Sunday, November 7, 2010

Voting and Thinking

When the voters of Oklahoma bravely protected the state's judiciary from Sharia law and international law, it's possible -- I'm just saying it's possible -- that they didn't think it through carefully:

Last year, radical right-wing politicians in Oklahoma passed the Ten Commandments Monument Display Act ... The bill authors noted that “the Ten Commandments found in the Bible, Exodus 20:1-17 and Deuteronomy 5:6-21, are an important component of the moral foundation of the laws and legal system of the United States of America and of the State of Oklahoma.” ...
"Many of us who understand the law are scratching our heads this morning, laughing so we don’t cry,” he said. “I would like to see Oklahoma politicians explain if this means that the courts can no longer consider the Ten Commandments. Isn’t that a precept of another culture and another nation? The result of this is that judges aren’t going to know when and how they can look at sources of American law that were international law in origin.”
It's true -- Charlton Heston's portrayal notwithstanding, Moses was not an American, much less an Oklahoman, and the laws ascribed to Moses's chance encounter with a bush originate far from these shores.

You would think the very fact of Sharia law in places like Saudi Arabia, Taliban-dominated sectors of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and elsewhere would demonstrate the importance of keeping religious law separate from civic law. It would do precisely that, but it would require a little thinking to make the connection. Voting majorities of Oklahomans don't go for the thinking, so here we are, and it will be both distressing and hilarious -- mostly hilarious -- to watch the state's polity wallow in this self-made muckhole.


Sean G said...

Isn't American law based off of English common law, and the Magna Carta?

What about the laws of the United States that are based off of laws from the American colonies? At what point would colonial law be more American than British?

Dale said...

Sean, good question. Yes, US law is based in English common law. How US right-wingers derive this "from the Bible" narrative about it is beyond me.

Paul Sunstone said...

"How US right-wingers derive this "from the Bible" narrative about it is beyond me."

It has become painfully obvious to me that you hate America and the Bible, Dale. Therefore, I simply cannot believe a word of what you say. Your words are the devil's words. EVERYONE KNOWS THE TRUTH THAT AMERICA'S LAWS AND VALUES ARE DERIVED FROM THE CHRISTIAN TRADITION, AND FROM THE BIBLE, AND FROM THE SACRED SPITTLE OF OUR LORD. ONLY YOU ARE DELUDED, DALE. WAKE UP BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE!!!!!!!!!!!

(Did I get that right?)

Dale said...

@Paul, well done. That's exactly right!

Mikel said...

I am still scratching my head about why we would NEED to outlaw Sharia law. I mean the states, which have legit legistlative powers, cannot pass a law that is in contradicted by federal law. (At least they can't enforce it.) Why are we worried about some religous group passing such laws? They will be illegal automatically.

I can't see this particular incident as anything other than promoting fear and predudice against Muslims.

Paul Sunstone said...

*sigh* To think I missed my true calling in life when I failed to become a falsely-passionate, homo-fighting, fundamentalist preacher with, of course, a meth addicted male prostitute by my side for moral support.

*again sigh* I believe it is during moments like the one I'm having now, Dale, that the veils part just a wee bit and we catch a glimpse of the bliss that, with only a few better life choices on our part, could have been ours.

Dale said...

@Mikel, I'm not at all clear what the sense of *panic* is about,i.e., why Oklahomans must vote on it in November 2010, but I am wary of jurists and lawmakers getting carried away with their religious views (sometimes but not always Sharia-based) and inserting them into court precedents and legislation. This is happening in some places in the world and it bears watching.

I can conceive of a well-crafted measure to keep Sharia out of American law. (I have not read the OK law, but as I lived in Oklahoma for 18 years of my life, I am quite sure it was a poorly conceived, poorly written piece of junk law.)

We already have such a law -- the first amendment -- but I have little trust that the courts we have today will maintain the line, so I am for strengthening it. The way they'll dissolve it is to allow the home team's faith in (i.e., Christianity) but that opens the door to Sharia.

Sean G said...

I wonder, what kind of requirement does Oklahoma have for getting measures before voters? Maybe this was a test case, not only to see if a crazy racist law could be passed, but also to get this "Sharia law" BS into the mainstream consciousness. Remember, the echo chamber doesn't require facts to get a lot of people to believe something. The same people who, a year from now, will be talking about Obama's $2 Billion trip to India will also be talking about how Muslims are trying to impose Sharia law all over the country, and citing this law as an example.