming that the recent federal bailout of the American International Group is helping promote Shariah law. The reason for this claim is that AIG will be offering Shariah-compliant homeowner insurance policies, known as takaful, to U.S. customers through one of its subsidiaries. For those who do not know, Shariah is the legal application of the Islamic religion.
Now I must say, there are plenty of reasons to be grumpy about the AIG bailout and there are more than plenty of reasons to be apprehensive about the applications of Shariah law, but this particular lawsuit is stretching things just a bit. AIG is not converting to all takaful policies nor is it requiring anyone to buy takaful policies. It is only offering them as an option to those who want them. It seems to me that, rather than being an establishment or even an endorcement of religion, this is exactly what the First Amendment's religion clause is all about: allowing open and equal access to various religious groups.
It is a long road from this to England's recent decision to allow Shariah law to have a say in certain civil courts. I'm not saying that people shouldn't keep an eye on things to make certain there isn't any encroachment, but there is a difference between guarding against abuse and outright paranoia.
To be honest, though, I do not actually believe that paranoia has anything to do with this one. The Thomas More Law Center is a non-profit law firm that promotes conservative Christian values. Anyone care to place any bets on what their agenda is in this?
This is nothing more than a thinly-veiled attempt at discrimination and it shouldn't fly here any better than it would were the religion involved Christianity. Most legal scholars seem to be of the opinion that it won't since the prevailing opinion is that what AIG is doing is an open access business policy and not an establishment or endorcement of religion. The fact that it won't fly, however, does not mean that the Thomas More Law Center shouldn't be slapped down for trying. In fact, the people who should be slapping the hardest are those Christians who are concerned about religious freedoms.
I cannot state often enough or emphatically enough, you cannot defend liberty by removing it from someone else. Every time you aprove of the removal of one liberty, you set a precedent for the removal of others. If you give government the power to curtail liberties in one field, you are giving them the power to curtail liberties in all fields. Once the rule is established, it takes no effort at all to change the word "Islam" to "Christian" or "Jewish" or "Buddhist" or pick your flavor.
Anyone who has read my posts in the past knows that I am not a fan of Islam. I am fully aware of the dangerous tendencies inherent in that religion. I am also aware, however, that there are many Muslims in the world who do not subscribe to those dangerous tendencies, just as there were many Christians who were not psychotic murderers during the time of the Crusades and the Inquisition. Pick your battles, but pick them wisely lest the battle you pick wind up being against yourself.

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