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America's Culture War: Islam

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U.S. House Honors Islam: The Destructive Corrosion of Diversity

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

In an unprecedented action, by a vote of 376-0, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution in honor of the Islamic celebration Ramadan (“U.S. House Passes...,” 2007). Forty-one Republicans and one Democrat refused to participate in the vote (“Final Vote Results...,” 2007). The resolution reads in part:

Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives (1) recognizes the Islamic faith as one of the great religions of the world; (2) expresses friendship and support for Muslims in the United States and worldwide; (3) acknowledges the onset of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting and spiritual renewal, and conveys its respect to Muslims in the United States and throughout the world on this occasion.... (“The United States...,” 2007, emp. added).

Representative William Pascrell stated:

Despite what others may say, we should have no qualms about electing a Muslim to any elected office in the United States, for our Nation was founded on the principle that there can be no religious test for holding office, only a test of that individual’s character (“The United States...,” emp. added).

Representative Thomas Davis added: As our Founding Fathers recognized, the strength of this great Nation derives from the tolerance we espouse. America builds strength from its diversity (“The United States...,” emp. added). The sponsor of the bill, Eddie Bernice Johnson, insisted that “American pluralistic ideals, democratic institutions and multi-culturalism are expanded and strengthened by the contribution of Muslim American civic participation” (“The United States...,” emp. added).

One can only assume that these politicians have not gone back and read what the Founders actually said. Their actions are additional examples of political liberalism misrepresenting the Founders in order to perpetrate the propaganda of pluralism and political correctness, while abandoning the priority of the Christian worldview as the glue that cemented the nation together from the beginning. The architects of the American political system would be unhappy with such endorsements. Contrary to current claims that the Founding Fathers of America advocated “pluralism,” “diversity,” “multi-culturalism,” and equal acceptance of all religions, ideologies, and philosophies, the truth is that they feared for the future of the nation should its Christian foundation be compromised. They well knew and believed that one’s religious beliefs affects a person’s character and moral values. They insisted that the nation draws its strength from the God of the Bible and the moral precepts He enjoins on a people.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice James Iredell, who was appointed to the Court by President George Washington, reflected this concern in 1788, though he felt confident that Islam would never be allowed to infiltrate America:

But it is objected that the people of America may perhaps choose representatives who have no religion at all, and that pagans and Mahometans may be admitted into offices.... But it is never to be supposed that the people of America will trust their dearest rights to persons who have no religion at all, or a religion materially different from their own (1836, 4:194, emp. added).

Similarly, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, appointed by President James Madison in 1811, and considered the founder of Harvard Law School and one of two men known as the Fathers of American Jurisprudence, in his Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, clarified the meaning of the First Amendment as it relates to religious toleration and Islam:

The real object of the [First—DM] [A]mendment was not to countenance, much less to advance Mahometanism, or Judaism, or infidelity by prostrating Christianity; but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects and to prevent any national ecclesiastical establishment which should give to a hierarchy [of one denomination—DM] the exclusive patronage of the national government (1833, 3.44.728.1871, emp. added).

The other “Father of American Jurisprudence” was New York State Supreme Court Chief Justice James Kent, who, in penning the opinion of the court in The People v. Ruggles in 1811, reiterated the national attitude toward Islam that existed from the inception of the country. In a case that resulted in the punishment of an individual who publicly maligned and denounced the Christian religion, Kent acknowledged the right of “free and decent discussions on any religious subject,” but nevertheless insisted:

Nor are we bound, by any expressions in the constitution, as some have strangely supposed, either not to punish at all, or to punish indiscriminately the like attacks upon the religion of Mahomet or of the Grand Lama; and for this plain reason, that the case assumes that we are a Christian people, and the morality of the country is deeply engrafted upon Christianity, and not upon the doctrines or worship of those imposters (8 Johns 290).

While America generally has welcomed all nationalities of people to her shores regardless of their personal beliefs, alternative ideologies and religions were never intended to be given credence and allowed to transform the nation into either a religionless or non-Christian society. Nor did the Founders intend that American civilization be adjusted to accommodate religious principles that contradict the original foundations of the nation. America welcomes people to live in freedom within her borders—as long as they do so peaceably. That is the “tolerance” that the Founders envisioned. But they did not intend for the nation’s social parameters to be adjusted in public life (government, schools, and communities) to accommodate divergent religions. They believed that doing so would inevitably weaken, not strengthen, the ability of America to sustain herself. Noah Webster articulated this indisputable fact in a letter to James Madison on October 29, 1829:

[T]he Christian religion, in its purity, is the basis, or rather the source of all genuine freedom in government.... and I am persuaded that no civil government of a republican form can exist and be durable in which the principles of that religion have not a controlling influence (as quoted in Snyder, 1990, p. 253, emp. added).

In the long ago, the psalmist said it well: “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain” (127:1). Make no mistake: the day is coming when America will be punished, and the reason will be apparent: “Because they forsook the Lord God of their fathers...and embraced other gods, and worshiped them and served them; therefore He has brought all this calamity on them” (2 Chronicles 7:22).

REFERENCES

“Final Vote Results for Roll Call 928” (2007), House Resolution 635: Recognizing the Commencement of Ramadan, October 2, [On-line], URL: http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2007/roll928.xml.

U.S. House Passes Historic Ramadan Resolution” (2007), American Muslim Perspective, October 5, [On-line], URL: http://www.amperspective.com/html/house_ramadan_reolution.html.

Iredell, James (1836), The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution, ed. Jonathan Elliot (Washington, D.C.: Jonathan Elliot).

The People v. Ruggles (1811), 8 Johns 290 (Sup. Ct. NY.), N.Y. Lexis 124.

Snyder, K. Alan (1990), Defining Noah Webster: Mind and Morals in the Early Republic (New York: University Press of America).

Story, Joseph (1833), Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States (Boston, MA: Hilliard, Gray, & Co.).

The United States House of Representatives (2007), “Recognizing Commencement of Ramadan and Commending Muslims for their Faith,” Congressional Record, H11087, Section 36, House Resolution 635, October 2, [On-line], URL: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/record.xpd?id=110-h20071002-36.




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