“Ohhhhh-Kla-Homa . . .”*

” . . . where the wind comes whistling through our brains ”  last week approved State Law 755, which mandates that Oklahoma courts “shall not consider international law or Sharia Law.”   70% of Oklahomans voted for the Sharia Ban, the constitutionality of which has been challenged in a federal lawsuit filed last Thursday.  (No word on whether Oklahoma will consider any of my suggested ballot initiatives.)  Why did Oklahoma need to instruct it’s courts not to even think about Sharia Law?  Is the ban reflective of this country’s virulent anti-Islamic sentiment?

A co-sponsor, state Sen. Anthony Sykes, denied it sought to stigmatize Muslims. “We’re not trying to send any sort of message here,” said Mr. Sykes, a Republican. Rather, he said, Oklahomans wanted to insulate their judiciary from un-American influences. While no Oklahoma court ever has cited Shariah law, “we are on a slippery slope,” he said.

The linked WSJournal article in which this quotation appears notes that other states

have considered rules that restrict judges from making decisions that take into account foreign or international legal materials . . . Only Oklahoma’s measure singles out a particular religious tradition, []  though a proposal in Arizona lists Shariah along with canon law, Jewish law and karma, a conception of fate in Hindu and Buddhist traditions.

Wouldn’t preventing a court from considering karma itself be bad karma, resulting in all sorts of undesirable results?  I guess if you elected governor Jan Brewer and Sheriff Joe Arpaio, you aren’t worried about karma.

Mr. Sykes said he wanted to protect the Oklahoma judiciary from the influence of “Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan and, I’m sure, Sonia Sotomayor, given her political leanings,” who he believed were inclined to rely on international law.


*Recognizing that this may not trigger instant recognition in all AFC readers, here’s Oklahoma–sung by Hugh Jackman.

Right-Wing Nonsense

The “ground zero mosque” controversy is a case study in media manipulation of public opinion.  The very name “ground zero mosque” is intended to mislead–it is a cultural center modeled on Jewish Community Centers across the country with a room for prayer and would be two blocks away from the World Trade Center site in a “busy and diverse city district.” If the issue is one of respect for those killed at the WTC on 9/11, what respect is shown by the presence, also within a few blocks of the WTC, of the New York Dolls Gentlemen’s Club, Thunder Lingerie, and the Pussycat Lounge?  Why don’t the cultural center’s opponents excoriate the owners of these establishments?  Because  respect for 9/11 victims is not really their point.  The cultural center generated little heat when the New York Times ran a story about its development last December.  Laura Ingraham even gave it her blessing while guest-hosting the O’Reilly Report on Fox.  Salon reports the wave of opposition was pushed by virulently anti-Muslim blogger Pamela Geller, picked up months later by the New York Post, and trumpeted for political ends, fear mongering, and anti-Islam propaganda by the same right-wing blowhards who preach that Obama is, in fact, a Muslim.  It is a cynical and disgusting display of what is wrong with our present discourse.