Monday, May 21, 2018
Opinion

If a nonexistent threat surfaces, he'll fight it

Who knew we were on the cusp of requiring women to wear burqas on St. Pete Beach, not that it might not be such a bad idea in certain cases.

But if state Sen. Alan Hays, R-The Crusades, is to be believed, it's only a matter of time before we will be forced to pray five times a day in the general direction of Two Egg.

If you want to pause here and get a head start on slapping your forehead, go right ahead.

Yes, brothers and sisters, we have entered that twilight zone of the waning hours of this year's session of the Florida Legislature, democracy's answer to a Three Stooges pie fight. This is when all the paranoid, lunatic fringe conspiracy theorists, who make Oliver Stone seem downright stable, come out to play spin the black helicopter.

Which brings us to Hays, who has taken on the mantle of defender of the U.S. Constitution, which apparently is at risk of being turned into the Koran.

Hays is the sponsor of a bill that would void marriage, divorce and custody contracts grounded in foreign law. But the real effect of the measure is to address a burning, critical, vital issue that doesn't exist: the fear on the part of the jack-booted storm trooper-at-the-gates community that there is a plot to impose Islamic sharia law on Americans.

The Richard the Lionhearted of Umatilla insisted that his foreign law bill had nothing whatsoever to do with officially banning sharia law from the state and federal court systems. This was probably totally unrelated to Hays' nose growing to 37 feet.

After all, it was Hays who has been handing out copies of Shari'ah Law: Radical Islam's Threat to the U.S. Constitution. Alan Hays anti-Islam? Whatever gave anyone that idea?

It could be a mere coincidence.

Hays' spin as the Capitol's propaganda minister for the Chicken Little Association has been complemented by a rash of other anti-Muslim fliers and booklets being slimed into the senators' mailboxes.

Those on the receiving end of Hays' "I'm not against Islam, but here is a bunch of anti-Muslim phooey for all you hand-wringing goobers to chew on," might be interested to know where it came from. Or perhaps given the AAAAAAA battery intellectual firepower of the Legislature, maybe not.

Shari'ah Law is the handwork of the evangelical American Center for Law & Justice, which was founded by the Wink Martindale of apocalyptic television, Pat Robertson, who also serves as chairman of the group's board of directors.

It was Robertson, whose idea of ecumenism is would you prefer to be burned at the stake or drawn and quartered, who once referred to Islam as a non-religion.

Indeed, Robertson has compared Islam, a faith practiced by 2 billion people around the world, to Nazism. He also once suggested the devastating Haiti earthquake was God's revenge upon the predominately Catholic nation for making a pact with Satan. Sigh.

Last year the Better Business Bureau, in its Wise Giving Report, noted that the American Center for Law & Justice had failed to meet 10 of its more than 20 standards to meet charity accountability. They included failure to have at least five board directors, hold more than one directors meeting a year, develop a written policy for assessing performance and include a fundraising expense category in is financial statements.

And yet Hays was more than happy to pander to the baser, ill-informed instincts of many of his Senate colleagues by being the paperboy for prejudicial poppycock cooked up by Roberts and his suspect charity to address a nonexistent issue.

Is it any wonder Tallahassee is regarded as a sad, distant place, where common decency and common sense go to die?

A group of clerics, including a rabbi, a pastor and an imam wanted to talk to Senate President Mike Haridopolos about stopping Hays and his wave of hysterical religious intolerance. But the Senate's profile in porridge was nowhere to be seen. Perhaps he was too busy giving Sen. JD Alexander, R-It's All Mine!, who really runs things anyway, a pedicure to find time to stand up against ham-handed ignorance.

You have to wonder what would the Almighty do? Apologize to Mohammed for creating Tallahassee?

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