We are all immigrants. Women’s March, NYC, January 21st, 2017 — photo by Robert Stribley

Trump’s Blow to Religious Liberty

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” — George Santayana

We’re now gifted with an American President who has rushed within a week of being in office to implement the greatest example of religious discrimination in recent U.S. history. I trust Republicans and conservatives will join the rest of us in roundly condemning him for writing an executive order, which turns their greatest fear of religious oppression into a reality. If not, we now understand your definition of religious liberty to be extraordinarily limited.

I refuse to see my Muslim friends as second-class citizens and I don’t consider their family and compatriots living overseas automatically worthy of suspicion due to either their religious beliefs or the happenstance of where they reside geographically. I also note the fact that the few predominantly Muslim countries noticeably absent from Trump’s despicable executive order are actually the ones where the majority of the 9/11 attackers came from; thereby, undermining any claim of Trump’s that his concern lies in restricting “radical Islamic terrorism” from entering the United States. In fact, none of the terrorists involved in attacks in the U.S. on or after 9/11 came from the countries Trump is blocking immigrants from.

“I am heartbroken that today President Trump is closing the door on children, mothers and fathers fleeing violence and war.” — Malala Yousafzai

Instead, he’s chosen to block the most unfortunate individuals from entering the United States. Those who are most likely to be *victims* of violence. A group of refugees, which is already the most heavily vetted on the planet. He does this while still allowing entrance from those countries that prove most financially attractive to the United States and his personal investments. Given this callous disregard both for these people and for religious freedom, those of us — at all points along the political spectrum — who truly believe in religious freedom need to do everything within our power to legally remove him from office as soon as possible.

“I think this whole notion that somehow we can just say no more Muslims, just ban a whole religion, goes against everything we stand for and believe in. I mean, religious freedom has been a very important part of our history and where we came from,”— Dick Cheney in a radio interview this Monday

If you do support Trump’s ban on individuals from these countries, I’d like to ask one simple thing of you: Take a moment to look yourself squarely in the eye and admit to yourself that you do not really believe in religious liberty. Nor do you consider the Statue of Liberty an appropriate symbol of freedom to represent the United States.



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Robert A Stribley

Robert A Stribley

Writer. Photographer. UXer. Creative Director. Interests: immigration, privacy, human rights, design. UX: Publicis Groupe. Teach: SVA. Aussie/American. He/him.