The Common Good

Kansas Lawmakers Forget the Greatest Commandment

Recently, the Kansas’ legislature and governor enacted a law to ensure state courts and agencies do not consider foreign laws in legal decision-making.  While the language is broadly written, the law’s narrow intention is clearly understood. The Kansas legislature has irrationally concluded that Sharia law somehow threatens the state’s well-being and decisive action was needed.

The Kansas State Capitol, Walter G Arce /
The Kansas State Capitol, Walter G Arce /

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This, of course, is false.

The measure represents the worst of politics, where elected officials refuse to lead and instead play to on people’s intolerance and fear for their own political gain. At least one honest legislator has admitted as much. According to a story in USA Today:

"Rep. Scott Schwab, an Olathe Republican, acknowledged that the measure merely "made some people happy" and that a vote against it could be cast politically as a vote in favor of Shariah law.

"Am I really concerned that Shariah law is going to take over the Kansas courts? No," he said. "I'm more concerned about getting jobs to Kansas."

Instead of working to create jobs, Kansas’ public servants “solved” a manufactured crisis and managed to marginalize an entire religious community in the process.

When asked what was the most important commandment, Jesus responded by exhorting his followers to love God with all of their being and to love their neighbors as themselves. Kansas’ lawmakers have clearly failed that test here. 

Beau Underwood is Campaigns Manager for Sojourners.

The Kansas State Capitol, Walter G Arce /

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