A recent Fox News show claimed Minnesota was the first state to allow Sharia Law.  The reasoning included Somali cab drivers at MSP Airport, who refused to transport people who carried alcohol and a Muslim cashier at Walmart, who refused to handle bacon.  The latter was re-assigned.  The former?  Well, if a cab driver doesn’t want to take me, there are a lot of other cab drivers who would be more than happy to jump the queue.  We all must decide whether we are willing to take the financial consequences of our beliefs.

Assuming this is true, and given Fox, I would have liked to see this for myself, these are scare tactics, NOT news.  Sharia Law says that a nonbeliever must be put to death after first being allowed to convert to Islam and refusing.  I have been to Minnesota well over forty times, I have spent more than 300 nights in the state, and I haven’t even seen a mosque.  Fox plays on American fears of Muslims, the 25% who believe Mr. Obama is a Muslim (as if it mattered if he were), and Muslim beliefs.  Let’s look at a few of those beliefs: eschewing alcohol (like Mormons), not eating pork (like Jews), praying in hundreds (which every large Church does during its service).  Fox omits saying Islam requires charity outside of taxes, limits loan interest, which we would do well to adopt, believes in prayer as a time to reflect upon one’s life (doubt many do that), and fasting to remember how the poor feel. I respect these tenets, just as I respect many in Judaism and Christianity.  There is a lot of good in religion.  The Holy Books have beautiful passages.  The idea is good; the execution often is too good, using a different meaning of “execution”.

In other words, Fox News was cherry picking, and the cherries weren’t ripe to begin with.

Let me demolish the argument right now by going back to 1960, before most of the anchors were born.  John F. Kennedy was seeking to be the first Catholic President of the US.  Back then, people then said that if Kennedy were elected, the Pope would be making American policy.  Yes, I remember that.  We also know that the Pope did not make American policy.

Now, we have over 60 million Catholics in the US, our vice-president is one, and I didn’t hear anybody’s saying that an Argentinian (good heavens, a LATIN-AMERICAN) would order, from ITALY, of all places, Mr. Biden or 20% of our population what to do.  Fox missed the boat on that one.  Indeed, in the process of googling this, I saw a picture of women whose hair was covered, and thought they were Muslims.  They were NUNS. Why is it fine for a nun to cover her hair but not a Muslim woman who desires to do so?

This particular clip upset some.  One said the Somalis should “become Americans.”  What is that?  I think she meant waving the flag (even if you don’t look at it when the national anthem is played), have a yellow ribbon on your car (but never have served), go to a Christian Church every Sunday (but deny people who love each other the right to marry).  We have the right to believe what we wish in this country, no matter how detestable it may be.  They believe life begins at conception, have no idea how the fetus develops, but do not care about the baby’s welfare after birth, especially if a person of color.  The Declaration of Independence said all men are created equal, but didn’t say “physically equal”: some have bad genes and really rotten luck.  As a doctor, I saw many with horrific conditions, some preventable, most not.  How do we handle them?  By dismantling safety nets?

What is an American? Somebody who believes what Fox News says, or somebody who thinks about what they say and disagrees?  Somebody who believes food stamps should be outlawed because of an abuse story, yet thinks guns should be available despite very deadly countable daily abuse?  Food stamps have less fraud than Medicare. Illegal gun sales are common, not just anecdotes.

What is an American?  Somebody who thinks America right or wrong, but tosses litter out the window, or puts a box of kittens out in the desert?  Somebody who obeys laws they don’t like, or grazes cattle on public land without paying?  What is an American?  Is it prayer at public events, Christian prayer, that is, insulting non-Christians and non-believers, like me?  Who is “big government” we love to hate?  Do we hate ourselves?  WE ARE THE GOVERNMENT.  Would we demand government tell a Somali cab driver whom he should carry?  He has the right to refuse to serve a person.  Or do rights belong only to “native born” Americans?

Does being an American mean we need to start speaking and writing English better?  I’d welcome that.  Is it knowing American history?  Then why didn’t we learn from Vietnam and not attack another country in a part of the world that we have little understanding of?

Jews eat Kosher; their diets forbid pork, so I don’t see a problem with a Muslim who doesn’t want to touch pork.  I am vegetarian and don’t want to touch meat. The Native American Church is allowed to use peyote, otherwise illegal.  The Catholic Church uses wine, alcohol, in its services, forbidden by Islam.  Ironically, “blue laws,” which restrict the sale of alcohol on Sundays, affect me, although I neither abuse alcohol nor am a believer.  I have to obey religious doctrine in buying alcohol on Sunday.

How is a Somali’s refusal to transport alcohol Sharia Law?  Do we have Jewish, Catholic or Mormon Law in this country?  No, we have religious beliefs of many types, and we try to accommodate those beliefs.  The NCAA doesn’t make BYU play tournament games on Sunday.  Jews don’t work on their holy days, and we allow that.  Catholics celebrate Holy Week, most of of us Christmas.  Sharia Law?  No.  Are there women who wear the Hijab here?  Yes. Sikhs wear head coverings.  So do nuns.  What’s wrong with that?  At the last funeral I attended, the number of people wearing jeans appalled me.  And we worry about covering hair?  I’m ex-Navy, and I soon learned when one did and did not cover.  One salutes only when covered, not otherwise.  Sounds like covering the head is special.

People have strong beliefs.  I have mine, too, that one may read in the nearly three hundred posts here on the blog.  Some are perhaps irrational; others may appear to be but are not.  Decide for yourself this belief of mine:  Fox News promotes hatred and fear, is biased, too often appears in public places, and violates the interpretation of the First Amendment. There are limits to “free speech,” and Fox has crossed them.  If I am wrong on that, correct me.  Then try to convince me Fox is “fair and balanced.”

If my wife wears a cover in Minnesota, it is to protect against mosquitoes, not Sharia Law.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: