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I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

When the Majority Cannot Rule

Leonard Pitts
Leonard Pitts has written an exceptional essay explaining the wrong done by Oklahoma's amendment to the state constitution banning the use of Sharia law in court decisions. The implementation of the amendment was blocked by federal judge Vicki Miles LaGrange. Entitled "America Losing It's Mind", Pitts points out
The goal of terrorism, you see, is not to make a nation bleed but to make it fear.

Oklahoma’s nonsensical law suggests our enemies have been successful in that.

Our fear has caused us to act unjustly.

There have been many letters in the local newspaper condemning Judge LaGrange's injunction, which was based on the fact that the amendment clearly is hostile to Muslim citizens in the state. In their defense of the amendment, many writers mention the fact that the amendment was approved by over 70% of those who voted.

Their argument seems to be that if the majority approves of something, that makes it somehow automatically right, that justice is created by majority rule.

This is a lie, the falsity of which has been demonstrated over and over in America. I wish those who feel that the majority makes right could revisit the example provided by the "Little Rock 9", the 9 African-American students who integrated Little Rock Central High School in 1957. I am quite certain that at least 70% or more of the people of Arkansas in those days opposed the idea of public school integration. However, the majority were wrong.
Little Rock Ning being escorted to Little Rock's Central High School in 1957

The people then felt they had good reason for their opposition, but mainly, they were afraid, just as we in Oklahoma seem to be afraid, and fear causes large groups of people to commit large acts of injustice.

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