Another civil war is erupting within the one the Republican Party is currently embroiled in, so get your popcorn ready.
Moderate Republicans and conservative extremists are battling each other for the soul of the GOP but conservative “Christians” are fighting a war with each other over whether or not religious liberty only applies to Christians in this country or to everyone.
For years, conservatives have whined every time a group of American Muslims builds a mosque so that they can practice their own religion freely in their own house of worship. This hatred of Muslims often leads to threats of violence, vandalism, arson, and intimidation.
“I would like to know how in the world someone within the Southern Baptist Convention can support the defending of rights for Muslims to construct mosques in the United States when these people threaten our very way of existence as Christians and Americans?” Pastor John Wofford of Armorel Baptist Church in Arkansas said during a conference meeting earlier this month. “They are murdering Christians, beheading Christians, imprisoning Christians all over the world.”
Except that the Muslims he is talking about are but a handful of the 1.6 billion Muslims around the world, a great majority of whom reject terrorism and are just innocent peaceful people who want to practice their faith free from bigotry and intolerance like the rest of us.
Still, conservatives are still debating this for some reason even though the Constitution clearly applies religious freedom to all religions and to those who don’t practice any religion at all.
“Sometimes we have really hard decisions to make — this isn’t one of those things,” said Russell Moore, head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. “What it means to be a Baptist is to support soul freedom for everybody.”
Why? Because taking away rights from one religion opens the door for the government to slap restrictions on another. If the government can ban Muslims from building mosques, the government can just as easily ban Christians from building churches, especially if Muslims were to ever become the majority in Congress. After all, turnabout is fair play and people remember the wrongs done to them by others.
Surprisingly, Liberty Council’s Matt Staver, who represented bigoted anti-gay Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, also supports the religious freedom of Muslims in America.
Religious freedom is for all of us or it’s for none of us. If we want to pick and choose, what’s the standard? And if it’s only that might makes right, then that means it’s a political struggle and whoever is the ruling class at any particular time, they’re the ones that have their say.
Still, many conservative “Christians” believe religious liberty only applies to Christians and vehemently oppose tolerance and diversity in America, which is a major reason why many evangelicals are flocking to Donald Trump’s campaign. He has repeatedly proposed banning Muslims from entering the country and has signaled that he will shield conservative “Christians” who want to discriminate against gay people and people who practice other faiths or none at all.
The issue is clearly dividing conservatives one way or another, however, and it could split evangelicals just as much as the Republican Party is being split right now. And that can only be a good thing for Democrats and Hillary Clinton.
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