Posted by: bridget | 8 February 2008

Throwing in the towel

The Archbishop of Canterbury, in an effort to commit cultural suicide, opines that “Sharia law seems unavoidable.”  (Hat tip: TotalTransformation.) 

Dr Williams argues that adopting parts of Islamic Sharia law would help maintain social cohesion. For example, Muslims could choose to have marital disputes or financial matters dealt with in a Sharia court. He says Muslims should not have to choose between “the stark alternatives of cultural loyalty or state loyalty”.

Just a guess, but this elephant thinks that most women would chose to have marital disputes arbitrated in a non-Sharia court.  Probably rape disputes, too.  Actually, probably any dispute, as the Western rules of evidence generally don’t discriminate based upon gender, and at least allow women to testify on their own behalf.  Just a guess.

As for the ridiculous idea that one should not have to chose between cultural loyalty and state loyalty: those who immigrated to England have made a choice, namely, submission to English law.  We do not allow people to chose both the country that they want and the laws that they will choose to submit to.*  This is not the make-your-own-sundae version of the rule of law.

Perhaps Mr. Rowan is correct: Muslims who immigrate to Europe feel out of place.  They likely leave countries ruled by Sharia law, however, because countries that are ruled by Sharia law, to put it bluntly, suck – for human rights, civil rights, and economics.  Now, Britain is not exactly sitting upon a wealth of natural resources, but it still seems to offer its citizens a nice standard of living.  That wouldn’t have anything to do with oppressive Western values, now would it? 

Levity and humour, below the fold:

A Hillary nutcracker! (Sorry, Simon.)

College men try to steal rare books worth millions, get butts kicked by librarians.  Hat tip: Volokh.

*Excepting, of course, any jurisdiction which is bound to submit to the results of a Kennedy opinion.


  1. Well the answer is obvious. We should all just go ahead and adopt Sharia law, usher in the world wide caliphate, and live peacefully under the rule of our Muslim superiors. HA! Not in a million years. Well not in America, maybe in Europe.

  2. BTW to get an idea how at least one London resident views the above comments you should visit this site Bridget. I think you will be…umm…interested…

  3. Wow, Rowan’s idea is so stupid on so many levels.

    BTW, I selected you for a Thinking blogger award – congratulations and keep up the good work!

  4. How does splitting your country into two incompatible forms of law and governance promote social cohesion?

    Sheer cowardice. God will not reward Rowan Williams for handing over the flock to the wolves.

  5. TT,

    Not in your area of America, at least. The Manhattanites might cave under pretty quickly.


    Thank you. :)


    It doesn’t. That’s the best part. It actually stratifies the society and makes two distinct and incompatible classes of people.

  6. P.S. You really must read that court opinion. I haven’t laughed that hard in a while.

  7. I don’t know, Rowan’s argument makes perfect sense coming from a representative of a church that used to be run from a position of government power, and from a tradition that views religious law as above secular law.

    ‘course, it’s cracked…but if you think about it from his perspective, you can see where his error sneaks in without him noticing it…

  8. Well, if secular law and religious law conflict, then you figure out a system that allows both to co-exist.

    The system of having religious law for things like contractual disputes is absolutely insane. If there ever were a secular issue, it is a contractual dispute. :)

    I do understand the tension between secular and religious law, especially in marriage and divorce. The best solution, IMHO, is for the government to recognise its limitations – to say that there is a good that comes from government-sanctioned marriage. (When you put kids into the equation and start blending money, you need a set of firm legal rules. Period.) There is also a need to protect people during divorce: one party should not be able to clean out the bank accounts, title the house in his/her name, and leave the other person destitute. So the government should have a set of rules for dealing with all of this. What it cannot do is determine when such unions or schisms are sanctioned by a deity; nor should it try. What religions cannot really do is to determine child custody, alimony, tax issues, and ownership of various items – nor should it try. (Yes, many religions have a tradition for this, but whatever that tradition is, it must fit within our other laws.)

    So, I guess I see the entire issue as moot… there’s no real place for religious law in a secular legal system, at least if that legal system and religious system are both appropriately bounded.

  9. Theo,

    It’s one of those things that the Native American’s recognized: If you want to have your own laws governing your culture, religion, ethnic identity, etc…you have to be a sovereign entity, which religion kind of is in our country…but your laws can only affect your members.

    On a lesser scale, we can see how this conflict plays out here, and I think it works OK, although it’s a little messy.

    Take the 71-year-old lady who was recenty taken from the church she’s been a member of all her life in handcuffs, because the new pastor had her thrown out for “sewing cancer and discord. She merely pointed out that he was violating the church charter.

    After twice seeing her arrested and fined for going back to the church, the judge sort of washed his hands of the whole thing, because the case was going to force him to involve himself in the church law.

    Not a place for such things, and for sure, the church should not be useing the police to enforce their laws.

    I guess what I’m saying is, that I like “our” way of doing it. It seems more sane.

  10. Oh, and BTW Theo, thanks for the information over at Vance’s blog.

    It’s been real informative. I would have thanked you over there…but I don’t know when he’ll be able to get around to approving comments!

    Sound like his life is a little wild right now.

  11. It’s one of those things that the Native American’s recognized: If you want to have your own laws governing your culture, religion, ethnic identity, etc…you have to be a sovereign entity, which religion kind of is in our country…but your laws can only affect your members.


    Agree about the tension between secular criminal law & religious law. I don’t think you can use one to enforce the other, unless you are content with intermingling them in ways that are not going to be beneficial to you in the future.

    As for the information – you’re welcome. I’ll send along anything else that I find out. :)

  12. Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. :) Cheers! Sandra. R.

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