JEFFERSON CITY—Dozens of Muslim women in head scarves came to the State Capitol on April 13 to extol the virtues of Sharia Law as they met with representatives and senators.
Rep. Anne Zerr, R-St. Charles, does not wear a head scarf. Zerr is an American woman who dresses fashionably. In no uncertain terms, she told The Pathway that she likes her rights and freedoms just the way they are.
“If they’re in the United States, then they need to adhere to United States laws, period,” Zerr said. “I’m not changing my law to fit their life. It’s our law. We figured it out. We’re citizens. They’ve got to live by our laws.”
Kerry Messer, lobbyist for the Christian Life Commission of the Missouri Baptist Convention, said seeing the 120 Muslim participants and their allies work their lobbying strategy was shocking.
“It is probably the starkest culture clash I have seen personally in 27 years,” Messer said.
“There is a visual impact of seeing dozens and dozens of women in [head scarves]. What I want to know is, will they bring a bloody wife? Will they bring a wife with a black eye? Will they bring a wife with her arm in a sling? Will they bring those wives to the State Capitol and lobby for Sharia Law? I doubt it.”
The ACLU out of St. Louis provided organizational support to the Muslims as they sought to gently play the religious liberty card. Little did they know that Messer, a Christian worldview educator, would come up with an ace.
“You cannot claim your right to abuse another person as a religious liberty right,” he said. “Religious liberties begin and end with your personal expression or your personal convictions, but when you abuse and injure another person in any way, you cannot defend that saying it’s a religious liberty. I think predominately what people are thinking about here is the multiple ways in which men abuse their wives in Sharia Law. Just the mere fact of having more than one wife is abusive to women, to those individuals as well as women in general.
“Sharia Law applies misguided theological concepts of abusing other people and protects that abuse under the guise of religious liberty. That violates the rule of law in this country.”
According to an email sent by St. Louis Attorney James O. Hacking, III, who helped organize the Muslim lobbying day, the Muslims were objecting to three pieces of legislation—House Joint Resolution 31, House Bill 708, and Senate Bill 308. Lawmakers said the two bills in particular do nothing to curb the right of Muslim women in Missouri to wear head scarves or burqas. They just affirm our freedoms.
“Missouri is a good reflection of the values and the principles that Americans generally hold in common,” said Rep. Paul Curtman, R-Pacific and the sponsor of HB 708. “We want our freedoms. If we want to go to church on Sunday, we’ll go to church. We just like the government to kind of leave us alone and allow us to pursue happiness however we want to.
“I don’t care what a neo-Nazi’s perspective of American government should be, and there are other people who maybe are Amish or whatever. I think that we need to make sure that we hold to and cling to the purpose of government that Thomas Jefferson articulated in the Declaration of Independence where he says we’re all equal under the law, and we’re all given rights by God Almighty, or if you don’t believe in God, fine, whoever, but the point is that no man can decide who has rights and who doesn’t. Therefore, governments are instituted to protect rights, and that’s it—nothing else. My bill seeks to protect people’s constitutional and inalienable rights. As long as the role of government is to protect everybody’s rights, then everybody is fine and safe.”
The Sharia Law worldview, believe it or not, would build on a lobbying day like April 13 and morph it into several Muslim candidates getting elected, targeting and swaying public opinion, and ultimately convincing the Missouri Supreme Court to be “fair” and “tolerant” as they advance the cause of Sharia. There is no end to the non-assimilating follower of Islam working to subdue every corner of the world—a world which most definitely does include a place called Missouri.
“Anybody’s theocratic tenet that they have to abide by should have absolutely no bearing whatsoever on American law,” Curtman said. “I believe in the separation of church and state to the extent that Thomas Jefferson believed in it when he wrote that letter to the Danbury Baptist Association of Danbury, Conn. That’s what I believe. And I think that he makes a good distinction between theocratic tenet and theocratic principles. We can have religious principles to influence good behavior, but we just cannot mandate theocratic tenet. So even if somebody from the Muslim community or any other religious community should get elected, they have an obligation to make sure that they don’t seek to mandate theocratic tenet.”
Messer said April 13 changed the landscape. Gone are the days when Christian Missouri could duck and hide.
“Prior to today, the discussion has been around one side saying, ‘We want to avoid this becoming a problem,’ and the other side saying, ‘We don’t see a problem, why bother?’” Messer said. “Today’s experience shows that there is a true, real, tangible problem. There is a community of individuals in the state who want to apply Sharia Law to Missouri. They don’t want to live under the laws of our state.
“The Muslim community coming into the State Capitol en masse with the specific political agenda of articulating their desire to apply Sharia Law in Missouri changes the discussion in Missouri from a discussion about what could happen in the future to a debate over a real war of worldviews in our culture in Midwest Missouri.”
ALLEN PALMERI/associate editor