Democrats in Congress have put forward a bill which would outlaw discrimination based on religion in the immigration process.
"It’s very narrow in scope,” author of the bill Rep. Don Beyer, (D-VA) told ABCNews. "We’re not going to discriminate when it comes to immigration based on religion.”
The bill, only one paragraph long and titled the Freedom of Religion Act, is explicitly aimed at presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump. Trump controversially called for all Muslims to be banned from entering the United States, although he has since said the call was “just a suggestion.”
“At the very least, having the bill out there gives encouragement out there to Americans that Donald Trump’s ideas are not ruling the day on this issue,” Beyer said. "We’re pushing back with a strong, clear voice."
The bill, supported by over 70 Democrats and one Republican, was unveiled on May 11, a day before a visit by Trump to Capitol Hill.
At the time of Trump’s original comments, Clarion Project pointed out that his proposed ban would include Muslims at the forefront of the fight against Islamist extremism, including non-American Muslims we work with.
In refusing to tar all Muslims with the stigma of Islamist extremism lawmakers are acknowledging the nuance of the situation.
Screening procedures are already in place to weed out Islamists among refugees heading to America. If lawmakers feel they are insufficient, further safeguards can be put in place. None of those safeguards have any bearing on a person’s religious sensibilities.
Even if a religion was so awful and hateful that one might want to ban it, such as various now-defunct religions necessitating human sacrifice, it would still not be reasonable to ban every follower of Huitzilopochtli (for example), the sun deity who required continual blood sacrifice to save the Aztec people from the infinite night, from entering the United States on that basis alone. Entering the country should only be prohibited if the state reasonably fears the person would actually begin to capture and sacrifice Americans to give their warrior deity the strength to win his battles.
In other words, it should be based on an assessment of action, not on attitudes to a belief.
If a person belongs to a banned terrorist group, they will not be able to enter the United States. If they subscribe to the ideology of Islamism, then if they break the law they will be arrested. If they try and change the nature of the state through education and involvement in the democratic process once citizens, they have the same right to try as any other group. Opponents of Islamism have every right to stop them through the same democratic process.
This is how a free society works.
ISIS and other extremists want to create an anti-Muslim backlash. They want to create a situation where ordinary Muslims are forced to side with the extremists or abandon their faith. These lawmakers are doing their part to ensure they are not pressured into that ridiculous choice.
In doing so they are upholding the values of religious freedom and separation of religion and state on which America was founded.
Ryan Mauro explains why ISIS wants an anti-Muslim backlash: