Islamic Liberty.

Author:Martino, John
Position::Correspondence - Letter to the Editor

I much appreciated Lawrence Uzzell's review of Michael Novak's The Universal Hunger for Liberty: Why the Clash of Civilizations is Not Inevitable (February). I share Uzzell's concerns that Novak is "so naively optimistic" as to be dangerous. While Mr. Novak's "yearning" to reach out to Muslims is understandable, on a political level Christians have much more in common with modern secularists than with followers of Islam.

The modern secularist and the Christian natural law theorist agree that the moral legitimacy of the state is in providing the basic goods that a state should provide. With the possible exception of Calvin's Geneva, there was never a full Christian theocracy. Indeed, the very purpose of FIRST THINGS is to argue that there need not be such a theocracy.

Compare the distortion of natural law within secularism to the complete absence of natural law in Islam. To a faithful Muslim, a state which fails to enact sharia is illegitimate, because the only law is the revealed will of Allah. If our Western experience with Christianity is any indication, traditional Islam will continue to draw adherents, while revisionist Islam will become flaccid. We who live in freedom in the West--secularist, Christian, and...

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