BY RICHARD L. FRICKER
Oklahoma politicians have once again managed to put the state atop the Political Buffoon List by placing State Question 755 on the ballot. In essence 755 makes it illegal for judges to use Sharia law as a basis for any judicial ruling. Why this is necessary, other than to fuel anti-Muslim sentiment, no one knows.
SQ 755 is the brainchild of outgoing state Rep. Rex Duncan, Crackpot-Sand Springs, who has now been joined in his lunacy by gubernatorial candidate Mary Fallin. This question will show the country – and the Islamic world at large – just how phobic Oklahomans are toward anyone not an evangelic Christian with white skin, or possessing a reading level above that of pit-bull.
SQ 755 states: “This measure amends the State Constitution. It changes a section that deals with the courts of this state. It would amend Article 7, Section 1. It makes courts rely on federal and state law when deciding cases. It forbids courts from considering or using international law. It forbids courts from considering or using Sharia Law. International law is also known as the law of nations. It deals with the conduct of international organizations and independent nations, such as countries, states and tribes. It deals with their relationship with each other. It also deals with some of their relationships with persons. The law of nations is formed by the general assent of civilized nations. Sources of international law also include international agreements, as well as treaties. Sharia Law is Islamic law. It is based on two principal sources, the Koran and the teaching of Mohammed.” – Oklahoma State Election Board. http://www.ok.gov/elections/documents/sq_gen10.pdf
Republican gubernatorial candidate Mary Fallin supports the measure, sorta. Or, is it yes?
During an appearance at the Tulsa Downtown Rotary Club, Fallin was asked her position on 755. She immediately voiced support.
A couple of minutes later, opponent Jari Askins told the group she opposed the measure because she felt it was unconstitutional and fraught with unintended consequences. Fallin waffled. Fallin said she would need to do further study.
What! Further study on a ballot question of the state where you want to be governor?
Apparently she studied the question by calling Sen. James M. Inhofe. Inhofe [and Sen. Tom Coburn] you may recall is one of those senators who takes his cue from Dough Coe of the “family.” The “family’s” principal mission, as cited earlier, is to spend taxpayer money on non-government junkets to visit genocidal African dictators and secure oil contracts, all in the name of Jesus. After consultation with Sen. Inhofe candidate Fallin found that she did support 755.
Fallin is only the latest of the teabagger and ultra-conservative ilk to take up the anti-Islam/Sharia cause. It’s only too bad she has no idea why, other than good TB’s and conservatives don’t like Islam. Currently, if you have to have an enemy – a danger from which you are protecting the public – Islam is the target of choice.
Worth noting, the GOP et al backed off on the Hispanics as the election drew near because while undocumented workers can’t vote, many other Spanish-speaking, Mexican-descent Americans can and do. It’s just not good business to badmouth a person’s family and then ask for their support at the polls.
Meanwhile, 755. This particular question is the brainchild of Duncan, current candidate for District Attorney of Osage and Pawnee Counties. It would be well to remember it was Duncan who embarrassed the entire state by turning down the centennial edition of the Quran offered by Oklahoma Muslims to all the members of the Legislature. We spoke about that stunt at the time: http://www.consortiumnews.com/2008/052708b.html
But he did, with the help of the legislative Taliban, get the issue on the ballot. Duncan says it is only a “pre-emptive” strike to protect us from the coming Islamic onslaught. I guess those other state appeals and federal courts can’t do the job.
The problem is that this question smacks of a phobic reaction to a non-threat. Because it is easy to blame Muslims, who have been in this state as productive Oklahomans for generations, for everything from a bad economy to threats to our society to crop failures. None of it is true, but the Duncans and Fallins of the world do not care about “true.” They do, however, care about power.
Oklahoma Bar Association president Allen Smallwood was asked about 755, “Have you in your career ever encountered a case involving Sharia law?” “No never, never, not even close,” he said.
Retired Supreme Court Judge Daniel Boudreau was asked if he had ever, in the thousands of cases he had reviewed in his years on the bench, encountered a reference to Sharia law. “No, not one,” he said.
Attorneys Randy Gill and Clark Brewster render the same answer. Each has been practicing for over a quarter of a century in Oklahoma courts. Other lawyers contacted either shook their head in disbelief or laughed.
The problems is, there is no problem. But, we may get yet another unconstitutional law on the books, spend scads of money in federal court while at the same time endangering what freedoms we have remaining, just so clowns such as Duncan and Fallin can scare the voters.
Duncan attached himself to the anti-Islam medicine show two years ago. Now the voter/taxpayer will pay the price for allowing him to meander unescorted and unchecked through the legislative process.
Fallin, however, has shown herself willing to stoop as low as necessary to garner votes at the cost of her fellow Oklahomans. She joins the ranks of Christine O’Donnell and the other ill-educated and social misshapen in attacking a particular group because it’s an easy shot. [It should be remembered that the only act of terrorism in this state was committed by a rightwing, semi-evangelical white guy. How would it go down to outlaw the St. James Bible – that’s what McVeigh used.]
Anyway. It’s obvious Fallin has sold out to fear mongers who have no regard for the truth.
There was a time when the lunatic fringe was just that, people who wore aluminum foil hats so you couldn’t read their minds through the television. We’ve moved past that now – the lunatic fringe is getting elected on a platform that we should distrust and even be prepared to attack our neighbors, third world mass murders are really OK guys and there is really only one religion, and you can find it in the bottom of a tea canister.
As for the aluminum foil folk, they were a better grade of lunatic fringe than we have now, by a long shot. They were smarter, they knew two and two equaled four, they didn’t try, like the teabaggers and the new conservative fringe to make it equal three point nine.
Gee! I miss those guys.
– Richard L. Fricker lives in Tulsa, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer, providing both essay and video commentary [see Observer home page]. His latest book, Martian Llama Racing Explained, is available at http://www.richardfricker.com.