FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Obama defends religious freedom of Muslim extremist
law abiding Christians? Not so much.
Given the Obama administrations demonstrated hostility to Christianity as anything other than a set of curious practices trotted out at various holidays. We’re all familiar with Hobby Lobby and Hosanna-Tabor, but the list of Obama’s actions aimed an marginalizing people of faith is fairly long.
The U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli argued in Hobby Lobby that even if the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) covered Hobby Lobby either as a corporation or individuals that the ability to have sex without getting pregnant was so vital that they could take their religion and go pee up a rope. Let’s face it, when the requirement to fund your employees’ libido is more important than your relationship with God, religion doesn’t mean much.
Perhaps we’re being unfair. Maybe the correct question to ask is what does it take to get Barack Obama and his lead pettifogger, Donald Verrilli, to go to court to defend your religious freedom. The answer is now in.
Convert to radical Islam, attempt to behead your girlfriend, get sentenced to live in prison, and sue the prison warden when they try to cut your beard as beards are not allowed in your state prison system. Via the Wall Street Journal:
This fall in the next big religious liberty case, the Supreme Court will hear from Gregory Houston Holt, who is serving a life sentence for nearly killing his ex-girlfriend in 2009 by slashing her throat. He now goes by Abdul Maalik Muhammad and believes his fundamentalist Salafi Muslim faith requires him to grow a beard, which his Arkansas prison’s grooming policy prohibits for all inmates.
In Holt v. Hobbs, Holt is suing under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, or Rluipa. Some state prisons used to deny incarcerated believers prayer mats, kosher meals and the like. So in 2000 Congress voted unanimously to extend to inmates the same protections of the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA: If government infringes on religion, such intrusions must serve a compelling interest and use the “least restrictive” means.
Solicitor General Donald Verrilli argued in Hobby Lobby that RFRA offered no succor for the beliefs of David and Barbara Green and their three children, the owners of the crafts store chain. But this May he filed an amicus brief for Holt’s reading of Rluipa. Mr. Verrilli calls the no-beard policy “religious discrimination” and writes that Arkansas must “do more to justify the imposition of a substantial burden on religious exercise than rely on speculation and unjustified fears.”
Now Mr. Holt is not just any vicious criminal:
Holt, who did time for making a threat against President Bush’s daughters before being convicted in 2010 of knifing his girlfriend, was sentenced to life in prison in 2010.
And as Ron Popeil would say, “But wait, there’s more!“
A Little Rock man who once served prison time for threatening President George W. Bush’s daughters was sentenced to life in prison on Thursday for cutting his girlfriend’s throat after jurors saw letters he’d written describing himself as an “American Taliban” and calling for death to America.
The proceedings before Circuit Judge Marion Humphrey also revealed that Holt, 34, has been feuding with Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, the Tennessee man charged with capital murder over the slaying of a soldier at a Little Rock recruiting center. The dispute purportedly was over which man is the better Muslim.
But Holt had little reaction to the guilty verdict, delivered after 40 minutes of deliberation. At sentencing, deputy prosecutor Will Jones showed jurors eight letters Holt had written from jail. In the letters, Holt occasionally praised Osama bin Laden, dreamed of dying a martyr in a jihad, and wrote poetry imagining Little Rock police detective Damon Whitener being decapitated by the Taliban. Holt also wrote how he wasn’t bound by American laws, but only recognized the Shariah law of Islam.
Hard cases, as they say, make bad law. On one hand if Mr. Holt, or whatever he’s calling himself this week, belongs to a religion that requires wearing a beard then unless he’s done something specifically in violation of prison regulations with that beard, concealing contraband, renting it out as a merkin, or whatever, then he should be allowed to wear it. And there seems to be little doubt about the sincerity of his beliefs. On the other hand, prisoners are, as the name suggests, in prison. Prison is a unique environment where, because of the prisoner’s hard work and diligence, he has succeeding in getting the government to focus enough time and effort to put him away for a period of years. Having worked hard to achieve that, it seems rather unfair to deprive them of the entirety of that experience.
What is curious about this case is that in Hobby Lobby, law abiding citizens were stripped, in the administration’s view, of their religious rights simply because an unelected panel of doctors reporting to an unelected secretary of Health and Human Services wrote a rule that was never part of any law. In the Holt case, a career criminal is deemed to have religious freedom despite he potential security concerns his beard poses. It is hard to believe the Obama administration has underwent a sudden conversion on the subject.