The movement that makes so much of hate crimes legislation seems to think nothing of passing hateful laws in the land of starkest scenery; in fact, the same people who brought you S.B. 1070 wanted to give Arizonans the toughest anti-Sharia protection in the country (.PDF). This nasty little item would have prohibited judges from enforcing "religious sectarian law," defined as
ANY STATUTE, TENET OR BODY OF LAW EVOLVING WITHIN AND BINDING A SPECIFIC RELIGIOUS SECT OR TRIBE. RELIGIOUS SECTARIAN LAW INCLUDES SHARIA LAW, CANON LAW, HALACHA AND KARMA BUT DOES NOT INCLUDE ANY LAW OF THE UNITED STATES OR THE INDIVIDUAL STATES BASED ON ANGLO-AMERICAN LEGAL TRADITION AND PRINCIPLES ON WHICH THE UNITED STATES WAS FOUNDED. (Emphasis mine)
See, it's not about Islam except it is. "Canon law" would presumably apply to Catholicism; that church has seen historical abuse in America. We've been spared anti-Semitism activated in Godwinian quantities, but of course there were Japanese internment camps. Masonic lodges have been attacked on religious grounds. This is an old tradition; Islam is just the latest foreign faith boogeyman. But karma? Really? That makes as much sense as a bill against the law of gravitation.
Like gravity in empirical cosmology, karma is a bitch who does not take orders from the Arizona legislature.
Fear of the world comes attached to ignorance of it. This aspect of the paranoid authoritarian worldview gets aired often by Glenn Beck, who zeroes in on the word "global" with the same relish as "Soros." He speaks to an audience that consumes Left Behind books and Christian tracts bought at Wal-Mart. There isn't nearly enough international news anymore. Conservatives actively fight cultural education projects like Goals 2000. As a result, most Americans are utterly, profoundly ignorant of the difference between Sharia and karma or which goes with which religion. They would probably never guess that Buddhist Tamils invented suicide bombing, for example.
Whenever someone says that Glenn Beck's WhiteStock was "more religious than political," they assume there is a separation between the two in the mind of Beck or his target demographic. This is the same political religion movement that brought you Intelligent Design, after all. The intelligence detectable in the design here is what gamers like to call "lawful evil:"
E. THIS SECTION DOES NOT APPLY TO:
1. A STATUTE OR ANY CASE LAW DEVELOPED IN THE UNITED STATES AND ITS TERRITORIES THAT IS BASED ON ANGLO-AMERICAN LEGAL TRADITION AND PRINCIPLES ON WHICH THE UNITED STATES WAS FOUNDED.
2. A STATUTE OR ANY CASE LAW OR LEGAL PRINCIPLE THAT WAS INHERITED FROM GREAT BRITAIN BEFORE THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS ARTICLE.
3. THE RECOGNITION OF A TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE BETWEEN A MAN AND A WOMAN AS OFFICIATED BY THE CLERGY OR A SECULAR OFFICIAL OF THE MATRIMONIAL COUPLE'S CHOICE.
See, if your mullah or rabbi or priest doesn't want to gay marry you, the state of Arizona will back their sharia-halacha-canon-karma legalisms to the hilt. For everything else, you will use the king's barrister. It's not just insane, it's unconstitutional, as "Sharia" consists of several schools touching on many topics including dietary laws and probate. We are talking about halal butcher shops here. Oklahoma's anti-Sharia law received a permanent injunction after a lawsuit
by Muneer Awad, the head of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Oklahoma chapter. In his lawsuit, Awad argues that the law violates his First Amendment rights by creating an "official disapproval of his faith" embedded in the state constitution. He also argues that the ban would make it impossible for his family to carry out his will, much of which is based on Islam.
Muneer Awad is a great American. Politicians who pass bills and start ballot initiatives to deny people like Muneer Awad their First Amendment rights? They are not great Americans, and they do not defend liberty. They are authoritarians, they spread ignorance and fear, and there is nothing funny about them except that they're hilariously wrong.