On Sharia And Solar

Today’s Courier Herald Column:

The Georgia General Assembly is still a couple of weeks from “crossover day” – the day where a bill must have passed either the House or the Senate for it to receive consideration by the other body and become law this year.  As crossover day approaches, those with a vested interest in getting their bills through the General Assembly double down on efforts to seal passage by all means available.

Much of this activity is behind the scenes, as bills often appear late in the process, and pass with little public scrutiny or fanfare.  Such is the business of lawmaking.  But there is a good bit of civic and media focus on lawmakers during the entire session, and legislators would hate for the public to spend their time trying to determine what was really going with those highly technical bills that only affect the well heeled clients of the lobbyists who peddle them.  There are always a few bills reserved for Kabuki Theater that can draw attention and focus so that the real work can continue undisturbed.

It seems that a lot of Georgians who are not gay, immigrants, or Muslim spend an awful lot of time worrying about what gays, immigrants, and Muslims are doing.  Bills designed to make sure Georgians do not succumb to these seemingly nefarious folks occupy a good bit of the Kabuki legislation docket. This is not to say these activities are a total waste of time.  Legislators will often use their support for such needless legislation to assure voters that they are fighting to make sure their constituents will not have gays, immigrants, or Muslims sneak up on them and convert them when they’re not looking.

House Bill 242 passed the House Judiciary Non Civil Committee on Thursday, along party lines.  The bill from Representative Christian Coomer (R-Cartersville) will put a swift halt to all the Judges in Georgia who are imposing Sharia Law in divorce cases.  All none of them.

The fact that House Minority Leader Stacy Abrams noted that “there has been no demonstrated evidence that this is needed” does not deter Representative Coomer, according to Walter Jones of the Morris News service.  Coomer noted that the states of South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Kentucky, and Tennessee are also considering similar legislation.  Clearly, when the theme of this legislative session is competitiveness with nearby states, Georgia cannot stand idle as other nearby (i.e. Southern) states pass us in creating laws that play upon the majority’s fears of a small religious minority, whether they have any impact in reality or not.

Meanwhile, the public spectacle in the Senate on Thursday was at the usually unexciting Regulated Industries Committee.  Senate Bill 401, a bill that would expand the use of solar power by allowing expanded ownership and financing options of solar panels on electric customers’ properties, received its fair and impartial hearing.

The bill receives a good bit of support among Senate Leadership, and has been received well by the public.  WSB and CNN consumer advocate Clark Howard testified in support of the bill, which would allow more peak production of electricity at a time when various coal powered plants are scheduled to be taken off line due to their inability to be upgraded for new air quality requirements.  It seems the bill is a win-win for everyone involved…except Georgia Power, who is aggressively working to kill the legislation.

After receiving a lot of fanfare in the Kabuki Theater, the bill will likely quietly die along the way in one committee or another.  With cameras rolling and a celebrity consumer advocate testifying to the good of the bill, lobbyists working the halls were informing legislators that Governor Deal “didn’t want to have to veto the legislation, but he would if he has to”.  That’s capitol speak for “please don’t be the legislator who votes for this bill, as you would hate to have to explain to the Governor why you made him veto legislation that the public wants, would you?”  Barring significant pressure on legislators and the Governor, the sun has likely set on the solar bill for this session.

These bills and others like them will likely fill the public stories about the goings on under the Gold Dome from now until crossover day.  Meanwhile, these same legislators who will be loudly complaining about Obama’s crony capitalism this fall will be putting the final touches on bills that set up various venture capital funds to – say it with me – “create jobs”.   But it’s really too complicated for legislators to explain how Washington using public money to fund pet projects of powerful friends is bad, while doing it at the state level is a gold standard for competitiveness.

It’s much easier to scream “hey, look over there! Sharia!” and continue about the “people’s” business.  Just never forget that some people are more equal than others.


  1. CobbGOPer says:

    Actually, I think the committee already killed the solar bill, like 8-1. Chalk up another win for monopolies in Georgia. Guess it’s par for the course when Georgia Power’s lobbyists can spend as much as they want on these legislators with no recourse. It buys strong energy monopolies, that’s for sure.

    And once again, the taxpayers and the free market get the shaft.

    Somebody tell me again why these Republicans in charge are better than the Democrats they replaced?

    • Three Jack says:

      I think I read somewhere that GaPow’s arguement against the solar bill went something like, ‘that industry is not regulated by the PSC’. My response, all the more reason to get it done.

