The news reported this morning that a Muslim owned bank in Michigan would
do business according to "shairhia law'. The concern was over the "trojan horses" attached to this banking business in their lending practices. The question is one of discrimination, morality and law and it concerns our Constitution, and form of government, as well as our experience of life.
Does a business have a "religious right" to "freedom"? We have legislated that religious institutions are free from taxation, as we believe in the separation of Church and State. But, do the politically-motivated religious have a right to "do business" with "strings attached"? Can a Muslim business use "shairh'ia" law to discriminate about the use of the money loaned? In other words, can these religious/political banks limit the use of the money and determine so, by "shairh'ia" arbitrators?
My husband doesn't think that our country would allow the discrimination under shairh'ia, but many have been concerned about the religious freedom of Christians. Now, it seems, that if religious freedom is allowed for the Christian, then there should be no discrimination toward Islam, either. But, at what costs? Islam is a politicized religion. Their religion does no allow for freedom of conscience. This is troubling, as our whole understanding and system of government was formed around "a freedom of conscience". How can we, as a nation, tolerate the intolerant?
I'm sure lawyers, civil libertarians, and political philosophers have been hard at work in thinking through these complex issues. At what point does business intrude into another's political "conscience". Today's need is not one of religious freedom so much as political freedom. Without political freedom, there is no religious freedom, no matter what a theologian says!
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