Arizona Set to Outlaw Karma
The medieval minds that govern what is arguably our nation’s most backassward state have really outdone themselves this time. Last year, Arizona captured the world’s attention with its discriminatory “show-me-your-papers” legislation that targeted Latino immigrants. SB-1070 is a law more fit for communist East Germany than for the so-called Land of the Free. But the people of Arizona overwhelmingly support it, despite many of the more enlightened among them who vociferously demonstrated against it. Then, just to show how seriously they take their discrimination (doing it, not fighting it), Arizona lawmakers banned ethnic studies classes in public schools in an attempt literally whitewash the social and historical narrative of our nation.
As for the millions of Arizonans who supported these bigoted pieces of legislation, some hoped that karma would up-jump and bite them in the ass like a diamondback rattlesnake in the Sonoran Desert. Alas, that possibility may now be impossible, for the fine folks in Phoenix are considering banning karma. Really.
Two bills before the Arizona legislature, aimed mainly against the non-existent threat of an Islamic takeover of America, may soon attempt the impossible by banning karma as well. SB 1026 states that “a court shall not use, implement, refer to or incorporate a tenet of any body of religious sectarian law into any decision, finding or opinion as controlling or influential authority.” HB 2582, better known as the Arizona Foreign Decisions Act, would prohibit ‘religious sectarian law,’ which is defined as “any statute, tenet or body of law evolving within and binding a specific religious sect or tribe. Religious sectarian law includes sharia law, canon law, Halacha and karma but does not include any law of the United States or the individual states based on Anglo-American legal tradition and principles on which the United States was founded.”
For the uninitiated, karma is the Buddhist concept of causality, not a form of law but rather the natural consequences of our earthly actions. Karmic “law” is only law in a universal sense, like Newton’s “law” of gravity, not judicial law like the Islamic sharia law Arizona wants to ban. But the Arizona legislature is about as cosmopolitan as a saguaro cactus, and filled with nearly as many pricks. California is a foreign concept to them, so there’s no way we can expect them to understand that one can no more ban karma than she can ban gravity– assuming that karma, a supernatural force, even exists. It probably doesn’t, any more than the Christian god, the Tijuana donkey show, or SpongeBob SquarePants does.
While I’m sure the mullahs of Mesa are shaking in their dishdashas at the prospect of Arizona lawmakers foiling their grand scheme to create an American Caliphate based in Phoenix (hey, the weather’s just like it is in Mecca!), Buddhists are responding to the Grand Canyon State’s grand delusions with typical zen-like tranquility. Kyle Lovett of the Reformed Buddhist blog calmly asserted that the sponsors of these ridiculous bills “are exactly the kind of Americans that fuck everything else up for the rest of us… I spend way too much time and effort defending against anti-American xenophobic assholes, telling them America is a country of individuals, not one giant fat corporate ignorant greed machine. Thanks, you two dumb pitiful assholes for being the American stereotypes that get heard around the world, like a sloppy wet fart in an elevator. You guys are nothing more than a walking cliche. Next time, do me a favor, pick up a fucking dictionary and do a little homework before you make dumb-ass laws that make just no sense…” Oṃ śānti śānti śānti…
While it’s tempting to sit here and keep poking fun at Arizona’s unbelievably insular and unsophisticated elected officials, there is nothing funny about the insidious forces at work here. No less than thirteen states (Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Wyoming) have introduced bills to ban Islamic Sharia law. These bans are 100% based in fear, 0% based in reality. It’s mildly amusing that those 13 states, which happen to be about the last places on earth, let alone in America, in danger of falling under Sharia law, are the ones most enthusiastically pursuing prohibition. You’ll see gay weddings on Salt Lake City’s Temple Square before you see Sharia law in Utah. Still, the fact that there are movements afoot in so much of America to ban Islamic law proves how deeply Islamophobia, xenophobia and Christian fundamentalism pervade the fabric of American society. This is as shameful as it is absurd. For a nation that prides itself on its religious freedom, these proposed laws yet again affirm that the United States is the world heavyweight champion of hypocrisy.
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