Representative Leo Berman has introduced a joint resolution (HJR 57) proposing a constitutional amendment that would “prohibit a court of the state from enforcing, considering, or applying a religious or cultural law.” At first glance, you might think that Berman is advocating the separation of church and state. Shame on you. The Republican from Tyler is trying to prevent the state of Texas from falling into sharia, the radical Islamic law, not to be confused with Shakira, the prolific Colombian singer and belly dancer.
Berman’s bill has been referred to the House State Affairs Committee, but must wait in line behind such pressing emergency issues as mandatory sonograms, immigration and citizenship status, human cloning and establishing English as the official language of Texas. (Pay no attention to the budget behind the curtain!) Sharia probably falls somewhere between outlawing bilingual documents and requiring official birth certificates for presidential candidates.
In case you’re not familiar with sharia law, perhaps you’ve never visited that nonexistent town of Frankford, Texas, which has been operating under sharia, as former Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle claimed during the campaign.
(Actually Frankford was annexed by the city of Dallas in 1975, but try telling Leo Berman that the ‘70s are over. Those were his glory years.)
Luckily we will all have a chance to vote on this measure, unless of course we are old and feeble and don’t have a driver’s license. If passed by the Legislature (and, really, why wouldn’t it be), Berman’s Texas Religious and Cultural Laws constitutional amendment would appear on the 2011 ballot.
Last fall Oklahoma beat Berman to the punch and became the first state to prohibit courts from considering international or Islamic law when deciding cases. (They would only be able to consider the Ten Commandments, conveniently posted on their walls.) However an activist federal judge blocked the amendment, which was approved by nearly 70 percent of voters, deeming it unconstitutional.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a number of other states—including Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, South Carolina, Utah, and Wyoming—have proposed similar legislation. The Arizona legislation is particularly comprehensive, banning not only sharia law but canon law, Halacha, and karma as well. Canon law governs the Christian church and Halacha is the collective body of Jewish law. Karma, meanwhile, is a fundamental Buddhist doctrine that basically means, you’ll get yours. It’s probably never a good idea to ban karma.
Berman’s amendment, though strict, will not go so far as to outlaw karma. (Anyway, as everyone well-versed in bumper sticker lingo knows, karma runs over dogma every time.) If the theory of karma is applied fairly, then Leo Berman will come back in his next life as an American Muslim who is suspected by severely paranoid lawmakers of being a terrorist and jihadist, and is treated as such. Karma’s a bitch.