Thom's blog - Thursday November 4th 2010

On Tuesday, Oklahomans approved a ballot initiative that would forbid judges in the state from using Sharia law to consider a case. Voters supported the measure by about 40 points even though many of them cannot name a single instance where Sharia law was used to rule in a case – that’s because its never happened in Oklahoma– or any other state in the country for that matter. On top of that, Islam isn’t even that prevalent in the state – out of a population of 3.7 million, there are only 15,000 Muslims there. Still, voters found the need to hit the polls to make sure this non-existent threat was stopped before it’s too late. Maybe that’s because in wake of the “ground zero mosque” controversy, certain media outlets and entrepreneurs have made quite a profit off promoting Islamophobia – “they’re coming to subvert our government.” This scare tactic has resonated around the country in places like Murfreesboro, Tennessee where it’s nearly impossible for Muslim Americans to get approval in to build a place of worship – basically shredding the First Amendment. While Oklahoma has never been a victim of a Islamic terrorism – it was notable the site where Timothy McVeigh – a roman catholic – blew up the Murrah Federal building in Oklahoma City. Yet there was no rush by voters to discriminate against Catholicism afterward. Since the Sharia law ballot measure passed by a wide margin – it’s likely other states will follow with initiatives of their own. Not sure which state will be first to forbid courts from considering the laws of the Giant Spaghetti Monster.


FreeMarketeer's picture
FreeMarketeer 12 years 30 weeks ago

Liberals and the ACLU would flip out if any state, town or village explicitly stated that judges could use Christian law to consider a case. You would be screaming and frothing at the mouth. This is a Constitutional issue.

And sure, nobody "discriminated" against Catholics over Tim McVeigh, but his voilent act was never stated as an act of holy Catholic war, and you can bet if violent acts had been perpertrated worldwide in the name of Catholicism, people would be pretty freaked out about that too. For crying out loud, you can't have a discussion with an atheist for 30 seconds without them bringing up the Crusades, or the IRA, or how much death Christians have supposedly caused.

Tamaroff's picture
Tamaroff 12 years 30 weeks ago

I'm adding Oklahoma to my list of states to avoid. So far on my list is Arizona and Utah. We're looking to move out of the Country. Sorry, I'm not planning on going down with the ship, and believe me it's going down.

agebel's picture
agebel 12 years 30 weeks ago

My first reaction, is if they want to pass a law against something that has not happened or will happen, then let them. However if they can get away with a law for something that does not exist, just based on prejudice then what will the next set be. No allowing any group of people believing or looking like they would believe in Sharia law to congregate,

mrdana's picture
mrdana 12 years 30 weeks ago

Celebrate your brief moment of clarity. Yes, it is a Constitutional issue. Tom was commenting on the blatant discrimination inherent in the Oklahoma vote, a situation Constitutional law seeks to prevent. I expect this law will be challenged for exactly that reason. And you should celebrate that as well. (By the way, our Mr. Hartmann is not normally a screamer and unlikely to froth much.)

two Ns's picture
two Ns 12 years 30 weeks ago


Timothy McVeigh was not a Roman Catholic.

He was a professed agnostic and stated that "Science is my religion"

vmolinar's picture
vmolinar 12 years 30 weeks ago

Christians "supposedly" caused... Really, you used the word supposedly! As in you are not sufficiently convinced and need more proof that Christians have blood on their hands just like everyone else. Well I'm Catholic, and I can tell you, we have blood on our hands, and it’s not from stigmata.

Robert Jacobs's picture
Robert Jacobs 12 years 30 weeks ago

Government & Religion

The danger of Islam in the rest of the world is that it is government and religion in one. When you mix any religion or ideology with government you will get tyranny. If you do not have a faith then you have an ideology or at least principles… never the less you mix any of these ideas with government you will get tyranny. The founders of this nation saw government as a necessary "evil" and sought to contain it with the constitution because of these self-evident truths… government must remain "amoral". No bodies faith or ideology is capable of governing a nation… only the individual. History proves that point… because here we sit in this nation facing the edge of a dark abyss of debt… because we thought we could do it differently. I do not wish to impose my faith or ideology on anyone nor should they do the same, but… we can all agree, just like they did in the founding of this nation that we are created equal and endowed with inalienable rights even if the President won’t use the word "Creator." All people yearn to breathe free. All we can do is live under a government that creates and defines the boundaries necessary to deal with the growth of technology and protect one’s rights from the transgressions of another. The historians and sociologist of the past 100 plus years have deceived, construed and purposely left out the original intent of this nations creation because they lack virtue and value the public purse. They thought the power of their minds could do better! They all speak of rational thought and theories … which when presented to the masses has the adherence of a sack of popcorn in the face of a class 5 hurricane! All is vanity! Any body who stands up and swings their ideology with the force of law is a tyrant! We in this country all need to reflect upon the past and pick-up the original intent of this nation and become virtuous! It is what made us exceptional!

Sharia law has invaded parts of Europe!!! Don't you find it pruned to lay the grown work in law to deal with this before it appears on your doorstep? You’re an herbalist Thom! Do you not take herbs to fight of illness before you get sick???

Your common sense is very selective.

stradric's picture
stradric 12 years 30 weeks ago

Thom, I don't think McVeigh really works in this situation. He may have been a confirmed catholic, but he seemed to claim he was agnostic. Additionally, he never claimed a religious inspiration for his crimes.

