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-Reactions to the Texas Islamic Sharia Tribunal

by Dr. D ~ February 11th, 2015

Two weeks ago we posted about the establishment of a new Muslim sharia tribunal in Texas. Since then I have found quite a few reactions to that development. The following are the most substantive:

See the interview of two members of the tribunal by Glen Beck above. Later in the linking article on the Blaze it is claimed that the tribunal imam actually lied in a response to one of Beck’s assertions.

An article in the Christian Post has a number of responses to the tribunal including this from Mayor Beth van Duyne of Irving, Texas where the new sharia Islamic center is housed:

"Let me be clear, neither the city of Irving, our elected officials or city staff have anything to do with the decision of the mosque that has been identified as starting a Shariah court." …

"Texas Supreme Court precedent does not allow the application of foreign law that violates public policy, statutory, or federal laws," continued van Duyne. "I am working with our State Representatives on legislation to clarify and strengthen existing prohibitions on the application of foreign law in violation of constitutional or statutory rights." …

"if it’s determined that there are violations of basic rights occurring, I will not stand idle and will fight with every fiber of my being against this action."

"Our nation cannot be so overly sensitive in defending other cultures that we stop protecting our own," added van Duyne. "The American Constitution and our guaranteed rights reigns supreme in our nation and may that ever be the case."

Also in the article was this quote from Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C.:

"I think what we will see is a coercion of Muslims to participate in this program," said Gaffney in a CBN story posted last weekend. "[Shariah] is a brutally repressive — very hostile to women, hostile to homosexuals, hostile to Jews, hostile to Christians — kind of totalitarian system."

I did find one excellent article that was somewhat neutral if not positive by Eugene Volokh in the Washington Post. Volokh likened the tribunal to other ‘voluntary’ religious ‘courts’ maintained by the Catholic Church, Orthodox Jews, Amish, and other American religious groups. He did note that there would naturally be pressure among the faithful to recognize, use, and obey rulings from this type of religious judicial body. 

I am sympathetic to Volokh’s outlook since everything he pointed out I had already thought about in relation to church and ‘elder’s courts’ that I had experienced in Christian denominations. In reality obedience to the Islamic Tribunal would be voluntary and the Constitutional rights of all Muslims in the USA and legal redress within the law would still be available to the participants.

However, I also noticed in the Volokh article that the tribunal ‘judges’ were careful to say that they were not ‘arbitrators.’ Legal arbitration is regulated by Texas state law which they obviously want to avoid. This is why it is fair to say that they are actually establishing a parallel legal system within the borders of the USA.

It may be ‘voluntary’ and legally ‘non-binding’ but within the Muslim community there will now be considerable pressure to ignore American law in favor of sharia rulings by this Islamic Tribunal. In the process Muslim women might be intimidated and even coerced to accept decisions that are not in their best interest nor legal in the USA. Tragically immigrant Muslim women who were not educated in this country may be unaware of their rights under American law and be forced to accept the rulings of a biased sharia tribunal instead of receiving equal treatment under American law.            *Top

-US Supreme Court Declines to Block Same-Sex Marriage in Alabama

by Dr. D ~ February 9th, 2015

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The US Supreme Court declined to block a lower court ruling that would allow same-sex marriage in Alabama. So Alabama becomes the 37th state to recognize homosexual marriage over the objections of state officials and the vote of the people.

Over the weekend, the chief Justice of the Alabama state Supreme Court sought an injunction against a District Federal Court decision which over-ruled the state constitution and allowed same-sex marriage in Alabama. Here’s the story from NBC News:

Gay couples got married in Alabama on Monday despite a last-minute push from the state’s chief justice to stop them.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to block a federal court order requiring the state to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. …

(Alabama state) Chief Justice Roy Moore had ordered the state’s probate judges not to issue same-sex marriage licenses on Monday….Moore had written on Sunday night that "no probate judge of the state of Alabama nor any agent or employee of any Alabama probate judge shall issue or recognize a marriage license." …

Moore’s office said it had no immediate comment on the Supreme Court ruling, which denied a request for a stay by the state. Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented.

<Read the whole article>

Response: Is this non action by the US Supreme Court any indication of how the justices might rule later this year on the same-sex marriage cases before them? Only two dissented in this non-decision in the Alabama case.

I do believe this may be an indication of how the justices might be lining up for the big decision one way or another on same-sex marriage during this 2015 court season. If so, than we can expect same-sex marriage to become the law of the land later this year from a federal perspective and a fait accompli in all 50 states.

