In a letter sent to state Republican Party chairman Chris Devaney, Deputy Governor Claude Ramsey says "there is no effort by the Haslam administration, the state of Tennessee, or any agency or department of the State to promote or advance Shariah law or Shariah compliant finance."
He goes on, "The promotion or advancement of religious ideology is an inappropriate role of state government, that is unacceptable, and will not happen during this administration."
The first part is aimed at allaying the (baseless) concerns of those within the state party who recently made it known that they fear Shariah finance will be making its way into Tennessee via the Department of Economic and Community Development's international director Samar Ali. The second part just isn't true. This state government promotes religious ideology all the time. Earlier this year, in fact, Gov. Bill Haslam signed into law a bill allowing the Ten Commandments to be displayed in public buildings. Sessions of the state House or Senate often begin with prayer led by Christian pastors. The list goes on.
In an email obtained by Pith, Devaney passes along Ramsey's letter to members of the party's executive committee, with a note stating that he "firmly believe(s) the administration when they say there is no effort by or on behalf of state government to promote or advance Shariah Law."
Devaney's note, and Ramsey's letter, can be read in full after the jump:
State Executive Committee Members,
I hope you are doing well. Recently I contacted the Governor’s administration about concerns some have raised on an important issue. I appreciate this response that addresses these concerns and trust that this letter will provide you some clarity.
While the overarching issue of constitutional conflicts that concern some activists, including myself, is worthy of vigilance, I find this to be a more than satisfactory explanation, and firmly believe the administration when they say there is no effort by or on behalf of state government to promote or advance Shariah Law.
As November quickly approaches, I appreciate your continued hard work. Working together, I believe we will be successful in electing Mitt Romney, sending Bob Corker back to the U.S. Senate, protecting our Congressional delegation and expanding our majorities in the State House and State Senate.
Please feel free to forward this letter to your county party officials and others who have questions about this issue. Thank you for all you do.
Who knows if that will be enough for Republicans like Kevin Kookogey, the Williamson County GOP chair, who told me last month that the state's explanation of Ali's job description didn't settle his nerves.