Republican Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a man many pundits consider to be a strong contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, took the stage at the Iowa GOP convention this past weekend and uttered a standard GOP talking point. “America did not create religious liberty, religious liberty created America,” Jindal said to a packed house in Des Moines.
Daily Iowan This line has become de rigueur in the GOP, stemming from right-wing opposition to gay marriage, the contraception mandate of ObamaCare, and
general reproductive abortion rights for women, all of which, in the minds of the GOP’s most prominent voices, constitute an unconscionable violation of the constitutional rights of Americans who oppose such measures on religious grounds.
The Iowa GOP delegates, however, adopted a measure this weekend that would seem to contradict Jindal’s call for both the respect of religious liberty and its central place in American iconography. Jason Noble of the Des Moines Register has reported that, in a 404-401 vote, the Iowa GOP voted to include a plank that calls for feverish opposition to the “recognition of Sharia law, foreign law, and international law.”
Besides the problematic assertion that the United States shouldn’t follow international law set forth by the United Nations (such as the genocide conventions that we are signatories to) the most disturbing aspect of the plank is the stated opposition to “Sharia law,” which we believe is a clear dog whistle to the racist, “Islamaphobic” trend in American politics and is itself a threat to the religious liberty the party claims to care so much about. (Only if you consider Islam a religion)
It should be noted that Sharia, a legal framework that bases its legitimacy in the Koran, is not a monolithic entity. In other words, there is no such thing as a single “Sharia law.” “Sharia law” changes from place to place. (From bad to worse) Also, as Al-Jazeera America’s Wajahat Ali has noted, Sharia is much more concerned with the laws of personal religious observance rather than national policy. (HAH! Al-Jazeera, al-Qaeda’s personal media outlet)