Anti-Muslim Hysteria Returns to the Texas Capitol

Efforts to pass legislation addressing the mythical threat of Sharia, or Islamic law, in Texas are gearing up yet again in the current legislative session.

Right-wing state lawmakers have been pushing for years to pass legislation banning Sharia in Texas. Many such bills around the country have been linked to a core group of anti-Muslim fanatics (see here as well) who claim that America is at risk of coming under the control of Muslim extremists and Islamic law. Nevermind that the U.S. Constitution forbids the establishment of religious laws. (And nevermind that many of those fanatics and their supporters often argue that American laws should be based on their own particular Christian beliefs.)

Federal courts have taken a skeptical view of such laws, noting that they single out a particular religion. Indeed, many efforts to pass such laws represent little more than poorly concealed bigotry aimed at Muslim Americans.

So in recent years supporters of anti-Sharia bills have tried to craft laws without actually mentioning Sharia. Instead, their bills bar the application of “foreign,” “international” or “cultural” laws in our courts. And supporters often try to avoid even mentioning Sharia in legislative debates over the bills.

No one is fooled. And legislators’ efforts to hide the real targets of their legislation are further undermined by their own statements in front of friendly audiences.

Take, for example, remarks by state Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Plano, at Tuesday’s Faith and Freedom event sponsored by religious-right groups at the Texas Capitol. Trying to dispel the notion that his proposed HB 562 is really about demagoguery and bigotry, Leach insisted that Sharia is a real threat. From a Texas Observer story today:

“Read the news,” Leach told the crowd. The menace of Sharia law was becoming more pressing every day. “There’s no judge in Texas that should even think twice about violating the U.S. Constitution.”

Leach’s words reflect the time-honored political practice of fear-mongering. There is zero chance of anyone imposing Sharia law in Texas. Our judges are not violating the Constitution and imposing it on anyone. If they did, we would be among those standing in strong opposition.

But legislation proposed by lawmakers like Leach do threaten voluntary agreements individuals enter into based on their religious beliefs — including the beliefs of Muslims, Jews, Christians and other faiths. Do Texans want politicians interfering in their religious freedom and their right to enter into such private agreements?

More to the point, these anti-Sharia bills simply appeal to bigotry by using religion as a weapon to divide Texans for political gain. We’ve seen it over and over again at the Texas Capitol. And we’re seeing it again this year.

11 thoughts on “Anti-Muslim Hysteria Returns to the Texas Capitol

  1. My understanding is that Sharia law and those who attempt to enforce it is already illegal in the US. I know that any attempt to act as a police officer or a court of law without actually being those things is illegal.

    But you’re right, it’s not about reality. It’s about fear-mongering to promote a life of not having to do any real work, like tackling the Texas education system or infrastructure or health care.

  2. Instead of restricting Islamic (Sharia) laws, I for one would like to see ALL religious laws banned from everything, everywhere in America and the rest of the world to boot.

    1. That brings up a very interesting point…

      If the bill passed, would it even be legal? The 1st Amendment says that “prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion”

      All the Muslim plaintiffs would have to do is show that some laws that promote Christianity are allowed and then that law would be against the 1st. I’m not sure that such a law is on the books, but even if all Christian-based laws were rejected, then that’s also a reason to sue.

  3. Right on cue. These lawmakers are so blind. They don’t understand what their bills will do.

    The banning of foreign laws would in fact bar every religious text except the book of Mormon or any Native American religious books. The Bible was written in the Middle East/Europe.

    Then they double down the unintended consequences by trying to pass RFA acts which *WOULD* grant protections for people to follow foreign religious texts, such as Sharia law.

    If there were only someway we could get an enlightened member of the TXLege to get them to understand…

    1. I’ve actually run, not for legislature, but for a county office. I was beat by a janitor who did nothing but send out flyers with Bible verses on them. Refused to debate, refused to talk about policy.

      Besides, the thing about the Texas legislature is that people with jobs really can’t be in it. The pay is $600 per month, plus $150 a day per Diem when the house is session. That’s a total of about $28k a year. That would be less than half what I make now and I can’t take 140 days (plus special sessions) out of my actual job. You have to be wealthy to play politics in Texas.

  4. Oh me, oh my, the sky is falling,said Chicken Little, the sky is falling DOWN!!!!!

    What scares the do-do out of me is that people VOTE those creeps into office. The only thing that could be WORSE THAN Sharia law would be Christian law.

    If Christians ever got their mitts on the laws in this country, all freedom would come to a screeching halt. On more than one occasion, Christians have tried to sneak what they think should be our laws. It is frightening to see what they want.

    This is a secular nation. NO RELIGION CAN EVER FORCE THEIR LAWS ON US. So not only is it impossible for Islamic law to exist in this republic of ours, but NO religious laws can ever trump our Constitution–EVER!

  5. Thank God for politicians like Leach. Latest attempt at Shariah is the recent “Shariah Tribunal” just set up in Texas. It is the “camel’s nose under the tent”. Once thousands of thees are set up all across America, nearly ALL Muslims will voluntarily submit or be ostracized from the Islamic community. This will be “defacto Shariah law. And these lying scumbags know it. They are the sneakiest people on Earth.

  6. If they are so worried about sharia law, they could repeal their own sharia laws relating to women! There isn’t much difference in the fundamentalism in all religions, especially as it pertains to women’s rights!

  7. Getting so that being christen results in a great deal of ridicule. I do not and would not impose my beliefs on others. Be a Texan and an American I value freedom and have fought for it. I am opposed to any law that restricts folks from worship in a way that doesn’t harm other. I am opposed to a church suppressing women, forcing women to be subservient due to gender. As a father of daughters only I want my kids to have every opportunity, the way sharia law has been enforced in other places worries me. I am not aware of anywhere that sharia is practiced that I would want my daughters to have to live in. If you are aware of a good society in which sharia practiced please. Someplace where young women are offered the same education and opportunities that males are please post here

  8. What on the hell is wrong with those idiots? Read the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
    When Texas was admitted to the Union, it accepted the CONSTITUTION as the law of the land INCLUDING the 1st amendment, to wit:
    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.

    That means that NO LEGISLATOR CAN DO THE SAME.

    Where did the words “Separation of Church and State.” come from? They can be traced back to a letter that Thomas Jefferson wrote back in 1802. In October 1801, the Danbury Baptist Association of Connecticut wrote to President Jefferson, and in their letter they voiced some concerns about Religious Freedom. On January 1, 1802 Jefferson wrote a letter to them in which he added the phrase “Separation of Church and State.” When you read the full letter, you will understand that Jefferson was simply underscoring the First Amendment as a guardian of the peoples religious freedom from government interference. Here is an excerpt from Jefferson’s letter. . .

    Also, in the Treaty of Triopoli, President Adams, our second president and one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence–that makes him a FOUNDER of this country, stated that “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims];”

    Jefferson called the bible a pile of dung. Fewer than 15% of all Americans at the time of its founding had anything to do with any religion, they were too busy just living.