Saturday, October 02, 2010

What the hell is Sharron Angle talking about?

Really, what?
One of the last questioners asked about "Muslims taking over the U.S.," including a question about Angle's stance on the proposed mosque near Ground Zero in New York.

"We're talking about a militant terrorist situation, which I believe isn't a widespread thing, but it is enough that we need to address, and we have been addressing it," Angle said.

"Dearborn, Michigan, and Frankford, Texas are on American soil, and under Constitutional law. Not Sharia law. And I don't know how that happened in the United States. It seems to me there is something fundamentally wrong with allowing a foreign system of law to even take hold in any municipality or government situation in our United States."

Is she saying that Dearborn, Michigan and Frankford, Texas are now governed by Sharia law? Is she saying that just because there are a large number of Muslim-Americans in those towns that they are on the verge of imposing Sharia law on their fellow citizens?

Two months ago, Angle raised some eyebrows when she refered to government social programs as idolatry: "They violate the First of the Ten Commandments prohibiting idolatry." This led several reporters and bloggers to look into her past membership in the Constitution Party whose bylaws state that the founders established "a government of law, under God, rooted in biblical law, which controlled and regulated government." Howard Phillips, the founder of the Constitution Party, was a strong proponent of Christian Reconstructionism , the idea that the idea that the institutions of family, church and government need to be reconstructed along Old Testament lines. The current leaders of the Party downplay the ammount of Reconstructionism in their program, but it's clear that many of the individual members of the Party are reconstructionists.

Angle may or may not be a full blown reconstructionist. She tries to avoid questions about her beliefs, but cannot help letting it slip into her public statements Like many culturally conservative Christians, Angle is opposed to the separation of church and state--or, more accurately, believes it should operate in one direction only, keeping the government out of the churches while allowing the churches into government. For example, she thinks creationism should be taught beside evolution in public schools. What her few statements reveal is Christian Nationalism, a kinder, gentler form of reconstructionism. Angle is an active Southern Baptist and Southern Baptists are among the most voiciferous supporters of Christian Nationalism. Christian Nationalism is the belief that the majority of the founding fathers believed something similar to modern Protestant fundamentalism and that they intended the United States to be a Christian, not a secular, country. They usually bolster their argument by pointing out that the overwhelming majority of Americans are one kind of Christian or another.

This might be the clue that explains what she meant by her Sharia comment. At its core, despite all of the quote mining of the authors of the constitution, Christian Nationalism argues for a simplistic form of majority rule. Christians are the majority in this country and should be allowed to dictate their beliefs on the rest of us (they conveniently ignore the fact that tens of millions of Christians disagree on some of their favorite issues). If Angle believes Christians should be able to write the law because of their majority position, then she probably expects other religious communitees to want to do the same. It's simple projection. She imagines that, if she were a Muslim in Dearborn, she would want to establish Sharia law, therefore the real Muslims of Dearborn must be moving to establish Sharia law. Because of her one way view of separation of church and state, she must also believe there is nothing to stop them from doing so. Or she's just shooting off her mouth without paying attention to what comes out. I wouldn't rule either one out.

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