No, The Muslim Ban Isn’t About Safety

Safety.

To quote a wise man: “You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.”

Safety has been the mantra of those trying to justify the Executive Order banning Muslims from seven countries from entering the US; one that threw the international community into immediate panic, stranding terrified families throughout the country and leaving immigration officials with an instant, unprecedented crisis. While thousands of outraged Americans streamed into airports and around city halls all over our nation to oppose the ban, Trump’s vicious guard dog base made of largely white Christians, contended that the President was simply protecting the American people from the encroaching threat of what these folks like to call “radical Islam.” 

And it simply isn’t true. The safety of Americans is of little concern to these people, least of all those currently making these decisions. It’s certainly not anything this President gives a damn about.

If this was about keeping Americans safe from violent religious zealots, the President would have his sights on many of the very people most loudly applauding the Muslim Ban. He would be protecting us from angry, unstable white Christians with guns. 

Homicides here by Muslim-Americans amount to about one-third of one percent, and the number of murders by Muslim immigrants equals exactly zero. According to the CDC there were an estimated 33,804 homicides by handgun, and yet Trump and the GOP have repeatedly and defiantly opposed any efforts to limit gun proliferation or to make it more difficult for the mentally ill and those with criminal pasts to own guns. They have created a golden calf out of the 2nd Amendment and worshiped at its feet while ignoring the carnage all round them. Apparently, banning dangerous things doesn’t seen to be of any interest when it hits close to home. If the safety of Americans were a priority, they wouldn’t be targeting Muslim immigrants who come here seeking refuge, they would be urgently treating America’s massive, mortal self-inflicted wounds.

And if we’re really going to address dangerous religion, we American Christians need to look in the mirror and face the hard truth. To the rest of the world, Christianity is as violent a religion as there is, responsible for as much war and strife and oppression as any in History. And the amount of terrorism perpetrated in this country by white people in the name of Jesus is expansive and relentless. (Just ask the LGBTQ community, people of color, women, Muslims, and Atheists). And for every seemingly terrifying verse ripped from its context from the Koran used to strike fear into the hearts of pew sitters, I can show you five from the Bible that would strike the same fear into similarly uneducated masses looking for reason to be afraid. If we’re going to get into a battle of holy books, there’s enough ammo to go around.

And that’s the sad irony here. For the past few decades, the narrative lifted up by Conservative Evangelical leaders in American to their people, has been one of imminent danger; of an external threat that must be eliminated. Celebrity preachers and Republican lawmakers have consistently and loudly sounded the alarm that “radicalized Muslims” are streaming into our country to do us harm, while meanwhile the professed people of Jesus already here are the ones tearing the place apart, unloading bigotry on the marginalized, preaching hatred from their pulpits, infiltrating the political system, and shooting up elementary schools and shopping malls. It turns out we are the terrible thing we fear.

Never mind the fact that the very heart of Jesus’ message was sacrificial living, the laying down one’s life for one’s friends, and risking on behalf of those being marginalized. He preached of turning another cheek, loving one’s enemies, and not fearing those who would kill the body. Safety was the last thing he implored his followers to seek, so even if the danger was real Jesus would be calling his people straight into it for the sake of modeling love.

I wish this Muslim ban was about safety but it just isn’t. Federal Judge Ann M. Donnelly who issued an emergency stay of the ban knows it. Attorney General Sally Yates, fired by the President for refusing to defend it in court, knows it. President Obama, Senators Lindsey Graham, John McCain, and Chuck Schumer know it. The millions of Americans and people around the world protesting on social media and in the streets know it too. It isn’t about the threat of refugees, or about some inherent violence of the Muslim faith that manufactures terrorists.

And most of all, this is not about protecting the American people from actual danger. It is about a religion-fueled political machine gradually removing Muslims from this country and leveraging the narrative perpetuated by the white Church that Christians are under attack in order to ignite a shrinking political base. It is a cheap, incendiary tool to keep churches full and to stoke the fires of Nationalism—and it’s about as far from both the core of the Constitution and the heart of Jesus as you can get.

The idea that this is all about keeping us and our children safe is nonsense, and as an American and a Christian—I’m calling B.S. on all of it.

It’s not Muslims who make me afraid, it’s professed followers of Jesus who out of malice, bad theology, or willful ignorance, seem so driven and willing to do damage to strangers.

199 thoughts on “No, The Muslim Ban Isn’t About Safety

  1. Thanks, John. Once again you’ve articulately expressed what I have been saying over the past few days. We need protection from the danger within; the danger from outside is grossly exaggerated and our country has done an excellent job since 9/11 of protecting us from those threats. Fearmongering and zealous hatred have no role in the America I thought existed.

    • Trump is doing this only to see who his enemies are which is why it is being done without notice and on a temporary basis. This is a military move, a ploy to throw people off and elicit their honest responses. Then he can make a list of who he will target to take out of his path so he can gain more control over the nation. He’s playing a long game folks.

      • ..and that would include flushing out anyone in the white house he cannot trust. He’s looking for leaks. Some of you in the resistance need to go underground.

    • Yes. I agree. Scary.

      1) Red State vs. Blue State could fit this model.

      2) Banning prayer in schools; banning the ‘Stars and Bars’; banning White Student Unions ~ all cases of denying one group symbolism while allowing other ‘in groups’ their symbols.

      3) Calling people ‘Deplorables’ works. As does repeatedly calling everyone who opposes you ‘racists’, ‘misogynists’ and ‘bigots’ even when they are minorities, women and in mixed company.

      We can tack on people calling for the assassination of our elected officials who oppose their viewpoints, right? Just yesterday I counted four.

      4) Organized … gosh, do you want to start banning the ORGANIZED protests going on right now? Is that what you suggest, because this is what you are talking about ~ large groups gathering, hating one group ~ Trump supporters ~ and often being violent.

      In comparison, Trump supporters are far less violent and don’t make efforts to disrupt opposition rallies the way the opposition disrupts Trump and pro-Trump / pro-Right rallies.

      5) Polarization … is to laugh … care to talk about the talk on the Left about Hillary not being ‘left enough’ and how they should have run Bernie Sanders, who was much more a Leftist? Precisely what is the fate of Democrats who are willing to work with Trump? How are they greeted by their fellow Democrats? Death to the Moderates indeed.

      In contrast, while the Republicans fractured leading up to the election, they have started to reorganize to be more inclusive. The tolerate dissent in their own party much better than the Democrats do, that’s for sure.

      6) Beyond the cries of a few loons to kill President Trump, we aren’t quite at Step #6 yet. I’m sure people have already drawn up lists just not those lists haven’t circulated around to the hands of those who are truly capable of doing some damage.

      7) and 8) … no genocide so far.

      See, Ms. Williams-Rivera, this is how most ‘lists’ can be twisted to fit a given dialogue. Do I believe the Democrats, or other forces on the Left, are planning a genocide? No. I don’t think President Trump is planning a Muslim genocide either. The best example of this was the numerous, expected protests against the ‘Ban’. Notice the TSA didn’t freak out nor shut things down.

      See, what is lacking in this ‘Muslim Genocide’ scenario are the foot-soldiers willing to commit the atrocities. Who is going to do the killing?

      The same security apparatus which worked for President Obama for the past 8 years?

      Those people?

      They certainly didn’t take away our guns and install a UN-controlled puppet government, now did they?

      So, why would they indulge you in your Trump fantasies?

      They are not. They are your fellow citizens. They know their ethical obligations fairly well and know the difference between enforcing an unpopular law, or ordinance, and an unjust one.

      • James, I think that John is full of CRAP! I think he may even possibly be gay and a member of the LGBT community as he is always harping on how ill treated they are.

