Tag Archives: Sharia law

Speaking of Crazy…..

There have always been paranoid people running around, but when did we start electing so many people who are, as they say, “lightly tethered to reality”?

Case in point: a few days ago, Talking Points Memo reported on a fiasco in Idaho, where a routine bill to bring the state into compliance with federal rules governing child support collections–needed in order to avoid losing $46 million dollars in federal money–failed because conservative legislators said it would have subjected the state to Sharia law.

State Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, a Republican from the small northern community of Cottonwood, raised the objection during the House Judiciary and Rules Committee hearing. She testified that the federal law Idaho was adjusting to incorporated provisions of an international agreement regarding cross-border recovery of child-support payments, the Hague Convention on International Recovery of Child Support and Family Maintenance.

None of the nearly 80 countries involved in the treaty — which the U.S. entered in 2007 — are under Sharia law. But Nuxoll and other skeptics said their concerns were valid because some nations in treaty informally recognize such courts. They added that the provisions of the deal wouldn’t leave Idaho with the authority to challenge another nation’s judgment, particularly if it were under hard-line Islamic law.

Idaho uses federal programs to process in-state and out-of-state child support payments, and compliance with the federal rules is required in order to continue doing so.  Without access to the federal tools, parents who are owed child-support payments will have no way to get those payments.

Apparently, Senator Nuxoll and her “black helicopter” colleagues consider hungry children a small price to pay for averting the imminent threat of a “Sharia law” which they couldn’t define if their lives depended on it.

Just shoot me now.

 

Hard To Argue

Sometimes, snark hits the nail on the head.

A couple of days ago, over at Dispatches from the Culture Wars, Ed Brayton made a snarky and audacious claim: After noting those aspects of Sharia Law that are most frequently criticized as being inconsistent with American values, he pointed out that today’s GOP holds those same beliefs:

  • Government is to be based upon religious doctrine
  • Women should have fewer rights than men
  • Homosexuality is to be outlawed
  • Religious doctrine trumps science
  • There is no separation of church and state
  • Religion is taught in government schools
  • Abortion should be illegal

All of these positions are proudly held both by extremist Muslims and the extremists who control  today’s Republican party.

Brayton’s conclusion: if you don’t want Sharia law, don’t vote Republican.

I hadn’t planned to share this–it seemed unnecessarily partisan–but Sunday evening I moderated a panel discussion sponsored by Americans United for Separation of Church and State. The panel was hosted by Broadway United Methodist Church, and candidates for the Indiana legislature (both incumbents and challengers) were invited to participate. Five accepted: four Democrats and one Republican.

I was initially impressed that a Republican would be willing to defend the party’s current platform to a group that was unlikely to agree with much of it, but it immediately became clear that the Republican had not the foggiest notion what AU stood for, or for that matter, how church and state differ. Her answers to the questions were rambling, incoherent and  filled with personal anecdotes and biblical quotes. (Although she seemed totally unaware of the operation of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, she did at one point offer the opinion that Jefferson “lied” in his letter to the Danbury Baptists.)

When a question was asked about recognition of same-sex marriage, she responded that “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” (I kid you not.) She offered her support for pharmacists who refuse to fill birth control prescriptions and merchants who refuse to provide services to gay customers, because “liberty,” and when asked whether those same merchants should also be able to refuse service to African-American patrons, she at first said she didn’t understand the question, but when pressed, said yes.

There was much, much more–including a closing statement in which she shared with the audience the information that God had asked her to run for office.

I know this woman is not representative of all Republican candidates. (As one appalled attendee noted afterward, she was a “stereotype on steroids.”) But the party was willing to have her run under its label. She somehow made it through slating.

In the course of the evening, she took every position on Brayton’s list (indeed, she went well beyond the list).

I’d be interested in knowing which of those positions today’s GOP–aka the American Taliban–would disown.

At Least It’s A Short Session…..

My own children weren’t among those who feared monsters under the bed, but I had friends who regularly had to assure their toddlers that the room had been cleared of things that go bump in the night.

Those children evidently grew up to populate the Indiana General Assembly.

Senator Kruse has filed Senate Bill 90, aimed at preventing Indiana courts from applying Sharia law. Because that is so likely to happen here. This trend began last year in Oklahoma, and legal blogs report that in addition to Indiana, five states are considering such legislation: Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska, South Carolina and Wyoming. (Not surprisingly, these are not states that top the educational achievement lists….)

Senate Bill 90 “Prohibits the enforcement of a foreign law (defined as a law established and used outside the jurisdiction of the United States) if the enforcement would violate a right granted by the Indiana or U.S. Constitution.” It prohibits people from entering into a contract to apply foreign law to  contract disputes, and prohibits courts from transferring cases to other jurisdictions if the transfer is likely to “affect the constitutional rights of the nonmoving party.”

I’m not sure what effect this would have on the application of international trade laws, or the Law of the Sea, and it does appear to interfere with the right of two parties to decide for themselves what law will apply to their contracts. I’m not sure how judges are supposed to know whether courts in other jurisdictions–say New York or California–might rule in ways that the bill’s sponsor believes will “affect” the constitutional rights of the nonmoving party.

Indiana faces significant challenges. Unemployment remains stubbornly high. Our local governments are starving for resources. Our infrastructure needs outstrip our ability to address them. We continue to fight over the best way to improve our substandard schools. So our legislators have gotten really busy–outlawing Sharia law and promoting creationism. (More on that tomorrow.)

Given the language of the bill, it probably passes constitutional muster. So would a bill outlawing monsters under the bed.