Critical Readability

My critical readings of the best and worst of online media

Fears About Shariah Law Take Hold In Tennessee : NPR

I’m going to preface this by saying I am neither Christian nor Muslim. While I was raised within a Christian nation, having no belief in either religion or no formal education in either, I would consider myself more of an outsider than insider on the emic/etic scale.  Perhaps that is why I am baffled by this article, “Fears about Shariah Law Take Hold in Tennessee” and it’s seemingly obvious relation to the Biblical Literalism that is a mainstay of Evangelical Christianity.

Read Excerpt 1 from the previously mentioned article: 

“I don’t want anybody to persecute any religion including Islam, but we have a duty as Americans to understand that they intend to take us over and compel us to become Islamic,” Douglas says. […] The First Amendment may provide the freedom to practice all religions, but, according to Douglas, the “government is showing a deference and is accommodating one single religion — Islam, Shariah,’ Douglas says. […] Douglas says deference should be shown to the religion of the country’s Founding Fathers. Instead, Douglas sees the Justice Department making sure a mosque in nearby Murfreesboro could open despite legal challenges via Fears About Shariah Law Take Hold In Tennessee : NPR.

Then read this (different person): 

“I am not anti-Muslim at all. I don’t hate anybody. But I do have issues with Shariah law. When you look at Shariah law, it’s so antithetical to the things that we hold dear as Americans,” Miller says” via Fears About Shariah Law Take Hold In Tennessee : NPR.

One more quote from “Fears about Shariah Law Take Hold in Tennessee”:

“Health care investor Andy Miller tries to isolate his concerns to the moral code laid out in Muslim holy books, where he finds discrimination toward women.” 

Next, the wikipedia understanding of Shariah law (which suggests a certain amount of popular consensus): 

Though interpretations of sharia vary between cultures, in its strictest definition it is considered the infallible law of God – as opposed to the human interpretation of laws [emphasis added]”

Which we shall next compare to this wikipedia description of Biblical Literalism: 

“Biblical literalism is the interpretation or translation of the explicit and primary sense of words in the Bible. A literal Biblical interpretation is associated with the fundamentalist and evangelical hermeneutical approach to scripture – the historical-grammatical method – and is used extensively by conservative Christians, in contrast to the historical-critical method of liberal Christians”

Now, be reminded of Leviticus 12:2 which says:

When a woman gives birth and bears a male child, then she shall be unclean for seven days as in the days of her menstruation she shall be unclean.

Finally, some conclusions:

  • There are conservative and liberal Christians and Muslims
  • Both the Qur’an and the Bible can be taken literally or figuratively
  • When taken literally, some people’s interpretations of both the Qur’an and the Bible can be used to discriminate against, marginalize, demonize, violate, or otherwise commit crimes against women (or LGBTQ people, I might add, as in the denial of civil liberties)
  • Fundamentalism or extremism exists in both religions, and is equally problematic and dangerous
  • The separation between church and state is dissolving, but it’s not Islam that’s infiltrating the American government. The last time I checked, it was the bible that was being used to justify the limitation of women’s freedoms through anti-choice legislation, the redefinition of rape, the lack of support for equal pay, the intent to limit contraception.  And we had civil rights to begin with – the same cannot be said for the LGBTQ community.


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