Is the AIG Bailout an Establishment Clause Violation?

A Michigan man thinks so.

The lawsuit was filed Monday in federal court in Detroit by the Thomas More Law Center of Ann Arbor, which pursues cases on behalf of Christian causes.

It says the government is violating the First Amendment with billions of dollars of aid for AIG. The clause prevents the U.S. government from endorsing a religion.

The lawsuit says AIG offers financial services that comply with Sharia principles, specifically Takaful insurance. Islamic or Sharia-compliant finance bans investments that pay interest or sponsor alcohol, tobacco, pork, gambling or weapons.

“The Takaful insurance business of AIG is pervasively sectarian,” the lawsuit alleges. “Its secular purposes and its Sharia-based Islamic religious mission are inextricably intertwined.”

I would love to see the lawsuit succeed. It would truly be a wonderful day for America if the government could be told that it couldn’t do business with or give money to any business that did business with or for the superstitious. As an Atheist, I’d love to see that day come. However, this lawsuit seems to be patently frivolous and based more in a hostility toward Islam than a true belief in a separation of church and state.

Under Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971) a government action must meet all three of the following requirements in order to conform with the Establishment Clause.

  1. The action must have a secular purpose
  2. The action must have a primary effect that neither advances nor inhibits religion
  3. The action must not foster an excessive government entanglement with religion

Giving money to AIG might violate the 10th Amendment, it might be stupid, it might be a waste. However, it certainly passes the Lemon test and thus is not an Establishment Clause violation.

4 Responses to Is the AIG Bailout an Establishment Clause Violation?

  1. jesschristensen says:

    I get that the guy is a whackadoodle. But, I don’t get his point. AIG doesn’t offer interest bearing investments? I mean, perhaps not so much now that they’re on the skids, but, normally?

  2. Mark Kernes says:

    I don’t want to burst anyone’s bubble, but seems to me that the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives doesn’t pass the Lemon test.

  3. […] a symbolic thumb in the eye of devout believers in Islam. First Amendment blogger Marc Randazza finds the suit “patently frivolous and based more in a hostility toward Islam than a true belief in a […]

  4. […] Sanction Thomas More Center Not a Potted Plant thinks that the Thomas More Law Center should be subject to Rule 11 sanctions for its moronic Establishment Clause lawsuit. […]

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