N.C. judge: Witnesses may swear oath on religious text of their choice

posted at 6:04 pm on May 25, 2007 by Allahpundit

Specifically, in this case, the Koran:

Wake County Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway ruled that a witness or juror can take a court oath using a text “most sacred and obligatory upon their conscience,” citing common law and precedent of the state Supreme Court.

The judge didn’t declare the law unconstitutional or rule on whether the term “Holy Scriptures” could be reasonably interpreted to mean any sacred text other than the Bible. But the ACLU still considered the ruling favorable…

State law allows witnesses preparing to testify in court to take their oath in three ways: by laying a hand over “the Holy Scriptures,” by saying “so help me God” without the use of a religious book, or by an affirmation using no religious symbols…

In January, the ruling was reversed by an unanimous three-judge panel of the state Court of Appeals, after the ACLU had added Syidah Mateen as a plaintiff. In its decision, the appeals court cited Mateen’s claim that her request to place her hand on the Koran as a witness in a domestic violence case in Guilford County was denied in 2003.

I’ve gotten a couple of “wow” e-mails about this story and can’t understand why. It’s a no-brainer. Like I said when the issue came up during the Keith Ellison/Dennis Prager brouhaha:

[I]f the oath is a way of impressing upon the swearer the seriousness of his duties then it’s stupid to have him swear on a book he doesn’t regard with the utmost seriousness. If the oath is a way of demanding allegiance to America’s Judeo-Christian heritage then it’s a violation of the Constitution’s “religious test” clause.

Arguably there’s no “religious test” violation here because we’re not dealing with qualifications for a public “office,” but that’s irrelevant; it’s a violation of the Establishment Clause in any event. Is anyone seriously arguing that people should be forced to swear on a Bible regardless of their own religious affiliation, particularly when the statute authorizes oaths that eschew religion entirely?


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Canadian Imperialist Running Dog on May 26, 2007 at 12:04 AM

Yes.

Connie on May 26, 2007 at 12:38 AM

Buck Turgidson on May 26, 2007 at 12:13 AM

So doesn’t that make you question the purpose behind Muslims asking for a Qur’an?

Connie on May 26, 2007 at 12:40 AM

And then secondarily, it seems to me to be absurd, and possibly dangerous, to assume that all books that are held sacred are equivalent in the way they are regarded by those who hold them sacred, and in the actions they inspire in those who take them seriously. But that, although it is a public debate we very much need to have in America today, is one we are not allowed to have.

Robert Spencer on May 25, 2007 at 7:43 PM

We’re beginning to have it, Robert. And Muslims activists are not thrilled.

Connie on May 26, 2007 at 12:44 AM

“And Muslims activists are not thrilled.”

Make that Muslim activists are not thrilled.

I’d like the ability to edit too, although I’d probably miss a mistake the second time around as well. ;)

Connie on May 26, 2007 at 12:46 AM

How bout swearing an oath on a playboy mag?

csdeven on May 26, 2007 at 12:48 AM

True North Carolinians won’t swear at all. They’ll “swannee” that something is so, but they won’t “swear” that something is so. A quirky phrase I’ve learned to tolerate here in the Tarheel state.

windbag on May 26, 2007 at 1:41 AM

One could argue that Paul permitted lying to spread the faith:

Philippians 1:18
Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is being proclaimed, and in this I rejoice.

rokemronnie on May 25, 2007 at 8:34 PM

Context is always important:

And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will:

The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.

Philippians 1:14-18

Paul is pointing out that some, in order to mock Paul’s imprisonment, were insincerely “preaching” that which they didn’t believe. They did so as a show of their disdain for Paul’s preaching, as a lambasting caricature. But Paul perceived no pain from these insults, and instead rejoiced that although their motive was a lie, Christ’s name was being increased.

Don’t fall into the trap of snatching out a few words and using them as a brickbat against the faith.

Freelancer on May 26, 2007 at 3:21 AM

Swearing on any document is absurd. It’s similar to asking “do you swear to tell the truth on your mother’s grave?” The entire concept behind an oath isn’t too compelling. If someone wants to lie they will lie, whether or not you made them promise to do something else or not.

Nonfactor on May 25, 2007 at 8:40 PM

The world you’ve been raised in would like to make your words true, more’s the shame. But if it is true, why are such oaths held in the highest esteem throughout the free world? Every U.S. government employee takes an oath of office. From the President, the legislators, the federal justices, to every military member, all the way to the least recognized federal worker. It is a significant component of any federal legal system, identifiably separating truth from lie.

