Many of us are unpersuaded that the of intensity of the rightwing attacks on anything associated with President Obama – which often seems to be wildly irrational- isn’t just another manifestation of plain, old-fashioned racism. Nor is it too difficult to make a good a case for this point of view – in spite of the fact that when members of the hard-core anti-Obama fringe are caught in any overtly bigoted behavior, they invariably recoil in offended horror at the accusation.
There seems to be one group, though, that the bigots deem it socially acceptable to attack more or less openly. One of the side-effects of the attack on the twin towers is that it has been used to validate overt efforts to discriminate against Muslim Americans. In Missouri we see this manifested in the effort to codify anti-Sharia legislation into law, which, in spite of the serious issues confronting the state, has occupied the doubtful talents of a small cadre of not-as-smart-as-a-fifth-grader types headed by State Rep. Paul Curtman (R-105).
As we have observed in the past, Curtman’s got a permanent constitutional bee in his bonnet – and, unfortunately, the buzzing it produces seems to preclude clear thinking. He claims that he is upholding some vaguely articulated constitutional rights by forbidding applications of Sharia law:
This bill is about one thing and one thing only, and that is to protect the fundamental rights that are guaranteed to our citizens under our founding documents, in the federal constitution and in our state constitution
Unfortnately, for Curtman’s credibility, not to mention that of Steve Tilley, the House Speaker, who threw his weight behind the bill, the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of Constitution itself would preclude the application of Sharia law. In fact, Curtman’s little exercise probably violates the constitution by singling out a specific religion for exclusion, is not only unnecessary from a practical standpoint – there have been no real efforts to establish Sharia law n the U.S. – but they are also unnecessary from a legal perspective. In fact, a permanent injunction was issued against the anti-Sharia legislation in Oklahoma on the grounds that it violated the Establishment clause by privileging Christianity. But, of course, prohibiting Sharia law was never the intent of this little exercise fear-mongering – although I would not suggest that Curtman et al. have the mental wherewithal to act as instigators; they are more likely in a reactive mode right along with he deluded jingos who voted for them.
SB 113 deserved lots more negative response than it has generated to date. One doesn’t have to look far to see what happens when our politicians validate our worst impulses. In the recent past, a mosque was rather ineptly vandalized in St. Louis; in Januay an Islamic Center in Springfield was vandalized