Meanwhile, in the process the 2006 vote of the people of Alabama has been over-ruled and the Alabama state Supreme Court ignored. I still believe that major changes like this need to happen through the vote of the citizens or their representatives in the state legislature.  This is another case of judicial activism, which has been the driving force in this whole issue from the beginning, starting with Massachusetts.             *Top

-6th Circuit Affirms Religious Liberty in Campus Ministry Employment Case

by Dr. D ~ February 6th, 2015

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The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday supported religious liberty in their ruling over an employment discrimination suit against a campus ministry. Here’s the story from WorldMag:

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship on Thursday, maintaining a broad constitutional right for ministries to control their hiring and firing practices. This is one of the first major rulings under the precedent set by the Supreme Court’s 2012 determination in Hosanna Tabor v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

In 2011, supervisors in InterVarsity’s Grand Rapids, Mich., office put a “spiritual formation specialist," Alyce Conlon, on paid leave to work on repairing her marriage. Later that year, the organization fired her when she and her husband moved forward with a divorce. In 2013, Conlon sued the campus ministry for wrongful termination, saying the ministry fired her but not two male employees in similar marital situations.

The 6th Circuit found it unnecessary to dwell on the details of the case because of the broad protections ministries have to make their own personnel decisions.

<Read the whole article>

Response: The court in this case affirmed religious liberty for allied ministries to choose their own requirements for leaders and employment. The decision was based upon a SCOTUS ruling in 2012. The same underlying principles should help 100’s of ministries in their cases against the Obama administration’s HHS Mandate which are still working their way through the courts.

Shouldn’t the same principles also apply to the choice of student leaders? Universities and colleges all across the country are kicking Christian ministries like Intervarsity off campus because they require the student leaders to be actual Christians. The new trend for educators is to call it religious ‘discrimination’ but in reality it is in effect actual persecution and discrimination against Christians.            *Top

-Gordon College: A ‘Pro-Homosexual Test’ for Accreditation?

by Dr. D ~ February 4th, 2015

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There now seems to be a ‘pro-homosexual test’ for college and university accreditation in the northeast under the guise of ‘discrimination’ which trumps religious liberty.  The prime example is the continuing persecution of a Christian college just outside of Boston, Massachusetts. We have posted about the case of Gordon College before.

Many Christian colleges have codes of conduct in place for students and employees and Gordon College’s code is similar to hundreds of evangelical institutions across America. The rules at that evangelical college includes obtaining from sexual relations outside of marriage. The New England Association of Schools and Colleges has ruled that policy as discriminatory against homosexuals. The college has been put on notice that it has less than a year to change the policy or lose its accreditation which is tantamount to a ‘death sentence’ for an institution of higher learning.

Not only is the very existence of the college under threat, but a local school district has now refused to accept student teachers from the college over the controversy. So now the institution’s teacher education is also in jeopardy.

Here’s a recent article about this situation in the Christian Post: “The Persecution of Gordon College

Response: If the New England Association of Schools and Colleges is allowed to impose a ‘pro-homosexual test’ for accreditation on Gordon College than all other Christian institutions of higher learning in New England will be in jeopardy and the precedence could eventually affect all Christian colleges and universities around the country.

Christians around the country need to seek out their Congressional representatives and ask them to put pressure on the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and the Department of Education which recognizes the accreditation bodies around the country. A ‘pro-homosexual test’ cannot be allow to trump religious liberty and Christian higher education in America. We have until September to take action.             *Top

-Evangelical Church in Tennessee Comes Out For Same-Sex Marriage

by Dr. D ~ February 2nd, 2015

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And so it begins…a major evangelical church in Franklin, Tennessee (Nashville area) has now come out in support of Same-Sex marriage and in addition will now allow homosexuals to participate in leadership and worship positions.  It has already become a national ‘cause célèbre’ with a report of the change coming in Time:

Three Sundays ago in Franklin, Tenn., twenty minutes south of Nashville and in the heart of the country’s contemporary Christian music industry, pastor Stan Mitchell of GracePointe Church preached what was perhaps the most important sermon of his life.

…For the past three years, GracePointe has engaged itself in a time of listening on the topic of sexual orientation and identity. It began around the time that the country star Carrie Underwood, who goes to GracePointe, spoke out in favor of marriage equality in 2012, …

That was a time when, as Mitchell, 46, explains, the position of the church on marriage was classically evangelical. People who were not heterosexual could be members, but they could not serve on the board, lead worship or other church groups. They could be baptized and receive communion, but they could not be married or have their children dedicated.

For congregants on all sides of the debate, the conversation over the past three years has been at times painful, even devastating.

Read the who;le article and also the article about the change in the Christian Post.

Response: And so it begins. Several times last year I stated that before long every evangelical church and denomination in America would be forced to choose and make a decision about homosexuality, same-sex marriage and the Bible.

