Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Britain Losing Its Traditions

Recently the British Government caved to demands that its court system recognize Islamic religious court decisions as binding upon Muslims. The legal system, known as Sharia, will now stand alongside that country's ancient common law as the law of the land.

This is frightening if you are British. Common law comes from a tradition that recognizes individual rights. It tore itself away from religious paternalism in the 1200s and made the English people the freest in the world at one point. Sharia comes from a tradition of social control for the benefit of the religion. Centuries ago, Roman Catholic canon law was abandoned because it was seen as incompatible with the "natural rights of Englishmen." Now the British have adopted an even more alien set of laws.

Britain will not stand for this. Most likely this move will push Britain towards a Conservative Party led government that will specifically strike this down. That being said, court decisions will be made and Sharia incorporated as precedents within the common law. Sharia has no place in the law codes of Western democratic nations that have centuries of tradition respecting individual rights.

Could this happen here? Likely not. The First Amendment so deftly used against Christian expression in public places would never allow the adoption Islamic law as a guide for our court system. America is a place where people come to escape oppression, not to recreate it. One wonders what will happen with Muslims that would rather take their chances with British law rather than religious law. Certainly many Christians would rather not be judged legally by the moral standards set by their religion. Britain, in an effort to tolerate a religion, has adopted one of the most intolerant systems of law on earth. They need to step up and get it removed before people's lives get ruined.

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