Showing posts with label Religious Freedom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Religious Freedom. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Donald Trump’s War on Muslims

Taken from
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

~ Pastor Martin Niemöller

Donald Trump is not the United States of America’s version of Adolf Hitler. However, Hitler and his propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, would certainly understand and appreciate Trump’s tactics of gaining political support by picking on a minority religious group and telling big lies enough times they begin to sound like truth to many. Trump’s invective against the Muslims reached a new moral low when he called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.”

This pronouncement comes fast on the heels of Trump’s statement that the U.S. should “strongly consider” shutting down certain mosques in the United States (likely unconstitutional).

Trump indicated he is open to the idea of a Muslim registry because “we’re going to have to do things we never did before.” Is it much of a step from a Muslim registry to forcing Muslims to prominently display a star and crescent moon on their persons to make the rest of us aware we might not be safe in their presence?

I know; you’re thinking we would never do something like that, right? The German people never anticipated Hitler’s final solution, did they?

Your rights of free speech? Not so much if that free speech happens to infringe on The Donald’s sensibilities. When a Black Lives Matter advocate tried to interrupt one of his rallies and was reportedly pushed to the ground and kicked, his response was, “Maybe he should have been roughed up, because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing.”

We in the United States have a history or forgetting our ideals, not to mention our laws, in times of perceived national security crisis. Abraham Lincoln suspended the right of habeas corpus and ignored a Supreme Court’s ruling that his act was illegal; Roosevelt illegally interred Japanese citizens; Bush authorized torture, and Obama continued Bush’s practice of allowing illegal information gathering on U.S citizens.

Trump admits that he is willing to break international law by reinstituting President Bush’s authorization of waterboarding. He’s willing to ignore the constitution if it does not suit his purposes. He is Machiavellian with his ends-justify-the-means positions. When he has no arguments to refute his detractors he relies on ad hominem attacks against the person rather than disputing their ideas.

Trump exhibits the characteristics of a playground bully. Like any bully, the earlier we stand up to him and call out his lies, the better it will be for everyone, including Trump.

~ Jim

Monday, August 30, 2010

On Building Mosques and other Religious Intolerance

Here is a simple test to determine whether or not objections to building a mosque are based on religious intolerance. Would the objections be exactly the same if a Baptist church, Catholic Cathedral, Jewish Synagogue, Mormon Temple or Quaker Meeting House were planned for the exact same spot?

If everyone agrees that (for whatever reason) no religious establishment is appropriate for a particular location, forbidding the building of a mosque in that spot is not Islamophobia – although it maybe antireligious—but that is a different issue.

Those who oppose building the proposed mosque within two blocks of the former World Trade Center do not pass the test. Nor do those in the towns and cities across the country where they criticize building mosques in areas zoned for religious institutions.

To liken the protests, as recently did to those by the National Parks Conservation Association (“NPCA”) against building a Wal-Mart on parts of the Wilderness Civil War battlefield not incorporated into the National Park is specious. They claim both protests are based on the same principle: “It is simply the wrong building in the wrong place regardless of developers’ legal rights.” The difference is NPCA opposed building any big box store on the civil war battlefield directly opposite the visitor’s center. Wal-Mart happens to be their current target.

Opponents of the mosque, however, do not oppose any building for the site. Their claim is that a mosque, in particular, is inappropriate. Why? Because the World Trade Center terrorists were Muslims and building a mosque would be “insensitive” to the victims of that tragedy. So go further and note that Saudi Arabia doesn’t allow Christian churches, so “fair is fair.”

Malarkey. One of the things that has made the United States great is the First Amendment of the Constitution. We are not Saudi Arabia with a state religion. For those who love the constitution, but forget to actually read the document, here is the First Amendment in its entirety:

Amendment 1
Freedom of religion, speech, and the press; rights of assembly and petition

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

One of the best ways to show terrorists that their 2001 attack on the United States failed miserably is to adhere to our principles. Let the mosque be built so terrorists from around the world can see that, unlike in their countries, we will NOT prohibit the free exercise of religion—even when it is of a small minority of residents. That we value the right for all peoples to peaceably assemble—regardless of their secular or religious message.

We win by remembering who and what we in these Unites States stand for. We lose if we become as intolerant as our enemies.

~ Jim