May I let my voice be a clarion call. I will use these words for justice. I will use these words for truth. And humour.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


A Message Regarding Pennsylvania HB2029

I delivered the following message to the Pittsburgh City Council, urging them to write a letter condemning a bill recently introduced in the PA House.  The bill makes a special note that constitutional law must be followed, and not other foreign laws.  In the run-up to its introduction, its proposer had singled out Shariah law as the reason behind it. Here is the text of my three-minutes of fame, in which most council members looked away or appeared otherwise occupied: 

If I am understanding this bill correctly, it seems that its writers either lack faith in the power of the US and Pennsylvania constitutions, or they suffer from a fear that some system of law outside of the constitution may be used as if it’s American law.   As a minister with faith in the power of divine nature, and in the power of humans to emulate that divine nature and live it out to the fullest, I see this bill being derived from a meaner nature.

This country is based on democracy.  Freedom of speech is a critical tool for a strong democracy.  People of all perspectives, and of any systems of belief can come together through the democratic process to decide how we want to live together, and at the end of the day, the democratic process will reveal to us a codified system of laws that a majority of the population—or its representatives—agree upon.

Of course nobody should be judged according to laws that have not been enacted through a rigorous application of the democratic process.  It makes no more sense that a government agent would judge somebody according to Shariah Law than it would make sense for somebody to be judged by the ten commandments, or the code of Hammurabi for that matter.

I urge you to see clearly the folly of fear at work behind this bill, and to put it behind you.  With a strong democracy, we can have a conversation about how our values and principles inform laws.  We can celebrate and clarify those values in traditions both religious and secular, and we can catch on to what really matters—the power of a community with an active force of love and trust at its center.  A community that sees nobody’s culture as “other,” but rather seeks to include all into the discourse.  A community that writes its loves into law, and leaves its fears at the door.  Thank you for your time.

chant/prayer/mantra: May my community of one join with others.

pax hominibus,
agape to all,

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