In a decision that should be hailed by the U.S. bishops' Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty, a federal appeals court upheld a U.S. district court's decision allowing the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Oklahoma to sue to prevent a xenophobic state law from implementation.
Time will tell if the U.S. bishops are serious about religious liberty by the way in which they come to the defense of Muslims, whose religious liberty appears most threatened in the United States.
The court in Denver upheld U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange's order blocking implementation of the amendment shortly after it was approved by 70 percent of Oklahoma voters in November 2010.
Muneer Awad, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Oklahoma, sued to block the law from taking effect, arguing that the Save Our State Amendment violated his First Amendment rights.
The amendment read, in part: "The courts shall not look to the legal precepts of other nations or cultures. Specifically, the courts shall not consider international law or Sharia law."
Backers argued that the amendment intended to ban all religious laws, that Islamic law was merely named as an example and that it wasn't meant as a specific attack on Muslims. The court disagreed.