The deadline for an Iraqi constitution came and went on Monday. A one week
extension was granted with the anticipation that the October 15th election date
for the citizens to ratify or reject a constitution can still be met. The
country has been governed by the Iraqi Transitional Administration Law (TAL)
since March 4, 2004. The TAL set the deadlines for the constitution and for the
elections for a new Iraqi government on December 15, 2005. The TAL currently
protects religious freedom for every Iraqi citizen.
However, early drafts of the Iraqi Constitution seriously undermined religious freedom by containing a provision making Islam the "sole source" of Iraqi law, as opposed to "a source" of law under the TAL, there is also a provision that declares unconstitutional any law "repugnant" to Islam. I have sent a letter to President Bush encouraging the Administration to redouble its efforts to ensure that the Iraq Constitution provides genuine religious freedom for all Iraqi citizens. An Iraqi Constitution that does not protect religious liberty will seriously undermine U.S. efforts in Iraq and the larger Middle East. The sons and daughters of Americans are not risking their lives to establish a theocratic government that denies its citizens the fundamental right of religious freedom.
[COMMENT: This article is very naive, in my opinion. The TAL defended freedom of religion because the US Army was behind it. That tells us nothing at all about the feelings of those who are writing the Iraqi constitution, and terribly misunderstands the nature of Islam. There is no way possible that the West is going to get the Iraqis to agree to freedom of religion. Such an idea to them is anathema. So devotees of democracy in Iraq are snagged on the tyranny-of-the-majority, with no clear way out. Only on Judeo-Christian principles can either religious or political freedom be sustained.
There are Muslims who would like to try this freedom thing out, but they will never, in today's climate, stand up against the traditional Muslims. (See Islam Library for more on this.)
Much worse than that is the fact that Christians, almost anywhere in the world, have no capacity to explain from where real religious (i.e., political) freedom comes. Religious freedom apart from political freedom is a contradiction. Western Christians have almost universally come to believe that such freedom is a secular thing. In America, we no longer study the Declaration of Independence, which is quite clear on the matter that the Source of our freedoms is God. There is no other source. None. Secular government cannot (both logically and psychologically) supply such freedom. For two reasons (at least):
(1) A secular world cannot supply any basis for moral distinction, which means that civil (or uncivil) government (the locus of coercive force) has no authority above itself, no authority to which it is accountable. It will give or takeaway "rights" at its own discretion -- as we are seeing today in America. Routinely. As Mao Tse Tung said, "Morality comes out of the other end of a gun barrel." That is the logical reason.
The Declaration is clear that our rights, our freedoms, come from God and God alone. There is no other source.
(2) Without God (in a secular world), things will always drift toward a control-minded society because civil government is the only thing that seems big enough to replace God as the final arbiter of all things. People will choose for the protection of civil government over their own freedom if they do not have a relationship with the living God. Only God can give us the spunk and wisdom to stand up Big Bureaucratic Government -- Government Nanny, i.e., the ability to take charge of our own lives as free men and women.
That is the psychological reason.
So the US Army may be able to force toleration of dissent so long as it is there. But that will not last a month past their departure.
The war we face is a spiritual war, with intellectual, moral, and spiritual components. The military part if it is only temporary and small segment. Until Christians get equipped (intellectually, morally, and spiritually), we will keep losing, and the enemy will keep winning.
I very much appreciate Tony Perkins efforts with President Bush. But President Bush is incapable of doing anything much. He himself does not understand the spiritual part of the war, still believing the foolishness that all religions are "noble". Bush has no sense that there is a Christian case to make, and that the secular case being made by the neo-cons and by so-called liberal democracy, cannot cut the mustard. The "quagmire" of Iraq is far worse than that in Vietnam. It is the spiritual, not the military, quagmire, a war Westerners, especially Christians, do not know how to fight.
Not yet. But the day will come. E. Fox]
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