THOU SHALT NOT WAGE A RELIGIOUS CRUSADE IN THE NAME OF THE U.S. CONSTITUTION, by Dr. Steven Nur Ahmed

 

Crusade 1

Millions of right wing religious and secular conservatives in the Republican party are increasing their push to repress Islam and Muslims in the United States. Those same people and the media which propagandize their views are also voices for war against Islam and therefore against all Muslims in the world. Except for the exercise of their own right to freedom of speech, Donald Trump’s (and Republicans like him) proposed State and Federal policies for Muslims are unconstitutional because they would restrict Muslim speech and are thus tyrannical by definition.  

Those same people and media intentionally ignore those parts of the first amendment which do not serve their immediate political agenda but nevertheless run parallel to the right to free speech.

Muslims may practice their religious beliefs in the United States because “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”. Here, the preposition ‘respecting’ means that no ‘religious beliefs’ in the United States can be legally recognized as a natural nor legal person under the law. A religious belief is not constitutionally required to be incorporated under States’ corporate laws and thus need not be a ‘legal person’. The term ‘establishment’ means simply ‘articulable beliefs’ even in the absence of any concrete infrastructure.

For example, a specific set of religious beliefs cannot be sued in civil court. Nor can a warrant be issued under the fourth amendment to arrest a ‘religious belief’ to appear in a criminal court because all religious beliefs operate outside the jurisdiction of both civil and criminal law. That is what it means to have ‘religious freedom’ in the United States. Therefore, Islamic beliefs held by persons in the United States cannot be criminalized nor can ‘Islamic beliefs’ be named as a tortfeasor in a civil complaint. 

Islam as a set of beliefs cannot be legally prohibited from being believed by people and Islamic beliefs cannot be prohibited from being practiced in the United States and its protectorates. That is so because only ‘natural persons’ who commit an act which violates a State or Federal statute, or crime against humanity can be arrested and denied freedom under either State or Federal criminal law. 

Crusade 2

No ‘natural person’ who commits a crime in the name of a particular religion can be charged in the name of his or her religion; only a person or group of persons can be charged with violation of a clearly defined criminal statute. Further, beliefs cannot be criminally charged because neither state nor federal law can ‘recognize’ the ‘beliefs’ of a religion.

Islamic faith is not a natural or legal person. Therefore, only an individual or corporation that commits a criminal act can be held responsible even though he or she or it may claim to be Islamic. For Islamic religious beliefs cannot ‘act’ to commit crimes. Nor can Islamic religious beliefs form an ‘intent’ to commit a criminal act. Both common law and statutory law clearly state that only natural persons and legal persons can form an intent and commit an act that violates a State or Federal criminal statute.

Therefore, it would be unconstitutional for any state or for the federal government to indict a natural person as being identical to a ‘religious belief’ or to indict a religious belief as being identical to a ‘natural or legal person’.  Such a distinction between a person’s actions and his or her ‘religious beliefs’ is a manifestation of the legal superiority of the first amendment precept of separation of church and state. A man or woman cannot be detained nor killed for his or her religious beliefs. 

Neither would it be constitutional under the first amendment for the federal government to wage war against Islam anywhere for crimes committed by an individual or group of individuals even though those people may claim to be adherents to Islamic beliefs. For to wage war against Islam everywhere would be to wage war not against natural persons but against ‘Islamic religious beliefs’ and the idea which gives rise to those beliefs and therefore it would be war against all Muslims in the United States, too.

THE BRIDGE OF MISERY: BETWEEN THE PRESIDENCY AND THE CATHEDRAL IN CAMEROON, by Kifon Emile, M.A.

Cameroon-Presidential-palace2

Two important edifices exist in Cameroon which define, to a great extent, the whole sociological architecture of the country – the cathedral and the presidency. The first is found at the center and like the force of gravity pulls all other things around it as a God and keeper of the nation. While the second, found about three miles away, constitutes the concentration of all the political forces that supposedly hold the nation together. But there are not two centers of gravity. In reality, despite the fact that the two operate in theory as separate entities, they constitute a continuum of harmonized inter-dependency linked together by a slippery tangent called control – or in its popular usage, power.

Head of the Black Church

The cathedral, epicenter of the Catholic Church in Cameroon under the Archbishop on Yaounde, sets the tone for religious policy with regards to its relation to the State as well as the population. The presidency, on the other hand, is the heart of politics, residence of the president where he dictates the political climate. By understanding how both structures function, it is possible to know how the country operates. When Yaounde is breathing, Cameroon is alive remains a popular expression demonstrating the paramount role of the nation’s capital.

However, despite the fact that these are important institutions, it should be mentioned that the most important part is what lies between the presidency and the cathedral – the people. Their fate remains suspended and trapped in a system where rules have been displaced from the traditional settings in favor of dubious practices.   So, by illustrating the constitutive nature of power in these structures 1.) It shall be possible to elaborate on how they enhance the exclusion of the people and 2.) It shall be possible to elaborate on how they thereby produce a strange outcome of exchange of competences to the detriment of the public.

  1. Mutually exclusive poles in a mutually constitutive power anatomy

In the preamble of the Constitution of Cameroon 2008, it is specified that “the State shall be circular. The neutrality of the State in respect to all religions shall be guaranteed.” This proviso has become a characteristic of most modern States since their origin of 16th Century divorce from medieval monolithic religious societies, kingdoms and monarchies. With the exception of a few States which are defined essentially by religion [Vatican, Saudi Arabia and to some extent Israel], most modern States, in order to fulfil this post medieval ideal usually define themselves as secular, even when in practice things may not be as simple.

Islam and Christianity are the main monotheistic religions of Cameroon. Nominally, approximately 70% of Cameroonians are Christians, of which about 38% are Catholics, while about 20% are Muslims. Because the Catholic Church is the main centralized religious body in Cameroon, semantically and technically, it is the main body that appears to have some direct and continuous ties with government authorities, at all levels. It should be added that the president, Paul Barthelemy Biya Bi Mvondo, who has been in power for 33 years, is also a catholic. He had been in the Catholic seminary before being dismissed in the early years, of his studies. His father, Etienne Mvondo Assam, was a catechist by profession for the same institution.

Given that the president is a Catholic, it is easy for him to maintain close ties with the main centralized religious organ in Cameroon which would serve him both politically and religiously

But why talk about the religion of the president? Eric Mathias Owona describes the presidential regime as pontifical and in some cases as a principality. In a presidential republic and pontificate State, where the president rules ad vitam, his personal choices resonates a vertical influence over his government as well as a collegial complicity with leaders of the religion of his choice.

The collegial complicity with leaders of religion enables him to exert institutional control over the people through indirect religious hypnosis thereby consolidating the authoritarian democracy. Or, should this be called an authoritarian dictatorship? In principle, the success of assembling, in a deconstructive way, judicial-legislative resources to conform to executive wishes may give the understanding that it is an authoritarian democracy. In practice, however, by taking into consideration that the president governs by decree and exerts tremendous control over all governmental institutions, the regime is more of an authoritarian dictatorship perhaps of a modern style.

As a result, we end up with just the belief that State and religion are separate as stipulated by the constitution. But in practice, they constitute a simple continuum of influence over the population where triggers can be generated either at political or religious levels to produce the same effect.

Divide and rule is a common strategy of control but in an authoritarian system unifying power structures can  be just as effective. But the worst part is when these structures don’t benefit the population they are constitutionally bound to serve.

The-people-of-the-Cameroon-show-respect-to-Pope-Benedict-boston.com_

  1. Dynamics of concerted exclusion of a frustrated populace

Three miles separate from the cathedral is the presidency in the metropolitan city of Yaounde. The cathedral where the archbishop presides his religious ceremonies is technically open but semantically closed. That is, it has just a few physical barriers to deter wanderers but everyone is welcome to enter and pray. One door of the cathedral is usually open, and in most hours of the morning and evening most of the doors are open for other religious services and those who wish to pray to their God: “let the children come to me, for unto these belong the kingdom of heaven” (Mat 19:14).

With a poverty level of almost 40% (2007), most of those who come to Church are around the poverty line. The Church welcomes them with phrases like “blessed are the poor…” and “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35). In practice, those who go to Church always hope to please God while thinking that their temporal situation will be made better here on earth. And rightfully so, they pray, offer tithes, and pay dues – which in the archdiocese of Yaoundé was recently increased in order to meet charges that were not properly defined.

Regrettably, a considerable amount of monetary contributions that are made to the Church do not serve the purpose for which it has given. In July 2013, amidst the greatest corruption scandal in recent Cameroon Church history, the Archbishop was forced by the Vatican to resign in the hope of restoring the hope of the people in its failing hierarchy.

In such a complex situation where Christians do not feel that the Church is advancing their welfare, most turn to the State for comfort. It should be mentioned that most of those who come to church have already been discouraged by the strong presidential regime and weak government.  Again, with another disappointment from the Church, they turn to the State and one of the closest structures is the presidency of the Republic.

However, access to the presidency is virtually impossible. Despite its closeness, it is heavily guarded by the GP (Guard Presidentielle) including a big fence. In this case, it is technically closed but semantically open. That is, in theory, the public is made to believe that the authorities of the nation are there for the public, to listen to them and to address their difficulties. But this is far from reality. The president is almost absent from all national life, with only sporadic appearances on national Television to read a speech to a public he doesn’t know. There is a real disconnection between the people and its authorities.

As a result, the little distance which separates the presidency and the Cathedral appears, evidently, to be the nature of what separates the Cameroonian populace from the power structures which need to promote their welfare. Consequently, like rebounds of a non-reward psychological mechanism, the people turn back unto themselves, frustrated, without trust in themselves, nor in the church or in the government. This is evident by the life of duplicity in which most people become attuned: going to church without any intention to be a better person or living in a nation without a desire to serve it honestly. Corruption, as an endemic crisis in Cameroon can be deduced from the mechanism of suspended misery: neither in “God” [Church] nor in the government do they find solace [position 136 on 174 countries, with a score of 27 on 100]. This gets even deeper – citizens grow to lose trust in one another thereby threatening social cohesion and growth. All these are visible in the lane separating the cathedral from the presidency. Despite the fact that both poles concentrate wealth and comfort, this lane is full of jobless people who wander along the streets; others standing on the road side with their tools while hoping to get hired by someone to do a temporary job or those illegally subcontracting government services to citizens who duly deserve them. It is also a lane of insecurity, vulnerability and despair – just the symbol of the country as a whole.

The perpetual rule of the centralized government of Cameroon which is the cause of this social disequilibrium has created another system which has not been sufficiently explored. It is the fact that political power governs with religious authority while religious power rules with political power. It is a strange power structure not before seen in many countries and where the citizens end up – as always – in suspended misery.

  • Sociopolitical exchange of roles: the intercourse between religious and political power

At the heart of social despair is an economic problem rooted in misappropriation of roles both in the religious milieu as well as in the political sector. The classical roles generally attributed to the State do not necessarily hold true for the State of Cameroon nor  for the Church. Below is a table which summarizes how the State governs with religious principles while the Church has been ruling using political strategy.

Religion [epicenter –  cathedral] Politics [epicenter – the presidency]
1. Theology of the present [joy and happiness are hear] 1. Politics of the future [perpetual wait for change in the future]
2. Power is politically charged, elected 2. Power is religious and mystical: “Power comes from above”
3. Faults, errors are sanctioned 3. Corruptions, crimes are pardoned
4. The divine becomes man incarnate 4. Man becomes the divine [perpetual rule]
5. Power decentralized [independent management of dioceses] 5. Power centralized [authoritarian dictatorship]
6. Uses reason, rationality 6. Applies more and more faith, belief and blind truth
7. Motion of disagreement [encourage the good ones to stay and the bad ones to go] 7. Motion of support [support the perpetual ruler to rule even longer]
8. People play the role of citizens, and practice boycott 8. People play the role of ‘faithful’ and in most cases forbidden to strike
9. People learn to claim their rights 9. Political practice is ruled by rites
10. God more and more absent 10. God more and more present
11. Money more and more present 11. Money more and more absent
12. Policy analysts and strategists consulted 12. Prophets, kings and mystiques involved
13. Defined mandates well respected 13. Perpetual mandate
14. Governs by dogma (just belief) 14. Governs by decree (just listen and apply)
15. Leaders forced to resign 15. Leaders made to stay in power ad vitam [gerontocracy]

 

As illustrated in the above, the population has been made to accept inadmissible political practices where the executive leader is vested with an unlimited mandate for the presidency. Like a pontiff, he rules unilaterally over all other institutions which he has crafted to conform to his personal standards. This happens in a context where the archbishop resigned due to accusations of mismanagement of funds or the case of Pope Benedict XVI who resigned from an office which is supposedly made to be held for life. It is not uncommon to find corrupt leaders who get promoted and get rewarded with better appointments in the Biya regime.

