Comparing Constitutional Democracies in Egypt and in America
Comparing the constitutional democracies in Egypt and in America, helps us to read the signs of the times. We live in an age of anti-reason. Therefore, part of our mission as Christians is to reintroduce reason into society.
President Obama of the United States and President Morsi of Egypt
Based on the Gregorian calendar used in the West, the Coptic Orthodox Church celebrated Christmas on January 7, and President Morsi signed Egypt's new constitution into law on December 26. That was 12 days before the Coptic Christmas Eve. But that is not all. I also combine this numerical similarity with "The Twelve Days of Christmas" with a couple differences.
First, despite their rich heritage reaching back to the time of the pharaohs and the earliest Christian communities, President Morsi is not the Copt's "true love." Second, President Morsi did not give the Copts "a partridge in a pear tree" on the first day of Christmas. Instead, he stuffed a new Islamist constitution into their Christmas stockings. These lighthearted associations point to something quite serious about Egypt's new constitution.
Pope Tawadros II of the Coptic Orthodox Church said, "There are dangerous articles in this constitution." Coptic bishops voice similar concerns. Bishop Kyrillos William said, "Everywhere in the constitution there are clauses saying everything should be in accordance with Islamic law." Bishop Zakaria said, "The Islamists want to apply sharia law especially with regard to women. It is very bad for women and very bad for non-Muslims in society."
Sharia law is the moral code of Islam, and it is believed to be the infallible law of Allah, the Muslim god. This statement is incredibly important because of the Muslim understanding of God. Both Muslims and Christians believe that God is all powerful, but for Muslims this quality is supreme and negates God's other qualities. This one idea colors just about everything Muslim's believe about God, reality, human nature, and society.
In his book, The Closing of the Muslim Mind, Robert Reilly says Muslims believe that only Allah exists, so reality is illusion. Allah is believed to be unlimited, pure will and power. This means that he cannot be bound by order in the universe or reason or anything limiting. He can act arbitrarily and capriciously, and without regard for the good of the person or creation. Allah and reality are unknowable and without purpose.
In such a world, human behavior has no moral value beyond obedience to Allah's will, and rights have no meaning outside Allah's will. So sharia law is not tied to our experience of reality and the natural law. Not surprisingly, sharia law does not contain well-defined rules or precedents, and it is not formally codified. This allows Muslim judges much discretion in their application of the law.
We cannot help but notice certain parallels between Egypt's new constitution and our own constitution. Americans have a well-defined constitution which is based on an objectively ordered view of the world (the natural law). However, this view of reality is no longer accepted in a postmodern world. Postmodernism does not acknowledge Islam's all-powerful god or the Christian God. It is atheistic, yet it parallels an Islamic world view in significant ways.
Like Islam, Postmodernism sees the world as unknowable. There is no one truth. Truth is relative. So it is not important to seek truth. Instead of truth, Postmodernism seeks unrestrained power that can be arbitrarily exercised just like Islam's all-powerful god. Thus, morality and rights are not derived from nature or God but dispensed by the postmodern state according to its will. Although they come from opposite ends of the spectrum, both Islam and Postmodernism arrive at a view of reality which is essentially anti-reason and amoral.
As you can imagine, all this plays havoc with constitutional democracies, such as we have in Egypt and the United States. The rule of law is an important feature of a constitutional government. A constitution represents a higher or fundamental law that defines and limits a government.
The importance of the rule of law cannot be overstated. Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote that if human law is not in conformity with right reason, it is unjust and becomes an act of violence. I understand this to mean, at least in part, that laws need to be based on some sort of objective order that all people can come to know and freely ascent to. Otherwise, the enforcement of these laws can only be based on force or oppression.
By enshrining sharia law in Egypt's new constitution, the Islamists have based their democracy on an all-powerful, capricious god whose law is left in the hands of mere men to interpret and dispense as they see fit. Thus, the new government is not a true democracy. Under ...
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Middle East News
- The Truth About Syria: Persecution of Syrian Christians Cries Out For Prayer and Action
- Kids learn murder at summer camp in Gaza
- How one man started a movement by standing still
- Syria accused in 'ethnic cleansing' of Sunni Muslims
- Obama to arm Syrian rebels after Assad chemical weapons use confirmed
- Syrian death toll of 92,901 feared to be conservative estimate
- 15-year-old Syrian boy gunned down by Islamist terriorists for heretical comment
- Iconic image of pepper sprayed woman becomes icon of resistance, feminism
- Oops? Obama administration publishes details of secret Israeli military base
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?