The Deep Crazy

The Republican Party continues its descent into madness. A group run by Huckabee’s Iowa state chair in 2008 has come up with a “Marriage Vow” – a loyalty oath to the most extreme wingnuttery – that it’s going to ask all Presidential contenders to sign. They have to promise unending hostility not only to gay marriage but to combat roles for women, “quickie divorce,” pornography, and “Sharia Islam.”

“Sharia Islam” is an interesting phrase. They’re not talking about the imposition of Sharia law through civil legislation: they believe in letting religion dictate public policy, but only fundamentalist Protestantism. The statement seems to imply that there’s some form of Islam not involving Sharia and therefore tolerable, but that “Sharia Islam” is a form of “totalitarian control.”

Now, Sharia is simply the legal aspect of Islam, as Halacha is the legal aspect of Judaism. Both, of course, are fiercely contested within the two traditions, but there is no more an Islam without Sharia than there is a Judaism without Halacha. So the candidates are being asked to “vow” hostility to an entire faith tradition.

You might dismiss this as a mere fringe document, as no doubt it is: not just extreme, but so badly written as to be incomprehensible in part. (See fn. 12 linking the decriminalization of gay sex by the Supreme Court to polygamy, the imposition of Sharia, and the persecution of homosexuals. In addition to the craziness, it doesn’t actually parse: see what sense you can make of the phrase starting with “laws against.”)

But Michelle Bachmann (R – Nephelokokkygia) has just signed it. Do you think Pawlenty can hold out?

[Cross-posted at The Reality-Based Community]

Mark Kleiman

Mark Kleiman is a professor of public policy at the New York University Marron Institute.