Muslims are a bit different. 9/11 was not an act of religion, but it is very easy to misconstrue it that way since the criminals that day have used religion to justify their crimes. But they use their religion to justify everything they do.

I think the Oklahoma law is rather cowardly and fearful. But at the same time, if those people are so fearful that they need that ridiculous law to feel safe, then let them have it.

@FreeMarketeer: "For crying out loud, you can't have a discussion with an atheist for 30 seconds without them bringing up the Crusades, or the IRA, or how much death Christians have supposedly caused."

It's really not clear why you brought atheism into this discussion. But if you're actually arguing that Christians have never committed murder in the name of Christ, then you have already lost. But rather than getting into that discussion, let's just agree that the problem is fundamentalism whether it be the indoctrination of children or murdering of abortion doctors from Christian fundamentalism or the suicide bombing, beheading and revenge killing of Islamic fundamentalism.

Uncle Geo's picture
Uncle Geo 12 years 30 weeks ago

I'm sure you intended no disrespect to Pastafarians but it's the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Convert here:

maryrick1's picture
maryrick1 12 years 30 weeks ago

Several weeks ago, NPR, discussed the NY mosque and then that went into a discussion of Sharia law. A caller from MI, and I think it was Flint, said that his community has recognized Sharia law because of the number of muslims living there. He went on to say that when a town is made up predominately of muslims, they will demand that Sharia law be adopted as it was in Flint. I thought that the separation of church and state would find this unconstitutional but he has made the opposite arguement. If the majority votes on it, then it will become law. This really made me worried and not just because of muslims but because of any religion that thinks that they can change the laws of government for the laws of religion. I am Catholic, I like being Catholic but I do not want my church telling me how to run my government.

sharla 12 years 30 weeks ago

I find it pretty simple.

You either believe in religious freedom or you don't.

downn2 12 years 30 weeks ago

The only reason for this is to bring out the nutcases to vote... You see “People will cross the desert to say they’re against something. Whereas, they won't even pick up the phone to say they're for it”...And Karl Rove is very familiar with this personality flaw, as putting something on the ballet that totally infuriates the conservatives thus getting them to go vote is the #1 reason for republican party’s resurgence...

nemediaoc's picture
nemediaoc 12 years 30 weeks ago

Let's all never forget that we live in the land of the American Jesus! And the American Jesus exports capitalism with a gun and diverse beliefs not apply.

jcscown's picture
jcscown 12 years 30 weeks ago


I am devasted after Nov 2nd. As long as we all listen to our own corners of the world and congratulate each other on our well thought out opinions, what happened Nov 2nd is our reward.

The press was supposed to protect us from can we get it back???

jcscown's picture
jcscown 12 years 30 weeks ago


Uncle Geo's picture
Uncle Geo 12 years 30 weeks ago

Tom tells people how to win every day. He's the only talk show host that routinely asks people to get to a candidate or party office and volunteer. In my congressional district of almost a million people (West Metro Mpls) we have about 300 regular volunteers. That small group does all the work of finding candidates and doing party business. During an election cycle that number will ramp up to maybe 500-600. That's paltry. Double that number and we'd win more elections. Triple and we'd be unbeatable.

The one place you can have influence way out of proportion is within the party. There is no smoky room; you want in, just step up. It's not all phone calling and door knocking -we need web designers, pary planners, fundraisers, drivers, writers... Any shmoe can participate or become a party leader and really affect who gets nominated to run. Believe me, you'll quickly meet the movers and shakers in your state.

So when I hear people complaining that "those Democrats" should do this or shouldn't do that -well "those Democrats" are me and my buddies.

It could be you, if you really cared enough to live your values.

think_r 12 years 30 weeks ago

Agree 100% with "The only reason for this..." post above.

Additional food for thought:

A caller on (right-wing) Lars Larson's national show last night challenged him on the (lack of) necessity for the Oklahoma referendum -- the caller's arguments were fundamentally similar to those above:

* religious freedom is constitutionally guaranteed, and, moreover

* any argument is moot because Sharia law does not have ANY significant foothold in the American legal/political landscape, meanwhile

*the motives for putting this on the ballot are obvious to anyone with even a modicum of understanding of Rove-ian demagouguery in the campaign sphere

OK, so Lars parries the assault by referring to Elena Kagan's (I think the phrase was) inviting (not an accurate description) Sharia law experts onto Harvard's campus during her term as Dean. Here is an article: (I was unaware of any of this when listening to the show).

How do you even argue against something like this -- this is reminiscent of some water-cooler discussions that come up. I mean, do conservatives have access to some "rabbit hole" through which they all can become self-righteous to the point at which some data-mined fact which, technically true but containing not even an iota of actual relevance, magically becomes the point on which an entire societal argument hinges?

So, in following up, the host basically uses the bully pulpit at this point to paint the caller as one who has failed to remain vigilant with an "if you're not with us, you're against us" diatribe a la Rush or Beck. At that point, the caller has lost because it is awfully hard to combat a "bumper sticker" soundbite with a paragraph of reason, even on equal footing (and a broadcast expert/VO specialist with a finger on the "mute" button vs. a caller/layman is not exactly equal footing).

And yet, these kinds of conversations are the pitched battle (I prefer "proxy war") of political discourse in this country. Right vs. left is fine, but what do you do when it's moderate vs. nutcase?

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