Tag Archives: 1st amendment

Memebuster – Sharia Law Is Identical To The Republican Platform

CRTZr9bWEAAiVaj[1]

I ‘ve decided to start a new segment at Logical Libertarian called Memebuster. I will attempt to debunk memes largely based on ideology, and rarely containing any factual information. Let’s start with this one from a friend on Twitter. I’ll answer them one at a time:

Government based on religion

While Republicans are definitely quite commonly supporting laws based on their own religious ideology, none have ever promoted the idea of abolishing the 1st amendment and legislating the Bible, or any other religion.

There’s a difference between promoting a law based on religious beliefs, and adopting a government based solely on religion.

Women have fewer rights than men

Under Sharia law, women can’t even show their face, can be murdered if they get raped—being deemed as adulterers, aren’t allowed to drive a car, etc.

No one in the GOP is promoting such a notion.

This is entirely about positions on abortion. We’re all against murder, but in the eyes of many on the right, abortion is seen as the murder of an innocent child. There is no scientific evidence that can deem them wrong.

While I’m personally pro-choice prior to fetal-viability, it’s merely my opinion, and positions on abortion always will be. But it is NEVER about taking away women’s rights for the GOP, they’re trying to protect the rights of the unborn as they see it.

Disagree if you must, as I do, but don’t lie by saying they’re against women’s rights.

Homosexuality is outlawed

No GOP legislator is promoting making homosexuality a crime. They are against it being called marriage, since many are religious and consider marriage a religious institution. But many GOPs support civil unions, and some have even evolved on gay marriage.

This is a wildly hyperbolic overstatement by this meme.

Rejecting Science In Favor of Religious Doctrine

Many lawmakers on the left and right are religious. Many are not scientists. When you don’t understand a particular field of science, you will largely default to your beliefs. This is not unique to Republicans.

Politicians on both sides promote religion and/or science when it serves their interests.

For instance, Democrats promote the idea of giving, often quoting the Bible, when they promote socialist policies that take from people with money, and give to people who don’t have money. Despite the science of economics that shows that socialism has never lifted an economy out of ruin.Alms for the poor box

Republicans are usually accused of being anti-science on global warming, but there isn’t a religious reason for doing that, they just believe that the predictive models aren’t settled science.

I cannot think of any issue where they ignore science because of religious dogma. Most accept that the Earth isn’t 6,000 years old, most call a doctor before a priest when they’re sick, and most consider scientific evidence when offered it, as related to proposed legislation.

The 1st Amendment
The 1st Amendment

No separation between church and state

Again, no Republican is promoting a repeal of the 1st amendment, or amending it.  I would also like to point out that “separation of church and state” is not even in the Constitution, which instead points out that no law should be passed prohibiting or mandating religion. That’s a pretty big distinction.

There are no proposed laws from Republicans trying to force someone to be religious, but instead to enforce they’re opinion of morality based on their religion.

In other words, no Republican is forcing you to be religious, but they don’t want you smoking marijuana, for instance, because they think it’s just wrong—largely based on their own religious conditioning.

Religion is taught in schools

This is half-true. Many Republicans want religion allowed to be taught in school, but none are promoting the idea that it must be taught in school under penalty of law, such as Sharia law would dictate.

Abortion is illegal

This is probably the only fair similarity in this meme. Many Republicans are anti-choice on the issue of abortion because again, they believe it’s murder.

You can disagree with them if you like, but their decision isn’t an oppressive one, it’s about saving what they believe to be a human life, a principle we all agree on in theory, we just disagree on when a life becomes a life.

Advertisements

I’m rather Blue over Sharia Law

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

In 2010, a legal decision in New Jersey incited national debate when Judge Joseph Charles decided not to grant a restraining order to a Moroccan woman who had been raped, according to legal standards in the United States, by her ex-husband. The reason given was that the judge accepted the Muslim man’s argument that under Sharia Law, he had done nothing wrong, and that ruling against him would violate his religious rights as enumerated in the 1st amendment.

As a result of this ruling and the potential for others like it, several states across the U.S. enacted anti-Sharia law statutes, including Oklahoma. However, after Oklahoma’s “Save Our State Amendment” passed, it was overturned by a higher court due to its targeting of one specific religion, specifically Sharia law, again citing that such a law violates the 1st amendment.

Judge Charles was wrong in his decision, but Oklahoma legislators reacted wrongly as well, and the higher courts were charged with making it all right. Many conservatives were upset the Save Our State Amendment was overturned, but they shouldn’t have been. If a statute can lawfully target the Muslim faith, one could lawfully draft laws targeting Christian faith as well.shariah-law[1]

American legislators define American law in their respective jurisdictions. There should not be a need to specifically exclude Sharia law, because unless Sharia law verbiage happens to be on that jurisdiction’s register, it should never be considered in the first place. The exception being in civil court where Sharia law may have been part of a contract.

