As anti-Muslim bigotry creeps into state legislatures around the country, Florida and Oklahoma law makers are poised to pass the so-called anti-Sharia bills
On April 8 Oklahoma legislature moved one step closer to passing anti-Sharia bill when the state Senate approved on a 40-3 vote the bill HB 1060 prohibiting the use of foreign or religious laws in state courts.
On the same day a committee of Florida Senate passed an anti-Sharia bill.
The Oklahoma bill (HB 1060) is an attempt by lawmakers to finish what they started in 2010, when voters in the State approved a constitutional amendment to prohibit Islamic Shariah law from being used in state courts. That amendment, which passed with 70 percent of the vote, was almost immediately blocked by a federal court and promptly ruled unconstitutional because it specifically targeted Islam.
Citing a handful of child custody and divorce proceedings, anti-Shariah activists claimed that the American way of life could soon be under threat from "radical Islam."
HB 1060 differs from the constitutional amendment in that it doesn't single out Islam specifically; instead, it applies a blanket policy to all religious institutions and foreign laws, borrowing from a model that has been introduced in more than two dozen states and passed in six since 2009.
The latest bill was sponsored in the Oklahoma House by Rep. Sally Kern (R-Oklahoma City), an ardent theocrat who has declared the United States to be a "Christian nation." It passed the Oklahoma Senate 40-3 on April 8. It passed the House 81-11 in March.
According to Americans United for Separation of Church and State there is also no known threat from Sharia law to Oklahoma's courts and it seems the true motivation of HB 1060 is nothing more than anti-Muslim sentiment.
In fact, this measure is based on the "American Laws for American Courts" bill, which was crafted by the American Public Policy Alliance, a group that claims Sharia principles are creeping into U.S. courts.
It's pretty ironic that legislators who are always pushing Ten Commandments bills now want to ban "foreign law," Americans United said adding: According to the Bible, the Ten Commandments were handed down on Mount Sinai, not Black Mesa, which is reportedly the highest point in Oklahoma. Doesn't that make the Ten Commandments "foreign law," too?
Unfortunately Oklahoma isn't the only state working to ban "foreign law." In Florida, Americans United opposed a similar bill. AU has also criticized anti-Sharia bills this year in Missouri and Texas.
After anti-Sharia legislation was killed and defeated in 2011 and 2012, Florida lawmakers Larry Metz and Alan Hays paddled it again.
Not surprisingly, Senator Alan Hays recently thanked supporters of the Anti-Muslim Bill SB58 for being "brave enough to stand up for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."
According to the Huffington Post, Hays also claimed that Sharia law is like a disease we should vaccinate against! According to the Miami Herlad and Mother Jones, Hays also passed out anti-Muslim literature describing Islam as a threat to the United States!
The bill also was opposed by civil liberties and legal groups who said the legislation is unnecessary. There are no reported cases in which a Florida court applied foreign law. Opponents cited decisions spanning decades in which courts actually refused to apply foreign laws in Florida.