I understand that such “arcane” concepts, which are built upon a foundation that presumes individuals to be honorable until they prove themselves otherwise, is difficult for the selfish liberal mind to grasp, but there it is. Society demands that people attempt to be honest with one another. Everytime society shifts away from such an expectation, it is damaged.

Freelancer on May 26, 2007 at 3:28 AM

Issues like this will keep coming up and get more egregious, until the real root of the problem can be dealt with – that not all religions were created equal. Some are benign and some, ahem, aren’t.

The Right in the US also has to come to grips with its view of and reliance upon rationality and the inheritance of the Enlightenment, on which most of the American founding was based. The ambiguousness with which rationality is treated by the Right (when it comes to religious matters, even this oath taking problem) probably won’t survive the rest of this century.

Halley on May 26, 2007 at 4:18 AM

dorkafork:

Thank you for the links. I asked you this:

Why don’t you post some Islamic interpretations of Qur’an 3:28 that rule out religious deception? I’m sure everyone will be eager to see them.

Do any of the links you provide show any Islamic authority saying that religious deception is wrong? Let’s take them one by one.

1. No
2. No
3. No
4. No

And as for the ahadith regarding oaths and vows, do any say that one must be truthful in oaths made before unbelievers? No.

If you do find any links in which an Islamic authority says that religious deception of unbelievers is wrong in all cases, send ‘em on.

Robert Spencer on May 26, 2007 at 5:56 AM

Most reasonable people can see the problem with the government requiring witnesses of all faiths to swear their oath on the Bible. Why would we require a Hindu to swear an oath on the Bible? It seems more sensible to follow the example the previous poster mentioned and just leave all the holy books out of it, requiring witnesses only to swear they’re telling the whole truth.

That said, it seems equally foolish to allow Muslims to swear on the Koran in court when many devout Muslims believe any infidel court proceeeding which expresses man-made law is blasphemy. As Spencer writes in his books and many posters note above, taqqiyya frees Muslims to lie in court. Islam allows Muslims to do whatever is expedient to further their faith.

How could we ever take seriously one devout Muslim’s testimony that another Muslim is innocent of terrorism when that oath is sworn on a Koran that commands all Muslims to conquer the world? This strikes me as asking Rhett Butler to give his word as a gentleman that his friends are innocent.

From the radical Muslim perspective, allowing Muslims to swear on the Koran in court must seem like the first step toward Sharia, a crack in the door which must be exploited. We should not make any concessions to Islam.

Tantor on May 26, 2007 at 6:04 AM

Strictly speaking, any Muslim on trial in a non-Muslim court would indeed be faced by a hostile majority, no? How can it be appropriate for infidels to pass judgment on a follower of Allah? And how could infidels even put themselves in the position to do so without becoming persecutors, by definition?

Says who? The hadith I linked to clearly lay out the few circumstances where it is acceptable for a Muslim to break an oath. (“An oath or vow to disobey the Lord, or to break ties of relationship or about something over which one has no control is not binding on you.”) Yet you all are determined to ignore it. Robert Spencer ignores it, as though Ibn Kathir and the Tafsir al-Jalalayn is the only writing on the subject.

It’s ironic because the commentary directly addresses the situation being discussed. People like Prager want Muslims to be compelled to swear on a Bible to God. Islamic teaching would allow them to take that oath, as long as he keeps his allegiance to Allah, yet the Muslims are not taking advantage of this and are still being criticized.

dorkafork on May 26, 2007 at 7:41 AM

I swear to tell the truth on the sacred blood of Woden, and wiil give up my place in Valhalla if I swear false.

Now bring in the drinking horn of truth.

Hening on May 26, 2007 at 8:01 AM

Imean why do they even bother trickling this stuff in? They (our enemies,including congress) should just implement sharia law throughout the land so those of us who actually believe in our country can begin exercising what our second amendment rights were intended for..

Viper1 on May 26, 2007 at 8:04 AM

dorkafork:

You say:

The hadith I linked to clearly lay out the few circumstances where it is acceptable for a Muslim to break an oath. (”An oath or vow to disobey the Lord, or to break ties of relationship or about something over which one has no control is not binding on you.”) Yet you all are determined to ignore it. Robert Spencer ignores it, as though Ibn Kathir and the Tafsir al-Jalalayn is the only writing on the subject.

