July 4, 2020

Saturday Ramblings 11.6.10

It’s Saturday. That means donuts and extra coffee for breakfast, time to read the paper, watching Bugs Bunny cartoons … what? Really? Since when? Oh my. Well, if Bugs Bunny isn’t on Saturday mornings any more, then may I present the next best thing: Saturday Ramblings.

Did you vote on Tuesday? (This, of course, is a question for our American readers. Martha and Matthew, you may skip ahead if you like…) Voters in my state of Oklahoma voted to make it illegal for judges to consider any international law, including Islamic Sharia law, in any court case. The measure passed, but it is already being challenged in court. Has this ever come up in a court case in Oklahoma? No. But the state representative who proposed the change in the state constitution was afraid that it might someday. Muslims living in the state now say they are less comfortable being open with their faith. Nothing like whipping up some unfounded fear to get out the vote.

Alan Hirsch says that American churches are following a model that will only allow them to reach 40 percent of the population. And it seems most all of the churches are going after that same 40 percent. Here is a sentence from the story that makes me grieve: And after a few years of coming to Christ, most people are socialized out of their context and into the context of the church, which removes them from their sphere of influence. Read the whole story here.

Pope Benedict XVI comes in at number five on Forbes list of the 68 most influential people in the world today. The only other religious leader on the list is the Dalai Lama. Word has it that Chaplain Mike came in at number 69, just barely missing the list.

The Pope is headed for Spain where hopefully he will be received not as the number five most important person, but number one.

Frank Schaeffer somehow is able to tie Tuesday’a election, a canonical debate, and the Left Behind series all together in this article. And somehow it all makes sense. What do you think?

The vampire as Jesus’ evil twin? Did I read that right? Ok then. Read on if you want an “interesting” twist on the origin of the vampire.

Birthdays this week include John Philip Sousa; Ray Conniff; Sally Field; Billy Graham; Joni Mitchell; Bram Stoker; Rickie Lee Jones; Bonnie Raitt; Spiro Agnew; Carl Sagan; Susan Tedeschi; Claude Rains; Richard Burton; George S. Patton; Jonathan Winters; Grace Kelly; Neil Young; and Sammy Sosa.

Today’s bonus video—Neil Young? Susan Tedeschi? How about some classic Joni Mitchell. She is really under-appreciated, both for her writing and her musical skills. Here she is in the greatest concert movie ever, The Last Waltz. Enjoy your Saturday.

Comments

  1. Today’s bonus video—Neil Young? Susan Tedeschi? How about some classic Joni Mitchell. She is really under-appreciated, both for her writing and her musical skills. Here she is in the greatest concert movie ever, The Last Waltz. Enjoy your Saturday.

    Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon–And the Journey of a Generation by Sheila Weller:

    http://www.amazon.com/Girls-Like-Us-Simon-Generation/dp/0743491475

    Three amazingly-talented women who had (have?) really, uh,… messed up(?)/crazy/topsy-turvy lives. I didn’t realize until I read this book how autobiographical so much of their music was/is.

  2. Frank Schaeffer somehow is able to tie Tuesday’a election, a canonical debate, and the Left Behind series all together in this article. And somehow it all makes sense. What do you think?

    I started reading the linked column by Frank, but it too soon seemed like more of what I’ve already read in Dancing Alone, Crazy for God, etc. So I decided to go to Amazon and find out what his new book, Patience with God, might be about. And there I came across this most amazing Reader Review (five stars) by John F. Defelice, Associate Professor of History, University of Maine at Presque Isle:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0306819228/

    From Defelice’s review:

    “What you did, Frank, is validate a part of my life I wanted desperately to forget. The pain, the struggle, the embarrassment, the utter desperation of being without a spiritual country. I saw myself. Your book was a mirror. Whether you are talking about atheists (I think you are really speaking about fundamentalists in a disarming way: targeting them by talking about something else: a parable if there ever was one!)or your own past, or the limitation of fundamentalist intellectual honesty, it comes around to the personal. This book is essentially my journey too. It is, in another form, the journey of a multitude of wounded Christians who have been divorced from the mystical, the allegorical, and the real faith for a long time. You gave us voice. You validated our experiences. We’re OK, and not damned or compromised or not dedicated to Christ enough.”

