Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 15, 2011

WATCHING A RIDICULOUS TALKING POINT BUBBLE UP FROM BELOW.... When we last counted, there were about 13 states pushing proposals to prohibit courts from considering Islamic "sharia" law in judicial rulings. The First Amendment already offers such a protection, and there are no U.S. court rulings based on sharia law, but these far-right activists/lawmakers feel this is worth their time, just in case.

But that's just GOP silliness at the state level. At the national level, this is even too ridiculous for Republicans, isn't it?

Alas, all-but-announced presidential hopeful Rick Santorum is going after sharia on the stump, as evidenced the other day at an appearance in New Hampshire.

"We need to define it and say what it is. And it is evil. Sharia law is incompatible with American jurisprudence and our Constitution." [...]

"They left because of Sharia law," he said, referring to why he believes Muslim immigrants left their home countries to come to the United States.

Santorum added, "Sharia law is not just a religious code. It is also a governmental code. It happens to be both religious in nature an origin, but it is a civil code. And it is incompatible with the civil code of the United States."

Now, as a factual matter, the notion of Muslim immigrants fleeing their home countries to evade sharia law is pretty silly, and Rick Santorum appears to have no idea what he's talking about.

What's more, as Justin Elliott explained, "Santorum, like others who have slammed sharia, did not specify what he's talking about when he says 'sharia.' As I've previously reported, sharia is open to many interpretations and can encompass many different ideas. It is true that some Muslim-majority countries have civil codes that draw on sharia, but, again, practice varies widely."

Right. When Santorum says sharia is "evil" and "incompatible with American jurisprudence," is he talking about dietary restrictions?

The larger question, though, is whether Santorum's nonsense is a canary in the right-wing coal mine, and we're looking at the next big test for 2012 Republican presidential hopefuls. Adam Serwer noted that the GOP field has "a habit of eschewing policy realities for culture war red meat," and their cable news network seems likely to "press the candidates to take a position on whether or not they will defend America against the phantom menace of Taliban-style Islamic law."

In other words, in Republican politics, sharia is likely to be a fairly big deal over the next year or so.

Something to look out for as our discourse sinks a little further down the drain.

Steve Benen 1:25 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (24)

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Comments

The multiple manufactured issues of the repuknican party are so damn tiring!

With real issues that need to be discussed, the fake issues are depressing and nauseating!

The republicans make me want to puke!

Posted by: SadSadOldVet on March 15, 2011 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Good, let them make this a campaign issue. Sure, it will fire up the teabaggers, but who cares? Independents will see them for the lunatics they are.

Posted by: Stetson Kennedy on March 15, 2011 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

Once again, this is about putting bodies in voting booths. This is just like flag burnng amendments, gay marriage and other 'culture war' issues. Republicans are counting on the Pavlovian response to this issue get people pressing the button with the (R) next to the name.

It doesn't matter if its true. It only matters that the masses believe its true and vote accordingly.

Posted by: thorin-1 on March 15, 2011 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder if Little Ricky feels the same about preventing the imposition of Catholic canon law on the US, given that this would be just as unconstitutional as sharia.

Something tells me that Little Ricky would be just fine w/canon law, though.

-Z

Posted by: Zorro on March 15, 2011 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

I expect the 2012 Republican candidate to be somewhat foolish and somewhat crazy, but not Santorum-foolish or Santorum-crazy. Still, I like him out there setting the standard.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on March 15, 2011 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

You have to wonder if there's a conscious conspiracy to simply delude voters with hot-button but meaningless issues like this one. My own feeling is that the Republicans painted themselves into a corner with their too-easy Culture War mobilization. They're trapped by it and can't return to actual issues until either their easily-confused base dies off or they suffer a catastrophic electoral defeat. I take no comfort in any of this since this nation is, for all its strength and resilience, floundering. And although Republicanism may eventually become a source of common ridicule and contempt, the damage they're doing to the nation today may well be irreparable.

Posted by: walt on March 15, 2011 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, goodness, let the conservatives make this a big frickin' deal. It's a lot less harmful than some of their other hobby horses.

IIRC, the First Amendment (something about the govt not establishing a state religion...) already bans sharia law anyway, so their efforts are redundant.

Let them look like bigots and fools. Especially since they are, well, bigots and fools.

Posted by: danimal on March 15, 2011 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

"their cable news network seems likely to "press the candidates to take a position on whether or not they will defend America against the phantom menace of Taliban-style Islamic law."