      Why do we need legislative approval to access energy from the sun? Will they soon be putting forth a bill to allow sunbathing, grass growing and daylight?

      • Three Jack says:

        “Basically, it’s deregulation. …As far as we can tell, these new suppliers are not bound by the Public Service Commission. There’s no oversight. They’re not bound by an EMC board of directors or municipal city council or elected officials.” Kyle Leach GaPow.

        • CobbGOPer says:

          “As far as we can tell, these new suppliers are not bound by the Public Service Commission. There’s no oversight. They’re not bound by an EMC board of directors or municipal city council or elected officials.”

          In other words, they’re not bound by any officials over whom we have influence, so we’re against it.

  2. David C says:

    Sigh… I remember when Georgians and their government were smart enough to realize that “Alabama and South Carolina are doing this” was a clear sign to do the opposite, immediately. Instead, the legislature strives to be first among morons.

  3. John Konop says:

    ………House Bill 242 passed the House Judiciary Non Civil Committee on Thursday, along party lines. The bill from Representative Christian Coomer (R-Cartersville) will put a swift halt to all the Judges in Georgia who are imposing Sharia Law in divorce cases. All none of them……….

    Back in the real world:

    ………As the report contends, the Shariah law interpretation of marriage is very important to modern Muslims. Of the respondents interviewed, 95 percent signed a nikah, or Islamic religious contract, along with obtaining a civil contract. The same went with divorce – many wished to obtain both religious permission and an official civil decree for divorce.

    According to Macfarlane’s report, none of the 212 Muslims she interviewed wished to impose Shariah law in the U.S. court system.

    “Respondents consistently distinguished between God’s law (a matter of personal conscience rather than public adjudication) and the law of the land or “human law,”” MacFarlane wrote, indicating that Muslims enjoyed their Islamic traditions within an informal family setting.

    “The community appears content with a private informal system that offers spiritual, emotional, and social comfort for some of its members,” Macfarlane added…………

    I am little confused, over 90% of catholic women use birth control against the teaching of the Catholic church, and some of you want to restrict and or discourage, the use of birth control for religious reasons. And now the same crowd wants to create laws against using Shariah law, in our court system, and yet 100% of Muslim surveyed want to use our laws. Mean while back in the real world we have mounting liabilities with state and federal via entitlements that will bk us, gas prices are threatening stability, we are in a war, schools need help, infrastructure is crumbling………..Can we all agree enough is enough with banning/restricting use of birth control/prenatal care, meaningless laws, gay bashing…… an instead focus on real issues?

    • GTKay says:

      OK, John. This whole restricting birth control thing is a manufactured distraction. No one want to restrict or ban birth control. It’s a non-issue. Gay bashing? Restricting pre-natal care? Where did that come from? Nice stretch. This discussion is about preventing judges from imposing Sharia law.

      • John Konop says:

        My comment was about the irony, of the situation. And the Sharia law issue really is “manufactured”! Can you give us examples of divorces in which this issue has come up in a Georgia court?

        • gpworden says:

          Hello, John. First of all, making individuals responsible for their own birth control is not restricting it. Secondly, your facts may be skewed concerning Catholic Women. The media report that states 98% of Catholic Women use birth control is flawed. An April 2011 study by Rachel K. Jones and Joerg Dreweke of the Guttmacher Institute, which is a non-profit organization that promotes reproductive health and had started as an arm of Planned Parenthood; was misquoted. Their sample was women between the ages of 15-44 and only 86.4% of them had ever had vaginal intercourse. They didn’t ask the subjects if their socialist government forced someone else to pay for their personal, elective health decisions. On the subject of SHARIA LAW in Georgia; keep that bill handy. The time will come where it is necessary. Any legal precedent set for the use of Sharia Law will inevitably open the door for more decisions with similar outcomes. http://www.thenewamerican.com/opinion/selwyn-duke/10998-pa-court-muslim-judge-uses-sharia-law-to-free-muslim-assailant In the case of divorce, a NJ judge rejected a restraining order in 2010 of a Muslim divorcee that was having non-consensual sex with her husband. It was overturned, however, it’s just a matter of time before a similar decision is made and not challenged. Let’s call the bill a Sharia prophylactic and not restrict it.