    Read that review. It will blow you away… or at least make you want to read Frank’s book.

  3. “Oklahoma voted to make it illegal for judges to consider any international law, including Islamic Sharia law, in any court case.”

    That would include the Bible, right? Wait, my bad. God is American. &_&

    • textjunkie says

      Yeah, it did kind of throw out the 10 commandments…

      • Ooopps That’s called the “Law of Unintended Consequences”. Maybe if they actually THOUGHT about it they might no have been in such a hurry to pass the law. But at least we won’t have none of the Sharia Law here

        • Seems to me the actions that result in unintended consequences are fear based. Perhaps contending with things and etc. in prayer that are not “flesh and blood” would result in a more solid victory.

        • Yeah. I need to find the exact quote from the “God in America” series, but basically one of the defenses against laws banning the teaching of evolution was that the Bible could not be a basis for established law. It seems like the unintended consequences forces us to agree with that defence. We can’t respond to Islam like we did communism – which wasn’t actually that much of a success, either. In a pluralistic society, a religion vs. religion fight will result in the repression of all religious expression and freedom. There’s no win-lose; rather, all will be kept equal with hatchet, ax, and saw – as the conclusion of Rush’s song “The Trees” goes.

      • But America was founded on Christianity. It says so right there in the first amendment!

    • Before too many of you folks get pompous and self-rightous towards the good people of Oklahoma, who under any fifth graders understanding of republican government knows the people of a state have a right, or had a right until 1865ish to settle the isues in their states themselves, stop seeing everything thru your “fundie’s are bad” eye glasses and consider the fact that there have been cases where Supreme Court justices have cited in thier opinions laws fo other countries.

      I’m not legal scholar but in a common law system like ours built on precedents we do not want justices considering laws that might have developed otherwise under other systems be they Ismlamic or Christian.

      This debate is not a religous one it is one of Constitutional law.

  4. The Alan Hirsch article identifies an issue but misses the mark on the intervention.
    The gospel may at times be preached within a church on a given Sunday. However, if you listen to most sermons they are about the Christian and what they are to do. A simple measure is to look at who is doing the works, the verbs in the sermon. That is not the gospel. The gospel that Christ died for the sins of humanity and that this reality is given to me through His specific means or gifts is not being preached. He is doing all the work. Look at the Christian bookstore and top itunes church podcasts as an affirmation of works righteousness and law light. Look at the national surveys of spirituality. Michael Spencer understood this. When the preaching is about the Gospel (Christ’s work for us) the congregant looks outside of themselves towards loving others with this good news. We have bigger issues than not having church plants in the right area or being relevant. Preaching law as if it is the gospel is the biggest issue. Christians in the US are known for their law and their emotion, not their one-way love, i.e. the Grace they are given and then share.

  5. It could be just the reporter’s coverage of the event, but Hirsch’s assertions appeared to be unsupported by an verifiable data. But even if his figures were accurate, the article is pretty glib with the cause – encapsulation within the Christian subculture – which failed to take into account the everyday exposure of Christians to nonChristians in the workplace, school, community, etc.

    Also, I have a deep suspicion that Hirsch’s audience was largely white, middle class, suburban Christians. Does his message translate to black and Latino churches in the US? Are they attracting only a fraction of the populace? Should they be blamed if that’s all they’re reaching? Do they need to change the way they’re doing things in order to reach all the folks they’re missing? Why or why not?

  6. I guess I shouldn’t read Schaeffer after reading Hirsch. If Christians are reaching only 40% of the population, then how did this “fringe” group deliver the biggest party shift in Congress in recent history? I’m sure Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, and the whole FOX News team would laugh in the face of anyone who said Tuesday’s election was the result of Left Behinders trying to avert a coming apocalypse.

    I appreciate what Frank came out of and what he lived through having been there, done that myself with respect to eschatological idiocy. However, explaining the totality of Evangelical Christianity in terms of a premillennial dispensationalism and translating that into the entirety of the right wing political agenda, while appealing, is hardly accurate and does little to enhance his credibility.

