Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Will Sharia Law Replace America’s Moral Laxness?

This week, LinkedIn discussion groups under “The Teaching Professor” include one entitled, Class Discussion: Are we on our own path to Sharia Law?   According to the introduction, “Surveys show one in three Americans are worried about Sharia Law coming to the U.S.A.”  One responder, Howard Doughty, criticized the deplorable example America has set for the world through its interference in the Middle East and concluded, “Forget Sharia Law (which is no threat to America) and look in the mirror.”

I disagree with Doughty’s claim that Sharia Law is no threat.  America has prospered because most of her people individually exercise respect for the rule of law out of an ingrained moral conscience.  Therefore, it would be hard to envision how current quality of life would be sustained or improved if moral behavior were instead coerced by the state.  Even the liberal Huffington Post is quoted as saying about Sharia Law, “Some Islamic scholars argue that true Islamic belief cannot be coerced by the state, and therefore belief in Shariah should only come from the individual and not be codified by the state.”

Having emphasized the importance of moral convictions as a basis for obeying laws, I do agree with Howard Doughty that Sharia law is not a “DIRECT threat to America."  Instead, I believe a more direct threat is coming from within America’s (dissolving) borders.  The direct threat is from failure of those in positions of leadership in Washington and on down through our state and local governments, churches, schools, civic organizations, and families to believe and exercise leadership out of a belief in moral absolutes.  How often do you hear a courageous leader stand and speak with a voice of moral clarity?

America’s founders recognized the fallibility of mankind and the existence of God as Creator and Giver of the moral code as summarized in the "Golden Rule" and Ten Commandments.  These moral standards provided the foundation and structure within which western civilization could prosper.  Crucial to this success was the belief that rights are from God Who is worthy of our praise and worship; and, the belief that freedom depends upon individual obligation to love our neighbor.  Americans elected leaders in every sphere of authority from federal government to local communities, and generally, these leaders challenged us with a voice of moral clarity and the character to back up their words based on Judeo-Christian principles.

Dial forward to 2015, and it is clear that Christianity has relinquished its influence through compromise, hypocrisy, and disrespectful words and actions that are not winsome to an increasingly secular culture.  Consequently, many have dismissed the relevance and value of Christianity.  Increasing numbers deny God and the moral absolutes that had distinguished America as "exceptional" and "good."  Instead, America is being led and influenced by moral relativism and liberal progressivism that spews its own inconsistencies and much hypocrisy--pressing for women's rights in America while refusing to condemn Islamic enslavement of women wherever it becomes dominant; pressing for rights of the defenselessness while condoning the abortion and mutilation of babies and sale of body parts; pressing for the rights of minorities while ridiculing members of minorities like Ben Carson who demonstrate that even the poorest can succeed when individual moral responsibility is exercised.  Instead of ridiculing those who succeed as examples of how life could be, liberals cower in fear of losing a voting constituency.  Not to be excused, many conservatives are complicit in this scenario of moral laxness. Although at least some conservatives profess to operate from the moral high ground, yet for fear of being disliked, many lack the moral backbone to be a voice of moral clarity or to stand up for the Constitution.

So, I am not nearly as concerned about Sharia law as I am about the current moral decay in our nation.  Our leaders lack moral resolve and courage, refuse to enforce the laws of the land, and even undermine the respect and authority of our men and women in uniform who put their lives on the line to deter crime on our streets.  God help us! 

In agreement with Howard Doughty, we SHOULD look into the mirror, and remember that God is looking at us and our actions as well.  Let us pursue God’s Word and rely on the Holy Spirit’s power to discipline the person we face in the mirror every day (James 1: 23-25).  And, based on our own growing moral character and desire to please God, let us study to identify and elect leaders who will speak and act in ways that uphold the U.S. Constitution.  And let us hold our leaders accountable through regular communication (e-mail, social media) to uphold state and local laws supportive of strong families and supportive of the poor and minorities who seek to improve their lives through honest efforts.  Only in these ways will God honor America and help us preserve individual freedom against threats of coercion from within and from beyond our borders.  If America is in danger of falling under Sharia Law or something more oppressive, it is because we are failing to maintain the moral provisions that have preserved and united our nation through many difficult storms.

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