Sharia Ban Advances in Texas Senate

In an impromptu meeting called at the close of the Senate’s regular business on Wednesday, the Business and Commerce Committee quietly — and narrowly — voted to pass Senate Bill 1639 by a vote of 5-4. Based on our quick review of the audio file of the meeting, the vote count was as follows:

Yes: Carona (R), Taylor (R), Eltife (R),  Hancock (R), Lucio (D)

 No: Estes (R), Van de Putte (D), Watson (D), Whitmire (D)

It’s not exactly surprising to see a measure targeting the mythical threat of Sharia law advance in Texas — it’s certainly not the first time. But given the overwhelming chorus of voices that unequivocally demonstrated that there is no problem with Sharia law in Texas courts, it is  a little disconcerting.

And yet, some on the committee were clearly listening to that testimony. Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, explained why he joined with three Democrats on the committee to vote against the measure:

Senator Carona, I want to first start by saying that I believe this bill was filed with the best of intentions. I think it was filed to protect the weakest among us from systems of law which are fundamentally unjust, and I applaud that intent. Mr. Chairman, I do not agree with those who have attempted to malign your attempts to pass this bill as a form of religious bigotry. I vote against it, not because I disagree with its intent, but I think it is not needed and I fear that there are possible unintended consequences.

First of all, the drafting of this bill is very broad; it makes sweeping prohibitive statements about all foreign law. We heard testimony that it could invalidate divorces and maybe even marriages in countries without separation of church and state. The supporters of the bill want to stop oppressive — and I do say oppressive — systems like Sharia, but that would also pick up benign systems of Jews, Catholics and immigrants from countries without separation of church and state. The supporters of the bill could not guarantee that unintended consequences like this would not follow.

So I return to my original point: why should we risk these unintended consequences? … I would urge my members, the members, fellow members to be very careful with this, and, respectfully, I’ll be voting no.

The bill now awaits a vote of the full Senate… unless the clear logic Sen. Estes lays out can persuade his colleagues to keep off the Senate floor what could turn into an ugly debate. (Due to the Senate’s operating rules, it takes only 11 Senators to block consideration of a bill.)

Stay tuned.

46 thoughts on “Sharia Ban Advances in Texas Senate

    1. Please show me in the Bible #1-where man is told to beat or murder his wife, daughter, or other female family member for dating a non-believer in Allah; #2 please show me in the Bible where it says it is fine to lie as long as your doing it to infidels; #3 show me in the Bible where pedophilia is acceptable; #4 since you are so obviously a liberal loon I would guess you also support gay rights, please show me in the Bible where it states gays should be beaten & killed. I think if you would open your eyes& get a grip on reality you would learn about something before defending it.

      1. Let’s take just the easiest part: Leviticus 20:13 “‘If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”
        For the other things there are examples of people in the Old Testament doing it with divine approval. There is even today a Kristian(TM) group in the US that takes Phine(h)as as their role model for murdering people in interreligious relationships.
        And let me just be silent about church history where duplicity towards heretics and infidels became not just a virtue but mandatory.

    1. Are you kidding? Perhaps you should study political Islam instead of just seeing the religious side. Islam is a violent and oppressive political system BECAUSE of Sharia law.

  1. First, don’t these guys have anything better to do, and second, why is Lucio a Democrat? Texas Monthly consistently votes him as one of the worst state legislators every year. I can see why.

  2. I sure hope they ban other forms of religious law: Canon Law (Roman Catholic) and Halacha (Jewish). Might as well be even handed….

  3. This is what the voters wanted from their legislators. They elected these yo-yos! In the last decade (at least) voters have been casting their votes on issues such as this, not on issues critical to the common good of the state. I don’t expect that voters will wise up anytime soon. They’ll still go to the polls and vote for the Republicans because their preachers tell them to.

    1. Good for you Gary. They forget that Freedom of Religion is for everyone, not just Christians.

      1. Now come on swindance you know your a mooslime in disgiuse agreeing with gary and all.

        Why I bet gary’s real name is islime alah I got my balls in my throat mohmed.

  4. I hope they accidentally outlaw canon law too. I have two siblings who got taken to the cleaners in the Catholic marriage annulment racket. It’s a parallel religious divorce court.

    1. Yeah, that would be nice, a jewish woman than could have her civil rights back and she could have the right to divorce her husband without his permission to do so.

      That would be nice & fair 🙂

  5. Do these jackasses know that a huge, huge portion of the legal structure in Texas is based on foreign law? Common law and case law from the English courts, and specifically in Texas, the Spanish courts. After all, this state was originally a part of Mexico which was originally a Spanish colony. When the Republic of Texas was established, and later a state constitution was written, some of the legal system folks had lived under was included in it and Texas statutes. Courts have ruled since statehood based on a lot of this tradition.

    And every state in the Union can trace a good deal of its legal code back to English Common Law and even the Magna Carta.

    Banning consideration of foreign law in court cases would negate oh, probably 75% of all court cases.

    Not to mention the First Amendment right of Freedom of Religion.

