Sharia, Oklahoma

Dear Oklahoma,

I’m writing in regard to State Question 755, the proposed amendment to the state constitution that would prohibit Oklahoma courts from deciding cases based on international or Islamic Law (Sharia). I’m sure you will have reviewed the ballot measure thoroughly and compared it to the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution before voting. This is an important measure, if only because people are talking about it.

But politics aren’t my focus here. I’m more concerned with the spiritual element of the decision you face as a state. Politicians have longs used fear to control and gain popular support. But the Bible is pretty clear that fear is not of God. Prudence, yes, and wisdom, but fear is cast out by perfect love and is contrary to the Spirit we know as adopted children of God. Be certain you’re not voting for the measure because you’re afraid of Muslims, terrorism, or Sharia.

Furthermore, I’d challenge you to get to know one (or several) of the 30,000 Muslims who are reported to live in the State of Oklahoma. In the panel discussion, “Loving Our Muslim Neighbors,” (video below) Pastor J.D. Greear recommends engaging them in conversation by inviting them over for dinner. The opportunity to minister to Muslim people is tremendous. Why not use the question of this amendment as a starting point for a spiritual conversation with a Muslim neighbor?

The resulting conversation would help you form a realistic and informed opinion about Sharia, and could result in opportunities to share your story (or, even better, God’s story) with those who do not know it.

Oklahoma, please pray as you vote on SQ 755. And pray for your Muslim neighbors.

Sincerely,

E. Goodman

Desiring God Q&A Panel – Loving Our Muslim Neighbors from The Summit Church on Vimeo.

5 thoughts on “Sharia, Oklahoma

  1. I am a proud Oklahoman. I understand the fears on both sides. Both, I believe, are legitimate. Concerning the First Amendment of the US Constitution, it may not apply in this situation. That is a restriction primarily upon a national congress, not a state (Though it has been interpreted otherwise by some judges). Also, the restriction prohibiting ruling on cases based upon anything other than the constitution and laws of the nation or state is already assumed in the constitutions. This amendment would be a further clarification (probably not needed at this time in Oklahoma, though perhaps increasingly needed elsewhere). That being said, I admit that most Americans, certainly including Oklahomans, have a biblically deficient view of immigrants to the US. Whether these things will or should guide the decisions of Oklahomans on this issue, I don’t know. We have 10 other state questions on the ballot, some of which directly affect us much more than this one. I pray that the Lord’s will is done, one way or the other.

  2. This is ridiculous.

    No Westerner wants to live under Sharia law, and it’s not in any danger of taking over.

    However, by banning the use of any foreign law from Oklahoma courts, this measure could make it impossible for Oklahoma businesses to engage in international transactions. It’s common for business contracts to have a “choice-of-law” provision. It’s a clause in a contract saying that any dispute arising from the contract will be resolved under the law of a particular jurisdiction. Sometimes it’s the law of the state in which the parties reside. Sometimes it’s a foreign country.

    These clauses are common, and considered essential in many cases. If Oklahoma bans them, it’s effectively banning international business.

  3. Slightly late to the discussion but I just wanted to clarify that Sharia=Islamic Law, therefore using the term Sharia Law is like saying “Islamic Law Law”. Only the term Sharia is needed.

    In these kinds of conversations I feel it is very important to be knowledgeable of other people’s traditions and in this case using the term correctly is a way of showing respect.

  4. Chris,
    Thanks for your input. I used the wording found in Oklahoma State Question 755. The ballot wording is:

    Sharia Law is Islamic law. It is based on two principal sources, the Koran and the teaching of Mohammed.

    I’ve changed the instances of “Sharia Law” in my post to just “Sharia.” But if my Oklahoman readers now have trouble understanding it, I’m blaming you.

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