Islamic influx: Why a Religious Test for Immigrants is Moral and Wise

SellwynThumbby Selwyn Duke11/20/15
With the Paris terror attack and flooding of Western nations with Muslim migrants, Senator Ted Cruz and others have proposed limiting Muslim immigration into the U.S. In response, Barack Obama and John McCain have said that having a “religious test” for newcomers would be un-American. It’s a belief betraying dangerous philosophical juvenility.

Before getting to the deeper issues, it doesn’t take an Aristotelian mind to grasp the following: If one million Chinese Christians immigrated to our nation, the probability is decent that not even one of them would turn to terrorism. The same cannot be said of Muslim newcomers. And as I’ve pointed out repeatedly, if 1/10th of 1 percent of 1,000,000 of them are terrorists, that’s still 1000 dangerous jihadists. Terrorism today is a Muslim phenomenon.

Even more dangerous, though, is the modernistic phenomenon of false moral equivalence. Would you say it was un-American to apply an ideological test to immigrants and deny entry to Nazis or communists? People will say that’s different; on an instinctive level, we view our ideology as superior to others and some ideologies as downright evil. But what is the substantive difference among them? It’s that they espouse different values. And unless we’re moral relativists, we understand that because of this they cannot all be morally equal.

Now consider: different religions also espouse different values. This is largely why we can call them “different” religions. Conclusion?

They cannot all be morally equal.

You’ll only say otherwise if, again, you’re a moral relativist. But if relativism is “reality,” it then follows that no ideology can be better than another, either. If Christianity and Hinduism were equal despite their different values, so would liberalism and conservatism be; if Judaism and Islam were, so would libertarianism and Nazism be. “Values” are either relative or they’re not — you can’t have it both ways.

What follows from this is that religions, like ideologies, can run the gamut from the good to the bad to the ugly, from the ethereal to the excremental. The Aztecs’ religion, like so many pagan ones, required human sacrifice on a massive scale, and the Christian religion put an end to it. The Romans’ pagan religion allowed for the brutality of the arena, and the Christian religion put an end to it. I’ve heard many conservatives say “Islam is not a religion,” but the truth here is a bit simpler: similar to ideology, religion isn’t bad, but there is bad religion.

In point of fact, the distinction between “secular” and “religious” is, in the most important sense, a false one. Many today, awash in militant “secularism,” talk and behave as if the labels “secular” and “religious” alone are enough to qualify an idea for or disqualify it from the public square and the stuff of laws. This notion has no basis in reason and ignores the only distinction that really matters.

What would this be? Well, if Marxism is a destructive lie (in sum), what is more significant, that it’s labeled “secular” or that it’s untrue? If God’s existence is a reality, what is more significant, that we label the idea “religious” or that it is true? There’s only one distinction of any consequence whatsoever: the true and the untrue. Everything else is water-muddying, pseudo-intellectual verbiage.

In other words, at bottom people don’t believe in “ideologies,” “religions” or “philosophies.”

People believe in things.

Some of those things are good and true, others are bad and false. And if what people believe is bad and false — whatever water-muddying label it wears — there’s every reason not to vote for them. There also may be good reason not to befriend or hire them, depending on the degree and nature of the badness. There may be reason to keep them out of your home.

And there certainly may be reason to keep them out of your national home.

It should be noted that when Charles Martel saved Europe from a Muslim invasion in 732 A.D. and when the responses to Islamic aggression known as the Crusades were launched in 1095, people understood the above well. In fact, the earliest known uses of the terms “religious” and “secular” were, respectively, 1200 and 1300; even so, they didn’t have their current meanings. “Secular” as in “in reference to humanism and the exclusion of belief in God from matters of ethics and morality,” only dates from 1850.

Thus, during Christendom’s formative years, adolescence and rise to dominance, people did in fact view the world more clearly in the most important sense: they understood that there was simply the true and untrue. Maybe now we can understand why Pope Benedict XVI identified the 13th or 14th century as the West’s high water mark.

So what changed? Why are we confusing ourselves with terminology? Well, a prerequisite for believing something is “true” or “untrue,” in a real sense, is believing there is a yardstick for thus measuring things, namely Truth. And most contemporary Americans (and other moderns), as this 2002 Barna Group study shows, don’t believe in it. They are relativists.

Since many well-meaning readers occupy this group, I ask you to bear with me and consider the following carefully. Here’s how I always explain this matter: who or what determines what we call right and wrong? There are only two possibilities: either man does or something outside of and above him does — namely God (if the agency outside us weren’t above us, there’d be no reason to defer to its “law”). Consider the implications of each position. If an omnipotent, omniscient, perfect and benevolent being that created the Universe — the physical reality we see — also created moral reality (Truth), then we can say right and wrong is a real thing, unchanging, nonnegotiable and inerrant. It’s not merely a matter of “perspective” or feelings.

But what if, as the ancient Greek Protagoras said, “Man is the measure of all things”? Well, if you learned that the vast majority of the world liked vanilla but hated chocolate, would this make chocolate “bad” or “evil”? Of course not. We know it’s merely a matter of taste.

Alright, but how is murder any different if the only reason we believe it’s “wrong” is that the vast majority of the world dislikes the idea of killing others in a way they consider “unjust”? If it’s merely consensus preference — if there’s nothing more we can cite as evidence of this thing called “wrongness” — then it occupies the same category as flavors: taste.

Some may now say, “C’mon, Duke, we’re talking about finishing off people, not dessert! This is a moral issue.” Again, though, absent Truth, the category of “moral issues” would also be man’s invention, also just a result of the consensus preference that some preferences should be classified differently from other preferences. And, hey, to echo that popular relativist refrain, “Don’t impose your values on me, dude.”

This helps explain why many people subscribe to the ObaMcCain no-religious-test notion. We have become so relativistic that we, at bottom, view religions merely as flavors of the day. Why don’t we apply the same to ideologies, whose “values” would also be relative? Simply because, absent a belief in Truth, people’s tendency to operate based on emotion is exacerbated. And emotion isn’t logical. Most relativists haven’t truly thought their ideas through carefully and applied them consistently. If they had and nonetheless wouldn’t dispense with their relativism, they’d conclude what Friedrich Nietzsche and occultist Aleister Crowley had, expressed by the latter as “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.” (And in this case they’d realize they, logically, could treat “religion” and “ideology” differently because relativism dictates that consistency can be no better than inconsistency. Few people would make this logical but foolish decision, though, as opposed to the millions who can be influenced wrongly by emotion.)

And why do people’s emotions today influence them toward the double standard in question? First, people again are creatures who believe “things”; they need something to give their lives meaning, real or illusory. And in this godless age, “ideology” has taken the place of “religion,” which is why we see leftist protesters exhibiting jihadist-like fervor. Second, people often see how “ideology” affects them, the connection between it and how they’re governed. They know that putting liberals or conservatives in office can make a difference.

What they unfortunately don’t realize is that world view, “First Things,” influence whether one will be liberal or conservative — or something else. It’s no coincidence that the Founding Fathers were Christian. It’s no coincidence that the mass-murdering Marxists were atheists. It’s no coincidence that the Nazis were neo-pagans. And it’s no coincidence that the Muslim world never birthed democracy. It makes a big difference whether your credo is “Do what thou wilt,” “Do what Jesus wilt” or “Do what Allah wilt.”

So, yes, a religious test, if not in law but in citizens’ minds, is appropriate for lots of things. And immigration is no exception.

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11 Responses to Islamic influx: Why a Religious Test for Immigrants is Moral and Wise

  1. Rosalys says:

    Yes, there are very good reasons to keep Muslims out. They are not entitled to our territory, though Allah would tell them different. So why do the lefties so desire to bring them here? Okay, okay – I know it’s for the votes and to destroy America as we know it. The thing is though, should Islam ever come close to taking hold here, and if sharia is ever allowed to be implemented here, Mohammed Ali Baba Boo Boo will be just as likely to behead the Obamas, John Kerrys, and Valerie Jarretts among us, as they will mine and thine own Christian heads, because they are still infidels. Heck – Muslims slaughter each other!

    I suspect that Obama, et al., know that these people are trouble, but that they are so-o-o-o freakin’ damned arrogant, they believe they will be able to deal with it when they deem it necessary. They are also so arrogant as to believe that they’ll know when the timing is right. But they will be so-o-o-o wrong!

