Voted on and passed by Alabama residents, this amendment to Alabama’s state constitution bars “foreign” laws from being used in state courts.
The American and Alabama Laws and Alabama Courts Amendment, or Amendment One, prohibits the use of “any law, rule, or legal code system used outside of the United States or by any other people, group, or culture different from the people of the United States or the State of Alabama.” The one and only bill sponsor is Senator Gerald Allen of District 21. Sen. Allen serves his community as a Deacon at the local Baptist church he attends as well.
Sen. Allen tried to pass a similar initiative in 2011. All though no case of Sharia law has been presented in our state of Alabama, Sen. Gerald Allen feels the need to protect us and our “American values and traditions.”
This “Islamophobia” can be found scattered throughout the country, especially in red states of the South. This year alone has seen Oklahoma have its anti-Sharia law overturned because of its specific targeting of Sharia Law and the religion of Islam. If we go back a handful of years, Tennessee passed the “Material Support” bill, or HB-1353, which supposed purpose is “anti-terrorism,” yet is cloaked in doublespeak. A close reading will reveal that the bill grossly mischaracterizes an entire religious belief, Islam, is misguided, and counter-productive and discriminatory.
“This is a tremendous waste of effort. It is a waste of time and it costs money,” Randy Brinson, president of the Alabama Christian Coalition, the largest network of evangelical Christians in the state, was quoted Thursday morning. “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’d agree with Mr. Brinson. Legislation such as Amendment One are unnecessary, unconstitutional, and unethical. We should focus on bigger and better horizons for Alabama; an education lottery, expanding Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act, and rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure.