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Via Joe.My.God:

If "Sharia law" did come to America, what would it look like? I'm talking about religious law that supersedes American law and the Constitution, such that all Americans would be subjected to it regardless of their own personal religious beliefs. A religious law that would, in fact, be methodically embedded into American law by its practitioners, as they rose to higher and higher positions of power, and which would require the rewriting of existing American law in order to properly and fully comport with the interpretations of the religious leaders involved. No matter what your personal beliefs, this law would supersede them. No matter what the Constitution said about religious freedom, those words would be twisted to mean that the chosen religion is free to be instilled into all aspects of government. Your own religious freedom is constrained by the Official religious beliefs of the state. By law. If you go against those Official interpretations of religion, you will be fined, or jailed, or worse.

In the clip above, Rick Santorum talks about the United States as:

"... a country that is given rights under the god, under god, not any god, the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob, and that God that gave us rights also gave us a responsibility, and laws, by which our civil laws have to comport with. A higher law. God's law."

As you listen to Rick Santorum speak (and I am always sorry for subjecting anyone to that), note that when he talks about the laws of God being higher than those of the nation, he is talking about one very, very specific sub-interpretation of what "God's law" should be, one that is held by a distinct subset of the American population. It goes without saying that Muslims are not included in his religious vision, nor Hindus, nor atheists. The Jewish faith is included to a limited, but hardly encompassing extent. It does not encompass all of Christianity, as there are a great many Christians whose interpretation of God's law is a great deal different from the one that Rick Santorum holds. You cannot claim it encompasses all evangelicals, or all Protestants, or all Baptists: subsets, yes, but entire groups, no.

No, when Rick Santorum is speaking about "God's law" and how it supersedes the laws of the country, he is referring to "God's law" as he himself defines it. That is what Santorum wishes to enshrine into American governance. He quite literally presumes to be speaking for God, when he goes on about how this or that law needs to be changed to comport with God's law, but where other religious figures might simply say that those that believe different interpretations of God's law are going to hell, Santorum and others demand that those that belief different interpretations of God's law be identified as criminals.

Do you believe life "begins at conception?" Rick Santorum does, and so, he asserts, American law must comport entirely to his interpretation, not yours. Do you believe homosexuality is a sin? Rick Santorum does, and so he demands the laws of the nation be written to properly punish those that believe otherwise.

Sharia has become, for no apparent reason other than an addition to fear and conspiracy, a primal, all-encompassing fear for a great number of conservatives. It is just around the corner; we are all one mosque away from setting America down that path. A reasonable translation of the term would be God's law.

It should go without saying, however, that theocratic law would sit quite well with most of the people so terrified of it; they object to the religion chosen, not the idea. There are entire conservative organizations proudly dedicated towards the premise of installing religious law into governance, and a great many conservative politicians who, like Rick Santorum, state flatly that their religious viewpoint does take precedence over American law. Time and time again we hear how we must discriminate properly against this or that group because that is God's plan; time and time again we are told how this or that law must be changed because it goes against God's will.

If a strictly religiously-premised state is a threat to freedom and democracy in other countries, it would seem rather apparent it should be treated with similar distaste in our own nation. This requires a level of introspection that zealots typically do not have, however, no matter what their religion or obsession, and so we are able to watch, on YouTube, as American presidential candidates proudly demand the institution of religious law, with murmurs of approval drifting through the unseen audience. These same people would tremble in terror at the thought of a religious law other than their own governing the country, but it is only because they demand their own.

This is what we mean when we suggest terms like American Taliban. It is a rather simple premise. It comes with a cross, and a flag.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Fri Nov 04, 2011 at 06:30 PM PDT.

Also republished by Street Prophets and Religion Watchdogs.

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