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Right on, Rosalys.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      The basic idea of appeasement (nicely illustrated in an old Theodore Seuss Geisel editorial cartoon) is that by the time the wolf or crocodile finishes with the designated victims, it will be sated, thus leaving the appeaser safe. Sometimes it can work, but usually it fails, and it will fail with Islam. However, the appeaser can also think that by the time the predator gets around to him, he’ll be dead and thus past caring about anything. Of course, this is less likely to work for Obama, since he can be considered an apostate and thus already marked for death.

      A religious test is reasonable and even necessary for refugees who claim to be fleeing from religious persecution. The problem is taqiyya. Muslims are entitled to lie to deceive the enemy in the service of jihad, so all they have to do is learn the answer to whatever questions about Christianity they might face. Anyone who thinks the State Department would make the test difficult is delusional.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        The shocking thing to the modern ear is the idea that America was founded, in part, upon the idea of religious liberty…an idea forwarded by the Christians who were in positions of power and influence at our founding.

        This was indeed an evolving standard. Many states (I believe Massachusetts was the last…around the 1840’s) had established religions. And this was okay according to the Constitution and, obviously, according to the people in those states. The first amendment is about what Congress shall not do.

        But abuses in the states were inevitable and Jefferson spearheaded the idea of religious liberty whereby a Quaker wouldn’t be executed by the Puritans simply for having another faith….or much like those who oppose unions, your tax dollars weren’t going to go to support something that you disagreed with and that, quite arguably, wasn’t the province of government.

        And this is a good idea. But it was never meant to be a suicide pact whereby any movement with a religious component, however large or small that component is, was to be given complete deference just because it was a “religion.” In fact, if the Left applied the wipe-them-from-the-public-square standards to Islam as they do Christianity, there’s no way in hell they wouldn’t turn the screws on Islam.

        But there is that two-tier system we are all aware of. At the top, the elites of the Left really do hate this country (and Christianity by extension) and mean to dissolve it. At the useful-idiot tier, people are taught that Islam is a “religion of peace” and that giving it any kind of scrutiny is persecution. And devilishly two-faced people such as Obama, in true Alinsky fashion, use our ideals against us in a slippery and dishonest way.

        There are many wicked and foolish people in the halls of power these days.

  2. Kyra Nielsen says:

    Why do Obama and McCain have security people and fences around their own homes? To keep the bad guys out! To protect themselves and their families from harm. That is the FIRST and MOST IMPORTANT duty of any government. Protect the NATIONS BORDERS. Just as you lock your front door. Anything else is insanity!

    • Timothy Lane says:

      This is why many of us suggest that those who want to take in the “refugees” should put them up themselves (or at least in their immediate neighborhoods). The lesson is also applicable to gun control: let those who favor disarming the public do without armed protection themselves. My dislike of many of the rich is not their greater resources, but the way many (especially the liberals) inflict so much damage on ordinary people while exempting themselves from the harm.

  3. Timothy Lane says:

    Hot Air today has a link to an article by Charles Moore in the Telegraph on the differences between Islam and Christianity as well as the difference between the John Kerry types and the sensible types on how to maintain Western civilization. In it he mentioned discussing the topic during a restaurant meal with a friend. The friend noted that if he jumped up and yelled, “Allahu akbar!” everyone would duck under the tables (well, maybe a few Muslims would join in). By contrast, if he jumped up and shouted, “Jesus Christ is Lord!” no one would be concerned; they’d just think he was weird and a bit embarrassing to listen to. He agreed. The link is:

  4. Tom Riehl Tom Riehl says:

    The stolen base inherent in such discussions is that Islam is a religion. I don’t think it is, and according its followers the usual forbearance given to various real religions, is stupid on stilts.

    This article is in my reading pile as I was at a wedding, so I might opine further later.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Islam is a religion, but also a political ideology and system. In this respect it’s much like the Judaism of the Torah (which was largely superseded by the Talmud). For that matter, it’s much like modern liberalism, except that the latter is a political ideology and religion that pretends to be purely the former.

  5. Timothy Lane says:

    Matt Barber has a nice artiugee cle on Town Hall on a proper Christian response to the refugee “crisis”. Of particular interest, he points out that the Good Samaritan didn’t take the injur stranger into his own house; he delivered first aid, then took him to an inn and provided money for his needs there. One could compare this to the idea of setting up a safe zone in the Levant, protecting it from marauders, and supplying the needs of the refugees there (though Barber didn’t specifically make this suggestion). The link is:

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