Saturday, September 26, 2015

Does our Constitution include orthodox Islam as a protected belief system?

In doing research on this topic it is apparent that many sources, both Islamic and Obama-leftist types (like Salon and Huffington Post) distort American history with their fabricated claims that Islam is “woven into the fabric” of America’s history.

Joining the opposition are many in the legal community, including Republican presidential candidates (most notably Cruz and Rubio), who are immersed in their own unique beliefs that enrich their profession:  Constantly changing interpretations of the Constitution.

Those same websites, commentators and candidates are the ones who are critical of Dr. Ben Carson’s legitimate concern about a Muslim president.  They suggest that Carson is ignorant about the Constitution and its prohibition of a “religious test.”

The concept of "no religious test" begs a definition of "religion" and accurate understanding of Islam.

Here is what we need to ask:  Does Islam fit the definition of "religion" as understood by the framers of our Constitution?  That is the question that should be addressed. To address that question, we need to know three things:

1) How was the term "religion" understood and intended by the framers?
2) Would they have included a belief system or ideology like orthodox Islam within their definition of "protected religion?" and
3) Does orthodox Islam as practiced by Muhammad, as reflected in the principle Islamic texts, and as practiced by the most devout Islamic leaders and practitioners today, meet the intended definition of "religion" as understood by the framers?

Significantly, we need to understand that Islam is not merely just another “religion” as we understand every other religion in the world.  Islam is uniquely an all-encompassing lifestyle belief system that encompasses economic, political, military, legal and social systems.  “Religion” is a cover for the Islamic political and legal system:  Sharia.

For the first question: How was the term "religion" understood and intended by the framers?

The most popular dictionary used within 35 years of the adoption of the Bill of Rights (adopted in 1791) is Webster’s 1828 Dictionary.  In it is given the several definitions of “religion” as understood at that time.

RELIGION, noun relij'on. [Latin religio, from religo, to bind anew; re and ligo, to bind. This word seems originally to have signified an oath or vow to the gods, or the obligation of such an oath or vow, which was held very sacred by the Romans.]

1. religion in its most comprehensive sense, includes a belief in the being and perfections of God, in the revelation of his will to man, in man's obligation to obey his commands, in a state of reward and punishment, and in man's accountableness to God; and also true godliness or piety of life, with the practice of all moral duties. It therefore comprehends theology, as a system of doctrines or principles, as well as practical piety; for the practice of moral duties without a belief in a divine lawgiver, and without reference to his will or commands, is not religion. [bold added for emphasis]

2. religion as distinct from theology, is godliness or real piety in practice, consisting in the performance of all known duties to God and our fellow men, in obedience to divine command, or from love to God and his law. James 1:26.

3. religion as distinct from virtue, or morality, consists in the performance of the duties we owe directly to God, from a principle of obedience to his will. Hence we often speak of religion and virtue, as different branches of one system, or the duties of the first and second tables of the law.

Let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. [bold added for emphasis]

4. Any system of faith and worship. In this sense, religion comprehends the belief and worship of pagans and Mohammedans, as well as of christians; anyreligion consisting in the belief of a superior power or powers governing the world, and in the worship of such power or powers. Thus we speak of thereligion of the Turks, of the Hindoos, of the Indians, etc. as well as of the christian religion We speak of false religion as well as of true religion

5. The rites of religion; in the plural.

The “Let us with caution indulge…” part is the most revealing.  It is the cautionary preamble to the 4th definition which raises questions about inclusion of “the belief and worship of pagans and Mohammadans.”  That 4th definition is the one that most would like to impose on us today. 

It follows, then, that the previous three definitions were the ones intended by the framers of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.  Those definitions include:  

  • God as understood in the Judeo-Christian Biblical context,
  • Understanding that disbelief in a divine law giver is NOT religion,
  • Reference to the Bible to define godliness, man’s duties, obedience, and love to God and his law,
  • Duties we owe to God derived from the first and second tables of the law.  These are:

First Table -- Commandments #1, #2, #3
Our Relationship To God (Vertical)
Second Table -- Commandments #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10
Our Relationship To Man (Horizontal)

There is no doubt that historical and legal opinions are divided on the framer’s intent of the definition of religion.  Interpretations fall into two opposing camps:

  • Those who wish the Constitution to be an evolving document - that its original intent was never intended to remain static. That what it said was only applicable to its time, not to our time. These are the Progressives, Muhammadans, and liberals of today – and unfortunately, a fair number of legal scholars whose profession thrives on continual legal reinterpretation and  change.

These see the Constitution as “a living document” meaning it should be interpreted in any manner that favors the will of those in power.  This is exactly what the Constitution sought to avoid.  These argue that the definition of religion should be broad and vague and include every moral and immoral belief system experienced by humanity.

  • Those who understand the Constitution as a constant, a document that prevents the flavor of the day from being imposed by the powers of the day.   These understand that our nation, without religion defined in the narrow sense, will lack morality.  Without morality there will be oppression and servitude:  The consequences of Muhammadism, aka Islam, in all its forms.

Here is one legal academic opinion of how to define “religion:”

In endeavoring to formulate the best possible definition, the most important elements of the continuing effort by judges and academics to define religion are:

(1) adherence to equality as a guiding interpretative principle;

(2) employing the definition in a consistent manor; and

(3) being cautious but not so frightened that the courts retreat to so vague a definition that the term religion loses its meaning.

How can religions or religious beliefs be deemed “equal?”  How can the practice of religious beliefs be equal?  How is that possible?  Employing that definition in a consistent manor is impossible, because the ‘guiding interpretative principle’ is oxymoronic.  The legal profession has already retreated to a definition so vague that the term ‘religion’ has lost its meaning.

Answer to question #1:  “Religion” was construed as the beliefs generally consistent with the then understood moral doctrines of the Bible, without distinctions as to denomination or differences between deism, theism or Judaism.  Their definition would exclude Muhammadism and other belief systems in contradiction to these basic beliefs.


For the second question:  Would the founders have included a belief system or ideology like orthodox Islam within their definition of "protected religion?”

Based on the foregoing, the answer would have to be a resounding “no.”


And the third question:  Does orthodox Islam as practiced by Muhammad, as reflected in the principle Islamic texts, and as practiced by the most devout Islamic leaders and practitioners today, meet the intended definition of "religion" as understood by the framers?

Again, a firm “no!”  Orthodox Islam promotes an ideology, a “belief system” and especially a legal system that is foreign to not only our form of governance, but to the definition of religion itself as understood by the framers of the Constitution and our Bill of Rights.

The website “Gates of Vienna” provides a succinct summary of this incompatibility.

If our founders fought against an unjust, oppressive Britain, I cannot imagine their welcoming of a belief system that is infinitely more oppressive than the British under the protective umbrella of “religion.”  Absolutely not!

Islam is in fact clearly a radical ideology at odds with all that our Constitution sought to protect and defend against.

1 comment:

Brother Michael said...

A good well-thought-out dissertation.
Short answer: Islam in its truest sense cannot and should not be defined as a "religion." It is a religion-based social governance system. It smacks in direct conflict to our system that allows religions (or even religious voids) within its framework Constitution/Bill of Rights.

Unfortunately, this discussion will go on ad nauseum.