All right. Let’s look at it. Here is the hadith in question:

Book 21, Number 3266:

Narrated Umar ibn al-Khattab:

Sa’id ibn al-Musayyab said: There were two brothers among the Ansar who shared an inheritance. When one of them asked the other for the portion due to him, he replied: If you ask me again for the portion due to you, all my property will be devoted to the decoration of the Ka’bah.

Umar said to him: The Ka’bah does not need your property. Make atonement for your oath and speak to your brother. I heard the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) say: An oath or vow to disobey the Lord, or to break ties of relationship or about something over which one has no control is not binding on you.

“Two brothers among the Ansar.” As you no doubt know, the Ansar were the Medinan post-Hijra converts to Islam. So they were both Muslims. Can you please explain to us how Umar’s statement here has anything to do with the permission to deceive unbelievers given in 3:28 and explained by the commentators?

And as for Ibn Kathir and the two Jalals being the only writing on the subject, here are some more:

The Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs: “…saving yourselves from them by speaking in a friendly way towards them with, while your hearts dislikes this.”

As-Suyuti: “al-Taqiyya is with the tongue only; he who has been COERCED into saying that which angers Allah (SWT), and his heart is comfortable, then (saying that which he has been coerced to say) will NOT harm him (at all); (because) al-Taqiyya is with the tongue only, (NOT the heart).”

Ibn Abbas: “al-Taqiyya is the uttering of the tongue, while the heart is comfortable with faith….The concession here [in 3:28] must not be understood as to seek protection through acting in support of unbelievers; it must be limited only to verbal statements.”

Qutadah: “It is permissible to speak words of unbelief when al-Taqiyya is mandatory.”

And in modern times:

Maududi: “This [3:28] means that it is lawful for a believer, helpless in the grip of the enemies of Islam and in imminent danger of severe wrong and persecution, to keep his faith concealed and to behave in such a manner as to create the impression that he is on the same side as his enemies.”

Qutb: “Concessions are only granted to those who find themselves in a state of fear. Such people may try to protect themselves by pretending to support the unbelievers, but this must be understood to be only a verbal support given for a specific purpose. It cannot be an expression of any firmly established alliance or deeply rooted love.”

Want more?

Robert Spencer on May 26, 2007 at 8:11 AM

Wait till somebody whips out the Satanic bible to swear on. This just got interesting folks

The Koran is the satanic bible. No other book has been the cause of so much suffering and violence over the last thirteen hundred years. Written by a pedophiliac huckster to rationalize the worse behavior of humankind, it continues to drop IQ s, legalize slavery, support tyranny, abuse women and promote the murder of all that refuse to take part. It’s a theological cockroach that should be stomped on good and hard.

Hening on May 26, 2007 at 8:14 AM

I think a summary at this point might be illuminating.

First “dorkafork” claimed that I quoted only the Qur’an, ignoring how Muslims interpreted its verses.

This was a false claim, as I had already quoted two tafasir (Qur’an commentaries).

Then he said I was ignoring contrary evidence, so I asked him to post Islamic commentaries on Qur’an 3:28 that forbade religious deception of unbelievers.

He responded by posting four commentaries and a section of hadith, none of which actually forbade religious deception of unbelievers.

Then he said I was behaving as if the two commentaries I cited were the only word on the subject.

So I produced six more Islamic commentators, four classical and two modern, allowing for deception of unbelievers in some circumstances.

This is what invariably happens: critics claim I am misusing the Islamic texts, but they can’t manage to produce a single scrap of evidence to demonstrate that alleged misuse.

In all my books, I provide abundant documentation, so that anyone can check on the accuracy of what I’m saying. There are a great many people in this area who think they know more than they actually do, or are sure I know less than I actually do. I invite anyone and everyone to investigate Islamic teachings for themselves, and see if what I am saying characterizes those teachings accurately or not.

Robert Spencer on May 26, 2007 at 8:29 AM

No other book has been the cause of so much suffering and violence over the last thirteen hundred years

Except for the Christian Bible.

JayHaw Phrenzie on May 26, 2007 at 8:58 AM

Mr Spencer, you are documenting your points very well.

I do find it amusing to read a debate between Robert Spencer and “Dorkafork”. Got to love the internet age.