Notice that in the Time article Pastor Mitchell preaches in support of the change, which is obviously against traditional Biblical teaching, by using a Bible story implying that to fully see and understand Jesus one must go beyond the written word. Which is true of course, but one can argue with him on whether such an ‘epiphany’  would ever conflict with the scriptures.

GracePointe Church is a well known and respected independent evangelical church and it is only the first among many prominent churches who will have to choose between the Bible and the changing American culture. The Presbyterian Church (USA) came out last year and was the closest thing to an evangelical denomination among the mainline churches to make a change in favor of same-sex marriage and homosexual leaders. At the same time, it was rejected in the United Methodist denomination which continues to have a huge conservative EV representation in the Bible belt.

Look for dozens of major evangelical churches to make the leap this year particularly those who have prominent members who are part of the entertainment industry. In fact, the dam may soon break with so many coming out in favor of change that those EV churches who are left maintaining a traditional Biblical stance may be viewed as being ‘on the wrong side of history’ even in some ‘Christian’ circles. As a consequence, Bible churches could increasingly be marginalized and maybe even discriminated against in the near future unless there is a major revival.             *Top

-Sharia Law ‘Islamic Tribunal’ Operating in Texas?

by Dr. D ~ January 29th, 2015

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(Image from Islamic Tribunal website)

A voluntary Islamic Tribunal using Sharia law is now operating in Texas. Here is the story from Breitbart News:

An Islamic Tribunal using Sharia law in Texas has been confirmed by Breitbart Texas. The tribunal is operating as a non-profit organization in Dallas. One of the attorneys for the tribunal said participation and acceptance of the tribunal’s decisions are “voluntary.”

Breitbart Texas spoke with one of the “judges,” Dr. Taher El-badawi. He said the tribunal operates under Sharia law as a form of “non-binding dispute resolution.” El-badawi said their organization is “a tribunal, not arbitration.” A tribunal is defined by Meriam-Webster’s Dictionary as “a court or forum of justice.” The four Islamic attorneys call themselves “judges” not “arbitrators.”

El-badawi said the tribunal follows Sharia law to resolve civil disputes in family and business matters. He said they also resolve workplace disputes.

Also another Breitbart article confirms that the tribunal will be exclusively following Islamic law even if it conflicts with American law:

When asked what he would do when Islamic law conflicted with American law, El-badawi said: “We follow Sharia law.”

Read the whole article which informs about how similar Sharia courts have conflicted with British law and have consistently mistreated women in the process. Also read the original article about the Texas tribunal.

Here’s a link to the Islamic Tribunal website for more information.

Response: What bothers me about this development is the establishment of a parallel legal system in America that does not recognize the Constitution or respect American law or our legal traditions. Everyone is suppose to be equal under our system but that is not the case under Islamic sharia law. Women and children have far fewer rights under sharia.

From my perspective, it would be tragic for American Muslim women to be persuaded for religious reasons to ‘voluntarily’ accept divorce arbitration from a court that would be obviously stacked against them. 

Voluntary alternative legal resolutions are within the law. mediation, arbitration, and alternative small claims courts are used by Americans all across the country. So the legality of the ‘Islamic Tribunal’ is unfortunately not in question.               *Top

-California Bans Judges from Boy Scouts

by Dr. D ~ January 28th, 2015

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The California Supreme Court has banned all state judges from belonging to or participating in the Boy Scouts. Here’s the story from CitizenLink:

The California Supreme Court says no state judge may belong to the Boy Scouts of America. That’s because the group does not allow openly homosexual scout leaders and the state high court says that’s discriminatory.

Part of a code of ethics passed in 1996, the rule is supposed to protect a judge’s impartiality. A group of more than 100 attorneys spoke out against the decision.

“The proposal creates an unconstitutional test for public office,” they wrote in a letter, “threatens the constitutional rights of California judges, and states unabashedly that it is designed to punish the Boy Scouts of America by prohibiting California judges from participating in that group’s activities.”

Response: This ruling is going to be challenged in Federal court. Nevertheless, watch out for similar legislation and rulings in your own state.

For now, participation in churches and religious groups with similar restrictions on homosexual leaders is exempted. Look for that to change in the future if this ruling is successful. Even now in the present environment, it is really difficult to see how a conservative Christian could ever be appointed and serve as a state judge in California.

A Muslim or two with similar views toward homosexuality might get appointed in the name of diversity and it will still be open to ‘Christians’ who belong to liberal churches and turn their backs on the Bible and traditional Christian teaching. Nevertheless, a ‘pro-homosexual test’ is now in place in the state.          *Top