M-barrassing Essay

A guest commentary on the front page of Saturday’s M section reads “Shariah Bill could have big impact on business.” The author, Senior Vice President of Faith and Health of Methodist LeBonheur Health Care Gary Gunderson, argues that a pending bill in the state legislature to prohibit Sharia law would hurt Tennessee.
Rarely has anyone argued an important issue in such a demeaning, snide way.
“It should be called the Barney Fife Bill because it would radically – and ridiculously – expand the powers of state government by targeting a specific religious group for adhering to their scripture and customary practice,” Gunderson writes. “The state of Tennessee needs its current Muslim citizens badly and will need its future ones even more…They’ll take their brains and skills elsewhere, and others would follow them, leaving not just hospitals, but FedEx, TVA, Oak Ridge – even Little Debbie snack cakes.”
The illogic of his arguments is so overwhelming, it’s hard to know where to begin.
No one is denying Muslims their freedom of religion in this bill. However, their religious rights do not mean they can have their own set of laws. Ask David Koresh’s followers. Nor do Mormons get to indulge in polygamy. Being a Muslim does not allow anyone in America to engage in honor killings, polygamy, female genitalia mutilation or attacking women who do not conform to your dress code. Who could argue for these rights and consider themselves in any way humane?
Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci extrapolated what happens once Sharia gets a foothold, as it has in Europe. “In each one of our cities, there is a second city, a state within a state, a government within the government,” she writes. The very essence of the United States is that different peoples come here to contribute, but not to change the core values we have. How can there be one nation with equality for all when there are different laws for different people?
“They (Muslims) come here even though they know that Tennessee is, well, less forward-thinking than some other parts of the United States,” Gunderson writes. How does he know what they think? Perhaps they view Tennessee as a step up from a hovel in Pakistan, or from a country where women are stoned for adultery or where Christians like the Copts in Egypt and the Maronites in Lebanon are discriminated against. If that’s “less forward thinking” then count me in.
Would there really be a skills vacuum if these people left because of our anti Sharia law stance? People from other countries like India are waiting to come here. Our own citizenry has always shown itself skilled, intelligent and innovative.
Would businesses like FedEx suffer? Hard to believe. And Little Debbie? When do snack cakes figure in and are they as important an aspect of our economy as just laws? Aren’t liberals always arguing anyhow about the deleterious effects of big business?
The Dutch politician Geert Wilders delivered a speech at Cornerstone Church in Nashville on May 12. Called “A Warning to America” it is very much worthwhile reading. He has watched the progress of creeping Sharia in his own country of The Netherlands. You can read the speech at http://www.jihadwatch.org/2011/05/geert-wilders-a-warning-to-america.html.
Gunderson concludes by saying “If I were a Methodist in Islamabad, I would depend on the mature Muslim leaders to protect me from the extreme members of their faith.” Good luck with that. In Pakistan Bin Laden got the protection, Danny Pearl did not.

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