A colleague has sent me a post from Lydia McGrew replying to my case against anti-Sharia laws. McGrew has written some very helpful things in the past (I think in particular of this post), but I take strong exception when she writes:
We need to fuel precisely the concerns that Schmitz and many others want to call “bigotry.” And those concerns need to lead to a broader approach, of which anti-sharia bills can be only a part. [ . . . ]
To my mind, then, the real danger (if we should call it that) of anti-sharia bills is not that they will foster negative ideas about large numbers of Muslims in America but that they won’t.
McGrew is arguing something that none of my other critics has so far: namely, that the correct approach to Islam really is the dialing up of animus against American Muslims. I believe this is wrong as a matter of Christian charity and, secondarily, as a matter of liberal tolerance. We no doubt do face a challenge integrating Muslims into American society, but the correct way to meet that is with light and not heat, with clear discernment and careful cultural and legal efforts. We emphatically do not need simply to “foster negative ideas about large numbers of Muslims.” Setting aside questions of basic decency, I am at a loss to understand how McGrew could consider such a broad and blunt response appropriate for what she acknowledges is a complicated problem.
None of this, of course, touches on the legal arguments. The correct solution to countering misapplications of the law is applying the law correctly, not passing another law that then can be misapplied. A judge too dense to protect our constitutional liberties today will not suddenly be enlightened by a tautological bill declaring that unconstitutional things indeed are unconstitutional, as I explain in a new post at the Corner replying to Andrew McCarthy and David Yerushalmi.