AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel David Yerushalmi is featured in a PBS report entitled “Shariah Controversy,” which highlights “the debate over banning U.S. courts from considering Islamic law in their decision-making.” As you know, Yerushalmi is the principal author of the American Laws for American Courts (ALAC) model legislation, which was enacted into law by several states and is pending in many others. This legislation, crafted especially for states, is an effort to insulate state courts from the growing tendency to embrace constitutionally offensive foreign laws, including sharia.
Surprisingly, the PBS report is relatively balanced; but it includes an interesting quip from Rabbi David Saperstein, director and chief legal counsel for the leftwing Union for Reform Judaism’s Religious Action Center. Saperstein also delivered an invocation at the 2008 Democratic National Convention shortly before Barack Obama accepted the nomination as the Democrat presidential candidate. In the report, Saperstein claims that the efforts to enact ALAC legislation is “un-American at the deepest and most profound level.”
David Saperstein is very much like the ubiquitous reform rabbi who speaks as though he is giving a sermon and his sermons always sound like a diatribe from a humanist. Words like “un-American”, “deep”, “profound” are sure to be in tow. From an orthodox perspective, one must ask a “reform” Jew, “What about what you claim to be Jewish is in fact Jewish? Where in the world is the source for this nonsense that all peoples and cultures are of equal merit?” All of Judaism is about discerning between the holy and the profane. By reducing everything to the holy one has reduced everything to the profane.
Superficially articulate spokesmen like Saperstein rely upon the inability or unwillingness of most of their fellow travelers to think past three levels of argument. This allows the following syllogism:
- Only science, as in mathematical physics, provides Man with certain knowledge.
- No man/woman can know any absolute truth other than the certainty of science.
- All moral, political, and philosophical judgments (i.e., Reason, ethics, morality) are outside of mathematical physics; therefore, they are absolutely unknowable. They are mere beliefs; fully exchangeable opinion. No basis to distinguish a Judeo-Christian moral truth or political order from any other.
As Loewenberg has pointed out, based in part on the works of Klein, Voegelin, and Strauss, this is the destruction of Western thought or what has been understood as the natural tension between Reason (Athens) and Revelation (Jerusalem) in Western Philosophy.
Once you’ve arrived here, there are only two bases for political order. We have come to this understanding — the Founders did — from Hobbes and Locke. If all but science (not science as in theory but as in mathesis universalis) is but meaningless and fully interchangeable opinion (A=B, B=C, … X=X1, therefore on any given day, A=X1), a political society seeking to choose the right political order may be “required” to agree that A=T or tyranny in its active phase. That is, if there is no basis for truth, and there is only personal “taste” or unprovable opinion, the way for society to agree on order is by one opinion being enforced through power.
The other approach to political order is through “procedure” or “process”. This has been AFLC Advisory Board Member and bestselling author Andrew C. McCarthy’s contribution to the contemporary discussion. Because there can be no truth, there can only be valid elections or “due process”. Thus, a “fair” election is one where you vote and merely count the votes accurately. The result on that day at that place becomes the truth for that time and that place. But, that truth is entirely relative and temporal and there is no basis to invest it with any lasting constitutional claim of truth.
Thus, the living constitution of the progressives, the Progressive Truth of Time-History-Progress itself, this then is the only transcendence available to man. If that rings of Hegel, there is a reason for that.
It follows, then, that there can be no moral truth or superiority to a Judeo-Christian value of the individual over the collective because there can be no truth other than progress. This “progress” is what “Rabbi” Saperstein means when he refers to what is “American” at the “most profound level”. For the Progressive, ”profundity” is the deep truth that there is no truth.
Now, we see the perfect storm — or opportunity — for the Left to join the sharia faithful in their destruction of the Judeo-Christian West. For the Progressive, the hatred of a Judeo-Christian moral or political truth is of necessity the last barrier to the syllogism noted above. For the Sharia-Muslim faithful, Judaism simply and Christianity in political society operate to literally deny the truth of the Koran and the “Law”. As long as the value and the integrity of the individual reigns supreme over the collective Umma, the Ulema will not be able to argue that A=T, as in the tyranny of sharia.
It is this anti-philosophic “goal” of the destruction of Western philosophy which so neatly allies Progressives and the Sharia Faithful. Their allied raison d’etre is the destruction of Western political order based upon the Judeo-Christian tension between Reason and Revelation, where both give way but neither concedes nor demands a totalitarian dominance in matters political. And, at the core of this tension and recognition (i.e., “tolerance” proper) between Reason and Revelation is the respect we accord the individual over the collective.