Sharia in America? Oh NO!
In the recent elections which saw a conservative backlash against all things moderate and liberal (remember most of the Democratic seats lost in Congress will be so-called Blue Dogs, many of them Pro-life Democrats, who like Bart Stupak saw Health Care Reform as being essential but were called baby-killers even though they were strongly anti-abortioin -- but that's another debate). One of the measures that passed in this election cycle was a restrictive piece in Oklahoma that would forbid Oklahoma courts from considering international law or Sharia in their findings. 70% of the voting populace supported the measure, and its likely to crop up other places. A judge has stayed its implementation pending appeals (I believe) on the basis that it likely conflicts with the Constitution.
Listening to some analysis recently it was pointed out that this measure is first of all discriminatory because courts take into consideration all the time Jewish and Christian and other religious laws and teachings in settling estates and other legal matters. The same would be true of estate plans for Muslims, who use their own religious teachings to guide implementation of their wills and estates. This would preclude that possibility. There is, of course, another problem with the law since it would essentially abrogate treaties and other agreements that are based in international law. Businesses in Oklahoma may see a chilling effect as companies decide that this isn't a good climate to do business.
So, why this new law? Well there seems to be this fear that Muslims will take over the country if they are given any place in society. Give them an inch and they'll take a mile. That's why there is an effort to unseat Keith Ellison, the first Muslim to serve in Congress. It would seem that many Americans want to make the country a Muslim free zone. But how does this square with our own Constitution, which guarantees Americans the freedom to practice their religion as they please. Of course, US Law always trumps religious law, if those teachings/practices conflict with the law. Thus, we can't follow the teachings of Deuteronomy and stone our kids if they back talk or eat too much (Deut. 21:18-21). We've figured this out, and can do the same with Sharia, which in any case isn't an established set of laws, but a variety of laws, rules, and regulations that vary from culture to culture. The reality is that only a few rather radical Muslims would even think about imposing such a requirement on the whole populace.
So, what's the problem? Is this not another example of a growing anti-Muslim sentiment in America? Is this fear any different from lingering fears that have suggested that Jews are trying to control the nation by controlling the banks and other levers of society? By singling out a particular religion, this law has abrogated the first amendment rights of Muslims in Oklahoma to have their own practices taken into consideration when in the legal system. We wouldn't think of doing this with Christians or Jews, but it apparently is okay for us to treat Muslims in this way. Or, is it?