Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me" John 14:6.
A recent CNN report immediately got my attention: Judge extends ban on Oklahoma's anti-Islamic law referendum.i In many past articlesii I have emphasized the crises in family, society, nation and even religious communities of the marginalization of God, His Church, Christ's teachings and in general of Judeo-Christian values in society.
If this CNN report is accurate, then the hypocrisy of our judicial system is almost beyond human comprehension. Apparently a referendum in Oklahoma is contested as violating the 1st Amendment of the Constitution of the United States which states: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
My point is this: Islamists are citing this amendment for the application of Sharia Law to justify a New Jersey "judge's refusal to grant a restraining order against a husband accused of rape." The CNN report went on to describe the rape incident the: "Muslim man whose wife accused him of raping her repeatedly." The CNN report noted the words of Muneer Awad, Executive Director of the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR): "What this amendment is going to do is officially disfavor and condemn the Muslim community as being a threat to Oklahoma."
By the same logic the holy canons of the Church must be considered and applied in the laws of our nation. To both quote and rephrase Mr. Awad's comment but from a Christian perspective: this ruling is going to "officially disfavor and condemn the" Apostolic Christian Churches, "as being a threat to" our nation. The teaching of the Apostolic Christian Churches are ignored, disfavored and condemned by the current United States judicial system. Mr. Awad's call for the favoring of Sharia law, should be considered an outcry for the favoring of Christian moral laws.
I cannot write a tome on all Ethical issues that confront true, committed, Christians in the world today. I touch on them in several other articles. (Morelli, 2005, 2009). I will but give two egregious examples. The first example is abortion, prohibition of which is fundamental to the tradition of the Church and found in Holy Scripture as well. St. Luke speaks of the account:
"Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end." And Mary said to the angel, "How shall this be, since I have no husband?" And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. (Lk 1: 30-35)
Our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ took on our flesh, took on our human nature at the moment Mary said: "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." (Lk 1: 38). Her famous "fiat" is the moment of conception, and consistent with Mr. Awad's comment above should be of the law of our land. That is to say, if Mr. Awad wants Sharia Law to be taken into account in legal matters then Christians should have the same right. Roe vs. Wade should be repealed. Abortion should be treated for what it is - taking a life - and legally be dealt with accordingly.iii
The second example is the Church’s insistence on the biological and moral impossibility of same-sex marriage. Once again, the consistent and unwavering canons (laws)iv of the Orthodox Church of Christ in this regard. St. Ignatius of Antioch tells us of the spiritual significance of the canonical prohibition:
Tell my sisters to love the Lord an to be satisfied with their husbands in flesh and spirit. In the same way tell my brothers in the name of Jesus Christ to love their wives as the Lord does the Church . . . the union should be made with the consent of the bishop and not merely out of lust . Let all be done to the glory of God.v
That marriage is a union of male and female becoming one flesh, blessed by God, is also made clear by St. John Chrysostom: "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh (Eph 5: 31). There is another aspect of marital obligation: Paul shows that a man leaves his parents, who gave him life, and is joined to his wife, and that one flesh—father, mother, and child — results from the commingling of the two. The child is born from the union of their seed, so the three become one flesh. Our relationship to Christ is the same ..."vi
Toward the application of Christian values in society
Once again my thanks to Mr. Awad for pointing out the importance of not "condemning" and 'officially disfavoring' religion especially in the United States, a country founded on Judeo-Christian principles. (Morelli, 2009). If Sharia Law can be applied in this country, how more fitting to apply the Christian canons.
For with God nothing will be impossible" Luke 1: 37.
Morelli, G. (2005, September 06 ). Whose church do I belong to: My church or the Orthodox Church of Christ. www.orthodoxytoday.org/OT/view/morelli-whose-church-do-i-belong-to-my-church-or-the-orthodox-church-o
Morelli, G. (2009, September 26). Secularism and the Mind of Christ and the Church: Some Psycho-Spiritual Reflections. www.orthodoxytoday.org/OT/view/morelli-secularism-and-the-mind-of-christ-and-the-church-some-psycho-spirit.
iii. St. Basil Canons 2 & 8: "She who purposely destroys the fetus shall suffer the punishment of murder ... and we pay no attention to the distinction as to whether the fetus was formed or unformed."
iv. St. John the Faster Canon 18
v. Letter to St. Polycarp.
vi. St. John Chrysostom, Homily 20 on Ephesians 5.
By the CNN Wire Staff, CNN
November 23, 2010 10:39 a.m. EST
- The judge says she will decide by November 29 whether to issue a permanent injunction
- Oklahoma voters approve an amendment barring the use of Islamic law in state courts
- The lead plaintiff says the amendment violates the First Amendment
- Backers cite a judge's refusal to grant a restraining order against a husband accused of rape
(CNN) — A federal judge has extended a temporary restraining order against an Oklahoma referendum that would ban the use of Islamic religious law in state courts.
Oklahoma voters approved the amendment during the November elections by a 7-3 ratio. But the Council on American-Islamic Relations challenged the measure as a violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange issued a temporary restraining order November 8 that will keep state election officials from certifying that vote.
On Monday, she ruled that the temporary restraining order will remain in place while she makes a final decision on whether to issue a permanent injunction until the case is resolved. That final decision will come no later than November 29, she said. "What this amendment is going to do is officially disfavor and condemn the Muslim community as being a threat to Oklahoma," Muneer Awad, executive director of CAIR's Oklahoma chapter and the lead plaintiff in the suit, said earlier this month. In addition, he said, the amendment would invalidate private documents, such as wills, that are written in compliance with Muslim law.
The amendment would require Oklahoma courts to "rely on federal and state law when deciding cases" and "forbids courts from considering or using" either international law or Islamic religious law, known as Sharia, which the amendment defined as being based on the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed.
Sharia law on ballot in Oklahoma
2009: What is Sharia law?
In bringing suit, CAIR argued that the amendment violates both the establishment and free-exercise clauses of the First Amendment's guarantee of religious freedom. Awad has said the amendment passed "under a campaign of fearmongering" about Islam.
The entire U.S. Muslim population is about 2.4 million — less than 1 percent of the country, according to a 2009 survey by the nonprofit Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.
But supporters said a New Jersey case, in which a judge refused to grant a restraining order against a Muslim man whose wife accused him of raping her repeatedly, made it necessary for Oklahoma to take action to keep Islamic law from being imposed there.
The New Jersey decision, in which the family court judge found the husband was abiding by his Muslim beliefs regarding spousal duties, was overruled by an appellate court.
But in automated phone messages in support of the amendment, former CIA Director and Oklahoma native James Woolsey warned that there was a "major campaign in Europe to impose Sharia law" and that Islamic law "is beginning to be cited in a few U.S courts."
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V. Rev. Fr. George Morelli Ph.D. is a licensed Clinical Psychologist and Marriage and Family Therapist.
He is the Coordinator of the Chaplaincy and Pastoral Counseling Ministry of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese and Religion Coordinator (and Antiochian Archdiocesan Liaison) of the Orthodox Christian Association of Medicine, Psychology and Religion.
Fr. Morelli is also Assistant Pastor of St. George's Antiochian Orthodox Church, San Diego, California.
Fr. Morelli is the author of: