A friend of mine told me a beautiful story the other day and I wanted to share it with you. In her church, there is a woman who was Hindu but has given her life to Christ. My friend says that this former Hindu is probably one of the most scripturally sound people in her church. Recently a young Muslim woman, from Turkey, came to her church to pray and sat next to this former Hindu; they began to talk. Now this young Muslim woman has been attending church on a regular basis, even attending Bible study classes in addition to the church services. This young woman is seeking knowledge. She and her family have been in America her entire life. She has told my friend and others that she is afraid of what might happen if her family finds out that she is attending a Christian church, but that she is inspired by the courage of some “brave Christian friends” in Turkey.
What if America passed a law outlawing Islam? Instead of seeking a Christian church for wisdom and direction, this young woman and her family would be in a prison camp. I wonder if those who advocate for the outlawing of Islam really understand the true ramifications of this endeavor? This law would require entire families to be imprisoned; young and old. Is America really a place where we can put young people in prison for their religious affiliations? Just imagine the scene: Trucks, buses, and perhaps railcars loading up families of Muslims and taking them to a prison camp. No trial necessary, just accusation that you harbor “wrong or dangerous” beliefs. That is what some seem to be asking for. Is that America? Sounds like Nazi Germany to me.
Then we must ask what are their “get out of jail” terms? Will they have to renounce their religious beliefs and profess whatever may be the government approved ideology? That strikes very close to repeating the Spanish Inquisition or the Salem Witch Trials. Is that the America we endeavor to become?
America was built upon the foundations of Religious Liberty to all. Our founders suffered great persecutions for their religious beliefs, not just from their “home countries,” but even on American Soil. Early American colonies saw vicious persecutions of people for differing religious ideologies; look into the histories of John Clarke, Obadiah Holmes, and Mary Dyer, just to name a few. Christians were beating, torturing and even executing other Christians for denominational differences. We lived this history; one our founders hoped we would never repeat.
“It is true, we are not disposed to differ much, at present, about religion; but when we are making a constitution, it is to be hoped, for ages and millions yet unborn, why not establish the free exercise of religion, as a part of the national compact.” Letter From a Federal Farmer #4
“Every man must give an account of himself to God, and therefore every man ought to be at liberty to serve God in that way that he can best reconcile it to his conscience. If government can answer for individuals at the day of judgment, let men be controlled by it in religious matters; otherwise let men be free.” John Leland, “Right of Conscience Inalienable” 1789
Our framers knew that if Religious Liberty for all was not established as a part of the National Compact, then no one would have Liberty. The government that can outlaw Islam, is the same government that can outlaw Christianity, Judaism, or any ideology religious or not, for that matter. Is it outside the realm of belief that American government would turn on Christianity? If you think so, you haven’t been paying attention.
A word to Christians who advocate for the outlawing of Islam: Thomas Paine remarked in “Common Sense” that all Christians should support Religious Liberty for all, it is what God demands.
“For myself, I fully and conscientiously believe that it is the will of the Almighty that there should be a diversity of religious opinions among us. It affords a larger field for our Christian kindness;”
Can that “larger field” of “Christian kindness” exist when we advocate for the imprisoning those who believe differently? I believe, and I am sure that Thomas Paine would agree, that when a person commits a crime; rape, murder, mutilation, or abuse, that person is not immune from criminal punishment. But I am sure that Paine, as well as the rest of our framers, would be appalled at the suggestion that America would begin outlawing religions or ideologies. That is the antithesis of what they created and who they wanted us to be.
Now think of that young Muslim woman. In an America where Islam is outlawed, she will not have the Liberty to seek truth. She is in prison and she doesn’t love America, she hates her. Then, America has become just as venal and oppressive as the religion she is seeking to escape from.
Do you want to learn more about Religious Liberty? Check out this other article teaching what you need to know about separation of church and state: http://goo.gl/j0CeRQ
KrisAnne teaches a very enlightening and challenging class on Religious Liberty. Invite her to teach your group! www.KrisAnneHall.com