On Defining Religion
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) said that President Donald Trump's 90-day ban on immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries is "a religiously based ban," and "if they can ban Muslims, why can't they ban Mormons." This has become the position of the Democratic Party and the mainstream media, which has influenced not only the American public but has convinced the majority of the world that America is "bad." How can we blame the world, and even a good segment of American citizens, for hating America when such disingenuous and misleading claims are aired to the world from US officials and broadcast by American television channels?
The majority of the world does not understand that much of the American media is in a propaganda war against the Trump Administration simply because he names Islamic jihad and would prefer to see a strong and prosperous America as a world leader, rather than to see a dictatorship -- secular or theocratic -- as a world leader. He ran as a Republican; meanwhile, Democrats and the mainstream media refuse to engage in respectful and legitimate debate on the most vital threat to Western civilization in the twenty-first century: Islam. Truth has become irrelevant; people seem to prefer a political game of tug-of-war to sway public opinion against the Trump Administration, and, presumably, to elect Democrats forever. That is how the system is set up.
Political discussions on television have become extremely frustrating; they have turned into shouting matches and name-calling at the least informative levels. Television hosts often become instigators and participants in the shouting matches. The thinking is apparently that the louder they get, the more attractive the program will be. Meanwhile everyone is talking at once; the viewer cannot hear anyone, so the program could not be more boring.
Under the US Constitution, freedom of religion is protected. and Islam has been welcomed inside the West on that basis as one of the three Abrahamic religions. According to Western values and the Western understanding of the word, "religion" is supposed to be a personal relationship with God, where free will is of utmost importance; the believer has authority only over himself or herself when it comes to religious laws or punishing sins (such as leaving the religion or committing adultery) -- quite different from criminal laws intended to protect society. Western values also allow followers of a religion the freedom to proselytize, but never by resorting to government enforcement.
Bottom line, the Western definition of religion is in harmony with the Biblical values of the human rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and that all human beings are created equal under the law. It is considered a basic Western value to view God, family and country as a top priority.
Now let us compare these values to Islamic values:
Political and legal (sharia) Islam is much more than a religion. Is the First Amendment a suicide pact?
Nonie Darwish, born and raised in Egypt, is the author of "Wholly Different; Why I chose Biblical Values over Islamic Values."