Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Trump is right (!?)

Donald Trump has just called for a temporary ban on immigration into the U.S. by Muslims, a ban that would be maintained until we better understand how to deal with Islamism.  Practically everyone in media and politics is attacking Trump over this (its seems there's more outrage over Trump's proposal than over the actual San Bernardino massacre by Muslim jihadis).   I'm not a supporter of Trump for president, and I am not so sure Trump's proposal is a good idea, but the criticism of Trump strikes me as largely nonsensical.  Here's why.  (Caveat: Trump has subsequently extended his proposal to include American citizens who are Muslims -- I am not writing about that, only about immigration by non-citizens.  Stopping free travel for citizens based on their religion certainly violates the First Amendment prohibition on restrictions of free exercise of religion.)

The criticisms of Trump largely claim his idea is unConstitutional. (If that is criterion for outrage, why does Barack Obama get a pass for legislating via executive orders, picking and choosing the laws he'll enforce, and the like?)  I think they are wrong.  The Constitutional arguments I've heard hinge on Article VI:

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

It supposedly follows, then, that there can be no religious test for citizenship, or for immigration.  I'm somewhat skeptical, but perhaps this is so.  But here's my question: is sharia a part of Islam?

Sharia is the Islamic legal system, so that might seem a stupid question.  But sharia is a set of legal and hence political doctrines, and not simply theology; in fact, it's more than that -- it's an entire institutional framework, something like a constitutional order.  If sharia is a necessary part of Islam, then Islam isn't simply a religion, it's a political ideology.  And it is certainly not unConstitutional to ban immigration by those who support political ideologies that are incompatible with or even hostile to American principles.  During the Second World War, Nazis were excluded from immigrating to America.  During the cold war, so were communists (I think this is still enshrined in law, although am uncertain).  Certainly adherence to political Islam could be -- and should be -- grounds to block immigrants.

Not all Muslims support sharia, I'm fairly sure.  But this might be a minority.  Certainly among the "Syrian" immigrants, it must be a minority.  The bulk of these immigrants (fewer than 50% are from Syria, according to Eurostat) come from countries where the vast majority of Muslims believe sharia should be the law of the land.  According to Pew Research, 99% of Afghanistan Muslims, 91% of Iraqi Muslims, and 84% of Pakistani Muslims believe sharia should be the basis of national law.  Sharia includes blasphemy laws, criminalization of homosexuality, oppression of women, and many other anti-liberal doctrines.  If Islam is inseparable from sharia, then banning immigration by adherents isn't banning them on the basis of a religious test, but a political one.  And that is certainly legitimate, particularly when the U.S. government appears to have no ability at all to vet immigrants.

This isn't an endorsement of Trump -- he's a wild man.  He seems to have no political principles -- I don't mean that he's unprincipled -- I mean that he seems unfamiliar with the concept of political principles.  If he does have any, he's a Democrat (I still wouldn't entirely discount the theory that he's a Clinton operative, working to sabotage the Republicans -- I just heard a gentleman from Commentary magazine suggest on the John Batchelor show that Trump's most outrageous/least politically correct statements regularly come at times that Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama are facing their own damning revelations or gaffes, and the effect is to rescue them from scrutiny.  Interesting.  (You can read Rothman's argument here.)  Of course, damning moments for Clinton and Obama, and outrageous statements from Trump, are so regular that discerning a regular pattern is a problem in advanced time series (Granger causality, anyone?) so the argument isn't exactly convincing, and even Rothman didn't seem convinced in the interview.

Regardless, Trump strikes a chord with many people because his "outrageous" arguments usually have a measure of sense in them, as well as a refreshing refusal to be intimidated.  It is certainly sensible to be worried about "Syrian" immigrants.  I don't want neighbors who think that it's important to establish sharia as the law of the land.

Until fairly recently, there was no Muslim immigration into the USA, and now suddenly it is unconstitutional not to spread a red carpet to your sworn enemies!
I'd suggest, if it is impossible to halt the flow of Islamists without stopping all immigration, then... stop all immigration, maybe? Will this make the PC police happy?
Or better, if it is really soooo important to have a Muslim quota, let's fill it with "Muslims" fleeing Islam. People like Hirsi Ali and Malala Yousafzai.
The reason I am doubtful of Trump's temporary ban is that I would be very happy if many people like Hirsi Ali entered the country.

The bizarre nature of mainstream public "discourse" astounds me. The man who gave the rifles to the San Bernardino Islamists now says he knew they had planned an earlier attack in 2012 but became fearful and cancelled it. This man, who is also related to them by marriage, is *not* a suspect. Why not? No explanation is forthcoming.

Thanks for your comment.

Where is God's authority recorded? Most denominations who use creed books AKA denominational church catechisms, use those creed books as the final authority for faith and practice.

The question is, if church creed books are used as the authoritative book, why read the Bible? The ironic thing about churches who use creed books is, they try to use the Bible to support their denominational creeds.

If creed books are used as the rules for faith and practice, then referencing the Bible rings hollow.

There is not one denomination that has written one verse of the Bible. Denominations write creed books. God does not write creed books.

John 14:23 Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word: and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.

Jesus did not say if anyone loves Me, he will keep the words of the church catechism.

1 John 1:4-6 .....as we received command from the Father......6 This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment , that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.

We are told to walk according to the commandments of God. There is no commandment that says to walk according to church creed books nor new books of revelation written by men.

If your church catechism AKA creed book, or your so-call book of new revelation contradicts doctrine that is found in the Bible, then one of two things is true. 1. The Bible is in error and therefore cannot be trusted for faith and practice. 2. Your creed book or book of new revelation is in error and cannot be trusted as God's message to mankind.


(Scripture from; NKJV)

YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY BLOG, http://steve-finnell.blogspot.com

Um, thanks for your comment. As H.L. Mencken used to remark at times like this, "you may be right."
Another point is that it is not easy to screen these refugees because we have no data (unless we've had some massive surveillance program in Syria for years). Typically, when we screen a refugee, we ask the other government for whatever background they have (criminal record, etc...). We also ask any departments who were active and might have some sort of record. Barring incompetence, we'd have some (admittedly dated) info on an Iraqi refugee. We'd at least know ifnhe went to Abu garahab (I know the sweeps of arrests were bad but many people became intense enemies of the USA after),maybe some criminal data, etc..
In the case of Syria, the other government probably doesn't have much that would be helpful - they've been at war for years now - and probably wouldn't care to give us that data.
Very good point, Unknown. One thing that should be kept in mind, some Iraqis and Afghans who worked with the U.S. as interpreters, etc. might have been very well vetted. It's possible that there are Syrians who have worked with, say, the CIA. When there is good evidence that people from this part of the world are loyal to the U.S./West and our values, the case is different -- especially when they are fleeing for their lives b/c of this.

But surely that is a very small minority.

Thanks for your comment.
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