Judge people based on the content of their character, not country of origin or religion. That sounds like something Dr. King would say, but not President Trump. In front of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963, Dr. King issued these famous words from his “I Have a Dream” speech. There he envisioned a future state of reality in America: “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
As many of you know, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision Tuesday to uphold President Trump’s travel ban on people from various countries for what the President deems a national security risk. According to The Washington Post, Supreme Court Chief Justice “Roberts tried to play down the political aspects of the case, writing that the proclamation that led to the ban ‘is squarely within the scope of Presidential authority’ and noting that its text does not mention religion.” Roberts argued that certain statements made by President Trump about Muslims were irrelevant in coming to a decision, including then former presidential candidate Trump’s campaign promise to impose a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on” for the sake of national security. Roberts argued,
“… the issue before us is not whether to denounce the statements,” Roberts wrote. “It is instead the significance of those statements in reviewing a Presidential directive, neutral on its face, addressing a matter within the core of executive responsibility. In doing so, we must consider not only the statements of a particular President, but also the authority of the Presidency itself.”
He added: “We express no view on the soundness of the policy.”
Given the rationale offered by the Trump Administration that our national security is at stake due to the threat of terrorism, why aren’t Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan, Cuba and Croatia on that list, since those are the nations of origin for the most terrorists from 1975-2015 according to The Atlantic? My point is not to ban people from these countries, but to point out the rationale for the current ban list lacks cogency pertaining to presumed national security. Of course, one needs to ask if such bans actually help or harm national security in the long run, as well as America’s standing in the world of nations, especially given our symbolic lead as an immigrant nation.
Regardless of whether the Supreme Court should have withheld judgment on the soundness of the policy, or the seeming prejudicial intent behind it, we as a people have every right to make such judgments. Judge people based on the soundness of their character, not countries of origin or religion. So, too, as an American Evangelical Christian, I hope Muslims from other countries, as well as people of other religions and lands, will not judge me based on the support many white American Evangelicals give to the current Presidential Administration on their travel ban and immigration policies, but based on the character content of my regard for them. Ban the ban.