    • There were a LOT of non Christians, D’s and R’s who voted against the incumbents in this election. To think this was a vote for something other than a majority voting to change it up and throw the bums out is somewhat delusional. And it’s a repeat of what happened in 2008 and might very well happen again in 2012.

      IMNERHO

    • Yeah, it seemed like a bit of a stretch to me too. It’s not uncommon when someone has sustained a lot of damage to their spiritual life to, while in the process of healing, view everything through the lens of that damage (pardon the mixed metaphor). I’ve been there myself, and Franky’s article kind of reads that way — more autobiography than analysis.

    • I would disagree with your last paragraph Rick. I still am closely associated with people that voted for the very reason Frank Schaeffer gives. End times rule their lives and it does affect how they vote.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      If Christians are reaching only 40% of the population, then how did this “fringe” group deliver the biggest party shift in Congress in recent history?

      Unless you have carefully-drawn one-party districts (like California — All Incumbents Re-Elected, NO Exceptions), American elections are usually balanced to the point that even a 5-10% “swing vote” shift will be decisive.

  7. And here is an article on “tonges faking” you might appreciate.
    http://www.bringthebooks.org/2010/11/glossalalia-my-cautionary-tale-of.html

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Been there. Done that. When the choice is to either fake the Tongues or get turned into a pile of rocks, what else you gonna do?

      During my college-period experience with Pentecostals, I noticed something. When asked “What Gift of the Spirit do you want?” the answer was always “Speaking In Tongues”. Or “Tongues”. Or “Tongues.” (And did I mention “Tongues”?)

      I think I was the only one who held out for “Wisdom.” Because Wisdom is the command control over all the others, knowing when to use them — and when not to. Why couldn’t any of these tonguers understand that?

  8. “It has all horrified the Vatican, which remembers a not-so-distant age when all public schoolrooms had a picture of Franco and a crucifix mounted on the wall.”

    I see the high standard of religious affairs reporting continues to be upheld. Because of course all that concerns “the Vatican” about Spain’s increasing secularism is nostalgia for the era of a strong leader, moreover, one who was a Fascist. Yes, if only “the Vatican” could be assured that photos of Franco were on every wall, they’d sleep easy in their beds at night.

    Ah, well: I’ll be watching to see the consecration of La Sagrada Familia. One of the strangest church buildings ever, but oddly beautiful in an organic style (it always reminds me of a coral reef, as if it is growing rather than being built) and an architect of impeccable orthodoxy, if expressed unconventionally. Viva Antonio Gauda!

    🙂

    • Isaac (the poster formerly known as Obed) says

      That article reminded me of what was going on in the British press prior to the recent papal visit. And in the end the reception at that visit turned out to be 180 degrees opposite of what the press expected. B16 is a very smart man who is very good at this sort of thing. He might not have the charisma of JP2, but I bet the Spanish visit will go very well, just like the British one did.

  9. Cedric Klein says

    Re Vampires & Jesus~ It’s a tragedy that Jeffrey Sackett’s BLOOD OF THE IMPALER is out of print- it’s a brilliant prequel-within-a-sequel to Stoker’s DRACULA and posits Prince Vlad’s literal deal with the Devil as perhaps setting him up to become The AntiChrist. In my younger Rapturist days I even thought about writing that up as a Tribulation novel.

    I suppose I’ll have to read Frank Schaeffer’s article, tho his position as one of The Huffington Post’s pet theologians & everything I’ve read by him & about him so far, even from his fans, reinforce my view of him as a malcontent who is not happy unless he is griping about something. And I’m including his days as a Religious Righty. His call for Christian artistic integrity while making the movie Wired to Kill dashed most of his credibility & I haven’t seen anything to regain it with me.

    • Cedric Klein says

      Just read the Schaeffer article. Yep! Just as I expected. The basic theme…

      “I used to be part of the self-pitying, whining, evangelical/fundamentalist chorus.”

      With the underlying message…

      “Now, I’m part of the self-pitying, whining, ex-evangelical/fundamentalist chorus.”

      His article in no way linked any GOP candidate, winning or not, with Rapturist (or even Dominionist) Theology- and if there was one thing I never saw in any of his father’s works was any other-worldly retreatist Rapturism or radical armed-to-the-teeth Dominionism. In short…

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hfYJsQAhl0

    • VolAlongTheWatchTower says

      Viva Frank, he the devil to the Evangelical Right’s Tom Walker.

    • That article didn’t impress me, I have to say. There’s a lot of “X does this, Christians do this, therefore X and Christians are the same!”

      Er, no. That’s just humans being human. Blood-drinking evil spirits and revenants are pre-Christian and found pretty much in every culture (how does the writer account for Chinese vampires?) She also forgot to mention, in her discussion of the 16th century Slavic nations origins of vampire folklore as we know it, the well-known (well, well-known if you’re into this area) work by the Benedictine monk, Dom Augustin Calmet, in the 18th century: “Traité sur les apparitions des Esprits, et sur les vampires ou les revenans de Hongrie, de Moravie &c. (Treatise on Apparitions of Spirits and on Vampires and Revenants from Hungary, Moravia, etc.)”, first published in 1746 and so well into the Enlightenment.

      Anyway, if we’re going to talk about/recommend Christian-influenced vampire stories, I have to recommend a short story from the 1980s by Alan Ryan called “Following the Way”.

      In which Jesuits (well, it would have to be the Jesuits, wouldn’t it?) are involved. I say no more than that.

      😉

      I’d also like to link to a long discussion on a post about this very topic over on John C. Wright’s blog. It’s called “The Problem of Evil in Supernatural Stories” and is a much more developed working out of the bit in the article that goes “These days, though, items such as the crucifix and holy water no longer repel the demon, Morehead says. The church is “just as powerless in the face of the vampire as any other institution.”

      http://johncwright.livejournal.com/371994.html

    • Buford Hollis says

      That would explain the sparkling. (Satan may appear as an angel of light, etc.)

      • I like the way you think, Buford!

        Especially since sparkly vampires that can walk about in daylight (albeit cloudy, low-level daylight) are anathema to me.

        I’m a strict traditionalist in my vampires and zombies and werewolves. I suppose it’s my Catholicism coming through? Or maybe my early exposure to Hammer Horror. One or the other.

        😉

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      …posits Prince Vlad’s literal deal with the Devil as perhaps setting him up to become The AntiChrist. In my younger Rapturist days I even thought about writing that up as a Tribulation novel.

      Just as long as he doesn’t look like a Young Robert Redford (TM) or Sparkle in the Sunlight (TM).

  10. Joni Mitchell…UGH!

  11. “Oklahoma voted to make it illegal for judges to consider any international law, including Islamic Sharia law, in any court case.”

    This has come up on the national scene where a Supreme’s decision or few in the last few years used as a strong basis for the decision trends in international law.

    Which some of us, and the minority that very strongly objected, said wasn’t in the job description of the Supreme Court.

    • Then, if you want to be techniocal, “judicial review” (deciding whether a law is or isn’t constitutional) isn’t in the job description of the Supreme Court either. The Court basically created it out of whole cloth in 1803 (Marbury v. Madison). They’ve been expanding their role for over two centuries now, and it may be too late in the game to call them on it.

      • Buford Hollis says

        I suppose that a “Tea Party” dominated Congress could press for the impeachment of the entire Supreme Court (but who would preside over the Senate trial?), and then the new president could appoint justices willing to repudiate Marbury v. Madison. Guillotining would probably follow.

  12. don francisco says

    thank God the majority of the voters in Oklahoma voted for this proposition. Why would American not?
    don

    • “A decent respect to the opinions of mankind”?

    • Can any lawyers out there advise me on this? If Oklahoma rejected any consideration of international law in its courts, how would that affect extradition cases? Or charges against an American who had committed crimes abroad and fled to Okalahoma? Or a foreigner who committed crimes in Oklahoma – can a non-American be tried for criminal acts in an American court? What about cases of financial fraud, which often cross international boundaries (embezzlers stashing the loot in Caymans Island accounts and such)?

      It seems to me that it would have much broader ranging effects (and unintended ones) than intended, and that the “No Sharia law here!” is a populist bit of electioneering, much the equivalent of the Koran-burning stunt by that minister from the Dove Outreach Centre. If there was real danger that the Sharia system was being set up and followed as a parallel to the civic legal system in Oklahoma, I’d see where they were coming from, but inform me if that is so, anyone?

      • Well Martha, I am not a lawyer, nor do I ever wish to be one. I did work with a very fine group of lawyers for a number of years, and I hope to be able to run this by them sometime soon. But I know this amendment is already being fought in court.

        Electioneering? Yes, at its worst. But that is the fun of politics in Oklahoma. I take very little interest in politics any more, other than as a form of entertainment.

      • It probably was electioneering. But it may mean that no international law will be considered as a precedent in determining Oklahoma court cases. Any lawyers out there?

        And there is the ever-present fear of the “One World Empire” mentioned in end times books, as well as animosity toward the United Nations (ain’t nobody wearin’ a blue helmet gonna give orders to no American soldier!). It could be feeding off those sentiments.

        I do NOT wish to get Headless Unicorn Guy started on this…

      • Buford Hollis says

        The U.S. Constitution gives the president power to enter into international treaties, which must be ratified by the Senate. “International law” is largely based upon such treaties. They have the force of federal law, so the state of Oklahoma is powerless to exclude it.

        As for “sharia,” it is impossible to prevent religious values from influencing legislation or judicial decisions. (For the most part these will be Christian values.) However, they may not involve “cruel and unusual punishment” or otherwise violate constitutional protections.

        To me, one of the most interesting questions is that of polygamy. Most Christian groups oppose it, most Muslim groups accept it, so any stance either way is bound to take on a religious character.

      • “Can any lawyers out there advise me on this? If Oklahoma rejected any consideration of international law in its courts, how would that affect extradition cases?”

        Extradition requires treaty agreements between both countries. Country A says turn them over. Country B, with the bad guy, looks at the treaty and decides if the request meets the treaty and their laws.

        Which is why there are several US citizens living overseas in countries where the crime they are accused of in the US is not extraditable in the country where they have decided to live.

        But to the point, it’s not international law that governs who the US extradites, it’s US law and treaties with specific countries.

        • Then suppose Country A and the USA have an extradition treaty and the rozzers from Country A come knocking at Joe Blow’s door in Oklahoma for bank fraud or an assault on a citizen of Country A (say, a drunken fight in a nightclub while on holiday – no, I’m not thinking of any particular cases from Irish or British experience, why do you ask?).

          Will the Oklahoma courts say “Go whistle, we don’t recognise no international law here”?

          Can they say that?

          • OK first things first:
            Rozzers or Rozz
            A British term. Originally Rossers referring to when a Police officer would Report on Summons, hence ROS, changed to ROZZERS for ease of pronunciation.

            “Roozers” from country A have NO standing in the US. If they take Joe and Joe doesn’t want to go then it’s a kidnapping charge in the US or OK.

            The legal way it is supposed to work is that Rozzers send paperwork to OK or US authorities and ask if locals can arrest Joe and turn him over to them. If this works out then Rozzers show up with lots of paper work signed by various officials and locals turn Joe over.

            And the above only works if Joe’s crime is extraditable and all the US folks want to take the time to deal with it.

        • International law is also known as the law of nations. It deals with the conduct of international organizations and independent nations, such as countries, states and tribes. It deals with their relationship with each other. It also deals with some of their relationships with persons.
          The law of nations is formed by the general assent of civilized nations. Sources of international law also include international agreements, as well as treaties.

          — Quoted from the ballot regarding this law.

          • State laws and constitutional items that violate the US constitution are basically DOA. Treaties will be enforced.

    • It will make it hard for any international company based in Oklahoma for one thing. It will also make things awkward if any cases that are based on British common law are tried in the state.

      • The US system is heavily based on precedent to deal with issues that are not covered in specific detail. And it’s my understanding that for all practical purposes British Common Law up to 1789 or so in the law in the US unless later repealed or superseded by later legislation.

        There was a somewhat odd case I think in Georgia a few years back where someone died over a year after being in a fight. Other person in the fight was convicted of murder. He appealed based on the common law doctrine that it wasn’t murder if someone died more than a year after being assaulted. Don’t remember the outcome. But the common law issue was from way back in time in England when medical care was obviously a bit different and the thought was something along the lines of it was deemed that if you lived a year after an assault your death could not be attributed to the assault as no one could be considered as having a mortal wound and living for a year.

  13. I hope jest when you call “unfounded” the fear of Sharia law in Oklahoma. This is real, and it is actually happening in Europe. We haven’t progressed that far in the states yet, but this law maker was doing exactly the responsible thing that we ought to do to protect the freedoms we enjoy in America if we intend to keep them. There are forces out there who strongly desire the subjection of the world to Sharia law, and they are fighting for it, with politics or violence.

    And yes, I fully support the ban of Levitical law in the courtroom as well. Let us not stone the homosexuals or rebellious children, but instead eat shrimp and pork.

    • OK.. so lets play a little game of thought experiments. Two businessmen are engaged in some sort of dispute. They agree to have the matter settled by way of arbitration. But ohnoes! Both businessmen are Muslims and as part of the arbitration process, the arbiter suggests that perhaps an aspect of their faith could be appropriate to consider. The final conclusion is perfectly legal in the state of Oklahoma, and may well be very similar to the conclusion a different arbitration process would have come to.

      Is the arbitration now not enforcable? Should it be enforcable?

      • Or, alternatively… a shop sells some meet, claiming it is halal (or kosher for that matter). It turns out that the meat is not, and so the customer sues the shopkeeper. In order to determine wether the man is guilty of fraud, the court would need to look at wether the meat was actually halal (or kosher) but under this new law, they can’t do that.

        • Yes they could. This is a fraud issue. (I am NOT a lawyer but this is my opinion.)

          The definition of halal is an arguable point. But the guilt or innocence would have to be determined by US and OK laws.

          • But when you deal in fraud, part of the decision would be “is this meat actually halal?” If it is halal, then there is no fraud. If it is not halal, then there is fraud. So, that decision becomes impossible in OK.

          • I don’t see how the OK laws prevent this from being fraud. To say something is something that it is not and to sell it as such should not be legal regardless of sharia. It is NOT using Sharia as a means of enforcing discipline or punishment, but as a means of definition. That’s like saying you can’t consult a mechanic’s dictionary to see if hardware was advertised fairly and honestly. Sharia is not being used to subject people to religion in this case; it is being use to determine the definition of a word.

          • No, I think David is correct. The laws pertaining to fraud would apply, not Islamic law, which would only be relevant in determining whether the meat were “as advertised” or not. Wouldn’t it be the same as organic vs non-organic? Dairy vs non-dairy?

            And the kosher laws are a good example. Though not US law per se, the proper approval and labeling of kosher foods is a huge industry in the US, and should be protected from fraud by US law.

            Oklahoma may be messing with the Law of Unintended Consequences. As well as being just plain xenophobic.

          • I’m with Miguel. Sharia law in this case as means of definition. If his post had showed up before I wrote mine, I wouldn’t have bothered.

          • You are guilty if the meat is NOT halal. But how can the court determine if the meat is halal or not? It isnt allowed to even CONSIDER the definition of halal, since that is part of sharia law.

          • I respectfully thing you are confusing applying a law with determining “facts” in a case. (Lawyers can chime in here with better wording.)

            Is someone guilty of a religious offense in OK if they sell/serve halal meat to someone and it’s not. Yes. Is this a case that can be brought as a violation of law in OK. No. Can it be brought as a civil fraud case. Yes, IF they advertised halal and didn’t produce and HARM can be proved (convince a judge or jury). Then they can collect monetary damages to the extent awarded and collectible. But this is how US law works.

            You can say the same thing about palm readers. While against the law in most places the police and system ignores them. If they defraud you for serious money then you can go after them as a fraud in civil court. And the reader would get to introduce “evidence” of the validity of their service. And hopefully everyone get a big chuckle.

