Scrupuli

blunt essays with sharp points

Oklahoma law banning Islamic law could also ban Biblical law

by Scrvpvlvs
Nov 5, 2010 5:51 PM–Oops! The Oklahoma law that Oklahoma voters just approved, banning Islamic law from their courts, could ban Biblical law also. #UnintendedConsequences

The people of Oklahoma amended their Constitution by adopting State Question No. 755, Legis. Ref. No. 355, by a vote of 70%‒30% at the November 2, 2010 election.

They have forbidden their courts to look to the legal precepts of other nations or cultures when deciding cases. Specifically, the courts shall not consider international law or Sharia Law.

There is an irony here.

The amendment, legally known as the “Save Our State Amendment”, strongly appealed to the Christian majority of the people of Oklahoma because of its rejection of Sharia Law. The Attorney General of Oklahoma described Sharia Law on the State Question as Islamic law […] based on two principal sources, the Koran and the teaching of Mohammed.

But Dr. Joseph Thai, a University of Oklahoma law professor, pointed out that the new law could also forbid their courts to consider Biblical law: The Ten Commandments, of course, is international law. It did not originate in Oklahoma or the United States. (Quoted in this AP article.)

So Oklahomans who would like to see Biblical law established in their state may have created a new obstacle for themselves. And, by doing so, arguably they have violated Biblical law:

You will not curse the dumb or put an obstacle in the way of the blind, but will fear your God. I am Yahweh.
(Leviticus 19:14, quoted from the New Jerusalem Bible.)

I guess it’s fortunate for them that they cannot be prosecuted for it in their state courts.

Here is the old and new text of Okla. Const. Art. 7 § 1 from the State Question:

Section 1. A. The judicial power of this State shall be vested in Senate, sitting as a Court of Impeachment, a Supreme Court, the Court of Criminal Appeals, the Court on the Judiciary, the State Industrial Workers’ Compensation Court, the Court of Bank Review, the Court of Tax Review, and such intermediate appellate courts as may be provided by statute, District Courts, and such Boards, Agencies and Commissions created by the Constitution or established by statute as exercise adjudicative authority or render decisions in individual proceedings. Provided that the Court of Criminal Appeals, the State Industrial Court, the Court of Bank Review and the Court of Tax Review and such Boards, Agencies and Commissions as have been established by statute shall continue in effect, subject to the power of the Legislature to change or abolish said Courts, Boards, Agencies, or Commissions. Municipal Courts in cities or incorporated towns shall continue in effect and shall be subject to creation, abolition or alteration by the Legislature by general laws, but shall be limited in jurisdiction to criminal and traffic proceedings arising out of infractions of the provisions of ordinances of cities and towns or of duly adopted regulations authorized by such ordinances.

B. Subsection C of this section shall be known as the “Save Our State Amendment”.

C. The Courts provided for in subsection A of this section, when exercising their judicial authority, shall uphold and adhere to the law as provided in the United States Constitution, the Oklahoma Constitution, the United States Code, federal regulations promulgated pursuant thereto, established common law, the Oklahoma Statutes and rules promulgated pursuant thereto, and if necessary the law of another state of the United States provided the law of the other state does not include Sharia Law, in making judicial decisions. The courts shall not look to the legal precepts of other nations or cultures. Specifically, the courts shall not consider international law or Sharia Law. The provisions of this subsection shall apply to all cases before the respective courts including, but not limited to, cases of first impression.


Update Nov 8, 2010

A friend wrote to ask: “This passed by a wide margin—who’s to say that the ban on biblical law, ten commandments, etc. was unintentional?”

Oklahoma’s Department of Libraries says there is very little record of legislative intent. The legislature does not publish floor debate, committee reports, minutes, or hearings. (source)

But the two primary authors have said that they meant to ban Sharia law. And based on their voting records and other activities, I cannot believe that they meant to ban Biblical law. In fact I am sure they want just the opposite.

Rep. Rex Duncan (R) said that foreign influence has undermined the legal systems of other democratic states, specifically Great Britain and Michigan. He said the amendment will constitute a pre-emptive strike against Sharia law coming to Oklahoma. (source) Rep. Duncan has reportedly voted yes on bills requiring the Ten Commandments be posted at the entrance to the state Capitol. (source)

Sen. Anthony Sykes (R) stated that Sharia law coming to the U.S. is a scary concept. Hopefully the passage of this constitutional amendment will prevent it in Oklahoma. (source) Not long ago, Sen. Sykes was a featured participant at a “Reclaiming Oklahoma for Christ” event. The mission statement of this organization is to educate our pastors, legislators, educators, students and all citizens as to the truth about America’s Christian Heritage and the role of fundamental, Biblical Christianity in the establishment and function of our legal, legislative and educational systems; and to work towards the successful reestablishment of these values in our society today. (source)

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1 Comments:

by Anonymous Anonymous
March 07, 2011 11:36 PM–Just as Jewish law, Sharia is another form of legalism. And like before Biblical Christianity will win over legalism again, just as it did 2,000 years ago.  

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