While this blog generally focuses on life in Metro Nashville and Davidson County, the recent news out of Murfreesboro and the antics of Nashville School of Law Graduate (class of 1994) Joe Brandon cry out for someone to ask the question, how long will this insanity last? Jim Cope, the Rutherford County Attorney came close when he called today’s proceedings “a circus,” but at some point Judge Robert Corlew needs to step in and and dismiss this suit as frivolous and unworthy of consideration.
This issue is not complex. The suit basically attempts to suggest that Islam is a political movement and not a religion. Yet, the test for being understood as a valid religious movement is fairly slim . . . just ask the Branch Davidians.
Let’s keep this simple. When I want to know the definition of something, I generally go to a dictionary, which throughout the years has been the primary source of word understanding. According to my copy of Merriam-Websters, a religion involves:
- The service and worship of God and/or the supernatural;
- a personal set or institutionalized system of religious beliefs, attitudes, and practices; and
- a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.
While I am no expert on Islam, even I know that Muslims believe in and worship Allah. I know that they engage in regular spiritual practices such as daily prayer and pilgrimage (usually with more passion and engagement than most Christians I know). These practices involve dietary laws, guidance on family relationships, and other rules and regulations about life in the community of faith. The last time I checked all of these characteristics serve to define Christian faith and practice as a religion, and thus the same should be true for Islam.
Why the concern about whether Islam is a religion by the mosque worriers? Again, it is very simple. If Islam is a religion like any other then it would not be subject to the provisions of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, you know, that amendment which says that the government “…shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise, thereof…” Basically the opponents have no leg to stand on, and they know it. So they engage in ridiculous arguments suggesting that up is down, black is white, and that some that has been recognized as one of the major religions of the world for well over a thousand years.
I am sure that Judge Corlew is continuing the case in the belief that everyone deserves a fair hearing, even the most ludicrous of arguments. But there should quickly come a time when he follows the example of the Federal judge that threw out the Orly Taitz birther suit, recognizing that the conspiracy theories are never ending and that the intent is to create publicity, not to seek justice. The insanity needs to stop, and the sooner the better.