LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Bill on Sharia law waste of Delaware’s time

On Dec. 15, 1791, these simple words became that law of the land in here in America:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The first 16 words of the First Amendment of the Constitution makes it clear that our founding fathers believed that freedom of religion and the separation of church and state was more important that any other rights they were giving to the citizens. The plain and simple fact is that, now matter how you feel about other religions, we all have the right to practice or not practice whatever religion we see fit.

There are however, some people who out of fear, misinformation, or just plain bigotry and willful ignorance, believe that their religion is the only one that should exist and have such rights in our nation. Sadly and unfortunately, I have to believe that my state senator, Mr David Lawson is one of them.

Last year, he stood up and walked out of the Senate chambers because an imam for a mosque in Delaware was invited to offer the opening prayer that starts each day’s session of the Delaware State Senate. He went on to make a public statement explaining his actions that could very well be interpreted as bigoted and Islamophobic in nature. Now he’s at it again, introducing legislation to “safeguard” our courts in Delaware. Safeguard them from what you might ask. Well, the scourge known as Islam and to make sure that no Muslim forces Sharia law on the people of Delaware.

Sharia law is something I’ve been hearing the right wing freak out about for years now and have yet to see any empirical evidence to prove that any Islamic group has even tried to force it on American courts. But, evidently Mr Lawson finds the threat enough that he has to write a law to ensure Delaware won’t fall victim to it.

Lawson’s law would make it mandatory for judges in Delaware courts to only consider American laws when deciding a case. I hate to be a party pooper here folks but, that’s already how the court system works. Judges already only consider American laws when hearing and deciding a case.

Ever wonder why you never hear lawyers in American courts talk about Canadian, Mexican, British or even French laws while arguing a case? It’s because the only laws and legal precedents that have standing in America’s courts is American laws and legal precedents that have been made by American courts.

Not to mention that as long as the SCOTUS interprets the anti-establishment clause (those first 16 words of the First Amendment) to mean separation of church and state and Sharia law is actually religious law, any court ruling that takes it into consideration would be rendered unconstitutional. Come to think of it, this exposes a very dangerous double edged blade because under current laws and legal procedure, many cases wherein the court considered someone’s religious beliefs in the court’s ruling is unconstitutional.

So, as you can see, Lawson’s law is nothing more than a redundant waste of the General Assembly’s time and a brilliant example of Mr Lawson playing to the bigotry of some who would cast their ballots for him.

In closing, I wish to challenge Mr. Lawson and any of his bill’s co-sponsors to respond to this letter, in this public forum with a shred of empirical evidence that anyone has tried to force Sharia law on non-Muslims in America.

By the way, the Muslim families with kids attending public school in Detroit asking that Ramadan be discussed with classes the same as Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa is not, as Fox News would lead it’s viewers to believe, Sharia law. Neither for that matter, is a member of the Islamic faith reminding elected officials that it’s unconstitutional to deny someone entrance to this country based either on their personal religion or the majority religion of their nation of origin.

Ricky Shehorn


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