JayHaw Phrenzie on May 26, 2007 at 9:00 AM

Robert Spencer on May 26, 2007 at 8:29 AM

Mr Spencer,

You are by far the most articulate of any who take the trouble to explain the Muslim faith and it’s beliefs to us. I appreciate it and value your comments. I always come away feeling the need to be more diligent when considering how the Muslim faith views democracy. Keep up the fine work.

csdeven on May 26, 2007 at 9:06 AM

‘I solemnly swear to tell lies, all lies and nothing but lies to these infidels, so help me, Allah’?

Truth is not revered in islam. Survival and domination is. Since the Quran allows muslims to lie to non-believers when it advances the interests of islam, why is this a reliable tome upon which to base an oath of honesty?

Isn’t it their religious obligation to lie to infidels?

doingwhatican on May 26, 2007 at 9:21 AM

Except for the Christian Bible.

That cliche is often tossed out, and the influence of the Bible is often attributed to people such as Hitler, most recently by Islamists who even though they respect Hitler and allied themselves with him seem to miss the point that he was as much against Christianity as they are (or do they?).

Associating the acts of people from Christian populated countries with acts of violence does not serve to finger the Bible for their actions. The opposite is in effect with Islam since the ideas of conquering the world by the use of violence has always been the centerpiece of Jihad.

I would ask you for educational sake to provide a chapter and verse from the Bible that instructs the followers of Jesus to conquer the world by the sword, murder all that resist, enslave women and children, and do it in the name of Allah (God), the all merciful.

Hening on May 26, 2007 at 9:49 AM

No other book has been the cause of so much suffering and violence over the last thirteen hundred years

Except for the Christian Bible.

JayHaw Phrenzie on May 26, 2007 at 8:58 AM

You’re just “firing for effect” here I’m sure. Say something absurd to get a reaction.

Moral progress occured on earth because of the bible.
The rule of law happened because of the bible.
Slavery was ended because of the bible.
Europe and North America are the two greatest expressions of human progress on the planet because of the bible.
Did you ever wonder WHY the West is so far ahead of the rest of the world? It’s sure not DNA.

The misery in the Middle East is due to the Koran. What other part of the world still has slavery, 9 year old brides, rule exclusively by tyrants, murderous intolerance of non-Islamic faiths, and a total lack of moral progress since the 7th century?

Atheism/Darwinism gave us Stalin, Hitler, and Mao. The body count is over 100 million with just those three. No bible involved with that.

We were wondering where Rosie OD would pop up next. I think you’re channeling her. Enjoy your caffè e latte at Starbucks.

Mojave Mark on May 26, 2007 at 10:39 AM

So doesn’t that make you question the purpose behind Muslims asking for a Qur’an?

Connie on May 26, 2007 at 12:40 AM

While I concede the issue is likely “legal”, I’m with Mr.Spencer that it’s not a good thing. That’s what islamists do. They find every tiny crack in a free society, and hammer in a piton.

Buck Turgidson on May 26, 2007 at 10:44 AM

Atheism/Darwinism gave us Stalin, Hitler, and Mao. The body count is over 100 million with just those three. No bible involved with that.

Godwin Rule. I win the debate. I have destroyed the Hitler/Stalin/Mao argument in other threads already. “Darwinism” is not an ideology. Naziism, Communism, Christianity are all ideologies.

Atheism is not a religion, it is simply the ability to recognize fiction for what it is.

Millions, if not Billions of people throughout history have been the victims of suffering and violence in the name of the bible. Only the intentional blindness of a religious fanatic could stop you from seeing that.

I’m no fan of the Koran either. It is one of the most vile and poisonous books ever written. Just like the Bible, The Communest Manifest, Mein Kampf and other toxic ideologies.

And lastly, to accuse me of channeling Rosie is beyond funny. All Atheists are not Rosie or Bill Maher, although I suspect that Mojave Mark may be channeling Fred Phelps or some other Christian Hero.

JayHaw Phrenzie on May 26, 2007 at 11:13 AM

While I concede the issue is likely “legal”, I’m with Mr.Spencer that it’s not a good thing. That’s what islamists do. They find every tiny crack in a free society, and hammer in a piton.

Buck Turgidson on May 26, 2007 at 10:44 AM

Agree.

Connie on May 26, 2007 at 11:15 AM

JayHaw Phrenzie on May 26, 2007 at 11:13 AM

I love ya man, but is any discussion of the role in society of religious traditions permitted without being accused of plotting against you?

Buck Turgidson on May 26, 2007 at 12:00 PM

Mark.

-Moral progress occured on earth because of the bible.

