When voters in Alabama go to the polls next week, one issue they will be asked to decide is whether the state constitution needs to be amended to outlaw Islamic Sharia law through Amendment 1, which would "prohibit the application of foreign law in violation of rights guaranteed natural citizens by the United States and Alabama Constitutions."
A similar amendment in Oklahoma was struck down as unconstitutional.
Normally, these sorts of efforts are nothing more than attempts to gin up right-wing activists by enshrining Christian privileges in states where Christians already dominate all levels of government. In fact, so obvious is this strategy and so needless is this amendment that even Randy Brinson, president of the Alabama Christian Coalition, has come out against it:
"This is a tremendous waste of effort. It's is a waste of time and it costs money," Brinson said Thursday morning, talking with AL.com between seeing patients at his medical practice in Montgomery. "This just creates a whole new headache for people involved in foreign adoptions or who get married in another country. My frustration is that people -- good people -- get behind something like this just because they want to score political points with the Christian community. But it's redundant - you don't need to amend the constitution to address these issues. I just don't think they thought through this particular thing."
"I understand the sentiment behind this, but Sharia law is not going to be implemented in Alabama, it just isn't," Brinson said. "And this would just be another stigma for Alabama, another way of saying to other countries: 'We don't respect your laws.'"
"Alabama law - or laws from outside the state -- either comports with the law of the United States or they don't," Brinson said. "This is just silliness. It's all something that lawmakers can trumpet back to constituents that they're protecting Christian values, but they need to be working on other stuff."