Anti-sharia legislation being proposed by the Michigan state legislature is being opposed by what may seem like an unlikely group: Catholics.
The Michigan Catholic Conference, citing a potential impact on Catholic canon law, is speaking out against a bill in the Michigan House of Representatives that would prohibit the application of foreign law in Michigan.
The legislation, House Bill 4769, is primarily aimed at prohibiting Muslim Sharia law in the state, but Michigan Catholic Conference President and CEO Paul Long said the bill also could have an adverse effect on canon law, which is the juridical structure that facilitates life and governance in the Catholic Church.
Canon law governs aspects of Catholic life such as church structure and authority, doctrine, the appointment of pastors, the care of objects used in sacred worship, and rules regulating Catholic parishes and schools. In a news release, the MCC said canon law in many cases predates and is even the basis of some civil laws in the western world.
The threat posed by such legislation extends far beyond it’s impact on Catholic canon law. By helping to push the idea that religious beliefs should be kept private, anti-sharia laws are a threat to all of our religious liberties. As legal scholar Robert K. Vischer explained earlier this year in First Things: