October 29th, 2010
05:28 PM ET

Oklahoma voters face question on Islamic law

Editor's Note: CNN National Security Producer Laurie Ure brings us this report from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Oklahoma voters are considering an unusual question that will appear on their ballots this Tuesday: whether Islamic law can be used in considering cases in state court.

The question is the doing of State Rep. Rex Duncan. The Republican is the main author of State Question 755, also known as the "Save our State" constitutional amendment, one of 11 questions on the state ballot.

The question might seem a befuddling one for a ballot in the heartland, but it stems from a New Jersey legal case in which a Muslim woman went to a family court asking for a restraining order against her spouse claiming he had raped her repeatedly. The judge ruled against her, saying that her husband was abiding by his Muslim beliefs regarding spousal duties. The decision was later overruled by an appellate court, but the case sparked a firestorm.

Duncan secured support for the proposal on the state's Senate side from fellow Republican Anthony Sykes, who co-authored the measure.

Read the full story here.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Church and state • Interfaith issues • Islam • Oklahoma • Politics • United States

soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. GSA

    Americans are dumb as apple pie if they actually think this is an issue.

    November 1, 2010 at 2:35 pm |
  2. Raymond Riley

    This may be the absolutely stupidest thing I have ever read in 53 years. The man should be in prison for assault and probably attempted murder. I'd say 25 to life would be a reasonable sentence, to be reviewed after 50 years for possible parole. I'm sure that his fellow inmates will teach him the error of his ways.

    November 1, 2010 at 9:02 am |
  3. Keith

    The fact that is even on the ballot should be a wake up call to America. Do you think we would have even considered the building of a mosque at ground zero on Sept. 12, 2001? We are so stupid.

    October 31, 2010 at 8:16 pm |
  4. Starr

    They're bringing up this issue to play with the people's feelings; they're trying to win some votes. As a Muslim, I don't expect America to use Sharia Law and guess what? I'm fine with that. America lets me practice my religion and believe in God. That's cool with me.

    October 31, 2010 at 1:18 am |
  5. cassie

    Oklahomans want to have a head start in heading off Sharia law from coming to a court room near you. It sounds unlikely, doesn't it. But as unlikely as it sounds, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said it might be considered in English Courts.

    October 30, 2010 at 10:21 pm |
  6. Mark from Middle River

    Ace- To re-write the const-itution at this period in time would be very dangerous and perhaps that is what the framers wanted. The special interest groups and personal agendas would become so strong that I fear a civil war would erupt over something as simple as school lunches let alone health care, taxes, immigration and religion.

    The accommodation for the one guy or church would be three other corners "if" the house of worship were not yet built. If it were built and active before talk of a civic center is raised then we are talking a mixture of eminent domain and negotiation. And that would be on all sides because most American cities have plenty of open property that could be available to build a civic center or such.... just might not be where they want to build it. example being the bad side of town. ecch.... but that is another subject. See this is why I after I saw the dilapidated and spray painted building that they want to build the mosque in NYC, I had to break away on that subject with some of my conservative friends. Plus the strip clubs in the same radius also questioned motives.

    I do not have all the answers but on both sides here I can see all of us being drawn to the extremes.

    October 30, 2010 at 6:04 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Do I understand your correctly – you seriously believe that there is a significant probability that exercising the legitimate consit-itutional amendement procedures could lead to civil unrest or even a civil war? If this is so, then my fears for the USA have just increased. That being said, I think your are in a "pay now or pay later, but you will pay" situation with respect to getting control of (as in dealing with them, not controlling individual's beliefs) of the USA's extreme religious views.

      October 30, 2010 at 8:25 pm |
  7. Andrew VA

    Befuddled is right. Them folks keep walking around like its a lobotomy convention.

    October 30, 2010 at 10:38 am |
  8. Mark from Middle River

    Is there a medium in there. For example, a few weeks ago with the painting that was destroyed by the person of faith. Is there point of give and take so that none of us makes the conditions that the only way there can be tolerance and understanding if the one side or the other side leaves any part of them at the door. What you are suggesting would be like a extremist from my side saying:

    "We can talk about LGBT lifestyles as long as they leave the talk of LGBT marriage at the door. Once they do that then there is a lot of room for agreements on the rest"

    hmm... turn the clock back ...

    "we can talk about blacks in American society as long as they observe their place in it and say in the back of the bus"

    ...going forward....

    "If drivers of gas guzzling SUVs would just stop driving them and buy a Prius or if you can not afford one, ride the bus...then we can talk about the environment."

    Ace, if the other side is forced to drop completely something very important to them then there is no need for discussion...because it is easy to talk to someone that thinks and believes just as you. In esse

    October 30, 2010 at 4:02 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Clearly I do not have all, if any, of the answers...

      But we have to find the middle ground, and *all* are going to have to compromise on something. I *personally* want to see every so-called house-of-god shutdown. At the same time I would be fully supportive of a law that says "Desecration of *any* religious object/inst-itution is a serious offense." Now, as I sit here, I can see a problem with such a law – for example, what if someone wants to level a city block to create a really nice civic center, but one person is against it (for whatever reason) and manages to get a small corner desginated as a religious inst-itution. Am I really willing to allow him to hold up progress? Of course not, so my attempt at accomodation fails.

      Anyway, the point is that we cannot imagine all the possible situations that might develop and we probably cannot deal, to everyone's satisfaction, with the ones we know of. So we must focus on broad principles based on 21st century knowledge, supported by reasonable "first attempt" laws, and then trust that people will behave reasonably and/or the courts will sort things out. Yes, all very intelectual and likely doomed to failure, but it has been done before, a couple of hundred years ago, when a gang of rebels were rallied by common cause and managed, to a great extent, to rise above their prersonal agendas. In summary, perhaps the way forward is not to, as the Tea Baggess say, go back to the const-itution of the founders, but to use their methods and intents to re-write the const-itution for today.

      October 30, 2010 at 1:38 pm |
  9. Mark from Middle River

    "Serioulsy – if believers observe a strict separation of church and state, there're room for lots of agreement on the rest."

    Ace – The problem is that the other side believes that there is no such thing and there was never meant to be anything but the absence of Government in running and controling the church. In other words the Congress does not say who will be Bishop of New York, the way that the Chinese Government dictates who leads the Catholic church in China.

    October 30, 2010 at 3:59 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Hey, I didn't say I had a workable solution! :^)

      More seriously, I do agree with you, so maybe the first step is a convention on what separation of church and state really means, perhaps leading to a clear const-itutional amendment based on the thinking of 21st centry citizens and their vastly increased knowledge of how the USA works (as opposed to the founders' assumptions and jopes), technology, society and dare. I say it, religion. A response to this suggestion might be "That is too hard, impossible, will never happen..." to which I would reply "If you are not willing to do, or even attempt, the hard work to lay the foundation for a solution, then I must assume that all you really want to do is maintain the status quo, continue to cry "poor, poor me, as you drift towards a situation likely to be similar to what we can observe today in the middel east."

      October 30, 2010 at 1:20 pm |
  10. Mark from Middle River

    Interesting, and all this time you folks are worried about us christians another group is slowly and steadly advancing on you. There is a good chance many will not see it coming. The wild thing is that I do not think any of you will be able to stop them because of their closed communities. So all debate and arguements will not matter for nothing.

    Islam, Hinduism and the new denominations of Christianity just show proof that many of you are losing the war. Come on, Mormonism was reported to be pushing for a place in china. What I would wish is for a way that maybe atheism and folks of faith could maybe find a way , on all sides, to live in this society. Or is it one group or another and that's the only way forward.

    October 29, 2010 at 8:42 pm |
    • Reality

      Mark, Mark, Mark,

      Common sense and rational thinking are curing the Three B Syndrome and 90% of the globe will therefore be in the ranks of secularists, agnostics and atheists in ten years. Some form of the Commandments is already embedded in our Consti-tution so there will always be a touch of religion to include Christianity to keep you safe and happy in your almost empty and worthless house of worship.

      October 29, 2010 at 10:34 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Working with atheists is easy – just check your supernatural beliefs at the door. Serioulsy – if believers observe a strict separation of church and state, there're room for lots of agreement on the rest.

      October 30, 2010 at 12:19 am |
  11. David Johnson

    What I find worrisome, is that at some point there may be enough Muslims to carry a vote to include Sharia Law...
    All they have to do is multiply.

    It's bad enough worrying about the Christian Right's insane ideas. *sigh*

    October 29, 2010 at 8:24 pm |
    • Peace2All


      Yep.. worries me too.

      October 29, 2010 at 8:39 pm |
  12. David Johnson

    How about a video showing a an egg being cracked into an extremely hot frying pan. The voice over would say: "This is your brain on religion"

    Or how about the slogan: "Just say NO to drugs and the opiate of the masses, Religion".

    Or a plaque on every courthouse: "This is a religion free zone".

    Or as a reminder to congress: "Prayer doesn't work, please don't bother"

    October 29, 2010 at 7:58 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      ....then as the egg sizzles and burns.."this is your soul" with out Faith.

      Or a plaque in the white house saying to the president as a reminder that all actions on earth great and small will be judged by someone in an high office than the presidency.

      Yeah ... Signs sign everywhere a sign ...

      October 29, 2010 at 8:49 pm |
    • CG

      Yea! Let's go atheist like the Soviet Union did and North Korea does. It is such a better way of living. NOT!

      October 30, 2010 at 1:13 pm |
    • Luke

      CG – Oh, how immature of you. Of course you realize the different between forcing an atheistic regime fuled by hate and war and encouraging education, logic, reason, morals without religion and freedom of religion, don't you? If you do not, don't bother commenting anymore. Ignorance on the topic is not a choice.

      November 1, 2010 at 12:03 pm |
  13. Peter F

    You definitely have a point here. If we follow the logic that supports the Muslim man from the New Jersey case, all religions are basically exempt from the laws of our country. If one crazy cultist would say "Oh, my religion says I ought to sacrifice my newborn child" who is to stop him? Utterly disgusting logic.

    October 29, 2010 at 6:58 pm |
    • Peter F

      That was suppose to be a response to Peace2All... I had to reword my post since I violated the moderator, LOL.

      October 29, 2010 at 7:00 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Peter F

      Got your post to me. Good add-on with examples......!!! I like it...!


      October 29, 2010 at 7:07 pm |
    • Keith

      This nation already sacrifices newborn children-it's called partial birth abortion. Not sure which denomination endorses it though? That said, they can keep their crappy sharia law and their mosques out of this country as far as I'm concerned.

      October 29, 2010 at 8:13 pm |
    • Peace2All


      Religion... and 'any' religious laws... just say 'no'

      October 29, 2010 at 8:24 pm |
    • Peace2All


      In addition..... Yes, we agree, we don't want their religious 'Sharia Laws' here, but they do have the right to have their 'mosques' just like the christians have the right to have their churches.


      October 30, 2010 at 3:22 am |
    • Keith

      Peace2all, Couldn't help but notice how fired up you got when that 'Daniel' guy attacked Hawking on that story about the Pope. Hawking wouldn't be the atheist's "god" now would he? That 'Daniel' guy did nothing more than David Johnson does on a daily basis to the real Soveriergn of the Universe. Just storing up wrath for himself on the day of wrath. My God can and will take care of himself in due time. Why does Hawking need you to come running to his defense? Just funny to see the shoe on the other foot. Seems you guys can dish it out but you can't take it. Maybe you should ask 'Daniel' if he will give your goat back.

      October 30, 2010 at 8:06 pm |
    • Peace2All


      Hey Keith..

      Hope that you are well...

      It seems that we are in agreement on this article for the most part, considering that you and I are often not on the same page.

      I find it good to find c-o-mmon ground when possible, so I am a bit confused as to your bringing up something else with someone else on a totally different article.... not even related to this.

      It appears you prefer to do 'argue' than find things we can agree on and build or have discourse from that foundation.

      So.... kind of a conversation stopper on your part... yes..?

      November 1, 2010 at 2:42 am |
    • Peace2All


      I went and took the time to look at your c-o-mment about @Daniel's posting on the Pope V. Hawking article. So, Daniel said.." If Stephen Hawking is so smart, why doesn't he just cure himself from being sick and in a wheelchair." Or some reaaaaally stupid question like that.

      You just wasted my time. Daniel's question was idiotic, and for you to even attempt to try and use that as some kind of 'win' in this world of rational discussion and debate, furthers my conclusion that you are pretty much just as big an idiot as before.

      When you want to rationally debate something on merits let me know, but until then, stick to 'bow hunting.'

      November 1, 2010 at 3:52 am |
  14. JohnQuest

    I think this is a good day, now all we have to do is ban the rest or the religions from our courts, schools, and public offices. This may open the door, with any bit of luck.

    October 29, 2010 at 6:57 pm |
  15. Peace2All

    I am inclined to say.....NO.. on any kind of "Sharia Law" here in the U.S.

    And, I am also against any kind of "Radical Christian Fundamentalist" Laws in the U.S as well.

    Keep your 'religions' out of our courts and government.

    October 29, 2010 at 6:48 pm |
    • Sum Dude


      Amen, brother! Well said!

      October 30, 2010 at 4:43 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.