Dean of Liberty Law School Says Islam Not Protected by the First Amendment

Prospective Christian law students pay attention.

Mat Staver, Dean of the Liberty University Law School told OneNewsNow, the “news service” of the American Family Association that Islam is more political ideology than religion and as such does not merit the same religious liberty protections.  Staver said

“One of the issues, however, that needs to be considered is whether or not there will be much emphasis placed on advancing the Muslim cause,” he notes. “Certainly that could be a concern to many people around the country.”

He explains why that should be a concern in a law school.

“Islam is a political ideology. Certainly it takes characteristics of religion, but by and large, at its core, both in the United States and around the world, it is a political ideology,” Staver asserts. “Consequently, to use the same kind of laws for an advancement of a political ideology that you would for religious liberty could eventually cause some concerning issues that we want to address.”

Thomas Jefferson certainly disagreed with this analysis. When Jefferson commented on his Virginia law on religious freedom, he said the law was meant to cover all religions. Specifically, Jefferson wrote:

The bill for establishing religious freedom, the principles of which had, to a certain degree, been enacted before, I had drawn in all the latitude of reason & right. It still met with opposition; but, with some mutilations in the preamble, it was finally past; and a singular proposition proved that it’s protection of opinion was meant to be universal. Where the preamble declares that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word “Jesus Christ,” so that it should read “departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion” the insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of it’s protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan [Islam], the Hindoo, and infidel of every denomination.

The Virginia statute is not the First Amendment but it is clear that James Madison, acting in sympathy with Jeffersonian views, intended the same scope for the First Amendment.

Another frightening aspect of Staver’s reasoning is that it could easily be applied to other religions, including Christianity.  Churches that pass out political guides and organize members to vote GOP could easily be considered to be purveyors of a political ideology.

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  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ Jarred

    Another frightening aspect of Staver’s reasoning is that it could easily be applied to other religions, including Christianity. Churches that pass out political guides and organize members to vote GOP could easily be considered to be purveyors of a political ideology.

    Quite true!

  • Bernie

    Your last paragraph captures it all Warren. Staver just shot himself in the foot with his own naivete.

    Liberty Council is irrevocably losing any credibility that they may have had, fast and hard. Matt Barber disgusting tweets, are antithetical to any form of religion, let alone Christianity. Matt Staver has the biggest threat to his livelihood looming before him. He is implicated in the international abduction of that little girl, spirited away through Canada to South America(names?).

  • ken

    “Another frightening aspect of Staver’s reasoning is that it could easily be applied to other religions, including Christianity. ”

    Already has been. According to Bill O’Reilly at Fox, christianity is a philosophy, not a religion. Jon Stewart had some fun with that quote last Tues night on the Daily Show.

  • http://www.slowlyboiledfrog.com David Hart

    Of note is the fact that the First Amendment was authored at a time when Christians comprised nearly 99% of the US population. I conclude from that fact that it was authored specifically to protect minorities WITHOUT QUESTIONING their beliefs. Staver should be ashamed of himself. The idea that he is responsible for the process of creating new lawyers is downright frightening. Who’s next Mat?

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/8601342@N03/ Gregory Peterson

    If ancient memory serves, I vaguely remember Bill Bright, in a Campus Crusade for Christ instructors manual, claiming that Judaism wasn’t a real religion.

    When a Christian street proselytizer approaches me, which is fairly often because I commute by bus, I usually say that I’m not very religious, mostly to hear something like this…. “I don’t believe in religion either. Christianity isn’t a religion, but a relationship with Jesus.”

    I wouldn’t disagree with the last part of the sentence, but a relationship with Jesus is a religion. Jesus promised a lighter yoke of religion…not, no religion. I may be taking Jesus’ promise too far…but…hey, that’s my religion…lol.

    I don’t say that I don’t believe in religion…I say that I’m not very religious; in the same way that I’m not very rich…but I do believe in money. But, I get by adequately without much of it.

  • inca nitta

    Mat Staver is correct by analyzing that in historical perspective and the current situation in the Middle East, Islam has been framed as a political ideology, but so was Chrsitianity, going back to Constantine. So, I see how precise Warren was when he pointed out the apparent hypocrisy.

    As for the kidnapping case, the “charges” against Staver have not been filed and there is no decision to assume of him being involved, whatsoever, as of now. I also heard that this little girl does not care at all for the woman who still claims to be her mother. Something to consider.

  • Boo

    I hear that if you’re involved in a custody dispute and poison your kid’s mind against their other parent, you can sometimes makes them not care at all for the other parent. Something to consider.

  • Mary

    Jarred,

    That’s exactly what I was thinking.


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