Friday, December 11, 2015

The Religious Test The Right Likes

Representative Steve King, who has charged that immigrants from the Middle East do not want to assimilate into American culture, has told Talking Points Memo

Sharia law is incompatible with the United States Constitution and so if they want to demonstrate that they are open to being Americanized, the first thing they should do is renounce Sharia law. You won't get Keith Ellison or Andre Carson in this Congress to renounce Sharia law,let alone somebody that's just come out of the Middle East that is someone who has been steeped in Islam for a lifetime.

Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) with Andre Carson (D-IN) one of the two Muslim members of the US Congress, called King's comment "an incredibly ignorant statement. And when I say ignorant I don't mean it as an insult, I meanit as it is incredibly uninformed. That is all I can really say."

He could say more, but it would be extremely dangerous, all the more so because Ellison is not a Christian.  He could, of course, defend King's inference that American law should not be based on religious creed.

We already apply a religious test, as the US Supreme Court has endorsed.  Lest we forget, sixteen months ago the Court reprehensibly ruled 

that requiring family-owned corporations to pay for insurance coverage for contraception under the Affordable Care Act violated a federal law protecting religious freedom. It was, a dissent said, “a decision of startling breadth.”

The 5-to-4 ruling, which applied to two companies owned by Christian families, opened the door to many challenges from corporations over laws that they claim violate their religious liberty.

As Justice Ginsburg noted in her dissent

Would the exemption…extend to employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah's Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (certain Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations[?]…Not much help there for the lower courts bound by today's decision.

If the courts were to rule against such plaintiffs, it would become clear the Hobby Lobby case was an unconstitutional establishment of religion.  If courts were to side with the plaintiffs, they would reinforce the idea that sectarian law trumps civil law, not unlike in nations abiding by Sharia Law.

Not surprisingly, though, King applauded the majority opinion, which he wrote "concluded the Constitution means what it says and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 also means what it says."  He added "I congratulate Hobby Lobby for standing on both their religious convictions and on Constitutional principles." The religious convictions were the corporation's particular interpretation of their religion, and the Constitutional principles were that discrimination is permissible when that interpretation is claimed as the basis for discrimination.

Keith Ellison should offer his colleague this deal: King renounces and denounces anti-choice harassment and terrorism and all favoritism shown to corporations and others on the basis of their claimed, alleged religious beliefs. In return, Ellison will denounce Sharia law.  That's the last he'd hear from Steve King.

And have I mentioned how loathsome Carly Fiorina (below) is?

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