John Locke, Islamic Supremacism, and the Ground Zero Mosque

Apropos to very legitimate concerns about the proposed Ground Zero Mosque—which today (8/3/10), unfortunately cleared a zoning hurdle, celebrated by the witless Mayor Bloomberg—John Locke, 325 years ago, discussed the predicament of Islamic supremacism in his first of four letters concerning religious tolerance “A LETTER CONCERNING TOLERATION” (John Locke, The Works, vol. 5 Four Letters concerning Toleration [1685])

Whether in the guise of the formal 17th century Ottoman Caliphate of Locke’s era, or currently, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, representing all 57 Muslim nations on earth, and the avatar of global Sharia as the oxymoronic “Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Islam,” timeless, totalitarian Islamic religious law is antithetical to the conceptions of religious tolerance formulated by Locke and other seminal Western political philosophers. Although Locke’s 1685 letter affirms that, “neither pagan, nor mahometan, nor jew, ought to be excluded from the civil rights of the commonwealth, because of his religion,” he appears to have understood the threat to a pluralistic multi-religious society posed by the eternal conception of a global Muslim umma, answerable in the end, only to Islam, and Islamic leadership.

That church can have no right to be tolerated by the magistrate, which is constituted upon such a bottom, that all those who enter into it, do thereby ipso facto deliver themselves up to the protection and service of another prince. For by this means the magistrate would give way to the settling of a foreign jurisdiction in his own country, and suffer his own people to be listed, as it were, for soldiers against his own government. Nor does the frivolous and fallacious distinction between the court and the church afford any remedy to this inconvenience; especially when both the one and the other are equally subject to the absolute authority of the same person; who has not only power to persuade the members of his church to whatsoever he lists, either as purely religious, or as in order thereunto; but can also enjoin it them on pain of eternal fire. It is ridiculous for any one to profess himself to be a mahometan only in religion, but in every thing else a faithful subject to a christian magistrate, whilst at the same time he acknowledges himself bound to yield blind obedience to the mufti of Constantinople; who himself is entirely obedient to the Ottoman emperor, and frames the feigned oracles of that religion according to his pleasure.

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