Many will find this latest innovation in American law to be an upsetting or ominous development. I simply find it to be an entirely predictable and tremendously amusing one:
I have made a transcript of the Pennsylvania case in which state judge Mark Martin, a Muslim convert and U.S. Army reservist who served in Iraq, relied on a sharia law defense (as well as some evidentiary contortions) to dismiss an open-and-shut harassment case against a Muslim man who assaulted an atheist activist at a Halloween parade.
The victim, Ernest Perce, wore a “Zombie Mohammed” costume and pretended to walk among the dead (in the company of an associate who was the “Zombie Pope” — and who, you’ll be shocked to learn, was not assaulted). The assailant, Talag Elbayomy, a Muslim immigrant, physically attacked Perce, attempted to pull his sign off, and, according to police, admitted what he had done right after the incident. The defense argued that Elbayomy believed it was a crime to insult the prophet Mohammed (it is, under sharia law), and that because he was in the company of his children, he had to act to end this provocation and set an example about defending Islam.
As you will see, Judge Martin did not lecture the defendant about free speech or how disputes are resolved in a civilized country. He instead dressed the victim down for failing to appreciate how sensitive Muslims — including the judge himself — are about Islam.
Liberals and atheists have methodically waged war against Christianity while simultaneously attempting to limit free speech through enforcing politically correct sensitivity and free association through anti-discrimination laws. Apparently they never stopped to think that others were perfectly capable of learning from their example, others who are far more numerous, ruthless, and dedicated to their cause.
I believe it is now time for Western Christians and non-Christians alike to acknowledge that men such as Alexis de Tocqueville were correct and various concepts such as free expression, freedom of association, and other hallowed concepts of Western civilization simply do not translate outside of Western Christian culture. What was once theoretical is now empirical thanks to more than sixty years of evidence that strongly suggests conventional Western views of human liberty are simply not compatible with non-Christian, non-Western cultures.
For example, the concept of freedom of religion only functioned reasonably well so long as it was applied to a range of Christian denominations with a structural tendency to resist control by the state. It can no more be successfully applied to religious and quasi-religious belief systems that are closely intertwined with the state such as secular humanism, socialist atheism, or Islam than democracy can successfully encompass the participation of ideological parties devoted to communism, national socialism, or hereditary monarchy. This will, of course, fly in the face of many individual’s ideals, including my own, but observable reality has to trump the Platonic Forms when one is addressing practical public policy.
This doesn’t mean sacrificing any principles, quite to the contrary, it simply means ordering them in terms of their priority. And the primary principle of any Western society should be maximizing net human liberty within a structurally sound society capable of sustaining itself.