Moral progress like what? This always chafes me. I would be so bold as to say that morals are static within a biblical interpretation, therefore unchangeable.

-The rule of law happened because of the bible.

No it did not. Not even a little bit. This legal system, the one we all enjoy in the western world is Roman based. Not “Holy Roman” but Republican Rome using idealized Greek writings. Romans were engineers and did things with an eye on the rational.

-Slavery was ended because of the bible.

Really? I’ll need to see references for that one. That’s like saying the Holocaust was ended because of the Bible and not a happy side effect of a larger conflict.

-Europe and North America are the two greatest expressions of human progress on the planet because of the bible.

I’ve often thought we progressed in spite of, not because of, religious interference. I can cite stuff and or things, should I be compelled to do so.


Did you ever wonder WHY the West is so far ahead of the rest of the world? It’s sure not DNA.

That’s a funny story. Something to do with the Catholic church burning books and Muslim traders reintroducing those books, leading to the end of Church rule.

Krydor on May 26, 2007 at 12:26 PM

Atheism is not a religion, it is simply the ability to recognize fiction for what it is.

It’s not a religion, but it is a metaphysical position. It concedes meaningfulness to propositions about the non-physical world, and alleges that (somehow) evidence present in the physical world can lead to judgments on the veracity of statements about non-physical things. I fail to see how that qualifies it as being any less bizarre and irrational than theism.

Millions, if not Billions of people throughout history have been the victims of suffering and violence in the name of the bible. Only the intentional blindness of a religious fanatic could stop you from seeing that.

I’m far from a religious fanatic, and I can’t see it. I can certainly think of unpleasant and cruel things associated with institutions of Christianity, primarily during the medieval period. I can’t think of anything so severe that it constitutes equivalence with Islam, in whose name medieval-quality attrocities continue to be perpetrated without apology into the present day.

Blacklake on May 26, 2007 at 12:45 PM

A pretty typical disingenuous response by Robert Spencer. I had no intention of following the argument according to your terms. You would certainly like the argument to be about whether or not the Quran forbids deception of the unbelievers. I made it clear (I thought) when I repeatedly stated that the Quran allows deception of the unbelievers in certain cases. Yes the Quran allows deception of the unbelievers in certain cases, namely to protect themselves from persecution. Like when I said:

…which only allows lying to avoid religious persecution… dorkafork on May 25, 2007 at 8:05 PM

Even with the commentaries you cited, you just ignore that lying is only allowed as a form of protection.
dorkafork on May 25, 2007 at 9:34 PM

The hadith I linked to clearly lay out the few circumstances where it is acceptable for a Muslim to break an oath… dorkafork on May 26, 2007 at 7:41 AM

I don’t know why Spencer insists I prove Islam forbids religious deception when it quite clearly does not. It allows it in certain circumstances, the details of which Spencer continually refuse to confront. I don’t know how to make it clearer after putting it right in front of his freaking face over and over.

He picks one out of the numerous hadith on that linked page, probably hoping that no one will click through. (Reminiscent of Greenwald.) Just one, though, and not one like this:

Book 21, Number 3268:

Narrated Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-’As:

The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) said: An oath or a vow about something over which a human being has no control, and to disobey Allah, and to break ties of relationship is not binding. If anyone takes an oath and then considers something else better than it, he should give it up, and do what is better, for leaving it is its atonement.

Earlier, Spencer said:

Above at 7:39PM I wrote this:

Note also that in the latter quote the two Jalals don’t say this can only be done in extreme circumstances, but whenever a believer fears “something.”

Obviously if the believer fears “something,” he is lying as a form of protection. Can you think of any circumstances in which someone may fear something in a courtroom, and lie as a form of protection? I can.

As though those other hadith did not exist. As though the only standard for when a believer fears “something”.

This is who Robert Spencer is, this is what he does. He’s done it before. He argues in bad faith.

dorkafork on May 26, 2007 at 12:56 PM

Yes the Quran allows deception of the unbelievers in certain cases, namely to protect themselves from persecution

I’ve yet to hear you explain how being placed on trial by a court of infidels could not conceivably be construed as “persecution.”

Meanwhile, ad hominem attacks on Robert Spencer’s character aren’t really helping to clarify your point. I suspect you may have lost site of the original issue, which was whether or not having individuals swear on the Koran in an American court was even a symbolically meaningful gesture.

