So in the last few days we see the GOP front runner calling for open season on women and children related to people we identify as terrorists. We see
so eager to spill more blood that we are arming women to go off and fight in place of men. Now we get the ugly spectacle of Franklin Graham calling for a
full ban on anyone who is Muslim coming to America. Not just those who want to
become citizens. No one who is Muslim should be allowed to cross our border. We
are only a few steps away from calls to rounding up American Muslim citizens and
putting them into camps. That is not hyperbole, not in the slightest.
I am no one's idea of an apologist for Islamist terrorism but seriously people in this country are losing their minds. As I said, according to Franklin Graham in a Facebook posting the
United States should not permit a
single Muslim into this country (emphasis mine):
Mr. President, we don’t need more gun control—we need border patrol. No Muslims should be allowed into this country until there’s a process in place to fully vet them. We’ve got to turn away those who could potentially pose a threat until this war with radical Islam is over.
So here are some huge problems here.
First there is no way to "fully vet" anyone. The border system is one that is inherently going to be imperfect. What Graham is suggesting is that we essentially never allow anyone into this country, no matter their background, who identifies as Muslim. How are we to be sure they are "fully vetted"? What about people who convert to Islam after they get here? Deport them?
Second, anyone can "potentially pose a threat". I could "potentially" pose a threat to become a jihadi or domestic terrorist or whatever. There are plenty of people who would look at me as a right-wing fundamentalist and see a potential domestic terrorist. That standard is so broad and ill-defined that it becomes a blanket refusal to admit anyone with an Arab sounding name.
Third, there is no such thing as an end to the war on "radical Islam", especially not when
keeps going to the Middle East and poking a
hornets nest with a stick and then acting outraged when we get stung. America stumbles around the Middle
East like a drunk trying to hit a piñata with baseball bat and
collectively we haven't a clue what we are doing, and that includes Franklin
Graham and apparently the past 4 administrations. We are in an never-ending war
and people like Franklin Graham are doing exactly what ISIS wants, namely
turning this into a war between Christians and Muslims. Nothing could please ISIS more. These are people who take a long view of this struggle and they want a clash of religions. What is worse is that this more and more seems
to be intended on both sides to be an eternal war and that should anger and
Keep in mind that "Reverend" Franklin Graham is supposed to be a Christian minister. He seems less an evangelist for the Gospel than he is an anti-evangelist for Islam and a fear monger with more than a hint of bald faced hatred of an entire class of people. When someone with that large a platform chooses to ignore the enemy loving Gospel of Jesus Christ in favor of a flag waving taking of sides in a war of cultures, he has squandered the talent given to him.
Perhaps I am holding back my feelings a bit, as I commonly do. Let me be more blunt.
I am embarrassed to admit that I share the same faith as Franklin Graham.
I also begin to wonder if I actually do share his faith because Graham and many others often seem more concerned with who we are against than proclaiming the One we are for.
A few more observations. There seems to be far more chance of radicalization of Muslims that are already here through social media, in prisons or otherwise. We live in a globalized world. A mom in Topeka can connect with a jihadi in Syria as easily as a white supremacist in Idaho can communicate with a man in Montana.
Approximately 1% of the American population identifies as Muslim, meaning somewhere on the order of 3,000,000 people. That is an awful lot of people and it is an insanely broad brush Graham is painting with. In a previous job I managed a bank just south of
Dearborn, Michigan which
is home to Ford Motor and the largest proportion of Arab Americans in America. Many,
many of my customers were of Arabic descent and many were Muslim. They tended
to be polite, frugal and friendly customers. They worked their hind ends off to create a better life for their children and have as little to do with Islamist radicals as I do with the crusaders who massacred Jews in Jerusalem during the first Crusade. We would be better off bringing in more Muslims who want to work hard and deporting a lot of our couch sitting citizens to a foreign land,
America allegedly has tens or hundreds of millions of Christians. Yet we are being told to turn away the lost who are coming to us and at the same time we can barely scrape enough money for a tiny number of missionaries to go to them. Again, people who are lost without Christ are to be turned away from the "most Christian" of nations? What if instead of taking sides in a 1000 year old struggle in a region where we clearly haven't the first clue, we rather focus on sharing the love and the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
I freely admit that most terrorists around the world are radical Islamists but I also point out that very, very few of the 1.6 billion Muslims around the world and even fewer of the 3 million Muslims in America are terrorists. Making decisions as a nation based on fear and misinformation is bad enough, taking a stand as the church based on the same faulty assumptions is even worse.
Before we start making Muslims wear a crescent sewn on their clothing to identify them, perhaps we can take a step back and take a deep breath and not listen to over the top, unhelpful and anti-Gospel rantings from "Christian leaders" who should know better.