Dissociated Press, New York City, September 5, 2011. The Dissociated Press seeks to report not the “actual facts” but the deeper “counter-factual” truth. Sometimes that truth is datelined from a hidden place beneath the surface of the facts, sometimes from the future — see graphic above. Often this kind of truth will read like satire.]
By Arthur Waskow , Special Roving Reporter for the Dissociated Press
Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City announced today that he is asking the government of New York State to forbid the use of any religious legal system––for example, Halakha (Jewish law), Sharia (Muslim law), and canon law of the Roman Catholic Church.
“Some reactionary and bigoted Southern states have passed laws stigmatizing Sharia,” Bloomberg said. “Not only is it immoral and unconstitutional to attack one religious community in this way, it makes no practical sense––since nowhere in the United States is there any real chance that Sharia or Islam would come to dominate our law.
“The real danger to our secular legal system comes not from Sharia or Islam, but from the very strong political pressures of the traditional Jewish community and the Catholic Church.
“Some claim that Sharia subornates women and outlaws gay and lesbian sexuality. Somehow they are blind and deaf to their own religious law. There are all sorts of ways in which the traditional Jewish and Catholic communities apply their theories of male dominance and patriarchy to questions of marriage and divorce, birth control and abortion, same-sex marriage, the structure and givernance of their own religious life, even ways of dressing and hairstyles.
“We have even seen that in the Hasidic community of New Square, Hassidic leaders have ostracized and disemployed citizens who seek a different religious path.
“This must stop. And pressure from the Catholic Church on Catholic-sponsored hospitals to refuse contraceptive advice or to deny abortions even when the life of the mother is at stake––this too must stop.
“Some claim that in our society, adherence to these religious laws is freely chosen by our citizens. This is a naïve notion, ignoring the intense social and economic pressure that hierarchical religious institutions can place upon members of their faith community.
“For the sake of real religious freedom, and for the future of an America in which women and men are fully equal in all arenas of life, our governments must step in.”
One reporter called out, “Mr Mayor, Two Presidential candidates this year are Mormons. Do you have any views about them or about Mormon law?”
Bloomberg smiled. “I will gladly vote for any Mormon Presidential candidate whose name is Udall,” he said.
When the Dissociated Press called a number of Catholic, Jewish, and Muslim leaders for their comments on the mayor’s statement, all refused to speak on the record until they have had a chance to consult with others. Several said that while they had been ignoring or encouraging attacks on Muslim Sharia, this proposal by the Mayor changes the situation. Most of the leaders said, off the record, that they would be pursuing with greater intensity and concern than ever before the necessity of interfaith cooperation to oppose and resist the Mayor’s proposal.
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The Dissociated Press is a new project of The Shalom Center. Unlike regular Shalom Reports, the Dissociated Press seeks to report not the “actual facts” but the deeper “counter-factual” truth. Sometimes that truth is datelined from a hidden place beneath the surface of the facts, sometimes from the future — see graphic on our logo, above). Often this kind of truth will read like satire. Readers can join as subscribers to the Dissociated Press by clicking here, separately from their subscription to the regular Shalom Report.]