Unlike good ol' American style Taliban Law, which dictates what people can and cannot do in the privacy of their own homes, what legal commitments couples can make, and what a woman can do with her body.

Posted by: Eeyore on March 15, 2011 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

I for one am pleased to hear Santorum decry imposing one's religious views with the force of law. Oh, wait...

Posted by: Gregory on March 15, 2011 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

When Santorum says sharia is "evil" and "incompatible with American jurisprudence," is he talking about dietary restrictions?

Pretty sure it's the prohibitions against cheating and lieing that Santorum (R-Frothy Mix) doesn't like.

Posted by: chi res on March 15, 2011 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

Many of the same people who ostensibly defend the civil code against sharia also want to enshrine the ten commandments in them, and generally blur the line between church and state.
They don't actually care about a civil code, they are religionists projecting their own desires on others.

Posted by: patrick II on March 15, 2011 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

While they scream about Sharia Law, they're trying to impose Chisitianist Laws.

Just look at what they've tried to do on national and statewide levels.

Sharia Law is kind of a red herring while they try to convince people that this nation was founded on Judeo-Christian laws, which is plainly false.
It's working with the unintelligent people in this country - which is the fastest growing part of our population.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on March 15, 2011 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

So does that mean that Santorum now favors the Equal Rights Amendment? Or does he not have problems with the part of Shariah that says women are subservient to men?

Posted by: Texas Aggie on March 15, 2011 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

While they scream about Sharia Law, they're trying to impose Chisitianist Laws.

Just look at what they've tried to do on national and statewide levels.

Sharia Law is kind of a red herring while they try to convince people that this nation was founded on Judeo-Christian laws, which is plainly false.
It's working with the unintelligent people in this country - which is the fastest growing part of our population.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on March 15, 2011 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

I think "Sharia Law" is a great name for a drag queen. She could wear a nijab -- and if you've seen the drag queens I have, covering their faces would be a blessing.

Posted by: Tom Allen on March 15, 2011 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

I think we should call their bluff and back even stronger anti-shariah laws. We should survey the laws of all majority Muslim countries make sure our laws are the opposite. Shariah systems consistently outlaw abortion and gay marriage, so we should eliminate all such restrictions in the US. We can wipe out the entire GOP platform on social issues with one anti-shariah law.

Posted by: fostert on March 15, 2011 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

I have seen the good that can be done in providing employment for challenged people . From the infinite brilliance displayed by our right wing brothers and sisters manufacturing absurdities dressed up as "concern" , it behooves the Christian soul in loaning a hand , at less than usurious rates . These committed and committable gentlefolk could find happiness in the theater or perhaps a trade where manufacturing absurdities can be profitable , sans ostracizing the usual suspects , or aiding in creating broken families , and the otherwise wasted time railing against such boogie monsters of the moment including sharia law .
Every autumn equinox there is an industry that can easily be made over to accommodate these damaged puritans of budding racism and theocracy . By creating safe , disposable costumes for children of all ages mockingly celebrating popular , formerly practiced religions and politics as well . This can be done in the style of the original disdain held for non Christians which seems to be so popular now a days .
It does seem only fair that these other wise useless people be given something to occupy their time without hurting themselves , or destroying America .

Posted by: FRP on March 15, 2011 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

IIRC (which I likely don't -- esp since this requires two different memory streams both being accurate), the first state to actually pass legislation instructing its courts to disallow any "imposition" of "Sharia law" went further than doing only that.
I believe it was Kansas (though it coulda been Oklahoma; all those big, empty land masses in the midlands kinda blend together in my big-city, coastal mind -- especially the ones with K-K-Ks in their names and/or cultures), and the law also forbade any consideration by the state's courts of any "foreign" laws.
(You might recall how totally bent the reich has gotten over Justice Kennedy's occasional references to furrin laws and legal systems -- especially in decisions concerning our death penalty, which they love with a burning and unquenchable passion.)
Now, that's where things get interesting, on two levels.
First, it's my understanding that many international business arrangements make specific reference to -- and many others, and probably more of them, are framed under the presumptions of -- a considerable body of international law. Now, if that state's courts are expressly forbidden to consider the requirements of international law -- especially when it differs from or conflicts with US federal and/or state law -- what happens to legal actions involving such contracts and/or firms affected by them?
Second, I seem to recall that the law of the state of Louisiana is, uniquely among the 50 states, founded not on the principles of English common law, but on the Code Napoléon of 19th-century France.
And if so, does that set up potential conflicts between the laws of whatever bum-f*ck state it is we're talking about and the laws of Louisiana?
IANAL (nor do I play one on the teevee) -- but does anyone here have the knowledge and background to share with us whether anything I'm recalling here might actually be, y'know, at all true?

Posted by: smartalek on March 15, 2011 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

Damn, the Republican party should take all the window dressing out of the display and go with what they really want - a daily routine of 2 minute hates!

It seems the Republican play book is only one page in length. It says to compaign successfully, don't pound to truth, don't pound the law, but instead, pound the table with fear and loathing! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on March 15, 2011 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

Simply go on record and say that this country's rights and laws are constitutionally based, and not derived from religious texts describing events that occured in foreign countries.

That this country is government of the people, for the people, by the people, not by the ministers, mullahs, and priests!

Posted by: royalblue_tom on March 15, 2011 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

FYI ARIZONA WANTS TO BAN KARMA

"HB 2582. Among other (statutory) provisions, it:
• Declares the acceptance of Arizona into the Union was a “compact”
• Declares “Congress has no authority to preempt state regulation of state courts”
• Prohibits courts from implementing, referring or incorporating or using “a tenet of any body of religious sectarian law” and specifically includes sharia law, canon law, halacha and karma
• Exempts from the above prohibitions decisions based on Anglo-American legal tradition, laws or case law from Great Britain prior enactment of the statute, or the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, “and the principles on which the United States was founded”
• Prohibits use of any case law or statute from a non-U.S. jurisdiction or “foreign body”, including the United Nations
• Declares decisions that make use of a body of religious sectarian law or foreign law declared void and usages declared to be grounds for impeachment
• Declares these provisions apply to Federal courts sitting in diversity jurisdiction
• Requires any state or Federal court that construes this statute must do so in a way to confine the power of Congress and the federal judiciary."

This summary is not original... I lost the web reference... Sorry.

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on March 15, 2011 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

FYI ARIZONA WANTS TO BAN KARMA

"HB 2582. Among other (statutory) provisions, it:
• Declares the acceptance of Arizona into the Union was a “compact”
• Declares “Congress has no authority to preempt state regulation of state courts”
• Prohibits courts from implementing, referring or incorporating or using “a tenet of any body of religious sectarian law” and specifically includes sharia law, canon law, halacha and karma
• Exempts from the above prohibitions decisions based on Anglo-American legal tradition, laws or case law from Great Britain prior enactment of the statute, or the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, “and the principles on which the United States was founded”
• Prohibits use of any case law or statute from a non-U.S. jurisdiction or “foreign body”, including the United Nations
• Declares decisions that make use of a body of religious sectarian law or foreign law declared void and usages declared to be grounds for impeachment
• Declares these provisions apply to Federal courts sitting in diversity jurisdiction
• Requires any state or Federal court that construes this statute must do so in a way to confine the power of Congress and the federal judiciary."

This summary is not original... I lost the web reference... Sorry.

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on March 15, 2011 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

FYI ARIZONA WANTS TO BAN KARMA

"HB 2582. Among other (statutory) provisions, it:
• Declares the acceptance of Arizona into the Union was a “compact”
• Declares “Congress has no authority to preempt state regulation of state courts”
• Prohibits courts from implementing, referring or incorporating or using “a tenet of any body of religious sectarian law” and specifically includes sharia law, canon law, halacha and karma
• Exempts from the above prohibitions decisions based on Anglo-American legal tradition, laws or case law from Great Britain prior enactment of the statute, or the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, “and the principles on which the United States was founded”
• Prohibits use of any case law or statute from a non-U.S. jurisdiction or “foreign body”, including the United Nations
• Declares decisions that make use of a body of religious sectarian law or foreign law declared void and usages declared to be grounds for impeachment
• Declares these provisions apply to Federal courts sitting in diversity jurisdiction
• Requires any state or Federal court that construes this statute must do so in a way to confine the power of Congress and the federal judiciary."

This summary is not original... I lost the web reference... Sorry.

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on March 15, 2011 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

Quick question: if the Muslims in the US came here to "escape" Sharia, then who exactly does he think is pushing for Sharia? The very same people who fled their countries to escape it?

Logic is not his strong suit.

Posted by: Stu on March 15, 2011 at 8:34 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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