Christians around the country are embracing the ideas that Donald Trump has floated about temporarily banning Muslims from immigrating into the United States. While it’s far from universal, the opinion polls point to a distinct appreciation of the idea by Evangelicals and Catholics. If they value their own religious freedoms, they should consider the consequences of Trump’s ideas.
Separation of church and state has always been a two-edged sword. It was originally intended as a defense to keep the state out of the church, though in recent years it has been espoused by liberals as a protection for the state from the church. Both perspectives are correct and that’s what makes the system work for America.
Radical Islamic terrorism is a huge concern for most Americans. It isn’t just the San Bernardino attack that should make everyone diligent, but the attack did spark a need within people to be more vocal and Trump has offered an idea that makes sense on the surface. The reality is this: embracing an ideology that singles out Muslims is a road that can only end with the continued removal of religious liberties from all religious groups, including Christians.
Something absolutely must be done. Between legal immigration, the refugee program, and illegal border crossings, America is in a very vulnerable state and holes must be plugged. Doing so by singling out an individual religion doesn’t just put us into Constitutional dire straits. That’s the least of our worries at this point. The bigger factor is how the left will use the rhetoric today and the potential actions in the future if Trump were nominated to attack all religions.
This is how it works. Any attempt to filter any religion results in filtering of all religions in other areas. It’s the nature of the freedoms that America represents, but it’s also the cornerstone of the liberal movement that strives to make everyone equal. Christians must recognizing that embracing the knee-jerk reactions of Donald Trump are not a path to safety nor are they a path to protecting our religious liberties.
Some would say that they’d gladly give up their own religious liberties in exchange for peace and safety. This is an extremely dangerous mindset. Lest we forget, the left is adamantly opposed to Christianity at its core. Even liberal Christians are embracing doctrine that calls for unity and creates a lukewarm variation of faith that’s contributing to the downfall of the country. I don’t want to get preachy here. Instead, I’ll point to the truth that the more doors we open for attacks on religious liberties, the more that they will be taken regardless of who is in Congress, the Supreme Court, or the White House. Unless Evangelicals of strong faith are able to take charge of all levels of federal, state, and local government, the only way to defend our rights is through keeping as many doors shut to the opposition. This means keeping a religious test out of immigration and refugee policy.
The Better Way
There are better solutions that must be considered. For example, rather than blocking all Muslims from entering, we should take more drastic measures with all immigrants regardless of religion. By taking on a defensive posture, we are much better equipped to fight the potential threats than by casting a loose net around a religion that has within its very tenets a call for lies in the face of opposition.
Keep in mind that Trump’s plans are loaded with holes. Because of the lax record keeping and security measures in other countries, Trump’s plan requires a test that can be easily evaded. One without an international criminal record needs only to declare that they are not Muslim in order to immigrate. On the other hand, if we adopt the sensible ideas being offered by Rand Paul (who has no chance for the nomination) or Ted Cruz (who has a great chance at the nomination), we can have a much more secure immigration system altogether. Moreover, it would allow the refugee program to be revamped while the wall is built and border patrols are increased.
It’s a win-win-win situation with the right plans. Unfortunately, the Trump plan is one that has more holes can be accounted for while putting in clear jeopardy the religious freedoms within the country itself. Christians must wake up to the fact that Trump’s proposal is more dangerous to Christians than it is to Muslims.
The Rise of Homegrown Terrorists
There’s a very easy way to inflame the Muslims already in the country to appreciate the callings of organizations like the Islamic State. Making it a battle against Islam instead of a battle against radical Islamic terrorists will prompt radicalization within the country to levels we’ve never imagined. Today, the vast majority of Muslim citizens want to live in peace and take advantage of the American Dream. Once we frame the battle to fight their religion rather than the zealots within their religion, we are pushing them closer to radicalization.
There is absolutely zero spin that even someone as convincing as Donald Trump could put on this idea that would prevent advancing radicalization within the country. We are definitely at war, but it’s the type of war that must be framed within two contexts. On one hand, we must support the military solution to destroy the Islamic State at its roots whether we believe in boots on the ground or not. One way or another, they must be annihilated as soon as possible. On the other hand, Christians must fight the war within the country that is being waged on multiple fronts. That means helping to convert all religions, including Muslims, to see the truth of the Gospel. It also means fighting from a political perspective to defend and eventually improve our religious liberties. Once we go down the path of stopping one religion, we are making it easier for all religions to be silenced.
I can very easily understand the appeal of Trump’s proposals. On the surface, they seem sound. If we dig just a little deeper, we will see that there are more problems that will rise from his proposals than I can fit within a single article. It is my very earnest hope that Americans in general and Christians in particular will realize that we must address both issues – terrorist immigration and the religious liberties battle – as concepts that must be addressed with strength and logic. Donald Trump’s proposals aren’t too harsh. They’re too weak.
There are better ways to keep terrorists out that aren’t as loaded with holes the way Trump’s idea is being played. More importantly, we can do so without jeopardizing our own religious freedoms, something that Trump has not been able to reconcile.