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Oklahoma bans Sharia from courts, CAIR files lawsuit

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So an overthrown decision in Jersey is proof that Muslims in Oklahoma are going to start beating their wives undisturbed from now on? Brilliant.

The point of that article in this context is that, even though it was overthrown, a U.S. court decided a case based on whether or not the defendant thought his action was "prohibited" under Sharia law:

The court believes that he was operating under his belief that it is, as the husband, his desire to have sex when and whether he wanted to, was something that was consistent with his practices and it was something that was not prohibited.

By "prohibited," they are obviously not referring to U.S. law, as that is certainly prohibited. The judge is referring to Sharia law, and on this basis he found that sexual assault or criminal sexual conduct had not been proven. Yes, it was overturned, and Oklahoma is a long way from New Jersey politically, but the removal of this amendment would make it possible for a judge to rule like this in Oklahoma. Speaking for myself, if my legislator or judge has a power I don't think he should have, I'm not very comforted by, "Oh, but he'll never use it." Hard and fast constitutional rules are appropriate, to ensure that government officials do not have discretion they shouldn't.

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By "prohibited," they are obviously not referring to U.S. law, as that is certainly prohibited. The judge is referring to Sharia law, and on this basis he found that sexual assault or criminal sexual conduct had not been proven. Yes, it was overturned, and Oklahoma is a long way from New Jersey politically, but the removal of this amendment would make it possible for a judge to rule like this in Oklahoma.

The existence of this law would not make it any less impossible for a judge to rule the same exact way. And even if it did (which it doesn't), that would not justify a law that singles out a religion over others, in violation of the Constitution.

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The existence of this law would not make it any less impossible for a judge to rule the same exact way. And even if it did (which it doesn't), that would not justify a law that singles out a religion over others, in violation of the Constitution.

Where exactly in the Constitution does it state that laws cannot single out a religious practice or religious doctrine? I only see this:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

This amendment does neither. It's not in any way "establishing" the rivals of Islam or anything, and it's not prohibiting the exercise of Islam (with the addendum, of course, that said exercise not violate the rights of others). I see nothing in here about laws which focus on one religion, only general restrictions about the types of laws that can be made in relation to religions in general.

Edited by Dante
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Where exactly in the Constitution does it state that laws cannot single out a religious practice or religious doctrine? I only see this:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

You just quoted it. Allowing some religions to be considered in Court, while banning others, is an obvious violation of the Establishment Clause.

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Where exactly in the Constitution does it state that laws cannot single out a religious practice or religious doctrine?
This is how the constitution has generally been interpreted. An argument that conservative Christians make is that the principle of "separation of Church and state" should be narrowed to "non establishment". One would need to a a constitutional scholar to argue for that "separation of church and state" was the real intent; but, regardless of what was meant, that broader notion is the right one.

If we hold separation of church and state to be the right principle, the the law should not point out a specific religion the way this ballot measure does. Properly written, instead of naming Sharia, it ought to have broadly ruled out the use of religious law.

One might still decide to support and vote for an imperfect law. Personally -- balancing the likelihood of a threat from Sharia against allowing a law that names a specific religion this way -- I would not have voted for this one.

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The OP calls this amendment a "harmless redundancy" - in the case it's never needed.

Which I take to mean 'let's play it safe'.

Speaking as a foreigner, my deep concern is that America is becoming a nation that is (more and more) standing AGAINST things, rather than FOR, principles.

Just when statism is showing signs of declining there, you support more laws, rather than less.

May I quote one of your best thinkers, Benjamin Franklin, to you - "Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security, will deserve neither, and lose both ."

There are some of us who have looked up to the USA for a long time, and this fearful mindset is extremely disturbing.

If this amendment is not unconstitutional, it surely is irrational.

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Just when statism is showing signs of declining there, you support more laws, rather than less.

May I quote one of your best thinkers, Benjamin Franklin, to you - "Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security, will deserve neither, and lose both ."

Simply claiming "there should be fewer laws" is a misguided attempt to reduce government. Government has proper functions, and the court system is one of them. We need laws delimiting what judges can and cannot do. We need fewer laws concerning activities which are not the government's proper functions, and better laws governing the state's proper scope.

This amendment does not relinquish liberty. It is specifically a restriction on judges, as far as I can tell, dictating what they can and cannot consider when making their decisions. Judges should not have "liberty" to consider whatever they want; they are appointed government officials charged with a specific duty: to uphold the laws of (in this case) the state of Oklahoma. More "liberty" for them to stray from their proper function actually translates into less liberty for citizens living under that government. Restrictions on government officials are vital if we are to have a government of laws and not of men.

