Louisiana, Arizona ,and Tennessee have already passed legislation restricting the use of foreign law in state courtrooms, and twenty-one other states are considering similar laws. These statutes are designed to halt the use of Islamic law, sharia, by American judges -- a measure that many see as necessary, since sharia has already been involved in cases in twenty-three states. Many see this as an alarming encroachment upon First Amendment protection of religion; however, anti-sharia laws do not actually infringe upon religious freedom at all, and they become more urgently needed by the day.
In the March issue of First Things, law professor Robert K. Vischer equates anti-sharia laws with recent intrusions upon the religious freedom of Christians, such as laws that now require "pro-life pharmacists to dispense the morning-after pill" and "Christian adoption agencies to place children with same-sex couples, and religious entities to pay for their employees' contraceptives." He asserts that "[t]he recent spate of 'anti-Sharia' initiatives is just the most politically popular example of such threats" to religious freedom.
This is a widespread misapprehension. The Associated Press recently noted that critics of anti-sharia laws view the drive to pass them as an "unwarranted campaign driven by fear of Muslims." In criticizing an anti-sharia amendment to the Oklahoma state constitution that gained seventy percent of the vote in a state referendum but was later struck down, Daniel Mach, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief, said: