The silence of American evangelicals concerning Trump has been deafening, with some notable exceptions.
It is in my view time that Christians spoke with one voice: this man does not speak for us.
Yesterday, following a record breaking petition which I was only too happy to personally sign, an unprecedented debate occurred under the watchful gaze of Big Ben.
Now admittedly the said debate was not binding on the UK government, and there was no vote at the end. But I can think of no other time when MPs were discussing whether to prevent someone coming to my country. Perhaps more remarkable was that the Government in its response to the debate did not rule out actually using its legal discretion to refuse Trump entry.
We have rules here that govern free speech. Individuals who advocate violence or hatred are not welcome on these shores.
Some might see a certain irony in the person arguing for a ban on Muslims entering America himself being the potential subject of a ban. But there is a world of difference between considering banning an individual who’s speech is believed to provoke hatred, and banning a group based on nothing except their religion.
What is scary to me is that it should be obvious to everyone that threatening to shut America’s borders to everyone who admits to being a Muslim is unconstituitional, ineffective, and dangerous.
Republican America has forgotten its roots. How can it be that Trump is the frontrunner for their Presidential nomination?
The land of the free. The land of Freedom of Religion. The land that judges you only on what you DO, not what you think.
Trump rides roughshod over the 1st Amendment of which Anericans are all so proud. As Thomas Jefferson wrote:
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.
None of Trump’s aggressive, totalitarian, authoritarian rhetoric would stand up in any court of law, or at least one would hope not. It is the language of Hitler and it is not worthy of a candidate for high office.
In all this, it is not as if his plan holds any real prospect of reducing the risk of terrorism. Radical Muslim extremists are not going to be deterred by a border guard asking what their religion is. They will simply lie. I always chuckle to myself when I complete a landing card for the USA as it is. It actually asks you to declare whether you are part of a terrorist group. I’d love to know how many people each year are silly enough to tick “yes” on that box.
But as I explained in my own response to the Paris atrocities, blaming and stigmatizing billions of Muslims is also dangerous. The effect of such actions on a confused young man who is on the way to being radicalized could lead to the creation of more not less terrorists. The damage we have seen just small numbers produce would be considered tiny if large numbers of Muslims came to the conclusion the West was at war against Islam itself.
We all know that many Islamic countries hold values vastly different to our own. We should also recognize that in many of these countries there is a balance between moderate forces and extremists. We really do not want to run this risk of tipping the whole Muslim world into a position where they are supportive of ISIS. At a time when even Iran is speaking out against ISIS and a coalition of Muslim counties has formed rejecting them, why would we want to risk provoking more hostility from Muslims and their nations? We should not be in the business of making enemies.
We need to be in the business of making friends, but recognizing who our real enemies are and dealing with them appropriately, calmly, firmly, and where necessary forcibly.
In short, Trump risks World War 3. Elect him at all our peril, America