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Just when statism is showing signs of declining there

We are not as supportive of statism as we were a few years ago? Since when? More like the independent voters did a response vote, and the Republicans are being a little bit more obnoxious and loud than they were before (whilst continuing their own statist policies)

Edited by CapitalistSwine
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Simply claiming "there should be fewer laws" is a misguided attempt to reduce government. Government has proper functions, and the court system is one of them. We need laws delimiting what judges can and cannot do. We need fewer laws concerning activities which are not the government's proper functions, and better laws governing the state's proper scope.

This amendment does not relinquish liberty. It is specifically a restriction on judges, as far as I can tell, dictating what they can and cannot consider when making their decisions. Judges should not have "liberty" to consider whatever they want; they are appointed government officials charged with a specific duty: to uphold the laws of (in this case) the state of Oklahoma. More "liberty" for them to stray from their proper function actually translates into less liberty for citizens living under that government. Restrictions on government officials are vital if we are to have a government of laws and not of men.

Dante,

I do understand, I think;

but - doesn't this smell like a 'lifeboat scenario' law to you?

A highly unlikely situation that must be guarded against, by taking out an insurance policy, now?

When the Constitution, and existing laws - and failing that, principles and common sense, would be more than sufficient IF the situation arose.

This amendment seems to me much, much, too specific.

My general ignorance of the fine details of US law does not prevent me from feeling that this is not sound, or just.

Capitalist Swine,

Yes, I am probably jumping the gun here concerning reduced statism. Put it down to over-optimism. But with the electorate putting some brakes on runaway spending and Obama's authoritarianism, wouldn't more US citizens be thinking about a limited government, now?

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The OP calls this amendment a "harmless redundancy" - in the case it's never needed.

Which I take to mean 'let's play it safe'.

Speaking as a foreigner, my deep concern is that America is becoming a nation that is (more and more) standing AGAINST things, rather than FOR, principles.

Just when statism is showing signs of declining there, you support more laws, rather than less.

May I quote one of your best thinkers, Benjamin Franklin, to you - "Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security, will deserve neither, and lose both ."

There are some of us who have looked up to the USA for a long time, and this fearful mindset is extremely disturbing.

If this amendment is not unconstitutional, it surely is irrational.

I actually see the amendment as a protection against something that there does seem to be a risk for. Look at the article Grames linked about a judge actually ruling that it was okay for a man to rape his wife because of his religious beliefs. Look at the fact that judges in the UK already make these sort of rulings. I was saying that even -if- you think it isn't needed, it's a harmless redundancy. There is no moral reason (in my opinion) to oppose this amendment. If you think it's not needed, just leave it alone. What harm could it possibly do? What could you possibly have to gain by lifting a protection against the imposition of Sharia law? If you don't support the imposition of Sharia law, then you have nothing to gain by opposing this amendment.

Are our political and judicial leaders too concrete-bound? Yes. Ideally, the principle of individual rights should already prevent judges from making such rulings. But obviously it doesn't, since it happened in New Jersey already. So what if our concrete-bound lawmakers single out Islam? I'll take what I can get. I'd like it if they banned all religious law, including Christianity, but I'll take what I can get. And what we can get right now is a ban on the use of Sharia law in our courts. Which is a good thing.

Or so I thought we were going to get a ban on Sharia law in Oklahoma courts. Apparently a Federal judge temporarily banned the amendment from going into effect so they could have a hearing on it. I don't even live in Oklahoma and I am pissed.

See this article, which is also currently linked from this website's index page.

A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order Monday to block a new amendment to the Oklahoma Constitution that would prohibit state courts from considering international or Islamic law when deciding cases.

Way to protect the rights of Americans, U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange.

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If you don't support the imposition of Sharia law, then you have nothing to gain by opposing this amendment.

Are our political and judicial leaders too concrete-bound? Yes. Ideally, the principle of individual rights should already prevent judges from making such rulings. But obviously it doesn't, since it happened in New Jersey already. So what if our concrete-bound lawmakers single out Islam? I'll take what I can get. I'd like it if they banned all religious law, including Christianity, but I'll take what I can get. And what we can get right now is a ban on the use of Sharia law in our courts. Which is a good thing.

Amaroq,

I too utterly oppose the imposition of Sharia law, anywhere.

I'd like all religious law banned, as well.

But, this is Oklahoma, not the Yemen.

Whatever the number or influence of Muslims in that state, and with 0.8 % of them in the entire USA population, there can't be many -

do you mean to tell me that they can ever, in their wildest dreams, impose Sharia law there?

I don't know about this, but do the Mormons enjoy any special priviliges, or any targeted restrictions, in the state of Utah?

There can only be one message to all immigrants to any nation:- assimilate.