          • John Konop says:

            Wow this idea came from the John Birtch Society? The judge did not use Sharia law and this bill would not of stopped his overturned ruling. The judge incorrectly took into consideration the defendants religion in a violent crime. This defense has been used by Christains in killing doctors who perform abortions. A misguided application of any religion is no excuse for a violent crime. Relgion has been used for years to allow Catholics wine even during prohibition, Quakers war……….

            Btw are you in the John Birtch Society?

        • GTKay says:

          No. But a group of legislators felt strongly enough that this was a potential problem that they put forth a bill. NO ONE has attempted to ban/restrict birth control/prenatal care or has endorsed gay bashing. To use these as an argument that a Sharia bill is unnecessary is illogical and dishonest. You’re attempting to perpetuate misinformation to play on emotions and make your point.

            • gpworden says:

              No, John. I don’t believe that the John Birch Society specifically makes my point. It was just the first hit on Google. It is also in other places. I first saw it on Yahoo News (reuters) and Fox News. There are many more examples of similar legal challenges that can be found on CNN, MSNBC, etc… If your entire defense is that the John Birch Society can’t report facts found in other news sources, then your argument is short sighted. If you want to discredit the source, then please cite a counter source, please. I don’t think we should bury our heads in the sand while we “tolerate” our future generations into extinction. I will remain vigilant in my efforts to retain a constitutional republic and become an economic free market while protecting the rights of the individual. I will also cite the Koran/Qu’ran in a future post as well as USC Professor Sherman A. Jackson. You were correct in stating that there may be more pressing issues today. I agree. For example, the State is relaxing its standards for General Officers in the National Guard, which requires a change to state law. Also, the State of Georgia double taxes your income if you receive a state tax refund. However, it is naive to believe that the practice of a foreign or religious moral code that is direct conflict with the current version of our Constitution isn’t a threat when pundits for the Muslim Community (CAIR/ACLU) have argued to make it a legal precedent in other states. Georgia just isn’t their focus today. That will change as our culture continues to diversify and people that live in countries that are Islamic Caliphates continue to escape to the United States. I hope you have a great day, John! I’ll call you when I get home…Greg

  4. Calypso says:

    I find it ironic that Coomer wants to instill in law that Muslims can not impose Sharia law, but I’ll bet a dollar to a donut that Coomer would gladly sign on to a law injecting good ol’ X-ianity into the court system.

    I truly know nothing of Coomer, but can only imagine that if he feels this way about Islam, then he feels this way about X-ianity.

  5. Dave Bearse says:

    There’s so little individual accountability in the General Assembly that its important to hold legislators accountable when they can’t hide or pass the buck. I don’t know that the entire Non-Civil Judiciary Committee voted on HB242, or if the the GOP members unanimously voted it out of Committee.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, I present the GOP members of the Committee: Chairman Rich Golick, Vice Chariman Mark Hatfield, Secretary Charlice Byrd, Ex-officio Wendell Willard, Sharon Cooper, B.J. Pak, Matt Ramsey, Ed Setzler, Alex Atwood, Christian Coomer, Dustin Hightower.

    • USA1 says:

      Ten Commandments = Jewish law.

      So what we need are judges who protect us from Jewish influence in politics, media, finance and academia.

    • gpworden says:

      Which Commandments are in conflict with our Constitution? Does it even matter? The Ten Commandments are a religious law that may or may not be practiced by those who ascribe to it. Orthodox Jewish religious bodies practice according to their faith and arbitration is voluntarily entered into by its members. Their arbitration doesn’t seem to enter into matters that should be adjudicated in an American Court system. The Catholic and Mormon Churches have councils that arbitrate on matters of membership and acceptable behavior. I don’t believe that makes them the law of the land. If the legal citizenry of Georgia believe that we should have a change in Government, then they can elect a Governor that advocates an Islamic Caliphate or any other form of government. I will vote against it. I still support a constitutional republic that provides freedom and security for its citizens. Any defense of an illegal action that is based on religion is flawed because we are free to choose religions that have differences in moral code and punishment for sins.

      • John Konop says:

        Following your logic Cathlics should of been arrested for drinking wine on Sunday in church durng prohibition and or violating local blue laws. Should Quakers not be excused from war? Should we arrest American Indians for using drugs in their religious ceremonies? You want the government way to much in our life. I spend more time working on myself and way less judging others.

      • John Vestal says:

        “Any defense of an illegal action that is based on religion is flawed because we are free to choose religions that have differences in moral code and punishment for sins.”

        You can also replace “defense of an illegal action” with “law” or “constitutional amendment”, and you would also be correct.

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