Letters to the Editor
Freedom for All?
I read "Honoring Faith in the Public Square" [November] with interest, and found myself nodding in agreement often. Then I read it again but this time, wherever I saw church, I substituted mosque; wherever faith, I substituted Islam; wherever minister/pastor/clergy, I substituted imam/mullah; and so on. I did not nod in agreement. What does this say about what I think, what we all think, what freedom of religion in America really is, how it is really practiced, and who it is really for?
"Shari'ah's Uphill Climb" [November] is well argued, though I find the final point about slow assimilation unsatisfying. I'm sympathetic to the logic, but the author seems to be saying, "No, Shari'ah is not permissible, except that it is after a long period of semi-injustice."
It may be more consistent to argue that Jewish and Muslim law make claims on the entire community, from personal to legal to social relations, but that Christianity more clearly separates Christ from Caesar. As the West developed a secular public sphere, Christian (especially Protestant) practice developed with and facilitated this move. By contrast, Jews had to fight to carve out a legal space. Notably, they also had to jettison Jewish law as an all-encompassing standard for social/political life. In a similar fashion, if American Muslims want to set up an overlapping jurisdiction with the state, they need to revise the traditional understanding of Shari'ah.
United by Trust
"The Key to a Purposeful Life" [November] was superb. We 21st-century believers have largely lost touch with the experience and teaching regarding union with Christ. This is partly due to the current translation of the New Testament Greek words pistis/pisteuo ("believe" ...