By your individual liberties, you may practise your own culture freely, but as soon as it contravenes the laws of your new country, you will be charged and arrested.

(As an example, Israel has 1.1 million Muslim citizens - who enjoy full rights as Israelis - out of a population of under 6 million. You never hear about them, because they are happily assimilated Israelis, represented in Parliament, by their own politicians. No Sharia law.)

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Capitalist Swine,

Yes, I am probably jumping the gun here concerning reduced statism. Put it down to over-optimism. But with the electorate putting some brakes on runaway spending and Obama's authoritarianism, wouldn't more US citizens be thinking about a limited government, now?

I don't believe there will be all that much in the way of spending breaks or authoritarianism breaks. It also is not really provided by historical precedent either. Republicans have never really been the small-government, small-spending party.

http://reason.com/blog/2010/11/03/reasontv-3-reasons-this-electi

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But all I'm saying is that *where* no precedent exists already, or in cases involving international matters, knowing what international law says can be useful. I'm by no means suggesting we subjugate ourselves TO it, but that it can be worth being aware of.

I am an American citizen. In no way, under any conditions, will I be held accountable to Islamic Law. Thankfully, I'm an Oklahoma resident.

I do not want it considered, at all, in any form, if my actions within the boarders of this country are ever scrutinized in that arena.

Edited by Lakeside
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I am an American citizen. In no way, under any conditions, will I be held accountable to Islamic Law. Thankfully, I'm an Oklahoma resident.

I do not want it considered, at all, in any form, if my actions within the boarders of this country are ever scrutinized in that arena.

Good thing I didn't say Islamic law then, huh?

On the Sharia law portion, I agree - but when it comes to International Law - if the US has no established precedent on a matter, then I can see it being useful to the courts to refer to International Law.
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Greebo, since there is no such thing as a nation called "International" and since the world is not a collective of unified nation states and since the US Constitution is the supreme law of its land - your argument for "international law" is bogus, or at best only applies to those nation-states who submit their laws to a non entity collective body. International law is nothing less then an agreement between two or more nation-states which can be ignored or nullified by any participating nation for whatever reason. The U.N. - the picture of corruption - since its inception has tried to make "international law" the supreme law.

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Context dropping. Willful context dropping for that matter.

"International Law" is a term which has a definitive meaning within the scope and context of the bill supplied.

You are denying that "International Law" exists by redefining the term first, thus dropping the context in which the term was originally used, then denying it's existence.

A treaty between the US and one of our neighbors is a clear example of "International Law" in the scope of this bill.

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Greebo, your argument is that "international law" has some sort of real legal weight which can trump national law. Treaties are nothing more than good faith agreements between two nation-states. Thus, "international law" as such is a misnomer since only sovereign nations can have sovereign laws. A two=party or more agreement has no defined Constitutional auth. or real legal national boundary. The left, most of European gov'ts, and all the thugs in the U.N. like to speak of int'l law as though it is this clearly defined supreme law that can supersede their own national Constitutions. This is absurd since, as I stated before, there is no such nation called "Intetrnational". As far as the USA is concerned the US Const' is THE supreme law of the land regardless of what "int'l laws" there may be our there.

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Erik,

I have a radical idea for you, if you're done putting words in my mouth.

Go back, read my posts, and show me a quote that suggests I said any such thing.

You may need a dictionary, however, if you're having a hard time understanding the difference between referencing and subjugating.

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For the sake of convenience, I have bundled all relevant statements together.

And I'm emphasizing the most pertinent points for your even further convenience.

On the Sharia law portion, I agree - but when it comes to International Law - if the US has no established precedent on a matter, then I can see it being useful to the courts to refer to International Law.

Some of it isn't any better than the old model...

But all I'm saying is that *where* no precedent exists already, or in cases involving international matters, knowing what international law says can be useful. I'm by no means suggesting we subjugate ourselves TO it, but that it can be worth being aware of.

You cannot conceive that a court case may come up where no precedent exists in the US, but one exists elsewhere, and the precedent doesn't violate our own laws? Or you cannot see any possible value that our Judges may find in seeing what other courts have done, even if those other courts rulings aren't binding?

Honestly - how hard is that to understand?

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Honestly - How hard is this?

I, an American citizen, at not point, ever, under any condition, will be tried by anything other than the United States Constitution, and to that which it pertains. I don't care what they do in Germany, Israel, China, New Zealand, or the tribes of humanoids that inhabit the area at the bottom of the Congo. Nor any other countries laws that may exist outside of the boarders of this country.

Also, I'm well aware of the differences between referencing and subjugating. I will not have our courts even consider anything other than the Laws of THIS country.

Edited by Lakeside
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