Sunday, November 21, 2010

Why is this not news?

Lindsay Lohan spends thanksgiving with her dad. Eva Langoria divorces Tony Parker. Catholics debate Pope's condom remarks. Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows nets $61 Million on opening Friday.

Going by Google's and Bing's news pages, the above are all front-page newsworthy. What isn't, is the attempt by an Oklahoma referendum to ban Sharia Law. Rather it is a referendum to amend Oklahoma's constitution that 70% of the electorate have already voted for favorably. It has, however, since been stayed by a Federal judge.

Why should this be news? Why should anyone put down their burrito, ignore their Budweiser, look away from Snookie's antics and pay any attention to what happens in a fly-over state? Why is a mere agreement to never use a specific religious tenet in the jurisprudence of one state of the Union be more important than Kim Kardashian's front or aft cleavage?

This development should be a source of consternation because the referendum is discriminatory. In this day and age, in a Union that pride's itself on having a history of protecting individual Liberty, Equality and Fraternity more than the originators of that phrase, such a development is shocking. As a CYA, the referendum does mention "International" law next to Muslim Sharia law. So the implied meaning is "we mean not just Sharia law, but any law that is not of Oklahoma or the Federal law of the United States of America or Common Law". But that is extant understanding. So what does this referendum achieve that doesn't already exist?

The fact that it, prima facie, doesn't change status quo is all the more reason this referendum should never have been brought to vote. The referendum and its eventual stay by the Federal courts bring to fore at least two very important points of debate: a) the "humanity" of the referendum b) the Constitutionality of the Federal Courts' action

The referendum singles out Sharia law. For a country that has long promulgated a separation of religion and state, as enshrined in the First Amendment to its Constitution, there is no need to specify a specific religion. Why did the authors of the referendum not specify Christianity, Judaism or any other religion? Is it their implicit assertion that Judeo-Christian social law is the "National" law, while everything else, falls under the umbrella of "International"? And Muslim Sharia Law particularly so?
If so, this referendum is dangerous because it nefariously and surreptitiously breaches the separation between religion and state; a separation expounded by John Locke, interpreted by Thomas Jefferson and recognized numerous times by the United States Supreme Court. It violates, usurps and perverts the intention of the hallowed Founding Fathers. It alienates and singles out a specific people for no fault of theirs and for a problem that does not exist. By the same measure, shouldn’t we pass a law that prohibits specifically the rape of pigs by horses? How about forward trading in the share market by Martians for Jovian shell companies managed by residents of Pluto? We certainly wouldn’t want that. Also passing those laws doesn’t hurt anyone or change status quo. And we just want to be safe, you know, just in case. Or, how about specifically banning the consideration of Papal edicts when adjudicating cases in the grand state of Oklahoma? Would that rankle the pious and the patriotic?

Furthermore, some might argue that the Federal court has no jurisdiction in the matter of a State’s constitution. Does that mean if the majority of state vote in favor of an unconscionable or unconstitutional law no Federal entity has the authority to intervene? What if the voters legalized public lynching? It’s definitely not stoning the guilty publicly or the stipulation to wear a burqua as demanded by the Sharia. So we’re good, right? How about denying Jews jobs? If it’s by majority, of course. How about denying Asians citizenship and land ownership because they’re, you know, not White? As long as an opinion is backed by a plebiscite, we’re golden, right?

The above are inhuman. Fortunately for the United States, they are also unconstitutional. They do not need an activist judge to be abrogated, only rational and unbiased humans. But once enacted, they need historical figures to lead revolutions before being repealed and rejected. And ages before the average denizens discard the delusional and derogatory didactics. All the reasons for which the emancipated world despises the martinet interpretation of Sharia law, must, apply to the irrationality and orthodoxy that suppress individuality and expose any individual choice to legalized discrimination. The Oklahoma law qualifies as discrimination and is unconscionable for the same reasons.

The fact that the targets of the law are not Christians and brown should not be conciliation enough. The New World is better than that.

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