It’s been weirdly re-assuring to see conservative politicians condemn Donald Trump’s proposal to stop Muslims from entering the US. I truly fear what far-right conservatives would do to our country in their pursuit of more wealth for the rich should they regain control of the presidency so it’s nice to think there is some moral line that they wouldn’t cross. Trump seems to finally have found that line.
As a nation we must stop giving into our fear. We must stop condemning an entire religion because of criminal terrorist organizations that create mayhem in the name of Islam. They no more represent Islam than Westboro Baptist Church represents Christianity. When we attack the entirety of Islam because of these terrorists it simply makes us their best agents because it creates a fertile atmosphere for them to recruit people to their cause. Instead, we need to embrace our Islamic brothers and sisters with love. That is how we could truly disarm the terrorists.
As many have been pointing out it is high time for ALL people, but especially our leaders, to speak out against the fear and hate that is running rampant throughout our nation, resulting in levels of xenophobia, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and anti-Islamic rhetoric that are frightening. It feels as if the world has gone insane.
As a Christian minister, I am particularly disturbed that supposedly Christian leaders such as Jerry Falwell, Jr., Franklin Graham, and Pat Robertson routinely add to the fear. Such messages are not based in the Christian gospel. Remarks such as Falwell’s comments that we could “end those Muslims” by arming more people are profoundly offensive to me and should be offensive to all Christians. Christ taught that “love your neighbor” was the basis of, well, everything that matters. Anyone that preaches anything else is very simply not Christian.
Whether we are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, some other religion, or atheist, I hope that “love your neighbor” or some other version of the golden rule is a principle we can all get behind. It is only by realizing our inter-dependence, realizing that we need each other, can we save this crazy world we are living in. We have to stop the insanity. It’s time to stand up and say enough is enough. We need to declare that all lives matter, but we need to do that not as some kind of code that really means white American lives matter. We need to be specific: Black lives matter. Latino lives matter. Muslim lives matter. Trans lives matter. And on and on. Not to say it is to deny it.
The German protestant pastor Martin Niemoller is famous for the post World War II quote:
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.
The truth of this is more relevant today than ever. It’s time to speak out however we can, whenever we can. #blacklivesmatter #iammuslim