Franklin Graham is one of the men I most admire. Donald Trump is not. How the two make common cause on the issue of Muslim immigration has me scratching my head and reaching for the migraine meds.
Both agree national security requires at least a temporary ban on immigration for foreign practitoners of Islam. Both are dead wrong – on constitutional and scriptural grounds. And this is as much a life issue as the right of the unborn to enter this world intact and alive.
To be fair, let me say again both men are calling for a temporary ban, and only until Muslims seeking to enter the U.S. can be properly vetted for their intentions and possible resources for terror. There is no doubt such vetting can and must be done. There is equally no doubt the Constitution specifically forbids administration of religious tests – for office holders – for any purpose or privilege or right.
There is simply no way to say Christians and Jews and Hindus and atheists are welcome but Muslims are not and remain faithful – or even in compliance – with our Constitution. And there is no way to justify such arbitrary discrimination while remaining faithful to the Word of God that commands particular kindness to the sojourner who comes in peace from the Pentateuch to Isaiah to the Gospels.
There is another and far more effective way that passes constitutional and Word of God muster. It works well for the Israelis – who have more terrorists attempting to infiltrate than the rest of the world combined – and it is called profiling.
Profiling violates no constitutional right, whether we speak of warrantless searches or self-incrimination. Law enforcement is forbidden to force incrimination and required to have a warrant or at least (reasonable) probable cause to detain and search suspects.
But terrorists have definable characteristics and Israel has become adept at identifying these; identifying what an individual publicly exhibits – whether clothing or mannerism or attitude – applies no force, nor is it invading privacy. Yet we Americans shrink from it on grounds of political correctness.
Possibly the most disheartening dimension of last year’s slaughter in San Bernardino is the multiple witnesses who were suspicious of the murderers and said nothing for fear of being labeled bigots. As a result, 16 (including two jihadis) are dead and nearly 30 were seriously hurt because Americans have so intimidated one another we dare not report suspicious behavior for it might bring us under suspicion.
We have so marginalized one another we force all to wait in lines at airports instead of only those who pass a terrorist litmus test and still the terrorists sneak through. This is too pathetic for my vocabulary to adequately describe.
Just as pathetic is the view that desperate times call for desperate (read unconstitutional) measures. One of the many things that distinguishes our culture from that of the jihadis is our freedom to practice thought, faith and speech as we feel led by conscience and consciousness. If we surrender that freedom, the enemies of freedom have won without firing a shot.
Don’t get me wrong — Graham and Trump are mostly right. Graham cites Pew Research studies that 8 percent of Muslim adults in America – a number equivalent to the Biblical 144,000 – endorse suicide bombings and other violence in the name of Islam. According to the Center for Security Policy, 51 percent of Muslims living in America assert their right to be governed by Sharia Law rather than by the U.S. Constitution and laws.
Graham says 29 percent of Muslim adults in America agree violence is acceptable against those who insult Mohammad and fully one quarter endorse violence against their adopted nation in the name of global jihad. This is a lot more than 144,000, and so the situation is every bit as serious as Graham and Trump contend.
It gets worse. Pew reports Muslims – comprising 1 percent of our population – commit half of all terror attacks. That makes a Muslim 5,000 percent more likely to attack than non-Muslims.
The situation is too serious for a shortsighted and unconstitutional solution. It is much too serious to shortcut or end around either Constitution or Word of God. The jihadis and potential jihadis are already here. Learning from the Israelis how to profile – should we not know – greatly reduces the danger.
Respecting the Constitution in emergent situations reduces danger to our identity as a people. Developing the guts to defy politically correct bullying and call in what we suspect reaffirms our human dignity as a people by re-assuming responsibility for ourselves, our families and our neighbors.
It also passes Biblical muster – “By their fruits you shall know them.” I like it.