Can this scenario explain the social and economic inertia of the country? Certainly, to a great extent. When political mobility is uncertain and religious credibility overthrown, it follows that the economic fluidity experienced by the public under the State of law would be jeopardized and at worst remain in misery.

Unlocking the infinite potentials of a nation cannot be done in a locked governmental system. A system that knows no variability. Neither can it grow in a religious context that has learned to survive with ruse, using political strategies while relegating religious protocols strictly to altar services. If change is the essence of society, then the government is criminal while the Church is complicit in its practice as they exploit a population that is ignorant of its own misery.

Welcome to Earth Colony: THE BIG LIE, by Dr. Steven Nur Ahmed

dead_hadji_91_829small

The Constitution is clear on the power to declare war.  Only Congress can declare war[1] and only Congress can approve funding for war. The Constitution and Federal statutes are also clear on the definition of inherent executive power to use military force against foreign nations without congressional approval if the security of the United States is threatened or it is under imminent attack.[2]

Most United States Congressional legislators are trained to be lawyers.  If they are not trained to be lawyers then at least they are knowledgeable of the United States Constitution and Federal Statutes, particularly the Federal Rules of Evidence.

Since the discovery that some form of sarin gas was used in Syria which resulted in the deaths of several hundred persons, a debate has evolved between Congress and President Barak Obama.  It is a debate on War Power.

The issue presented to the public is whether or not Congress (the People of the United States) should be involved in the decision making process to determine whether or not The People of the United States should commit to bomb the sovereign nation of Syria as ‘punishment’ for the use of sarin gas on its own people.

There are two over arching issues, however. One is whether or not Syria is legally subject to the Executive Branch of the United States Government? No reasonable person would make the argument that it is because Syria is not subject to the Executive Branch of the United States Government and has not posed a threat to U.S. national security.  For that reason alone President Barak Obama does not have the legal nor moral authority to bomb Syria.

The second issue is whether or not the Government of Syria knowingly, purposely, recklessly, or negligently used sarin gas to kill its citizens?  Now we must ask: what evidence has been proffered by the President to U.S. citizens?

The Obama administration has used straw man arguments and has proffered at most circumstantial evidence that the Syrian Government used sarin gas on its people.  It has proffered satellite data of phone calls near the scene of sarin gas use and satellite data of the use of artillery near the scene of sarin gas use.  And notice, the use of that presumed evidence is peppered by Secretary of State John Kerry with emotive terminology to manipulate the American People emotionally.

However, satellite data on phone calls and artillery use in the area where the gas was used can be simulated by computer programs as it is done in war games for training purposes. Therefore, such evidence cannot be rationally authenticated and thus cannot be used to justify the bombing of a sovereign nation.

If one accepts as credible United Nations scientists that sarin gas was used and that people actually died then the question now is: who used the sarin gas?  The fact is that there is no direct evidence which conclusively proves who used the sarin gas.

If we further assume that Bashar Assad and the U.S., Israeli, and Saudi rebel leaders are rational persons then what a rational Congress ought to ask is: who would benefit by the use of sarin gas on Syrian people?  Certainly, Bashar Assad would not benefit.  He would lose both Russian and Chinese support as well as his government.  Therefore, he didn’t use the sarin gas. That leaves the rebels.

The rebels would gain from the use of sarin gas because it would enlist the overt might of the U.S. military to destroy the Syrian government. The rebels would then get Syria to ghettoize.  The Israelis would gain because Israel would then be able to undermine Hezbullah in Lebanon and that would allow Israel to take Lebanon’s southern territories to ghettoize, again.  The Saudis would gain because they would feel that greater military pressure would be put on Iran, a nation they want to ghettoize.  And of course, U.S. corporations would gain because they could get contracts to exploit resources and rebuild Syria, again.  Therefore, the rebels and their supporters used the sarin gas.

President Obama drew a Red Line.  Now he should be hoping that Congress gives him a way to back down and to save face by saying no to him because if he bombs Syria there will be terrible repercussions as far away as the Korean peninsula.  Korea is China’s trump card.  Expect South Korea to be under extreme military pressure from North Korea if Syria is bombed.  Russia will up support for Syria,too. President Obama is in a mess.  He should step out of it and clean his shoes.

 

 

 

 



[1] Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11

[2] Article 2, section 2; and Article 2, section 2, clause 1; Stat. 838 (1941); 56 Stat 176 (1942), et al