Donald Trump in the aftermath of the San Bernardino shooting involving a husband and wife who were radicalized Muslims called for a “total and complete shutdown” of all Muslims entering into the United States until authorities can “figure out what is going on.”
This comes in the midst of the controversial Syrian refugee program that the Obama administration has embarked upon ignoring Governors and members of Congress who are calling for a pause until a review of the screening procedure could take place.
The Trump campaign referenced a poll from the Center for Security Policy released data showing “25% of those polled agreed that violence against Americans here in the United States is justified as a part of the global jihad” and 51% of those polled, “agreed that Muslims in America should have the choice of being governed according to Shariah.”
Shariah law has been used in certain settings to condone such things such as murdering non-Muslims who won’t convert, honor killings and the like.
“Without looking at the various polling data, it is obvious to anybody the hatred is beyond comprehension. Where this hatred comes from and why we will have to determine. Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life. If I win the election for President, we are going to Make America Great Again,” Trump said in a released statement.
Trump’s plan doesn’t exclude Muslims who are American citizens.
While Trump’s comments plays to current sentiment among some of his supporters his plan is blatantly unconstitutional. I think we are right to be concerned about the Syrian refugees. I think we need to explore ways to improve screening. Banning all Muslims to come into the United States is not the solution we should seek.
The First Amendment clearly states that Congress is not to prohibit the free exercise of religion. I think we can safely say that not allowing anyone who is Muslim from entering the country is, in effect, prohibition – especially if they are American citizens.
If we allow the federal government to do that to Muslims who can say they will stop there?
Update: Russell Moore’s piece at the Washington Post fleshes my rhetorical question out more and points out Christians have a responsibility to stand up and denounce these remarks.
Muslims are an unpopular group these days. And I would argue that nonviolent Muslim leaders have a responsibility to call out terror and violence and jihad. At the same time, those of us who are Christians ought to stand up for religious liberty not just when our rights are violated but on behalf of others, too.
Make no mistake. A government that can shut down mosques simply because they are mosques can shut down Bible studies because they are Bible studies. A government that can close the borders to all Muslims simply on the basis of their religious belief can do the same thing for evangelical Christians.
A government that issues ID badges for Muslims simply because they are Muslims can, in the fullness of time, demand the same for Christians because we are Christians.
We are in a time of war, and we should respond as those in a time of war. But we must never lose in a time of war precious freedoms purchased through the blood of patriots in years past. We must have security, and we must have order. But we must not trade soul freedom for an illusion of winning.