This morning Michael Brown posted an article endorsing Roy Moore for the Senate seat in Alabama. In turn I asked Michael about Moore’s views on Muslims in government:
Thanks, I appreciate your thoughtful tone in that article. Do you agree with Moore that Muslims shouldn't be allowed to serve in government?
— Randal Rauser (@RandalRauser) December 11, 2017
“No, I hadn’t seen that specific statement, but I don’t agree, as long as the Muslim could swear that he/she supports the Constitution, not Sharia Law.”
In reply, I provided Michael with this link from The Hill which summarizes Moore’s views. The article includes this excerpt with quotes from Moore:
“Muslims can’t swear to uphold the United States Constitution and still be a Muslim, because the law of Allah as expressed in the Quran is supreme.”
He went on to add that Islamic law is “simply incompatible with our law.”
He went on to compare taking the oath of office on a Quran with allowing an oath of office to be taken with Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” in 1943 or Karl Marx’s “Communist Manifesto” during the Cold War.
Michael then replied: “Note Moore’s explanation, which is in harmony with my view.”
So to summarize, Michael initially stated his view that Muslims should be allowed to serve in government so long as they swear that they will support the Constitution rather than Sharia Law. However, Michael subsequently appears to retreat from that view since he then instead endorses Moore’s perspective. And Moore explicitly says that a Muslim cannot uphold the Constitution. Further, Moore compares the Qur’an to Hitler’s Mein Kampf.
The great irony of all this is that Moore himself is the one who has repeatedly put his own fundamentalist religious beliefs ahead of the Constitution. As Michelle Cottle observes in The Atlantic, “Moore is an expert on the subject of putting one’s religious beliefs ahead of the rule of law.” (“The Lawlessness of Roy Moore.”) For example, Cottle writes,
“in 2016, the chief justice directed Alabama probate judges to ignore the Supreme Court’s recent decision legalizing same-sex marriages and to continue enforcing the state’s ban on such unions by denying marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Once more, he was brought up on judicial-ethics charges and, in September of last year, was suspended from office. He resigned shortly thereafter to run for Senate.”
Let’s summarize the double standard here. Michael Brown and Roy Moore believe Muslims should be excluded from government because they allegedly place adherence to their religious principles over commitment to the Constitution. And yet Moore himself regularly places adherence to his fundamentalist (and dominionist?) interpretation of the Bible over commitment to the Constitution.
As the title of my article states, what we have here are conservative Christians who pine for Christendom, that yesteryear when Christians had special privilege in society, when Christians could enforce their opinions on others, when Christians were favored by the state and received special privileges. But a commitment to retrieving Christendom is as much a threat to the secular state as any commitment to Sharia law.
Whatever Roy Moore and Michael Brown may think, the truth is that Christendom is long dead and it ain’t coming back any time soon. And so to the conservative Christians who long to make this Faustian pact with the state in a misbegotten attempt to retrieve lost privilege, I ask this: What good is it to gain the favor of the state if it means losing your effective witness to a non-Christian world?