Does anyone remember Sam Brownback? He was part of the failed bastion of Republicans who ran for President in 2008 (how long ago does that feel?), along with the likes of Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson and Mike Huckabee. Except Brownback didn't even make it to the primaries.
Instead, he backed down, ran for governor in Kansas in 2010 and successfully rode the Tea Party wave into office. And, yesterday, his crowning legislative achievement finally arrived.
In a bill that is confusing everyone outside of Kansas, Brownback has ensured that no government agencies or courts in Kansas will adhere to foreign legal codes, especially the most dangerous, scariest, heretical and anti-American one: Islamic Shari'ah law. Because, like, why not?
You're right, Dorothy, there is absolutely no place like Kansas.
Now, the bill doesn't exclusively mention Islamic Shari'ah law; it just says "foreign legal codes" cannot be used by courts to grant different rights not protected by our Constitution. If it's hard for you to understand that sentence, we can't help you. But that generality is what Brownback is using against critics who say that the bill is completely discriminatory (Islamic groups have been ascertaining reporters that the bill will go to trial).
So what exactly is Shari'ah law? Well, not everyone in the world follows the flawless legal code of the West. In Islamic culture, rights, court procedures and the resulting punishments are written in a different manner, pertaining to the values of the Qu'ran rather than our Judeo-Christian background. In essence, it's simply a different perspective on law and society; one that is much more intertwined with religion and its effects on morality and decency.
We thought that explanation would help us come to some conclusion as to why Brownback would want to ban it in his state.... It didn't. But listen to state senator Susan Wagle, a Republican from good ol' Wichita, take a wack at it: "They stone women to death in countries that have Shari'ah law."
That didn't help either. If anything, Wagle's statement just made us more confused because we're not sure if that's a statement or an argument. How the hell can you draw a line between Taliban-esque punishment that happens somewhere that is not here and a system that pisses people by asking them to attend jury duty? Did something happen in Kansas that demanded an exclusive ban on Islamic law?
Nope, nothing at all. The only logical nexus the Kansas legislators is using involves a court case in Sedgwick County, where a man from Lebanon is citing Islamic code to justify his pre-nup. Somehow, those things really divide people.
But, what's even more wild is that the bill was approved in a landslide: Senate: 33-1; House: 120-0. We haven't seen that kind of legislative hustle since the Patriot Act. Too bad the same can't be done to stifle Kansas's 6.2% unemployment rate.
The Kansas government clinged to this notion that foreign is bad and the sole means of protecting American freedom is to ban all outside influence on our court systems, which is full of people who probably never even knew Muslims had a legal system before hearing "Shari'ah law" repeated a thousand times on Fox News. And, if gatekeepers are screaming at a lousy pre-nup, a state-wide infiltration is light years off.
Shar'iah law is not coming to America anytime soon. Just don't tell the people of Kansas that.