            Again, a civil issue EVIDENCE issue. Not a criminal application of law.

      • Yes. Because the result of the arbitration is a contract between two parties. Criminal matter are another issue.

        I don’t know the wording of this OK law but unless they blew it, and yes they might have done so, this should not impact civil settlements agreed to by all parties. In these situations the judicial system is basically a referee.

        • This measure amends the State Constitution. It changes a section that deals with the courts of this state. It would amend Article 7, Section 1. It makes courts rely on federal and state law when deciding cases. It forbids courts from considering or using international law. It forbids courts from considering or using Sharia Law.

          • “Courts” and arbitration are different animals.

            A decision by a court is binding. And an arbitration decision can also be binding.

            Arbitration is a situation where all parties agree to NOT go into the courts. Usually for speed and to allow the issue to be decided by “experts” and not the 12 dumbest people they can find.

        • Pushing it to the point of ridiculousness, would it mean that a couple married abroad would have to be either re-married in Oklahoma or be considered not a married couple?

          I think I’ve identified the root case which is causing all this flap about Sharia law being recognised in the U.S.; it seems to be from a case in a New Jersey court in 2009:

          http://lawlibrary.rutgers.edu/courts/appellate/a6107-08.opn.html

          Short digest: Morrocan-born Muslim couple divorce. Wife seeks restraining order against husband on grounds of domestic violence. Judge denies it because “This court does not feel that, under the circumstances, that this defendant had a criminal desire to or intent to sexually assault or to sexually contact the plaintiff when he did. The court believes that he was operating under his belief that it is, as the husband, his desire to have sex when and whether he wanted to, was something that was consistent with his practices and it was something that was not prohibited” and that “plaintiff had not proven criminal restraint, sexual assault or criminal sexual contact.” This decision was overturned upon appeal.

          Now, this is further complicated because the couple went to the local mosque during an attempt at reconciliation and “Following a meeting between plaintiff, defendant, the nurse, and the Imam of the mosque at which plaintiff and defendant worshiped, the couple was persuaded to reconcile on the condition that defendant stop mistreating and cursing at plaintiff, that they move back to Morocco at the conclusion of defendant’s employment, and that defendant obtain an apartment where the couple could live away from his mother.” Moreover, after divorcing, the wife actually spend three days in the Imam’s home (presumably because she had nowhere else to go and was looking for sanctuary) so it’s not a case where ‘Sharia law’ was all on the man’s side.

          The point of the judgement seems to have been the judge’s decision that in American law, the concept of “mens rea” had not been proven and so he refused the request for a restraining order. He may have made his judgement based on the notion that the man believed he had a right under Islamic law and custom to have sex with his wife but let me remind you – we’ve already had this row in Christian law.

          The whole notion of “Is rape within marriage possible?” was argued on the basis of “Is consent given irrevocably?” because the Christian understanding was that the marriage vows entail the couple (both of them) giving one another consent to have marital relations. If a man insists upon exercising this right despite his wife’s objections, is it technically rape? Well, the law has come down to “Yes, it is.”

          In this instance, this is a poor decision by a judge on a technical point of secular criminal law. However, it has been taken up as “ZOMG, American courts are being supplanted by Sharia law!” and that’s where all the hysteria is coming from.

          Instead of passing resolutions about “No international law here!”, the Oklahoma (and other) courts should be concentrating on training their judges about matters such as determining mens rea and what offences merit which penalties.

          • I’m sorry, but this has absolutely NOTHING to do with the root of the Sharia frenzy in the United States, even thought it may be one of the first cases where it conflicts with US law. Have you followed European news at all? Islamic politicians are all over British parliament and other countries pushing for legislation that would uphold Sharia as an alternative the the current nations laws. They have even threatened British parliament with violent restitution if they allowed specific publications against Islamic violence to be brought into the country. Not terrorists or extremist Imams, but politicians.