Blacklake on May 26, 2007 at 1:16 PM

Krydor on May 26, 2007 at 12:26 PM

We’ve agreed to disagree and that’s good. But it seems to me you want to blame Christianity entirely for all of man’s historical short-commings while denying Christian ideas played any positive,civilizing role in history whatsoever.

Buck Turgidson on May 26, 2007 at 1:18 PM

why are such oaths held in the highest esteem throughout the free world?

Freelancer on May 26, 2007 at 3:28 AM

Pomp and circumstance. We don’t need people to put their hands on a Bible (or Qur’an) to hold them accountable when they lie or cheat or steal. If society needs that it shows us something about ourselves.

It seems more sensible to follow the example the previous poster mentioned and just leave all the holy books out of it, requiring witnesses only to swear they’re telling the whole truth.

Exactly; and even then only so they know that if they lie they can be brought to court.

How could we ever take seriously one devout Muslim’s testimony that another Muslim is innocent of terrorism when that oath is sworn on a Koran that commands all Muslims to conquer the world?

Tantor on May 26, 2007 at 6:04 AM

A quote like this makes it seem as though you wouldn’t trust the testimony of any devout Muslim, holy document or not. Similar to a question AP asked: should we just not let Muslims testify because they might be lying?

Associating the acts of people from Christian populated countries with acts of violence does not serve to finger the Bible for their actions. The opposite is in effect with Islam since the ideas of conquering the world by the use of violence has always been the centerpiece of Jihad.

Hening on May 26, 2007 at 9:49 AM

In other words: it’s okay to say The Qur’an has caused violence around the world, but the moment you accuse The Bible of doing similar you’ve crossed a line.

Moral progress occured on earth because of the bible.

No. Morality existed long before The Bible, and morality exists in people who haven’t read The Bible as well.

The rule of law happened because of the bible.

Lets ignore everything before 200AD. Nope, sorry Hamurabi, you had no rule of law. Ancient Greece? Nope. China? Sorry.

Slavery was ended because of the bible.

I seriously chuckled when I read this.

Europe and North America are the two greatest expressions of human progress on the planet because of the bible.

Thank God for Manifest Destiny and the Divine Right of Kings, right?

Did you ever wonder WHY the West is so far ahead of the rest of the world? It’s sure not DNA.

Is it The Bible?

Atheism/Darwinism gave us Stalin, Hitler, and Mao. The body count is over 100 million with just those three. No bible involved with that.

Mojave Mark on May 26, 2007 at 10:39 AM

Godwin’s anyone? Sorry, Mojave Mark, you’ve voided your opinion on the issue (and you’re factually wrong as well). Ah, I see JayHaw say it first.

Nonfactor on May 26, 2007 at 1:30 PM

Several people have remarked on how incongruous it is for me to be arguing with a man who calls himself “dorkafork,” and now we see that there was something to that. As in all such cases, I have answered not because of the stature of the critic, or his use or non-use of a silly nickname, but because I thought the points at hand might usefully be clarified for people of good will. And as far as they may have done that, I don’t regret the exchange.

Now we have the spectacle of a man who falsely accused me of relying only on the Qur’an when I had already quoted two commentaries saying that I am disingenuous and argue in bad faith. Then he quotes another irrelevant hadith that establishes nothing either about the circumstances in which religious deception can be practiced or the nature of the deception itself, and claims I am hoping people won’t see it and am ignoring his main point. This despite the fact that I have already dealt several times with what he claims I continue to ignore.

The brazen dishonesty of this, combined with arrogance and self-righteousness, as well as a fondness for ad hominems, is unfortunately typical of a certain quality of critic on the Internet and off. I have never met “dorkafork,” but I feel as if I’ve already argued with him dozens of times. And so here again I use this case as illustrative of certain common tendencies.

Robert Spencer on May 26, 2007 at 1:44 PM

Robert Spencer on May 26, 2007 at 1:44 PM

Mr. Spencer, have you ever studied Dr. Francis Schaeffers works?

jp on May 26, 2007 at 2:02 PM

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

–George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796

TheBigOldDog on May 26, 2007 at 2:02 PM

If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under.
—Ronald Reagan

We are never defeated unless we give up on God.
Ronald Reagan

Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is acknowledged.
Ronald Reagan

Without God, democracy will not and cannot long endure.
Ronald Reagan

jp on May 26, 2007 at 2:27 PM

–George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796

TheBigOldDog on May 26, 2007 at 2:02 PM

I wonder what religious principles George Washington might be referring to? Or Reagan for that matter.

