SHOULD RELIGIOUS BELIEFS BE RELEVANT WHERE ENTRY INTO THE U.S. IS CONCERNED?

Our focus here is on religious beliefs and entry into the U.S., but we were angered over Senator Lindsey Graham’s, (Rep, South Carolina), recent comments about Donald Trump’s recent announcements. We think Graham is a man who’s ship has sailed away from the shores and minds of many mainstream-thinking dwellers; these people are weary and tired of his often silly notions. His ranking in the polls, estimated to be less than one percent, amply showcases his out-of-touch reasoning on issues at the national level. He is one of those poster boys for term limitations. Most recently, he attacked Donald Trump by saying he was un-American and that he is “undercutting everything we stand for”. He said Trump is “empowering the radical Islam” when he [Trump] calls for the blocking of Muslims from entering the country—he thinks people should tell Donald Trump “to go to hell”. The question I have for Graham is what have you done to prevent the massacre of innocent people in the United States? Indeed, anything he has done in the past while being in a commanding position in the Senate hasn’t seemed to have adequately prevented the attacks from occurring. It seems that Graham is another one of those old voices in the Senate that had the opportunity to fight terrorism and failed to implement programs and initiatives that got the job done. We are not saying that Trump is right on his positions, but we do need a change in thinking.

Of course, the inherent danger of change, brought to force by troubling times, is the tendency to overreact; Trump would be casting too big of a net if he says that all Muslims should be prevented from entering the United States. In the first place, such a blanket policy may be  unconstitutional. On the other hand, some added temporary scrutiny on non-citizen Muslims, makes sense to some people, especially given the apparent ease of entry some radical Islamic terrorists have had. It appears to be Trump’s point that the government simply is not presently capable of preventing some radicals from getting into the country under the present standards for admission.

The implementation of policies regarding immigration, based on religious beliefs, is troublesome. It may seem foreign to our fundamental beliefs about our constitution and laws, but it is not. The process is analogous to those situations where people end up on lists. The government makes lists of people they fear all the time and then place restrictions on these people. Sex offenders, for example, are placed on lists, often for life, and they are routinely denied jobs and housing based upon this public information. While it may be true that they have previously committed a crime, they have also usually served their sentences. During and after World War II, the government made lists of potential enemies based upon race alone; McCarthyism and Japanese Internment policies were in full force, and these dirty records led to the destruction of many U.S. citizens.

The compilation of lists and the collection of data on private individuals is now more prevalent than ever in the country. Although disturbing, it seems clear that religious affiliation is a component of the information that is tracked in these lists. Accordingly, the issue is not whether we regularly capture data about people’s religious beliefs, it is whether such information is then exploited for use for some immoral purpose. Or in the case of Immigration, whether an entire religious population should be excluded based upon their religious faith. The notion seems absurd where exclusion  is the default remedy, however, is added scrutiny called for when it appears that the present system is not catching some radicals? If that is true, then we must accept the fact that religious beliefs are a relevant factor to be considered during the immigration process. Such a policy runs contrary to our traditional notions about freedom of speech and religion in the country, but are these traditional times? Many Americans do not think so, and Trump has touched a nerve with them.

 

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