        Muslims in the Middle East for the most part, are crazy and dangerous people! In fact, there are 1.3 Muslims in the world with 300-400 million of them radcalized.

        I support the ban! Maybe if Muslims start shooting up people that John knows, he will finally get it. Why didn’t he criticized Obama and his administration for being the entity that selected the six countries due to the belief of an “imminent threat”?

        I think John is a very, very poor excuse of a Pastor! To always write up negative stuff about your President is cclearly against the entire chapter of Romans 13. When will he ever write about praying for his President? When will he write about respecting the authority of the office? Isn’t that what Roman 13 teaches?

        There’s no way that I could sit and listen to the liberal bullcrap coming from this Pastor! I could never be a part of his congregation.

        • You see that’s the beauty of true freedom of religion, you don’t have to listen or read this. Your problem is that you want all of us to believe your way, you want freedom but not for anyone else. Get over it we have the freedom to disagree and dissent, that is our duty as members of humanity.

        • wayne: good points.

          Regardless if JP is gay or not…doesnt matter. But FBI statistics show that Jews are victims of hate crimes more than LGBT are or Muslims.

          JP says, ‘Christians are known to be as violent as any other religion in history’ and ‘the amount of terrorism perpetrated in this country by white people in the Name of Jesus is expansive and relentless.’

          –good grief.

          • Leslie. Learn some American history and world history. John is totally right about Christianity “writ large” being responsible for all sorts of wars and killings in the name of God. If you are narrowly defining the word “Christian,” as you folks usually do, to mean Christian fundamentalists and Christian fundamentalists alone, then what John say is not true. You just have to define the context.

          • Leslie, please go away and take your lies with you. Your claim that Jews are the subject of more hate crimes than black people is unsubstantiated by any source I could find.

            • That’s not what she said.

              And you now have something to be happy about regarding Trump. He picked an Episcopalian for the Supreme Court. Congrats.

            • Your claim that Leslie M. said anything at all about black people is unsubstantiated by any source I could find.

              P.S. This, Ms. Amalfitano, is actually trolling. Something you should expect when you lecture someone for something they didn’t actually say.

        • I respect that “no way that I could sit and listen to the liberal bullcrap coming from this Pastor! I could never be a part of his congregation.”

          One begs the question: Then why are you here?

          • Excellent question. John P gets trolled a lot because he’s so good. The number of people following him seems to be growing; I see new names here all the time thanking him for what he says. But, where there is great love (and bear in mind that justice is what love looks like in public) there is also great hate. Unfortunate, but true.

            • Truth strikes a nerve and the guilty never fail to project their nastiness onto the truth teller. WE’RE the bigots for bringing up the subject, WE’RE misogynists because we point out the problem, WE hate America, the nuclear family, capitalism, the military, white middle class males, etc just for pointing out some of the problematic attitudes and beliefs within those entities. They do not walk on water and neither do we. We are all in this together but they are lazy and self satisfied and would prefer we remain silent and let the status quo stay comfortable in their ignorance of others’ misery and mistreatment. It’s our job to tell the unpleasant truths about modern evangelical Christianity and conservatism. If they don’t like it well that’s just too bad.

        • “James, I think that John is full of CRAP! I think he may even possibly be gay and a member of the LGBT community as he is always harping on how ill treated they are.”

          You would not say such a thing if you yourself were LGBTQ and had experienced the hatred and the loathing that we are subjected to on a daily basis.

    • @Danielle

      Yes, leftists are engaging in a serious campaign of dehumanization of anyone more conservative, and condoning violence against them. It is truly frightening.

    • Lone/Joe whoever you are. Believe it or not I am pained every time people pile on you. I am always the champion of the underdog. But you hide behind a mask, God, your church while you judge every one else. Something that God has told all of us not to do. He is the judge and some day you will have to explain to him why you do what you do – why you take God’s name in vain every time you scream your words.

      You keep calling everyone who doesn’t agree with muderers, killers, and on and on until it is white noise.

      You can not prove whether or not women of any religion including yours have had 1 or 20 abortions. You cannot prove that they haven’t either. It is not up to you either way.

      You certainly cannot prove that even Kelleyanne Conway hasn’t had 50 abortions. She does take money for lying and spreading falsehoods. But you excuse or dismiss any other sins for your idols.

      I like to think you are better than that. I guess you got on my last nerve today.

  2. People who claim to be Christians and who support Trump et al are going to be outraged by this but John P speaks the truth that those of us who are caring, compassionate, following Jesus, have said over and over and over.

    John P. speaks the truth.

      • I have worked with families enough in my life to know that I couldn’t possibly make decisions for them. You know nothing of the circumstances under which the decision is being made. Only the woman and those she chooses to advise her can make that decision. We say God gives us Free Will and thus we are responsible for the consequences of our decision. If you take away a woman’s free will, you are responsible for the results of the decision. Are you really so sure that you know everything about the circumstances, that you are willing to take the eternal consequences? I know enough to know, for me the answer is “no way”.

  3. In my post this morning (http://bit.ly/2kLDlH8) I explore the white Christian nation gambit, which might be white, but it surely is not Christian. It appears to be designed solely to consolidate power for those who already have it.

    The safety I’m looking for is from our violent citizen zealots, but more so from the Constitution destroying megalomaniac at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and his short sighted, self-serving. vigilantes. We are living in very dangerous times.

  4. Almost everyone in the world knows what the problems associated with immigration from Middle Eastern countries are. Europe is in the process of being “fundamentally transformed”, as former President Obama would have it. It’s not just a simple case of immigration either in that immigration is being used as a weapon to destroy Western culture. So, regardless of why it’s being done, the partial and temporary immigration ban is a good thing. Otherwise you will have open borders and you just might as well invite ISIS to stay at the White House (permanently). Anyway, that’s how Trump got elected in the first place – promising a ban on immigration and now he is delivering on that promise. As for Schumer, McCain and Graham, they are the face of the corruption in the political establishment that were rejected in this election. As for you, John, theology inevitably leads to bad politics. That’s why we have separation of Church and State. You should try and stick to your holy book. Doubt that will happen, though, as your true colors are now showing.

    • Dear chicagoja:

      I respectfully suggest that we have never had separation of Church and State, and that the ceaseless labors of American Renewal and Awake America and the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Institute on the Constitution and Pulpit Freedom Sunday stand in a long tradition which substantiate that. This is further supported by thousands of pastor blogs that stump for politically right causes and by countless sermons which do the same. It is supported by innumerable conversations in the narthex, fellowship hall and parking lot. Who knows how many ‘Christian’ partisan executives have been invited to speak and address partisan issues in pulpits?

      This tradition dates back to the revolutionary war, when one parson delivered a fiery patriotic sermon, the climax of which was to strip off his clerical robe revealing a soldier’s uniform, and then leading the men of the congregation to the battlefield.

      The church/state separation ‘false flag operation’ is waived not because the fascistic right does not conjoin church and state, but because John’s [failed in my opinion] neo-liberal, petty-bourgeois ideology does not conform to their own.

      Blessings!

      • Yup, separation of church-state isn’t pure (check the coins in your pocket or the phrase “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, which was added in the 1950s as a talisman to ward off the godless commies, these for examples of failure), but that doesn’t mean that it should not continually be pursued. Absent that pursuit we will at last have delivered just what the far right wants – a theocracy – exactly what our immigrant forebears sought to avoid. And what none of us should want, because theocracies do terrible things.

  5. Again, Thank you. You seem to take all the thoughts and feelings running around in my head and make them coherent. The fundies have taken a page out of the Puritan playbook, they came here for religious freedom and then became as bad as the people they fled from, demanding everyone worship their way. The fundies use religious freedom and the threat of someone taking it away to try to make this country a theocracy in their religious ideology and unless you are one of them beware. They came for the muslims, ………………………..then they came for me and no one was left.

  6. It’s interesting to note that, your opinions aside, your primary energy is an attack on John, plus sweeping generalizations, along with the assumption that you’re inside his head and know is motivations. You don’t Same for Wayne (above).

    To paraphrase Daniel Patrick Moynahan, you can have your own opinions but you may not have ad hominem attacks. Offer your opinions about what is going on based upon observable reality, not your projections and assumptions.

  7. Yes , It is about safety, There are several versions of muslums, some follow the 1st 5 books of the bible , others believe that they are rewarded for death and distruction in thier course to follow mahamad
    . Be careful not to be decieved by the false teachings. and the leadership of anti christ in the world.
    It is about not letting them take over the beliefs, and theologys of america.
    YOUR Free. as a muslum your not .
    Your women are free , and not slaves or ownership, As a muslum they are not.
    in america we allow you to believe or follow who or what you want .
    In muslum you cannot.
    Do Not Be Decieved by those who Dont Really Know whats going on.

  8. Dear The Lone Catholic:

    Does any serious, scientific analysis lie behind this?

    How would you react were theologians to a US equivalent Barman Declaration, or Kairos Document?

    Blessings!

  9. “… banning Muslims from seven countries …”

    You mean Syria, Libya, Yemen which were all destabilized under Obama’s watch so they are now a total mess and immigration verification is a huge problem? Somalia, Sudan and Iraq which have continued, for 8 years, to be problems which President Obama consistently failed to address? Or Iran, who admits to sponsoring terrorism in other countries?

    FYI, the ‘list of countries’ was drawn up by the Obama Administration, not by Trump.

    The ban doesn’t include five of the sixth largest Muslim countries on earth – the one included is #5 – Iran. So this ‘Ban’ doesn’t even include the majority of Muslims, or even a large minority. It includes a small minority actually … so its not a very effective ‘Muslim Ban’ if it is meant to ban ALL MUSLIMS from American shores.

    • Let’s get rid of the obfuscation:

      1. President Trump’s Muslim ban isn’t about President Obama. The campaign is over, so lose the effort to score campaign points by denigrating Obama.

      2. The “list of countries” drawn up by Obama was about the safety of Americans traveling abroad, not about refugees or travelers from those countries coming to America.

      3. While the list of countries doesn’t include any of the countries of origin of any known terrorists, Trump has promised to add more countries. Muslim countries.

      4. That the current country list doesn’t include a majority of all Muslims on Earth, the percent will grow (see point #3) and it will continue to be not a country-specific but a religion-specific ban. And it will continue to have a Christianity exclusion.,

      5. This is an attempt to create an anti-Constitutional ban on religion and the establishment of a national religion. Both are a First Amendment no-no.

      6. Facts are fun, right?

  10. “… Trump’s vicious guard dog base made of largely white Christians ,,,”

    As opposed to who? Asian Atheist base? This is a majority ethnic and religious groups are White and Christian so it sounds reasonable the majority of his supporters would be from the … majority. Let’s not forget it is the White Christian Women while we are at it, as Trump won that demographic in November.

    • Mr. Dosher, no one I know who truly adheres to the teachings of Jesus ever considered voting for the evil represented by Trump and the present GOP.

      And since only 25% of USians bothered to vote for him, I don’t think we can that he actually won The Christian Vote. He only got the votes of those he deluded into voting for him. Which is not the same was claiming all Christians voted for him, as some have hinted at here.

        • You may have to fill out your little form again. Next time you post, scroll down and see if it is asking you to fill in your name, e-mail address, etc. If there are blank spaces, then it is asking. Just fill in. I hope that helps.

          • Thank you. I did just now see that the form was blank. SI I tried filling it in and now I shall see if it worked or not. Thanks, Charles.

      • Most Christians did indeed vote for Trump.

        Most Christians are not so hard-hearted that they want babies to be killed by abortionists as do the “progressives” who are not Christians at all.

  11. “The safety of Americans is of little concern to these people, least of all those currently making these decisions. It’s certainly not anything this President gives a damn about.”

    I’m curious how Mr. Pavlovitz knows this to be true. Can he read the mind, or soul of the Trump cabinet and White House? I sincerely doubt he is a confidante of President Trump making the above statement utter nonsense.

    • Mr. Dosher, of course he can’t “read the mind or soul of the trump cabinet and White House.”
      They showed us and told us exactly what is in their minds and souls and do so daily.
      Check it out. It’s no secret.

  12. ” …”

    He blathers on a bit about the 2nd Amendment and the proliferation of guns and gun violence. By all means, if you don’t think guns are safe, don’t own one. If you don’t want to live in a place where your neighbors have guns, there are plenty of cities you can move to. There will still be gun violence, but that would be because criminals use guns … illegally.

    In the same way drunk drivers are using their, or someone else’s vehicle illegally while driving intoxicated. We tried banning alcohol once before and that didn’t work too well, now did it?

    John appears to miss the point about Radical Islam and gun violence. There are tons of reasons guns kill people ~ the leading things being suicide and criminal activity. Well, we try to stop suicides and we’ve already made criminal activity … criminal.

    The thing is there is this tiny group of people killing others for ONE SPECIFIC REASON ~ Allah.

    When they are taking lives, they aren’t saying “God Wills It!”, “for the love of Buddha!”, “Blood and Souls for my Lord Arioch”, or “Oh Jerusalem!” They are all following a specific ideology within a larger religious movement.

    Sure, it is a tiny amount of deaths, but it a case of clear cause and effect. Muslims are being radicalized and we have to either stop them from being radicalized, or stop the radicals from either coming here, or returning from another country after being radicalized.

    We Christians cannot stop them from being radicalized here. That is the job of American Muslims and American mosques to root out such poison.

  13. “And if we’re really going to address dangerous religion, we American Christians need to look in the mirror and face the hard truth. To the rest of the world, Christianity is as violent a religion as there is, responsible for as much war and strife and oppression as any in History. ”

    I’m putting on my Thinking Cap … the number of people alive today who are victims of Christian violence …
    … would be survivors of the Spanish Civil War which ended in the Spring of 1939 …
    … in Bosnia the war certainly had religious tones, but it was mostly an ethnic struggle which saw the Croatian Christian Catholics allying with the Muslim Bosniaks by the end against the Christian Orthodox Serbians …
    … living in Russia over the past decade and been in the LGBTQ community and victimized by hard-line, splinter groups of Russian Orthodox hate groups …

    History? Yeah, if you want to go back over a 100 years, European Christianity was pretty horrible.
    But, why stop there? Some of the greatest butchers in history have been Muslims, not Christian.
    More recently, butchery has been the providence of state-sponsored Marxist/National Socialist/Communist/Maoist thought, not Christianity.
    In the past three decades, Islam is back on top in sheer number of dead.
    But why should John let something as simple as the truth get in the way of a good yarn?

      • Abortion providers have murdered 50,000,000, but that’s no excuse to murder them in return, of course.

        Considering how many years there have been abortions, how many abortion providers there are and have been, and how many abortions there have been, it seems that being an abortionist is a very safe job.

        If the abortionist killers are coming from a particular country please appeal to the president to consider a travel ban and extreme vetting, otherwise how does it excuse letting dangerous people into our country?

  14. ” Celebrity preachers and Republican lawmakers have consistently and loudly sounded the alarm that “radicalized Muslims” are streaming into our country to do us harm, …”

    What? Did you miss the San Bernardino Shootings? The Boston Marathon Bombing?

    “… while meanwhile the professed people of Jesus already here are the ones tearing the place apart,…”

    No, Mr. Pavlovitz, you and your ilk are tearing this country apart by your bitter inability to accept the verdict of the last election. Just so we are clear.

    “… unloading bigotry on the marginalized, preaching hatred from their pulpits, infiltrating the political system, and shooting up elementary schools and shopping malls. It turns out we are the terrible thing we fear.”

    What? What pulpit sent shooters into an elementary school, or shopping mall? What Christian denomination was this?

    See, I can point to a sect of Islam which allows the murder of homosexuals, honor killings, child-brides, torture and murder as well as our old favorite, suicide-bombing as a means of achieving Eternal Salvation and Paradise. I am unaware of the Christian group which does this … because they would be hounded into extinction, ridiculed and reviled.

    • Did you miss the Oklahoma bombing? Sandy Hook? Oh,i t’s ok these atrocities were committed by white men who had access to weapons of mass destruction.

      • Not to mention the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, Columbine, Aurora, Mother Emmanuel..

        In 1993, Michael F. Griffin shot Dr. David Gunn to death during a protest.
        In 1994, Paul Jennings Hill shot Dr. John Britton and clinic escort James Barrett to death, also wounding Barrett’s wife June; John Salvi shot and killed two receptionists, Shannon Lowney and Lee Ann Nichols. Paul Hill would yell at the clinic “God hates murderers”.[3]
        Eric Robert Rudolph bombed the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta in protest of abortion, killing one person and wounding 111, and bombed several abortion clinics in 1997 and 1998, killing a security guard and critically injuring a nurse.
        In 1998, James Kopp shot a number of abortion providers, killing one, Dr. Barnett Slepian.
        In 2009, Scott Roeder shot and killed Dr. George Tiller. Tiller served as an usher at church; he had previously been a target in 1993, when he was shot by Shelley Shannon. The Army of God, an underground terrorist organization, has been responsible for a substantial amount of anti-abortion violence, including a number of the above murders.
        In 2015, Robert Lewis Dear, a 57 years-old Kentucky born, moved from South Carolina to North Carolina to Colorado where he opened fire on a Planned Parenthood facility, killing two civilians and a police officer. After a five-hour standoff Dear told the police “no more baby parts.”[4] Robert Lewis Dear has been found to be mentally incompetent to stand trial. [5]

        The Army of God (AOG)[7] is a loose network of individuals and groups connected by ideological affinity and the determination to use force to end abortion in the United States. Acts of anti-abortion violence increased in the mid-1990s culminating in a series of bombings by Eric Robert Rudolph, whose targets included two abortion clinics, a gay and lesbian night club, and the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Letters sent to newspapers claim responsibility for the bombing of the abortion clinics in the name of the Army of God.

        Aryan Nations (AN) is a white nationalist neo-Nazi organization founded in the 1970s by Richard Girnt Butler as an arm of the Christian Identity group known as the Church of Jesus Christ-Christian. As of December 2007 there were two main factions that claimed descent from Butler’s group. The Aryan Nations has been called a “terrorist threat” by the FBI,[8] and the RAND Corporation has called it the “first truly nationwide terrorist network” in the United States.[9]

        The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord (CSA) was a radical Christian Identity organization formed in 1971 in the small community of Elijah in southern Missouri, United States. One of its members, Richard Wayne Snell was responsible for the murder of a pawnshop owner and a Missouri state trooper. The CSA collapsed following an FBI and ATF siege in 1985.

        During reconstruction at the end of the civil war the original KKK used domestic terroristic methods against the Federal Government and against freed slaves. During the 20th century, leading up to the Civil Rights Movement, unrelated Ku Klux Klan (KKK) groups used threats, violence, arson, and murder to further their anti-Black, anti-Catholic, anti-Communist, anti-semitic, and white-supremacist agenda. Domestic terrorists with agendas similar to the KKK include neo-Nazis and white power skinheads.

        The Order, also known as the Brüder Schweigen or Silent Brotherhood, was an organization active in the United States between 1983 and 1984. The Order, a white nationalist revolutionary group, is probably best known for the 1984 murder of radio talk show host Alan Berg, but the group also carried out several bank and car robberies, three murders, and money counterfeiting until their leader, Robert Jay Mathews, was killed in a shootout with FBI agents on Whidbey Island, Washington, in December 1984.

        The Phineas Priesthood (Phineas Priests) is a Christian Identity movement that opposes interracial sex, the mixing of races, homosexuality, and abortion. It is also marked by its anti-Semitism, anti-multiculturalism, and opposition to taxation. It is not considered an organization because it is not led by a governing body, there are no gatherings, and there is no membership process. One becomes a Phineas Priest by simply adopting the beliefs of the Priesthood and acting upon those beliefs. Members of the Priesthood are often called terrorists for, among other things, planning to blow up FBI buildings, abortion clinic bombings, and bank robberies

        From 1978 to 1995, Harvard University graduate and former mathematics professor Theodore “Ted” Kaczynski – known by the codename “UNABOM” until his identification and arrest by the FBI – carried out a campaign of sending letterbombs to academics and various individuals particularly associated with modern technology. In 1996, his manifesto was published in The New York Times and The Washington Post,[20] under the threat of more attacks. The bomb campaign ended with his capture.

        The Centennial Olympic Park bombing was a terrorist bombing on July 27, 1996 in Atlanta, Georgia, United States during the 1996 Summer Olympics, the first of four committed by Eric Robert Rudolph, former explosives expert for the United States Army. Two people died, and 111 were injured

        On August 5, 2012, Wade Michael Page fatally shot six people and wounded four others in a mass shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Page was an American white supremacist and a United States Army veteran from Cudahy, Wisconsin. All of the dead were members of the Sikh faith.

  15. “It isn’t about the threat of refugees, or about some inherent violence of the Muslim faith that manufactures terrorists.”

    Oh, really now? ‘Inherent violence of the Muslim faith that manufactures terrorists’ … actually, that WOULD BE the problem. If Buddhists were doing this, we would have problems with Buddhism, but it doesn’t, so we don’t. The same with Hinduism, shamanism and Taoism. Their followers don’t have the nasty modern habit of blowing themselves up in crowds, attacking recruiting centers, or stealing big trucks and running over peaceful crowds of shoppers ~ Islam does so Islam is getting the negative attention.

    If it wasn’t for the VIOLENCE AGAINST CIVILIANS this wouldn’t be happening. Please don’t give me any crap about “but we strike their civilians”. They chose to fight an unconventional war in their homelands which puts their civilians on the front lines. That is their choice, not ours. Since they are murdering ass-hats, we chose not to let them get away with it when they hide among those innocent civilians. This does not make our civilians fair game. No, it DOES NOT because we are NOT HIDING BEHIND OUR CITIZENS.

  16. “It is a cheap, incendiary tool to keep churches full and to stoke the fires of Nationalism—and it’s about as far from both the core of the Constitution and the heart of Jesus as you can get.”

    Their churches are already full, John, and not because of Islamic radicalism. Liberal churches are the ones which are failing.

    Nationalism was stoked by 8 years of failed foreign policy and a frustration among the Working Class. They could go either Right, or Left. The Left had this bad habit of insulting them at every turn and denigrated them for 8 years, so they turned Right. They don’t want part-time work, or to be employed below their capabilities. They want jobs they can be proud of. On a fundamental level, that ties in with Nationalism ~ pride in oneself, one’s accomplishments and one’s Nation and its place in the World.

    The Left totally blew it this time around.

    • Ok, this is really annoying… I have been to Gravatar, I have updated my information but it is still coming up as Anonymous. I have no idea what to do to correct this but I am Gloriamarie Amalfitano

      Mr. Dosher, you are posting so frequently today that I would hazard a guess that John P. hit a really big nerve with you.

      This is NOT abotu safety. It is about Trump’s ego. That is the man’s #1 concern.

  17. “The idea that this is all about keeping us and our children safe is nonsense, and as an American and a Christian—I’m calling B.S. on all of it.”

    And no Stormtroopers of the Establishment are going to break down your door and punish you for your views … because this remains a Free Country, Mr. Pavlovitz.

  18. “It’s not Muslims who make me afraid, it’s professed followers of Jesus who out of malice, bad theology, or willful ignorance, seem so driven and willing to do damage to strangers.”

    And I get the feeling if a person showed up on your doorstep dressed as a fully decked-out KKK Klansman you would gladly smile and embrace him.

    No. Actually, you would freak the f**k out. Because you know the KKK can be dangerous. They aren’t dangerous right now, but they have been in the past and have shown no signs of abandoning their hateful rhetoric.

    We need look no further than Germany and Sweden to see how unchecked immigration can lead to nation-wide chaos and the rise of the violent Right. I certainly don’t want KKK to gain traction (and no, it hasn’t under Trump).

    See, if one immigrant in a thousand commits a rape, it doesn’t matter that the other 999 are trying to fit in. Now the are all seen as potential rapists and treated as such. It is the ugliness of public perception; reality be damned.

    A few small, harsh steps now could save us some truly horrific calamities later. And ‘yes’, it panders to the base. So does the protesting, btw.

    • James Dosher. thank you. many cogent thoughts. Clear, potent. convincing. It takes 9 positives to undo 1 negative. I think we’re almost there. :-).

  19. It would crack me up if it weren’t so serious….the people on the right who think they know anything about Islam. They know rumors, they know fear-mongering. That’s all they know. Just like there are over 46,000 denominations of Christians, there are many sects of Islam. Christians interpret their holy book in many different ways. So do Muslims. Some Christians are radical extremists but most are peaceful. It is the same with the over one billion Muslims in the world. Right wingers would have you believe that all one billion Muslims are ‘out to get us’ and ‘hate us’. Nothing could be farther from the truth. ISIS has killed more Muslims than anyone else! The chances of an American being killed by a refugee in America are less than being hit by lightning. But the Trump administration, Bannon, and etc., have an agenda that requires that they convince as many people as possible to rely on them for protection from these made-up enemies to keep them in power. They even want us to get all our news from them. They took over Voice of America. They tell the Free Press to ‘shut up’. They threaten freedom of the Internet. They are much, much more dangerous than any terrorists. The fascist wolf is at our doorstep.

    • Try reading the Koran, the Hadith, and the Sira. All Muslim sects adhere to the Trilogy. Otherwise, they cannot call them selves Muslim. Islam is all about Mohammad. Not much about their Allah god, –who cannot be in a relationship with humans.

      • Just as most Christians don’t take their holy book literally, neither do most Muslims. Christians don’t generally go around stoning people and most of them believe divorce is ok, even though Jesus preached against it as just two examples. They still consider themselves faithful Christians. If other Christians don’t, that’s their problem. People evolve in their beliefs.

        The Muslims I know personally, and have worked with, am friends with, don’t believe in ‘killing infidels’ or ‘cutting off the heads of gay people’. They still consider themselves faithful Muslims. If other Muslims don’t, that’s their problem. People evolve in their beliefs. Perhaps you should go and meet and talk with some actual Muslims of various types, Conservative, Moderate, Liberal. Peace

          • Those numbers are total nonsense. There are only about 360 million Americans. In order for the odds of one getting killed by an illegal immigrant to be 1 in 11 billion, it would only happen once every 30 years. I can think of three off the top of my head from last year alone.

        • John Pavlovitz, the above comment was made by me, Siddigfan. I forgot to put my email address in so it came up as anonymous. 😀

      • It is not called the Koran any longer. Just like we don’t call Beijing Peking anymore or Mumbai Bombay.

        Please take your bigotry and go away.

  20. As Pogo said all those years ago, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” Within our borders, we commit vastly more violence among ourselves than the citizens of any foreign power commit on us. Look at gun death rates in other countries, then look at our own. We make war on other countries, yet sit safely in our homes, protected by the world’s most powerful military.

    What are we afraid of? The fever-dreams of the man who is President, who tells us to fear Mexican rapists and Moslem terrorists, so we need to build a wall to keep out Mexicans and ban Moslem travelers–even those who are here with green cards? We are better, more rational people than that, no matter what our leadership says.

    • I hope we are better than this administration. After reading some of these comments I wonder. There is so much hatred around. I am an old lady and I thought things had gotten better but now….well, not so sure. The ignorance is amazing. The movement to destroy public education is certainly working. People seem to glory in their ignorance. Amazing.

      • Kathleen, this is Gloriamarie Amalfitano writing, not Anonymous despite what Gravatar says.

        I read your words and {{{{{{{{{{{{Kathleen}}}}}}}}}} my heart goes out to you. I wept with joy during Obama’s first acceptance speech because I thought “At long last, my country has grown up.”

        Alas, that joy was short-lived because all the bigots, racists, white supremacists started coming out and revealing that there is still a deep deep deep hatred of non-white people in this country.

        It is heart-breaking that one of the most qualified people every elected to the Presidency has been followed by what will turn out to be the least qualified person ever to hold that office. It is heart-breaking that the first black President is followed by one of the most overtly racist Presidents we’ve ever had.

        • I agree with you one hundred percent. I have strived all my life, 75 years to be exact, to treat everyone by their deeds and words and nothing else. I thought that the country was with me in that regard. I have always known that there were pockets of bigotry, but not what we have seen in the last few months. Everything that my husband and I have advocated for, in the church and outside, is being dismantled by hateful, greedy bigots. It is really hard to wrap your head around. I am so missing our last president.

          • I miss him too. I like having a President who is conversant with the Constitution and doesn’t fire people for simply doing their jobs when he does something illegal.

            • You lose much credibility when you make posts like this. Did you lie or are you simply ignorant?

              You don’t have to agree with Trump’s directive, but it wasn’t illegal. The woman in the Justice Department was grandstanding for political and personal gain. What she did was wrong and unethical. It was her job to support the law.

              • Facts actually are facts, no matter how much you might want to call them lies. The Hart-Celler act of 1965 (look it up) eliminated the per-country quota system, and country of origin could no longer be considered in immigration policy. The ban is illegal, and the then-attorney general was right in not being willing to defend it.

                (And here I am wasting my time again.)

                • Michelle Murrain, yes, you are wasting your time because Anonymous is a troll. Please do yourself a favor and delete as soon as you see a troll’s name or pseudonym.

              • Anonymous – what a funny argument you stated. Hillary got vilified for defending a rapist which she was ordered to do by a judge.
                It happened 40 years ago.

                So really it is not a matter of doing your job or not doing your job. It is just that you are not a Republican.

                Republicans have kept alive their attacks on both Clinton’s characters for 20 years with ongoing “committees” costing over 800 million dollars last time I looked.

                But don’t use any of Trump’s indiscretions because that is picking on Trump.

                Republicans were never going to let Hillary do anything even if she won. They told us this. Chaffetz had years of “committee work” planned. They were not going to let her pick a Supreme Court Judge.

          • It’s not possible to disagree with the liberal policies of a black president without being a “bigot” or “racist”?

            What about when disagreeing with a white politician who advocates the same unacceptable liberal policies?

  21. I am not a religious person, but I enjoy reading John’s blog because I like to read what compassionate people (for the most part) are thinking.