Buck Turgidson on May 26, 2007 at 2:37 PM

Buck Turgidson on May 26, 2007 at 2:37 PM

Since you asked, from the same Address:

Citizens, by birth or choice, of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of american, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles. You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together; the Independence and Liberty you possess are the work of joint counsels, and joint efforts, of common dangers, sufferings, and successes.

–George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796

TheBigOldDog on May 26, 2007 at 2:40 PM

We’ve agreed to disagree and that’s good. But it seems to me you want to blame Christianity entirely for all of man’s historical short-commings while denying Christian ideas played any positive,civilizing role in history whatsoever.

Buck Turgidson

Well, yes and no. It’s one thing to grant a role, and I do, of Christianity (both good and bad) when it comes to the rise of our civilization. What annoys me to no end is the idea that all good things are inherently based on the concept of the Christian religion, and that simply isn’t so.

Krydor on May 26, 2007 at 2:49 PM

Ahh, that’s what I thought he meant before atheists insisted these things never crossed their mind.

Buck Turgidson on May 26, 2007 at 2:54 PM

Thanks for clearing that up Krydor. I want to understand where you’re really coming from. Your position seems fair to me.

Buck Turgidson on May 26, 2007 at 3:00 PM

Yes the Quran allows deception of the unbelievers in certain cases, namely to protect themselves from persecution

I’ve yet to hear you explain how being placed on trial by a court of infidels could not conceivably be construed as “persecution.”

Those aren’t the only instances in which the Quran discusses honesty. The hadiths on oaths show that, yes, Muslims are expected to be honest. All of the commentary on 3:28 I linked to described it as either avoiding friendship as a means of avoiding taking on un-Islamic mores, or described it as not allying with those hostile to Muslims. (Spencer supposedly responded to this somewhere above.)

Meanwhile, ad hominem attacks on Robert Spencer’s character aren’t really helping to clarify your point. I suspect you may have lost site of the original issue, which was whether or not having individuals swear on the Koran in an American court was even a symbolically meaningful gesture.

Blacklake on May 26, 2007 at 1:16 PM

I thought the numerous hadith on oaths and vows were relevant.

dorkafork on May 26, 2007 at 3:10 PM

In other words: it’s okay to say The Qur’an has caused violence around the world, but the moment you accuse The Bible of doing similar you’ve crossed a line.

Heh? You might be quoting me but you are replying to something you are trying convey and not my post.

My original point was that it’s a kneejerk reaction to spew how the Christian Bible instructs people to go out and conquer by the sword, enslave men and women and do it the name of God, but that no one quotes where in the New Testiment this is written including yourself.

Hening on May 26, 2007 at 3:48 PM

I’m no fan of the Koran either. It is one of the most vile and poisonous books ever written. Just like the Bible, The Communest Manifest, Mein Kampf and other toxic ideologies.

And lastly, to accuse me of channeling Rosie is beyond funny. All Atheists are not Rosie or Bill Maher, although I suspect that Mojave Mark may be channeling Fred Phelps or some other Christian Hero.

JayHaw Phrenzie on May 26, 2007 at 11:13 AM

JayHaw, please, cite a verse from the Christian Bible that is poisonous. And please, when you do so, ensure context.

I’ll wait. Oh, and nice swipe by calling Phelps a hero. He’s no servant of the Biblical God, who commands us to love our enemies. He’s a deranged attention-seeker.

Freelancer on May 27, 2007 at 5:44 AM

In other words: it’s okay to say The Qur’an has caused violence around the world, but the moment you accuse The Bible of doing similar you’ve crossed a line.

Nonfactor, when Muslims spread violence around the world they are justified in their interpretation of the Qur’an as folllowing their faith. Centuries of Christian anti-semitism, the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades are not justifiable by reference to the Bible. This basic difference is not trivial.

aengus on May 27, 2007 at 8:19 PM

He’s no servant of the Biblical God, who commands us to love our enemies. He’s a deranged attention-seeker.

So is Nonfactor.

aengus on May 27, 2007 at 8:23 PM

Incidentally are you seriously claiming that the Bible is a non-factor in the development of the West? The rule of law wasn’t uniquely developed in Rome by the way. Here in Ireland we developed the Brehon Laws in 600 A.D. despite no Roman influence whatsoever. Irish written history doesn’t mention Rome at all.

aengus on May 27, 2007 at 8:30 PM

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