The promises given to Abraham and all the prophecies in the OT have to be interpreted in the light of the coming of the kingdom of God in Jesus. The OT must therefore be read through the spectacles, the glasses, of the NT. Because OT promises and prophecies (including those about the land and about biblical Israel) have been fulfilled in the coming of the kingdom in Jesus, the return of Jews to the land and the establishment of the state of Israel have taken place under the sovereignty of God, but have no special theological significance. They are not to be seen as signs pointing forward to the Second Coming. All believers in Jesus inherit all the promises made the Abraham. They are ‘a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation’ (1 Peter 2:9; Gal 3:26-29) and enjoy their spiritual inheritance which is ‘kept in heaven’ (1 Peter 1:4; Heb 4; 12:18-24).
If this is the starting point, let me try to elaborate on this approach in the following ten stages…
President Trump’s first foreign trip includes Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the Vatican, an itinerary no other President has endeavored. Trump addressed the leaders of about 50 Muslim nations while in Saudi Arabia. While in the Holy Land, he met with both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Now trump is in Vatican City meeting with Pope Francis. Clearly Trump is hoping to facilitate what would be the biggest deal of his life—a peace deal. While Trump’s desire to facilitate peace talks are certainly admirable, I cannot help but wonder how successful he can be if forgiveness is not at the forefront of the discussion. Trump mentioned the need for concessions but there was no mention of forgiveness. Forgiveness is a powerful force for both those who extend it and receive it.
In the 16th Century, Martin Luther came across a short book detailing the religious rituals and customs of the Ottoman Turks. He was so impressed with the tract that he decided to reprint it with a new preface that he authored himself. This is not surprising as, given the expansion of the Ottoman Empire, Luther had much to say regarding the Turks, Muhammad, and the Qur’an. While the majority of Luther’s works on Islam and Muslims are polemical in tone, this particular writing takes a different approach…
The Application of Sharia Law in the United States
In the effort to understand this controversial and inflammatory subject, his explanation proved very helpful. Here is a list of what is and is not allowed in the American judicial system: Allowed: Distribution of inheritance according to religious motivation Not: Asking the court to divide inheritance according to shariah law
US law allows freedom of contract and disposition of property. One may divide one’s property in a will according to whim, or ask a religious scholar to divide it according to shariah law. But the court does not accept competency to interpret religious laws, and would reject a request asking it to do so. Allowed: Application of foreign law to determine marriage or overseas injury Not: Specifics of foreign law against US code or procedural discrimination of testimony
US law will accept that two foreign individuals are married if they were legally married according to the law of their country of emigration. If in foreign nations marriage is determined according to shariah, then US courts must take this into consideration for the determination of marriage in a domestic dispute. Foreign acceptance of polygamy, however, has no application in US courts. Similarly, if an American is injured abroad and sues a company with representation in America, tort laws are determined by the nation in which the injury occurred. But should foreign tort laws limit the value of female testimony, as for example in some understandings of shariah, this has no carry-over consideration in the American lawsuit. Allowed: Exemption from work rules for religious reasons Not: Unless it imposes ‘undue hardship’ on an employer or is against government interest
US law permits reasonable accommodation for religious belief, evaluated on a case-by-case basis. So wearing a hijab at work or taking time from the work day to pray may or may not be granted, based on the nature of the employment in question. A famous ruling allowing Muslim taxi drivers to decline a customer carrying alcohol may or may not have been judged correctly, but what is important is that it was based on existing American precedent, not in understanding what is right in Islamic shariah. Allowed: Granting accommodation to students or clients that impose only modest costs on the granting institution Not: Evaluation of these requests on the basis of which religious group asks for them
US law allows public and private institutions to better serve citizens and customers by appealing to their religious sentiments, as long as this does not damage the public interest as a whole. Banks have offered sharia-compliant loans, for example, and schools with high density Muslim populations have granted a full day off on holidays rather than just excusing Muslim students. Examples of this sort apply equally to all religious petitions, and must not be judged on the basis of which religion benefits. Allowed: Efforts to legislate Islamic morality in heavily populated Muslim areas Not: Unless it violates the Free Speech Code or Equal Protection Clause
US law permits citizens to lobby government to pass laws reflective of morality. In local areas therefore, Muslims are as free as others to pass legislation barring alcohol, for example. Should any locality, however, seek to encode restrictions on “blasphemy” or limit the rights of women, it will stand in clear violation of existing US law and be struck down by the courts.