The First Amendment to the US constitution says that people have a right to practice their religion freely. The Founding Fathers established this principle based on the religious persecutions that were occurring in Europe. The problem with America today is it is a country that attracts people of ALL persuasions. These people bring their religions with them when they come to America and the constitution gives them the right to worship their religions freely.
Here is the problem as I see it: Each religion has its own tenets, customs, doctrines, etc. Some of these customs can be deemed uncivilized or even barbaric in Western culture, so there is a challenge in government officials enforcing civil laws that conflict with these religious practices.
The fear of Christians today in America seems to be that folks who believe in the Muslim religion may, at some time in the future, become the dominant leaders. People, regardless of what they say, are influenced in their decision making by their belief system, and we know that religion is one of the strongest influences in behaviour.
So, we are literally in a pressure cooker with all of these groups fighting for dominance. Notice that the fight for dominance has always been in existence since the beginning of time. Dominance based on religion was prevalent during ancient times. There have been many wars between religions powers, notably, the Byzantine Empire and the Ottoman Empire.
According to several writers, believers and practitioners of Judaism during ancient times were also engaged in proselytizing, but at some time, around the 4th century it is believed, the Roman Catholic Church and Judaism leaders made an agreement for the leaders of Judaism to stop engaging in proselytizing. Thus today, Jews are viewed more as an ethic group rather than a religious group.
Religion has been, and still remains the greatest divider and political tool. In America, race, which is secondary to religion, dominated for centuries because the inhabitants, after the Native Americans were subdued, were all Christians. Therefore, there was no war for dominance via competing religions. The Africans that were brought to the New World as slaves were converted to Christianity to prevent any sort of religious dominance from occurring as it did previously in Europe.
Since Judaism was not on the proselytizing march, Christianity became the sort of de facto religion throughout Western culture. This was the same here in America, even though the First Amendment prohibits the sanctioning of any religion. In this new era, where many other people are migrating to America from outside of Europe and they are bringing their religions with them, Christianity, the de facto
religion, is now under threat for continued dominance.
We have been kicking the can down the road continuously and pretending that America is a good ole "melting pot" where everyone can get along despite having different cultural conditioning. However, this is a fallacy that has the potential to brutally destroy America. I am not a believer in religion, but I am familiar with many of the scriptures.
There is one particular scripture that comes to mind regarding this ongoing situation here in America: Matthew 6:24 states "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."
No one is so blind as to believe that "Allah, Jesus, Jehovah" are one and the same God. Jews and Muslims adhere to the Torah, the Old Testament, in which we see a God of great vengeance. That God holds grudges forever and passed the "sins of the father” unto the future generations. That God sanctions the practice of "an eye for an eye”.
On the contrary, in the New Testament, we have the Jesus God, who teaches a message of love and forgiveness -- "turning the other cheek". This God does not hold grudges and it does not punish future generations for the sins of the parents. Therefore, there is a blatant conflict with the practice of the God in the Old Testament and the one in the New Testament.
It is obvious that President Trump sees the challenges that are coming down the pike and he is attempting to combat these in a very subtle and creative way. However, he has the challenge of the United States Constitution, in particular, The First Amendment, with which to contend. The United States Constitution does not address racial discrimination, but it does address religious discrimination. Thus, religion trumps race and any other division here in America.
Maybe, President Trump will be successful in the short term, in temporarily suspending individuals, who are practitioners of Islam from entering the United States. However, on a long term basis, he will not be able to keep Muslims out of the United States. Moreover, there are a great many Muslims who are already citizens within the United States and, according to the First Amendment, they have a RIGHT to practice their religion freely like any Christian, Jew or even Satan worshipper.
Unless, there is an amendment to the constitution that is going to sanction one religion over another, inevitably, America is headed for another round of religious wars, as were prevalent in European culture, something the Founding Fathers were attempting to prevent here in America.
Helena R. Edwards
Mount Vernon, NY