            Go to itunes and look for the Dogma Free America podcast. They’ll bring you all those news stories, even if they are bitter atheists. Sharia is on a global political campaign, and they have no intention of ignoring the United States. Many Islamic immigrants have a radically different notion of the walls separating government from religion. Think the Middle Ages: They are coming from explicitly theocratic nations and have not been indoctrinated to understand the benefits of democracy.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            By “Europe”, do you mean the future Islamic Republic of Eurostan?

  14. Debra Nethercott says

    Why, oh, WHY, did you mention the election? I am so sick of hearing people talking about the election and telling me to vote. I dropped another daily email message that I have been receiving for this very reason. This isn’t a threat….it’s a need that I have. I must stay away from all things dealing with politics. This is for my mental health. I thought your daily messages were different. Can we stay with the spiritual and not the politcal? Thank you. Debra

    • Debra — The Saturday Ramblings column is a weekly, idiosyncratic, finger on the pulse of the outside world. Most of the posts here are not political and are spiritually uplifting, I find. Maybe you’ll want the skip Saturday Ramblings next week!

      Welcome, by the way!

      Damaris

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      I’m still getting Political Junk Mail in my mailbox, a week after the election.

  15. I don’t see how the OK laws prevent this from being fraud. To say something is something that it is not and to sell it as such should not be legal regardless of sharia. It is NOT using Sharia as a means of enforcing discipline or punishment, but as a means of definition. That’s like saying you can’t consult a mechanic’s dictionary to see if hardware was advertised fairly and honestly. Sharia is not being used to subject people to religion in this case; it is being use to determine the definition of a word.

    OK.. how do you determine if something is halal meat or not if you are not allowed to consider Sharia law at all?

    • As I tried to say above. It’s NOT an application of Sharia law to determine the facts in a case.

      OK has said no to applying Sharia law as law in OK.

      Different issues.

      • No. The ballot initiative prevents sharia being CONSIDERED at all. And you can’t determine if the meat is halal or not without considering the definition of halal according to sharia.

      • “Is this meat halal?” Tell me how do you answer that question without CONSIDERING sharia? If you can explain that process of determining the fact of wether it is halal or not, without ANY CONSIDERATION of sharia, I will donate £100 to the charity of your choice.

        • Now I may be all wet but I respectfully think you are the one who is wrong here.

          Considering Sharia law in deciding cases is different, in my understanding of things, than how the facts of a case are introduced.

          The English language can be a messy thing and the words that we use to describe how the courts work we tend to intermix meanings and overload words. I really suspect that even if this amendment stands the “cannot be considered” will apply to the law applied to a situation, NOT the introduction of the facts in a case.

          • The ballot iniatiative prevents judges from considering sharia or international law. It is very very clearly worded. It is stupid but clear.

      • I can see that you could, for a civil fraud case, use the definition of “what is halal” from Sharia without running afoul of the ban on considering foreign law.

        But if – as some poster said above – you have to prove harm in order to take the civil case, I think that might be difficult. You would be claiming “I was harmed in my religious duty by eating this meat which is not permissible for me” and wouldn’t the court have to say “Sorry, we can’t adjudicate on this because it involves a point of foreign religious law”?

        And isn’t that driving people into Sharia courts as an alternative? If Mahood can get away with selling non-halal meat because the state law won’t prosecute him, how else can we get Mahood to stop doing this other than by going to the Imam instead?

        (Or boycotting Mahood’s butcher shop so he loses custom.)

        • A Muslim looking for halal meat would be harmed if said meat was advertised in a food store and purchased for use in obeying their faith.

          Someone else, not a Muslim buying the same meat just to see what it tastes like isn’t really harms by the fraud.

          Harm in the US court system can be a funny thing. Buying a bag of party balloons that is advertised as having 15 different colors and you only finding 14 for your 5 year old’s birthday party may be fraud on the balloon sellers part but was there harm? I’m sure you could bring the case to your state consumer protection agency but it would likely be pinned to the wall of “you’ve got to be kidding” complaints.

  16. I’d be interested in how many demon-worshi… er, I mean people there are who are familiar with another history of vampires that is strictly modern, but widely used.

    Vampires all come from Cain – vampirism is the Curse of Cain.

    Any White Wolfers out there?