It sounds like the beginning of a bad joke but that scenario happened in Mechanicsburg, Pa., triggering an incident and court decision that is no laughing matter, impacting on U.S. constitutional law.
Atheist activist Ernie Perce participated in a Halloween parade last year as "Zombie Prophet Mohammed"; another participant as "Zombie pope." A Muslim observer, Talaag Elbayomy, saw Perce's costume and allegedly attacking him for insulting the prophet. Elbayomy was quickly arrested by police.
Battery is the "harmful or offensive touching upon the person of another." It must be both unlawful and intentional. A somewhat grainy video of the parade captured the incident.
As of 2000, virtually every state's criminal code makes battery either a misdemeanor or felony. But not, apparently, for Muslims in Pennsylvania state Judge Mark Martin's court.
Martin threw the case out after berating, not the alleged perpetrator of the battery, but his victim. In a clarification of his reasoning, Martin claims there was insufficient evidence. However, the trial transcript suggests a different rationale. Oddly, the judge initially seems to suggest he, himself, is a Muslim convert -- although he is not. Then, in a totally incorrect statement concerning constitutional law, he tells Perce the First Amendment doesn't permit people to provoke others.
In Martin's view, Perce antagonized Elbayomy as Perce should have known wearing a costume mocking Prophet Mohammed would trigger just such an attack from an outraged follower of Islam.
Martin's decision puts all non-Muslims -- at least those in Pennsylvania -- on notice they must not act or say anything to antagonize Muslims for they are extremely intolerant about their religion.
Conversely, it appears, Martin is telling Muslims they can antagonize non-Muslims about their religion since non-Muslims are more tolerant. Accordingly, had the person dressed as a Zombie pope been Muslim and attacked by an outraged Catholic, applying Martin's rationale, the pope's attacker would be guilty of battery since Catholics should be more tolerant in such situations.
Although the term wasn't specifically mentioned, Martin's rationale suggests he supports Islam's Shariah law over U.S. constitutional law.
Extending Martin's rationale to a Muslim perpetrator of an "honor killing," he too would not be guilty of murder as the victim should have known his/her actions would give rise to his outrage, triggering his need to restore family honor by committing murder. And, Muslims consider honor killings justifiable in the most outrageous situations.
During Libya's revolution last year, for example, the rape of his three teenage daughters angered a father to take action to preserve the family's honor by killing -- not the perpetrator -- but his daughters. Had the father been tried in Judge Martin's court, would the same rationale by which Elbayomy's conduct was excused be applied? And, if not, why then apply it in Elbayomy's case in the first place? By doing so, Martin set a dangerous precedent.
Unfortunately, Martin is not alone in supporting Shariah. In 2010, a New Jersey criminal court applied it to find a Muslim husband, accused of raping his Muslim wife, not guilty as he lacked intent. Why? Because under Islamic law, the wife must submit to her husband who has the right to rape her if she rejects him. Rulings such as this give an honor killing defense even greater weight.
Such outrageous decisions by these judges effectively undermine U.S. law. They suggest, if a Muslim criminal defendant follows Shariah, running afoul of U.S. law, he will not be held accountable for violating the latter based on his belief in the former.
What is worrisome is these judges unknowingly are following a secret game plan, discovered eight years ago in a hidden sub-basement of an Islamist's home in northern Virginia, written by the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood -- the same organization now taking control (by democratic means) of Egypt. The plan outlines how Shariah will eventually replace existing law in the United States.
That may have seemed outlandish eight years ago but based on the Pennsylvania and New Jersey cases, it doesn't seem so outlandish today.
That plan has met with further success based on recent state legislative developments. A year ago, 22 state legislatures had passed or were weighing bills to prohibit judges from considering Shariah -- or any foreign law -- in their decisions. Most of the bills died or have been withdrawn due to claims the legislation is anti-Muslim.
It is no coincidence the anti-Muslim card being played is part of Muslim Brotherhood's game plan.
The 1967 movie "Cool Hand Luke" Paul Newman portrayed a prisoner whose foil was the warden. As Luke kept getting into trouble, the warden told the inmates, "What we've got here is a failure to communicate."
With the Muslim Brotherhood plan for replacing U.S. law revealed, there is no "failure to communicate" as to where they intend to take democracy -- both in Egypt and the United States. The failure is on our part to fully understand what the Muslim Brotherhood and the Zombie Prophet Mohammed case are telling us.
(James. G. Zumwalt, is a retired U.S. Marine Corps officer who heads Admiral Zumwalt and Consultants, Inc. He is author of "Bare Feet, Iron Will -- Stories from the Other Side of Vietnam's Battlefields" and the soon-to-be-released "Living the Juche Lie -- North Korea's Kim Dynasty.")
(United Press International's "Outside View" commentaries are written by outside contributors who specialize in a variety of important issues. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of United Press International. In the interests of creating an open forum, original submissions are invited.)