Donald Trump went on Fox Business Wednesday and said he would emulate the British government and not only revoke passports but close mosques in the United States in order to fight the Islamic State. Never mind a little thing called the First Amendment.
Watch courtesy of Mediaite:
Stuart Varney: “Now, in the UK, in Britain, they’ve obviously got a terror problem. They’ve got a lot of youngsters going over to fight for ISIS, about — just under 1,000 are going over there, and they’ve got a whole new series of proposals to deal with this, including withdrawal of passports from some of these people who’ve gone over just to fight-“
Donald Trump: “Absolutely. Good, good.”
Varney: “…and closing some mosques. Would you do the same thing in America?”
Trump: “I would do that. Absolutely, I think it’s great.”
Varney: “Can you do it? Can you close a mosque? We do have religious freedom.”
Trump: “Well, I don’t know. I mean, I haven’t heard about the closing of the mosque. It depends, if the mosque is, you know, loaded for bear, I don’t know. You’re going to have to certainly look at it. But I can tell you one thing ,if somebody goes over and they want to fight for ISIS, they wouldn’t be coming back.”
It’s one thing to revoke the passport of a citizen who goes overseas to fight for a foreign government. And even then, to cite another example of Americans going overseas to fight for another government, the Spanish Civil War, though the government considered those men subversives and security risks (because they fought for a “communist” cause), it did not strip them of their passports.
Discussion of passports aside, it is another thing entirely to discuss closing places of worship on the grounds that it radicalizes people. After all, we have churches here that radicalize people. Does this mean that if a member of a church shoots somebody, we can close that church for radicalizing him?
It is hardly a surprise then that the American Family Association’s discredited spokesman, Bryan Fischer, should jump on board the Trump Train of Tyranny.
Responding on Thursday, Fischer repeated his false claim that the First Amendment applies only to Christians because, he insists, because “the only religious tradition that is being explicitly and expressly protected in the First Amendment is the free exercise of the Christian religion” even though neither the Founding Fathers nor the Constitution make that exclusionary claim:
“So the question is, can you close down a mosque in the United States of America given the First Amendment and its guarantee of the free exercise of religion,” Fischer said, “and the answer is that you absolutely can. Yes, Donald, yes, Virginia, we can constitutionally close down mosques in the United States of America.”
In fact, as we have shown repeatedly before, the Founding Fathers intended the First Amendment to apply to everybody. It would be nice if just once Fischer would point to someplace in a Founding document that supports his claims, or to a letter from a Founding Father that supports his claims.
He can’t. Because no such evidence exists. Bryan Fischer is a liar. He is a man who rejects every principle upon which this nation was founded, as does his new hero, Donald Trump, who apparently thinks tearing up the First Amendment is a good way to make America great again.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.