    1. @yodacohen. These morons do not care about anything but imposing Christian law on the rest of us (Though they haven’t told us what brand of Christian law they will subscribe to, but I do not think it will be anything the rest of us would want to live under). For some reason they do not have faith in our form of government or our judicial system. Just like they do not have faith in the human heart or human will to do the right thing. They think that everybody has to be coerced into believing like they do. And then they wonder why so many people do not like them.

    2. How much of our legal tradition is based on VERY FOREIGN Sharia Law? Until very recently: None. Why start now? If you are saying Sharia Law is peachy, let me ask: Why do you not put your money where your mouth is? Do you plan to vacation in one of the Sharia-compliant “paradises” of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, or Iran? My guess is that, if you are Jewish — as your screen name suggests may be the case — you will not.

      But that does not stop you in your logic-free “Progressive” mind from DEFENDING the introduction of Sharia Law into our courts? You are so wrong that I pity you.

      By the way, on another note, as I watch the ongoing Second Amendment debates in our country, it is obvious that it is the “Progressives” who are dead set on using “coercion” to get get people to believe (or, at least behave) like they do. (And then THEY will wonder why so many of us do not like them?)

      Methinks you have have perhaps swallowed the proverbial Progressive camel and strained at the proverbial Constitutional gnat?

      1. Yea, you tell him BarbariansattheGates I’m on your side on this issue.

        You speak truth:)

    3. @yodacohen You may have a point but right thing to do would just clarify the 1st amendment of the constitution with state and federal laws that make religon unconstitutional to exercise its rights in congress delegated courts which would be all courts of the land

      F*ck Religion it is from the Dark Ages

      I say that as a woman who knows her history with religion and all of its evil misgonistic crap…………

  6. Well, basically, many Texas citizens, on a very personal level, feel a desperate need to do something mean TO Islamists to pay them back for 9/11. Trouble is, they cannot go to the Middle East and personally shoot Mohammed because they have to go to work in the morning, and who would pick the kids up a school?

    This is what they call “feel good” legislation in the backrooms where the cigars are smoked. It is a law that does absolutely nothing because the First Amendment already prevents takeover by Sharia Law. However, it makes the average guy who sends a quick e-mail to his state senator feel as if he has done something to screw-w-w-w-w-w-w-w-w Mohammed for what he did on 9/11.

  7. Sharia law? They obviously don’t have any idea what that means or entails. The laws against women, the defunding, altering the factual base and privatization of education, the forced pursuit of their personal form of religion to exclusion of all others and the planned destruction of separation of church and state are all components of sharia law which the republicans whole heartily embrace. So where are they coming from? I guess they don’t want any competition in their race to take Texas back to the second century. We must find a way to screen out individuals for our government who don’t have the intelligence or the ethical composition to govern in any capacity. It would seem as though the voters of Texas are not able to solve this problem through the electoral process. Something must be done before these folks completely destroy our state and our way of life.

  8. I love reading comments by “Progressives” defending Sharia Law, as if they think that by defending it, they will somehow be spared the full weight of its judgments if the tables are ever turned and areas of this country become Muslim-dominated “no-go” zones. (See: Europe.)

    Currently, we see in the West a de facto alliance between the progressives and the Muslims against Christians, the Bible, the Constitution, our border security, and our language (English, in case you had forgotten!) — as well as, increasingly, against the Jews and Israel.

    However, where the Muslims have established themselves as dominant in an area, and they sense they no longer “need” the progressives, they sometimes turn on them, as well — particularly in the area of beating up homosexuals and raping “uncovered” kufar women.

    Yes, my dear Progressives, some Muslims do beat up and hang homosexuals. Yes, progressives, some Muslims do believe they have a right to rape your daughters if they dress like “uncovered meat” (i.e., where short skirts or revealing shorts). Yes, progressives, some Muslims in this country beat their wives on occasion. Yes, progressives, some Muslims in this country perform clitoridectomies on their infant daughters. Yes, progressives, some Muslims in this country “honor kill” their wives and or daughters. Yes, Progressives, some Muslims in this country are driven to wage jihad (of the non-peaceful variety). . . All of which practices are enshrined in — and in keeping with — … yes: Sharia Law.

    And, please, note: I did not say ALL Muslims do these things, but some do, and they, unfortunately, tend to be the ones that dominate the Muslim cultural landscape in the West today. Thus, your support of normalizing Sharia — even just a “little bit” of Sharia — in our courts, enables and empowers the VERY ONES who DO do these things.

    So, please, go ahead and do the Ummah’s dirty work and support its “right” to subvert our legal system by sanctioning the introduction of their RELIGIOUS laws into our courtrooms.

    Oh, and to sweeten the pot, you can rest well at night, knowing that your support of Sharia will enable oppressive Muslim husbands and fathers to oppress the women in their families unhindered.

    By the way, as good America-laster progressives, while you expect our courts to accommodate themselves to the completely foreign traditions of the Muslim faith, you would never make similar demands that Saudi Arabia, Egypt, etc, give our legal traditions recognition in their “Sharia-compliant” courts. I call that stupidity on steroids.