Rape is not excusable under U.S. law because of religious views, so Judge Charles simply made an improper ruling that needed overturned—no additional legislation needed. If the man had killed his wife in an honor-killing, would the judge still have come to the same conclusion?

While I applaud Oklahoma and other such states attempting to take measures to prevent this in the future, the higher courts are there to reverse such decisions, and there are mechanisms in place to remove judges who go afoul of the law they are charged with adjudicating. Oklahoma didn’t need to amend their state constitution, they merely needed to deal with a judge violating his oath to uphold it.

If they truly felt it was necessary to elaborate, the Oklahoma legislature could have simply wrote something to the effect of the following:

The criminal court of Oklahoma may not consider laws which are not specifically on the United States Federal Register, Oklahoma State Register, or any applicable local registers as an argument for innocence or guilt.

It is succinct, and doesn’t target any single religion.

However, there’s a deep hypocrisy here with many conservatives. A majority of them are Christian, and they were the ones most vocal about prohibiting Sharia law, yet they often have no qualms about legislation such as blue laws or the proposed Defense Of Marriage Act.

Blue laws have curiously stood up to constitutional challenges because proponents have argued that while they were enacted as a way to force people to conform to a religious doctrine of the Sabbath, it can also be viewed as merely the government in question, ordering a day of rest, and does not necessarily have a religious component, making it okay.

Somehow the Supreme Court agreed—but how? It’s not a day of rest, it’s a day of not being able to buy alcohol. If they closed down all business on Sundays, then and only then would it be a forced day of rest.

SundayAlcohol[1]

More important, what business does government have telling you when to rest  in the first place? Why not tell me when I have to go to bed then? Maybe force me to take a nap too, while we’re at it.

As for the Defense of Marriage act, it is entirely contrary to the purpose of the Constitution. It was never intended to be a dictionary to define something such as marriage, nor was it intended to tell the people, in this case the gay community, what rights they have. One look at the Bill of Rights and it’s clear that it was written to define limits to the federal government, not the people. The Volstead Act (Prohibition) was the first attempt at perverting the Constitution in such a manner, also largely based on religious doctrine, and that was rightfully repealed a short time later. All such acts imply the government has the power, not the people.

As for blue laws, the supreme court did something in declaring these laws constitutional that I think violates their oath of office.

The Supreme Court Of The United States
The Supreme Court Of The United States

The Supreme Court Justices are sworn to uphold the Constitution, not the will of the majority. If we were a democracy, a system where only the majority opinion mattered, instead of a republic with a Constitution, we would have no need for them.

But we have a Constitution, and it exists to protect the rights of the minority from the majority. The Supreme Court is charged with interpreting it as written. What the SCOTUS did was find away to allow the majority to deny rights to the minority (atheists like myself), instead of judging these laws on their merits against the Constitution.

In so doing, they undermined the purpose of them being appointed, not elected, so that they don’t act on popular opinion. They behaved like legislators instead of guarantors of our rights.

Christians upset about Sharia Law arguments being allowed in criminal courts are absolutely right to be upset. But they must cease to endeavor to make American laws congruent with Christian doctrine also, or they are no better than the cause they are fighting against—hypocrisy destroys credibility.

Yelling Fire In A Theater Is Not An Infringement Of Your Right To Free Speech

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

As modern-day statists decry or attempt to explain the Constitution; something they often neither respect nor understand, they use the example about yelling “Fire” in a crowded theater as an example of how the restrictions of government as enumerated in the Constitution are not absolute, are outdated, and sometimes just wrong.US Constitution

Regarding the absolution of it; I assure you that while the Constitution was designed to be amendable if We the people overwhelmingly agree to do so, it is absolute; or at least it was intended to be. Yet, arresting someone for falsely yelling fire in a crowded theater, believe it or not, does not violate the 1st amendment in any way. It can, and should be a crime without freedom of speech having ever been infringed upon.

Last week in my article Why Can’t I have a Nuclear Warhead, I explained how owning an AR-15 versus owning a nuke is a frivolous argument that people who wish to abandon our Constitution often use. So this week, I’ll do my best to debunk this one as well.

If you are in a movie theater, you may freely say the words fire, bomb, I just farted, or whatever else you may exclaim that could scare the heck out of everyone if said loud enough.

Conversely, if there were a fire, you would be right, and frankly a hero, to warn everyone by yelling “Fire”. This being true, using those words in a theater will not get you arrested as a general rule either when appropriate.

The issue is not the action of exercising your free speech, it’s about creating a hazardous environment for people by virtue of yelling fire or any other method you might use. Because this then creates a panic, and thus a dangerous situation where people could be trampled or otherwise harmed in some way as they attempt to evade a danger that only existed in your sadistic mind. You could pull the fire alarm, not yell anything, and you’d be guilty of the same violation; so the speech used is never the issue.

By creating a panic, you infringe on someone’s right to life, as enumerated in the Constitution, since a panicked crowd becomes a serious health hazard to everyone involved.

colonial_flee_540[2]Sadly, our Constitution is misunderstood, violated, and under attack every day. As Americans, we should understand that the Constitution was right long before we even fully understood how to implement it. We were slave owners declaring all men are created equal with certain unalienable rights, after all.

The Constitution has never been the problem—it had it right all along. People violating it has, and always will be. So let’s not let the left destroy it with false premises, logical fallacies, or misdirection. We the people should take the time to read, understand, protect, and promote the Constitution responsibly. Our liberty depends on debunking such false arguments. Hopefully, as people like me explain away them, you’ll be better prepared for your next debate.

Marriage and government need a divorce

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

Straight people being opposed to gay marriage makes as much sense as someone who is on a diet being upset that the person next to them is eating a doughnut. ~ Anonymous

I love the simplicity of this quote. Because I am heterosexual, the gay-marriage issue doesn’t personally affect me, but as a libertarian who considers liberty the single most important thing mankind should have behind food, air, and water; I am furious when people think it’s their right to dictate the behavior of others; especially when that behavior doesn’t infringe on their own rights in any way.

Blog1
United States Constitution

The U.S. Constitution, to an atheist patriotic libertarian like me, is the closest thing I have to a bible, as it ensures my freedom.

The religious-right wing of the GOP have proposed a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Republicans present themselves as the party that loves the Constitution, and many prominent Republicans even carry around a miniature copy in their pocket to consult whenever the desire strikes them.

Kudos to them for loving the Constitution—it’s a pretty amazing document. What concerns me is they don’t seem to comprehend or understand the sentiment behind it. There’s an underlying theme in our constitution that is often lost on people proposing such changes.

The U.S. Constitution was specifically drafted to establish a government, then restrain it. Let’s look at the 1st amendment for instance:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

It says, Congress shall make no law… not The people may…

This distinction means that the Constitution is a set of limits to government as demanded by the people who have the power, not permissions granted to the people by a government that has the power. Our rights are ingrained within us, not given to us by government.

Our forefathers were all oppressed by their respective homeland’s monarchies, something modern day Americans have had the good fortune to not know (Thanks veterans!), and they weren’t about to let such oppression happen here. We the people should never tolerate a government that feels it has the right to tell us what we can do. We the people decided that we wanted to create a system of government solely to protect our rights, and that’s it.

Aside from prohibition, which we rightly fixed later, the Constitution has never placed limits on the people, only the government.

So the idea of a Constitutional amendment defining marriage is specifically out of character for that document—a polar opposite to the rest of it.

Republicans complain about losing the White House; many claiming it’s because people want free stuff and are willing to vote themselves handouts. While this is certainly a part of it, Republicans also lost because many of them are mired in religious ideology that a majority of Americans, including many Christians, think the government shouldn’t be legislating. We are not a theocracy, and those wanting to legislate religion-based morals scare reasonable Americans.

The issue is much bigger than this proposed amendment however, as Government shouldn’t be in the business of marriage in the first place. Let’s go back and think about what marriage is.

Long term, it’s a commitment between two people; a contract of love, which is generally followed by a ceremony among friends and family to celebrate that union.

I defy anyone to name one good reason why government needs to be involved in any of this. The process should be pretty simple.

Marriage License
Unnecessary nonsense in a free country: AKA Marriage Licensthe process should be simple.
  • Two or more people decide they want to commit to each other.
  • They find a venue willing to perform a ceremony of their choosing.
  • They sign a contract with terms that they all agree to.
  • Done.

The only thing the government should do is enforce the contract in the event of a dispute. Meaning, if someone breaches that contract, leaves the union, and the parties can’t come to terms on how to settle their assets, a court settles it for them.

Some of you might be thinking I’m crazy—I’ve been called worse. But guess what; everything I’m proposing is already legal. It’s just that we don’t call it marriage. I could rent a hall somewhere and perform a “Love ceremony” or something like that, then enter into a contract with someone where we give power of attorney to each other and agree to some sort of legal partnership. This is basically what a marriage is, and the law will enforce that contract as it is written. The only thing I’m proposing is that the government has no business requiring you to get a license to do it, and subject you to regulations, if you want to call this contract “marriage.”

All that being said, to be fair, there should also be similar protections for the various religious entities (churches, mosques, etc.) that do not wish to perform such ceremonies, so that they indemnified from legal action if they decline to perform the service.

If the couple wants liberty, the church must have it too; otherwise it’s a hypocritical infringement of rights on the church instead of the non-traditional wedding party.

So when someone asks me whether I support legalization of gay marriage? To me, it’s just an illogical question. Government and marriage have no business being married in the first place.