Supreme Court, Garner, ED discussed on Today, Explained

Today, Explained
|

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

Is 120 days into the pregnancy. Is that a very old law or is that something new that is grounded in what science tells us about viability? Oh, it's very old. It goes back to the very first interpretations of the Quran by religious scholars. Wow. So yeah. And I want to say something about the word law. In our English speaking western mind, when we say the word law, we think about state law. Yeah. What I'm describing here is a different type of law. It is the rules by which Muslims live our lives. That in a Sharia perspective is a part of the overall rule of law and a Muslim society. There's another type of law that is not based on scriptural interpretation, but it is what the state or the ruler does. And that has a very different mission and purpose. And traditionally, the purpose of state law is to serve the public good. And so that is what those laws are that the state is imposing on everyone is a very different question than what does scripture tell a Muslim to do in their life. So there's a very strong distinction in Muslim minds, at least classically speaking, that whatever you decide to do based on your own, which school of thought you decide to follow in your own personal life, that is not directly translate to what the state should be doing for everyone else. Yes, and your op-ed doesn't just suggest that abortion bans run counter to Islam, but also to other Christian viewpoints. Talk about how roe being overturned in a sense privileges certain types of Christianity over others. Well, to the extent that these laws are a reflection of or in agreement with one particular Christian view on when life begins, that is an enshrinement of that moral view in two state law. And if it is enshrined in such a way that is a ban on certain types of abortions, that other religions would allow, then that's an infringement on those followers of those religions practicing, fully practicing their religion. So when you take the most restrictive view of when abortion is allowed and in trying it into state law, then anybody who follows a different moral view about abortion is no longer able to fully live their lives according to their own spiritual guidance. It's worth noting that the Supreme Court never argued that life begins at conception. It leaves things up to the states. How do you see the Supreme Court siding with the Christian right if the Supreme Court deliberately didn't address the question? I don't make the argument that the Supreme Court per se was siding with the Christian right. What it does is it opens the door for the Christian right or any extremist more perspective that is able to Garner a majority in the state legislatures to then impose a particular religious view on the rest of us. So all the Supreme Court did was open the door to this being decided by democratic processes. And a very proudly said that that's what it was doing. So I think that all Americans should be concerned when this is left to majoritarian politics. But what's so interesting to me and again, this comes down to how the words minority and majority apply is a majority of Americans did not want roe versus wade overturned. And the majority of Americans, they have nuanced views about abortion. It was a Christian minority that pushed for this and got what they wanted. Talk a little bit about that. So theoretically, that would mean if you leave it to the democratic processes, then the majority will then say, let's keep it legal and it should be fine. My concern is that that's not likely to happen. So what happens is you have a very activist community using religion or religious arguments to gin up a population to vote for this that will not actually be reflective of the population's desires. And we've seen that happen in all kinds of elections where the people elected don't actually have the full popular vote, but yet they end up because of the way that our politics works, they end up in power. So when you have the power of the state imposing a particular minority view of abortion on the rest of us, that should be concerning to everybody, but it's particularly concerning to me as a Muslim who knows that laws are often made that harm Muslims because we are not either taken into account or that we have misunderstandings about what Islam is all about. So the laws are written to restrict us and our practices because our practices are misunderstood. As a constitutional scholar, what do you think this decision means about the separation of church and state? I think it's concerning because if laws are being motivated by a particular religious belief about life, then we could end up with emerging of those two in a way that we haven't seen before. Let's imagine a religious view that's not dominant in America, but what if it was able to Garner majority in a particular area. So let's say a majority Hindu population or a Jane population that believes that there is reincarnation or that all life is sacred including animal life should not be killed if they were to be able to pass a law that would make it illegal to slaughter cattle for hamburgers or even kill insects in the most conservative views of jainism as I understand that would feel like a real infringement on a lot of Americans who don't believe that those things are killing a life. And so to me, that is if we could take our time to think through that thought experiment, I think it helps us to understand.

Coming up next