- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 2, 2015

Indiana’s “hypocritical” and “anti-American” Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) is one step closer to establishing “an American version” of Shariah law, basketball icon Kareem Abdul-Jabbar argued Tuesday.

“Shari’a law, when imposed on a population by force, makes a single religion’s teachings (often a single sect of that religion’s teachings) the law of the land,” Mr. Abdul-Jabbar, a Muslim convert, wrote in an op-ed for Time magazine. “The mission is to force everyone to follow the teachings lest they be punished. Although RFRA supporters aren’t physically assaulting people, they certainly are attempting to punish those who don’t follow their own very specific interpretation of God’s teachings.”

The former NBA star argued that Indiana’s RFRA is “unfairly tarnishing the image of Christians, who “have been at the forefront of fighting for equality since this country was founded.”

“[Christians] were on the front lines of abolition, the Civil Rights movement, and in expanding LGBT rights,” he wrote. “They risked their careers, families, and lives. Refusing service isn’t an expression of Christian love, but an example of shaming. Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount is a revocation of some of the harsher judgments of the Old Testament (‘an eye for an eye’) in order to embrace all people as fellow travelers on the path to salvation. While most Christians want to help people along that path, Indiana’s RFRA supporters want to set up road blocks.”

Mr. Abdul-Jabbar stated that the bill’s supporters “deserve” the wrath of the national community, because “they passed RFRA as a cynical political ploy to appease Indiana conservatives.”

“Scrambling Indiana politicians suddenly protest that the law’s intention is not to discriminate,” he wrote. “In fact, that’s its only reason to exist. Even if no one actually uses the law, it’s still a loaded weapon with one intended victim: Anyone Who Isn’t Us.

“The politicians thought it would cost them nothing and gain them voter appreciation. Fortunately, it is costing them much more than they imagined,” Mr. Abdul-Jabbar wrote. “People of all religions and races and ethnic backgrounds should join together to condemn this law and boycott the state because whenever we allow any discrimination, we make it possible for the infection to spread.”

In an effort to quell the mounting outrage against Indiana’s new law, Republican legislators said Thursday morning that Gov. Mike Pence’s promised “fix” includes specific protections for sexual orientation and gender identity.

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