    In short, you are myopic to a (tragically) risible degree.

    In the short run, of course, you will see to it that Christians, Jews, the Constitution, our borders, and Israel receive short shrift.

    In the long run, however, (and I, of course, cannot say how long that will be) I rather suspect you will discover the truth of the biblical dictum that one reaps what he sows — and that you just may discover it at the hands of your de facto Muslim “allies.”

    1. I fail to see how Sharia law is more of an imminent threat to our constitution and our country than the kind of shameful and unethical assault that are being shoved down our throats by the self righteous tea baggers and their rich benefactors every day. That includes this rotten piece of legislation that is not going to do anything but alienate another segment of our population. What part of religious freedom do you not understand?

  9. the best way of learning about an issue is to go to the main source and get an explanation. Unfortunately those fear mongering group they use this Sharia law as a threat to American community, while on the other hand millions of Muslim people live a great life every where practicing their religion. If I’m an American Muslim and want to live my life under Islamic law which I apply to myself without any contradiction to American law, how that can affect any one else? Even Islam teaches there is no compulsion in religion. Where is the freedom of religion and where is the foundation of this country which built on separation of state and religion. Stop Islamophobic act and violation of the foundation of this great country because it leads only to division in the community.

      1. The thing is, I understand Muslims may live under those laws. But, me being Christian, why should I be forced to live under those laws? That is all this says, is to use no system but the System we in Texas fought Santa Anna for,and what the American Revolution was fought for. Why we have the Constitution.No law in our great Country should be derived from anywhere else but that.

        1. The Constitution already protects against forcing anyone to live under any religious law, Sharia or Christian. But this bill would have done more than you acknowledge. This particular blog posts quotes Sen. Estes in noting some of the problems. There are others, as we have noted elsewhere.

        2. Wonder if it has occurred to anyone supporting this bill that most of our laws and court decisions derive from case law, not just statutes. And much of case law is derives from English Common Law. The colonies who wrote our Constitution and set up our courts, we’re former English men and English colonists. In California and to a lesser extent, Texas, from Spanish Common Law.
          Our contract law is English based. Passing statutes that tell local and state judges to not take into account anything but US originated law is absurd. Talk about a potential train wreck! Ridiculous.

          Hinduism has its laws. Judaism has Halachah. Nobody’s trying to ban those codes,yet much of Halachah and Sharia are similar. It’s all about religious bigotry.

  10. If any of u people actually studied sharia law u would learn that one of the laws is that’s we as Muslims must follow the law of he land we live in. So calm down people. And by the way I suggest Barbariansatthegates actually study the law. Like maybe go to mosque and u could ask questions because trust me they will be more than happy to answer them.most of the people who love in America are peaceful people. That’s why u don’t know them. Because they are quiet, keep to themselves and are generally peace-loving because they follow the true religion of Islam which literally comes from the Arabic word salaam which means peace. I’m a an American Muslim and I LOVE America and would never try to hurt it.

    1. Well said Jasminet101. As a non-religious person, I appreciate reasoned response paranoid ignorance.

    2. I agree with you but also I encourage Muslims over here to get out of their comfort zone and inform others by whom they are and how Islam as a religion can offer so many solutions to our contemporary problems that we are facing as a nation. How we for example condemn any terrorist act because those who are hijacking our faith because of their wrong understanding or because of certain hidden agenda. may be they claim they are Muslims based on their names. Islam is a religion invites all humanity to live in support of each other. Those who cut some versus and magnify a wrong meaning need to go to Muslim Scholar and understand the true meaning. Some versus were revealed for certain occasions but they try to generalize its meaning to out present time. will be better community if we try to understand each other and respect every one beliefs

    3. It’s very simple… we don’t want sharia law. My daughter’s will not be forced to cover there faces, my life is my own and I will not stand by and let any religion hijack my freedom, and if Christian ideals can’t be taught in our schools or injected into are laws Muslim shouldn’t be allowed to either. In the Muslim bible it says to kill non-believers. It says it in black and white… so if you don’t believe that you arnt muslim or if you do then you arnt peaceful. .. can’t have it both ways

      1. mcmenamin: The Constitution already prohibits everything that you fear about this. Don’t let fear-mongers manipulate your emotions.

  11. We see some new folks commenting on TFN Insider, especially this post. Welcome. Please be aware of our comments policy: https://tfn.org/comments-policy/. We try to limit discussion on here as little as possible and rarely reject or remove comments. Sometimes comments that don’t meet our policy standards slip through. But generally, we will reject comments that are used for personal attacks.

  12. We don’t need any laws concerning Sharia Law. We need to have more faith in our Constitution and its system of laws to keep Sharia law, or Christian right wing law ,like the 10 Commandments, for that matter, from becoming the law of the land.

  13. First off, I don’t know what sharia law is, secondly I don’t care what sharia law is, third I what know what a muslim is, unless it’s for a garment and I honestly don’t care. This is the USA, we are a republic, our laws are based on the constitution and anything else is wasted words.