The Religious Freedom Coalition, founded and chaired by William Murray, the evangelist son of Madalyn Murray O’Hair, wants you to know that putting God’s law above the constitution is very bad — when Muslims do it. They link to a talk by Zaid Shakir about secularism and Islam, in which Shakir says some genuinely disturbing things. Like this:
Whereas the spirit governing both modernity and secularism — and the two are intricately connected — is that human beings can and in fact must guide themselves independent of the guidance of God. And so one expression that has been closely associated with modernity and in a sense with secularism is that “man is the measure of all things.” Including the measure of God and the measure of religion. One of the principles of secularism is that religion will have no role in informing public policy, governmental decisions or rulings between human beings, so the judiciary branch of government, the legislative branch of government, will allow no room, no role, for religion, values that are rooted in religious principles in a particular society, may be allowed to enter into those realms but only after they’ve been measured and assessed by humans to pose no threat to the integrity of the secular system.
Gosh, that sounds like it could have been said, virtually word for word, by any Christian conservative, doesn’t it? In fact, William Murray himself has said very similar things. Why, just a few weeks ago Murray was complaining that by supporting equality for gay people, Obama has “turned morality upside down and violated God’s moral laws in pushing for the normalization of homosexual sex acts.” And his new book argues that forcing kids to pray in school was good because it taught kids to submit to God:
“If rights come from God they cannot be taken away, but if they come from government, a simple majority vote can void those rights,” he explained. “Fifty years ago, prayer and Bible reading represented the authority of God over the school, the teachers and the students. Bowing of heads in the morning for prayer was much more about surrendering to the authority of God than about learning ‘morals.’”
What’s the difference between his position and Shakir’s? Only the name of the God. Both are theocrats. And theocracy is bad, but only if it isn’t Murray’s religion being imposed.