The assertion that “Islam isn’t a religion” should be a cause for concern among conservative Christians as it can so easily and destructively be turned on Christian minorities in other parts of the world.
In her recent New York Times opinion piece, Asma T. Uddin rightly criticizes the “disturbing trend … [of] state lawmakers, lawyers, and influential social commentators,” like Oklahoma Republican state Rep. John Bennett, who claim that Muslims in the United States don’t deserve religious freedoms granted to adherents of other religions because “Islam is not even a religion; it is a political system that uses a deity to advance its agenda of global conquest.”
The claim has been floating around for several years, but it’s nonsensical for a host of reasons. No reasonable observer would contend that Muslims are the only religious people who try to advance their interests through concerted and coordinated political action, as should be clear from the Moral Majority, the Christian pro-life movement, and the opposition of many conservative Christians to the Johnson Amendment. The fact that the most obvious examples in the United States derive from conservative Christianity is only because conservative Christians have been more intentional, vocal, strategic, and successful in their religious politicking. However, it’s clear enough that liberal forms of Christianity also espouse their own brands of politics.
The obvious national and international political aspirations of Western Christians make their criticisms of the entanglement of Islam and politics particularly bewildering. Such criticisms, therefore, could only emanate either from a stunning lack of self-consciousness or a quite conscious, knowing, and cynically self-serving denial of the nature of things.
FULL ARTICLE FROM REWIRE NEWS
After President Donald Trump announced that all refugee admissions would be paused for 120 days, a strange thing happened. A series of religious organizations issued stern denunciations: A Lutheran group headlined its press release indicating that it “denounces” the Trump administration’s actions; a Catholic group expressed “solidarity” with Muslims and “deep concern” over religious freedom for all groups; more than 2,000 religious leaders signed a letter “opposing” the executive order.
These groups and others like them have two things in common: They have explicitly Christian, denominationally tied missions, and they have recognition by the State Department as voluntary organizations that support refugee resettlement. This is not merely a reaction of the Christian left: Groups like the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services have board members from traditionally more liberal denominations, like the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, as well as more conservative ones, like the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is as avowedly pro-life as it is pro-refugee. Refugee resettlement and welcoming has been a core part of organized Christianity’s moral mission for as long as we’ve been receiving refugees.
Throughout the American Christian (and especially conservative) world, the refugee ban has created a unique fissure, apart from other concerns that many individuals have over the visa ban or other components of the now-infamous executive order. I’ve spoken with fellow believers of many denominations in positions high and low and find that even many people who voted for President Trump and who continue to support him find their conscience troubled by this specific question of refugee admission. Coming, as it did, as we wait to see if we will get another pro-life Supreme Court Justice confirmed, the refugee ban leaves many social conservatives in a painful situation: What do we make of this would-be-King Cyrus? What if he delivers us victory for one key moral priority (abortion), while handing us unprecedented defeat on the other (refugees)? What if we escape Babylon, many of us are wondering, only to find ourselves still exiles?
FULL ARTICLE FROM SALON