    I get that we all do not agree on every issue. For example, some are against abortion; I am for a woman’s right to choose. At the end of the day, we’re probably not going to changes each other’s minds, and, well, that’s o.k.

    But perhaps one thing we can all agree on is the freedom to practice, or not practice, our respective religions. Progressives, Evangelicals, Catholics – I’m with you, when the topic is treating people with compassion, even though I am none of the above.

    When the government starts the slippery slope of discriminating for or against specific religions*, I believe we should stand together. Because once this line is crossed, no faith tradition is safe.**

    * I’d prefer to not get into a debate on semantics, but I think the following motivations are what people are so worrying:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-approves-extreme-vetting-of-refugees-promises-priority-for-christians/2017/01/27/007021a2-e4c7-11e6-a547-5fb9411d332c_story.html?tid=a_inl&utm_term=.c758dab0efad

    ** From Jordain Carney, The Hill:

    …other Republicans aren’t so sure. Rep. Ileana Ros Lehtinen (R-Fla.) is criticizing the orders, warning that they might not be as short-term as Trump has said.

    “I worry this temporary ban may become a permanent ban,” she told CNN Monday “People will say, ‘Gee, we’ve had these 90 days, these 120 days, and we’ve been kept safe, so let’s keep it up.’ When in fact that ban and prohibition would have nothing to do with keeping us safe.”

    • Well said, Friendly Guy. The worries are well-founded. In the words of my Lord, “Judge not lest you yourself be judged.” People who judge are gonna get judged and that is a simple fact promised us by one many of us profess to follow.

      BTW, this is Gloriamarie Amalfitano posting, not Anonymous. All of a sudden Gravatar dropped my avatar and my name and nothing I know how to do fixes it.

      Does anyone have any idea? I can’t figure out how to get Gravatar to help. Unless I report myself for abuse. LOL Maybe that would work.

  22. Dear John Pavolitz:

    You might have asked how many millions the American Reich is prepared to sacrifice in war and/or nuclear holocaust. You might have discussed the class interests of which these policies are but a manifestation.

    Blessings!

      • gdd, I knew it was you due to the “blessings.” This has happened to me several times. I am Gloriamarie yet no matter what I do my posts are coming as though written by Anonymous. How were you able to fix it?

        • Dear Gloriamarie Amalfitano:

          In my case, it was a matter of typing my ‘user name’ [gdd] into the ‘Name’ input line. I didn’t get my Discus icon, so I’m adding my email with this post. Hopefully, I’ll get the red circle with the cross and CSM [Christian Socialist Movement]. If it doesn’t work, I’ll try my other email addy. If it does work, you’ll know how I ‘got it’ back.

          Blessings!

          PS: Thank you so much for sharing your experience with me the other day. You have, I believe, posted your story earlier, but I generally do the ‘page down’ and pick up what catches my eye. But I search for replies to my own posts, of course.

          It takes courage to be vulnerable, and I applaud your determination to do so.

          Again — Blessings!

    • There are people in authority and who would like to be in authority that would have no problem with slaughtering billions for their own advancement and power. They are known as psychopaths and now we have one in the White House. It was only a matter of time I guess.

  23. DOJ Legal Counsel already approved the temporary travel ban with respect to form & legality.

    Not everyone is displeased.

    Quinnipiac University Poll (Jan ’17) found that 48% (vs 42%) of voters support ‘suspending immigration from terror prone regions, even if it means turning away refugees from those regions.’

    Politico/Harvard Chan School of Public Health poll (Dec ’16) found that 50% of Americans favor ‘banning future immigration from regions where there are active terrorist groups.’

    Mr Olivia, 32, gay, of Staten Island says, ‘Oh my God, I am so happy. I was deeply affected by the Pulse nightclub shooting, –it could’ve been me.’

    Mr Bower, 35, Seattle, says, “It’s not irrational, and people are worried.. My step-sister’s husband took the last train out of lower Manhattan that morning. Sept 11. ”

    Mr Murray, 52, Boston, says, “I’m ecstatic. The Tsarnaev brothers repaid our kindness of refugee status by traveling out of the country for jihad training.”

    Will JP show the same compassion on these Americans?

    • These examples were not from the countries that are now banned. Get your facts right if you want someone to listen to you. You are blaming a whole region and religion for the crimes of a few. They came from Saudi Arabia to bomb the world trade center and they are not part of the ban because our greedy leader does business with them. So if you want to argue that this ban is good get your facts right. If you do you won’t have an argument because there isn’t a good one for it.

      • There is no blaming. Just looking at countries where chaos is stemming from, and terrorist training grounds.

        Will you have compassion on Americans that have concerns about Islamists?

        • Dear leslie m.:

          The most destabilizing factor in world politics is the US greenback. The most consistently terror supporting country on the planet is the Benighted States of Amnesia.

          If any other nation interfered with our business the way we do with others’ business, if any other nation sponsored insurrection movements, staged coups, interfered with elections, assassinated elected heads of state, established puppet regimes, initiated clandestine invasions of foreign nations, currency attacks and other international misdemeanors, the ruling Reichadistration [Republican or Democrat] would screaming bloody murder and bomb it to oblivion.

          I sincerely hope that some of the foreign readers who reacted strongly to John’s previous ‘Dear World’ post find this one. I would feel better if the world knew that at least one or two of our 320 million people are not totally oblivious to what we do, and that if far too few in number, at least a few American voices protest in the strongest possible terms against the blatantly committed crimes of war against humanity and against peace to which the world has been subjugated for the past quarter century by our successive quasi-legal Reichadistrations.

          Blessings!

  24. John P.’s blog posts have officially reached the level of parody. They literally could be taken as satirical caricatures of the absolute insanity and dishonesty of the far left. The only reason I occasionally visit the blog nowadays is for entertainment value, yet it would be more funny if it weren’t so sad.

    People like John P. are entitled to bury their heads in the sand of the leftist echo chamber and freely share their opinions, but I wish they’d stop doing it under the thin guise of Christianity. John P. is no more a “Christian pastor” than Trump’s executive orders are a “Muslim ban,” but radical dishonesty is what we’ve come to expect from this blog after all.

    • Jon. –that Christian Pastor John Pavolvitz says that ‘white Christians are guilty of relentless & expansive terrorism’ in our own country…there are no words to describe the inanity.

    • Dear Jon:

      Class antagonisms between your [bourgeois] position and that of Pavlovitz’ petty-bourgeois line are real. But to position John Pavlovitz as ‘the far left’ has no more merit than your criticisms of J. Pavlovitz. Evidence is no further off than a look at the work of the International Committee of the Fourth International.

      Donald Trump epitomizes the degenerate profligacy and decaying putridity of a ruling class which can no longer tolerate the leprous form of democratic rule which for continuous decades it has ravaged and robbed. His particular fascistic odor was acquired not in the stinking beer halls of Munich or vermin-infested trenches of the first Great War, but in the real estate market of New York City. Sooner rather than later, Mr. Trump’s absurd posturing as a defender of the ‘forgotten man’ will collapse into mass attacks on the civilian position.

      I neither request nor expect your agreement; but thank-you for the opportunity to show readers that Mr. Pavlovitz is a far cry from a far left position.

      Blessings!

      • Dear The Lone Catholic:

        Hypothetical narrative utilized to generate a sense of ’emergency’ to distract attention from policies which generate refugees and immigrants, and to consolidate political control by creating an ‘us/them/ identity. This is necessary in the inability of the failed Trump Presidency to generate even one solution to any standing social crisis.

        Blessings!

        • Gloriamarie:

          Will you follow John Pavlovitz suggestions for his blog?…
          –‘All are welcome here at the table’
          –‘True diversity matters’
          –‘No one has cornered the market on truth’
          –‘Regardless of your moral condition, you are welcome at the table’
          –‘We don’t try to change people’
          –‘Here we wrestle with different questions’
          –‘This is a place for all sides to be seen & heard’

          are w

          • lol…..yet another – Anthony Weiner moment…. “I would bust that tight p**** so hard and so often that you would leak and limp for a week” …..

    • Breathing our contaminated air, drinking contaminated water and pesticide food is killing us faster than terrorists! Look at the cancer rate….they use terrorism to sidetrack us from screaming about the obvious.

      • Dear marlene good:

        Thank you for this. The presiding regime has zero commitment to ‘protect’ the population from ‘threats.’ The entire ‘terrorist’ narrative is a political attack to divide and disorient the proletariat [working people].

        Blessings!

  25. Pingback: Actions Against Muslim Ban | odd little rants

  26. Thank you John for your words. Wow John does your head hurt? I see all the judges banging the gavel down who judge John to be judgmental and wrong, wrong, wrong are in full force today.

    Those of you praising Trump’s action are of course happy. You voted for him. You wanted change. You praise his intellect in how he does such wonderful things with the most heartfelt compassion and love for every American. He only thinks of saving this country and all it’s citizens, from all evil. He has filled his cabinet with excellent people who are very smart because of how rich and powerful they are. They are so rich and powerful they cannot be bought and only have good will towards those less fortunate. Trump has been in business forever and made a lot of money and is the greatest negotiator ever.

    The only thing I am an authority on is my life and what I have lived and seen.

    I see a man who lies so often I can not believe anything he says because I have taken him literally. I see a showman, a bully, a braggart, a man who mocks everyone, a man who has consistently throughout his whole life’s graded women by their face and body who brags about his sexual exploits and many other things I do not associate with being a good man. He has said he doesn’t do hardly anything wrong ever and if he does he does not bring God into it, he takes care of it himself. He does not apologize or show humility.

    Now about being an excellent businessman and negotiator. I worked with a Construction Union for decades. My bosses were both Labor and Management. I have seen many negotiations. There was never a period of smack talk like you see before a major prize fight. When both sides sat at the table words on the record were king. One word in a contract left out or in the wrong order could cost money, a lot of money to either sides.

    A good negotiation is when both sides are equally unhappy. Trump always is the WINNER!

    Contractors I worked with avoided lawsuits. They usually hired the same sub-contractors because they knew their work. When bidding a prevailing rate job (taxpayer money) the history of your company is supposed to be scrutinized carefully.

    Maybe a contractor who bids on jobs that are billions of dollars has more freedom than those like I worked with who bid on million dollar jobs. Logically you wouldn’t think so but I could be very wrong.

    I see a man who is smoke and mirrors. When you see clips of him at a deposition for one of his numerous lawsuits, he doesn’t seem clear on the contracts he signs his name to. He says he hasn’t read whatever the questions are about. Why would you waste your time and everyone else’s time on a contract that you signed your name to but have no idea what is in that contract. Depositions are usually not surprise quizes and yet he looks befuddled and confused for such a brilliant man. So is everything for show?

    Even some Republicans – on TV anyway – say this travel ban or whatever we are allowed to call it was not handled very well. To me this was either just like a CEO who sits in his ivory tower, who has no clue how his company works, or how his edict will affect everyone below him. The US is a big ship and has millions of more pieces than Trumps companies and is much slower to turn.

    So I feel either he doesn’t care to know how many layers are affected when he issues an order, or he does know and does things in a way to create the most chaos. Granted this big ship needs some fine tuning but it sure would be reassuring to me to have a steady hand on the wheel making those turns without the bells and whistles.

    • Bravo!! I would add that the chaos is a cover for something else he’s doing that is probably worse, but we have our eyes on this and he will get away with it. It becomes more obvious every day that he thinks he was elected dictator not president. We had better be watching everything his pudgy little hands do.

    • Dear Joanne Musto:

      Trump and his associated criminals [of both parties] do not arise out of nowhere.

      For a quarter century, the American ruling class has waged a desperate battle to reverse its economic decline through military force — in the Balkans, North Africa, Middle East and Central Asia. Fifteen years of war now metastasize into an ever greater conflagration with greater competitors.

      This will lead to a new world war. The importance of preventing this cannot be overemphasized.

      Blessings!

  27. The Ban Is Not About National Security

    https://sojo.net/articles/ban-not-about-national-security

    By Jim Wallis 01-31-2017

    Donald Trump’s executive order that bars U.S. entry of all refugees as well as all citizens (with very limited exceptions) of seven Muslim-majority nations is not only a political mistake — it violates essential religious commitments from many of our faith traditions. How we treat “the stranger” or “the other” is central to our faith and, indeed, in our Scriptures is seen as a test of our faith.

    For Christians, in the 25th chapter of Matthew, Jesus makes clear that how we treat “the stranger” is how we treat him. That’s what the Gospel text says. And the “stranger” means immigrants and refugees — the citizens of other nations living and traveling among us. Therefore, this is a faith issue for us as Christians. Donald Trump’s executive order on “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” is in conflict with our Christian faith, and we will oppose it as a matter of faith.

    Congregations around the United States have been taking in refugees for many years, including from Syria and the other six nations singled out. Faith communities have not been taking in and helping refugees from these nations in spite of the presence of conflict and terrorism there; they are taking these fellow human beings in precisely because they are fleeing unstable and unsafe situations. Yet Trump’s executive order — which prevents ALL refugees from being admitted for at least the next 120 days — means that faith communities who are willing and eager to receive refugees will not be able to. Thus, Trump’s refugee ban will result in the direct obstruction of compassionate Christian refugee work in this country at least in the short term — and there is no guarantee that after the 120 days have elapsed, Trump will lift the refugee ban. Many refugee families who have gone through the already rigorous vetting process (which can take up to two years) and were so close to their new home have now had the rug pulled from under them and face a very uncertain future.

    Let’s be clear: President Trump’s executive order is not about security; it is about ideology.

    All of us want and value security. But these refugees have already been thoroughly vetted. They are mostly women and children who have had to flee situations of violent conflict — for their very lives. They are in danger; they are not a danger. They are refugees fleeing from violence, not the agents of violence toward us. The world’s experts on refugees around the globe clearly contradict what the ideologues of the new White House are saying.

    A rigorous analysis of the last 40 years conducted by the libertarian Cato Institute found that the chance of an American being killed by a terrorist who entered the country as a refugee is an astonishingly low one in 3.6 billion. For context, one is many times more likely to be struck by lightning or shot by a toddler. The Trump administration in the text of the executive order used 9/11 as a big part of its justification — but almost all of the hijackers came in on tourist visas and almost all came from Saudi Arabia, which was notably not included in the seven banned countries. In other words, this executive order would not have prevented 9/11, nor would it have prevented any of the recent acts of terrorism (like San Bernardino) that have been cited as justification.

    This is a political policy, not a rational one. This is a cruel policy aimed at refugee families in great need and danger; not a protective policy for American families. This is a payback policy aimed at satisfying a political base that has become hostile and hateful to refugees and immigrants. This is a dangerous policy that is already alienating our partners around the world, will be used by our enemies to recruit against us, and will make us less safe.

    This is also a policy aimed at a religion: The seven nations cited are Muslim-majority nations. Furthermore, the executive order directs the government to prioritize admittance of refugees (both as possible exceptions to the current ban and to get special treatment when and if the refugee ban is lifted) who suffer “religious persecution” and belong to “minority religions” in their countries. This amounts to showing preferential treatment for Christian refugees over Muslim refugees, which President Trump admitted to a Christian broadcaster. Giving special treatment to Christians fleeing violence over Muslims doing the same is both religiously offensive — to many of us who are Christian — and contrary to America’s best and constitutional values.

    This policy is also aimed at race: The Muslims being banned by this order are primarily people of color; and their targeting is directly related to the white nationalist ideology that has now taken up office in the White House, which is a great danger to America’s future. The use of religion and race for political purposes undermines the United States’ fundamental commitment to being a pluralist and democratic society.

    Religious leaders who supported Donald Trump must now speak up against anti-religious policies or they will be guilty of religious hypocrisy and tying their religion to the power of the state.

    Christian leaders who supported Donald Trump must speak up as Christians against policies that attack “the strangers” for their religion and their race.

    Christian leaders who supported Donald Trump should also stand in opposition to Donald Trump’s recent re-embracing of torture — which is contrary to Christian values and principles. Torture is anti-Christian, most Christians believe that, and all of us must now say that again.

    The good news is that intense but nonviolent protests at airports and public squares broke out all over the country this past weekend in opposition to the executive order — including tens of thousands of people outside the White House, in Boston, and in New York City’s Battery Park overlooking the Statue of Liberty. Exercising the right to peacefully assemble will be asked of us many times in the weeks, months, and years ahead, and we must rise to the occasion, remain engaged, and keep witnessing to our faith and values when they are targeted by this government.

    Whether it’s the banning of refugees, the targeting of another religion, the subtle or direct appeals to racism, or the endorsement of torture, it is time to speak truth to power. Religious leaders must speak up against these moral choices of our new president. There is more than politics at stake here; at stake is the integrity of our faith and the future of our country.

    Jim Wallis
    Jim Wallis is president of Sojourners. His book, America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America, is available now. Follow Jim on Twitter @JimWallis.

  28. My feelings on this subject are mixed. No one was more angry at the Arab-Islamic world than I was after 9/11. I actually wrote a letter to Dick Cheney asking him to do what the Romans used to do—crucify an Islamic Arab on a cross every 100 feet along the road between the Saudi Arabia border and Baghdad. I still carry some small measure of that mutually held American anger and do not feel that the Arab- Islamic world has “paid enough” in justice for the crimes their people committed on September 11, 2001. Another 2,000,000 or 3,000,000 Arab-Islamic deaths would probably do the trick. Trump will probably take care of that for all Americans without my input.

    But seriously, here are my mixed feelings now:

    1) I do not want to kick out American citizens with an Arab-Islamic or Farsi-Islamic background. However, with that said, I do not trust the ones who are here any farther than I can spit. Being Islamic does not mean you are or ever will be a terrorist. However, if they have anything like a Wahhabi education in Islam, as far as I am concerned, they are already 80 percent down the road to radicalization—and all they need is the right set of events and the right match to strike before they go “whacko” and shoot or bomb something. I have actually seen the Wahhabi educational materials that are used in the elementary schools of our Saudi Arabian friends—and I was quite frankly shocked at what they contain. It was stuff like “Death to the Christian infidels” and “Death to the Jewish infidels” Blah. Blah. Blah.

    2) A close friend of mine, who grew up in India where there is great enmity between Hindu people and Islamic people, told me long before Islamic terrorism and 9/11 visited our shores that his experience growing up and seeing it first-hand convinced him that Islam is a religion suffused with horrible violence. I resisted that for many years—but I have seen enough from 9/11, groups like ISIS, and dads who throw acid on their teen daughter’s faces—to finally understand that my friend was correct. This is not to say that all followers of Islam are that way. It is to say that they seem to be—as a group—easily prone to seeing 7th century violence as the first and best solution to any social or religious problem—even domestic household problems. Furthermore, I have concluded to my own satisfaction that Islamic culture is barbaric at best—and the “true” fundamentalist believers are indeed barbarians of the worst order. I am no longer shocked by anything they do.

    3) We have the First Amendment in the U.S. Constitution, and it gives religious freedom to all Americans and all people who visit our shores from foreign countries. In all fairness, we have to abide by that. Islamic Americans are free to worship as they please, build mosques, and freely exercise their religion. As an American citizen, I have to support and defend their rights to do this—as long as they are peaceful about it and not threatening anyone.

    4) I am in favor of Syrian and other foreign Islamic refugees coming here to live, because in several different places, the Bible instructs us to welcome strangers and especially suffering strangers who need the love and care we can provide. Many are not aware of this, but the primary U.S. emphasis in settling Syrian refugees here is oriented towards families, particularly women and children. So, we are not looking at a vast influx of young men who fit the Islamic terrorist archetype. The European refugee experience teaches that joblessness is a key factor in radicalization. So, we need to make sure any male refugees we do take in can get jobs sufficient to support their families long-term.

    5) If I were a betting person, I would say that the ultimate goal of the Trump regime right now is to do the following:

    (A) Start the Islam ban with the current seven countries.

    (B) Expand the Islam ban to immigrants and visitors from ALL predominantly Islamic nations—even places like Indonesia—and make the ban permanent throughout his regime.

    (C) Encourage current Islamic visitors, Islamic students, and Islamic American citizens to leave the United States, go back to whatever nation birthed them or their ancestors, and never come back again. That would have to be done in a subtle way that would not run afoul of the First Amendment. I am not saying that I support this—only that I think this is where Trump is headed ultimately.

    6) American Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals hate Islamic people primarily because of their religion and only secondarily as a result of terrorism. Why? Anything and anyone that denies the divinity of Jesus Christ must be opposed as Anti-Christ, meaning the Islamic religion and the followers of Islam. They are enemies of God, and as we all know from world history, “the enemies of God must be destroyed.” This is how Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals are just like Islamic terrorists in their own right. Moreover, they both have legalistic religions and are convinced that the most popular and saleable religions are legalistic religions. As an old pastor once said: “There is just something about human flesh that craves a religious law so it can measure itself and glory in itself.” I think he was right. Christian fundamentalism, conservative evangelicalism, and Islam are all evangelical religions—and they see each other as competitors in a life and death spiritual struggle. People like Leslie and Declan do not want Islamic peoples coming here because they fear that the American people will find legalistic Islam appealing and run to it—and when that happens —the fundies will wake up one morning with swords to their necks because Islam has become the numerically predominant American religion. If Islamic immigrants can be kept out of the United States and the Islamic peoples we already have here can be convinced to go home—or be deported– -Christian fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism will remain safe and still have the possibility of turning the United States into a fundie theocracy that they—and they alone—will one day rule in the Name of Jesus. Then we will all find out that they are just as bad as the Taliban and ISIS. Americans who are not fundies will die in such a theocracy because that is what theocracies do. See Iran.

    • What all the fundies keep forgetting is that Muslims have been here for generations. I had friends in school in the 40’s and 50’s guess what they were american born Muslims. We need to guard the separation of church and state for everyone because the only religion they will accept in a theocracy is their own. Like I said earlier, not unlike the Puritans who killed people who wouldn’t take an oath to their brand of christianity. We need to vigilant because that is their goal. I am a follower of Jesus Christ and I would not be accepted by the fundies, so where does that leave everyone else.

      • Well, I have been fighting the fundies for 18 years, and the only thing I ever learned from them is these three things:

        A) Everyone is a sinner—point with index finger—except for them. (They are too, but they do not like to admit it because it takes the edge off their “heard it a million times already spiel”:

        Fundie: “Have you heard about Jesus?”

        Target: “Nope. Never have. Does he live in Cleveland?”

        (Note: The target actually reads his Bible regularly, has already been saved and baptized five different times at his SBC church, later attended a Presbyterian Church, and later a United Methodist Church. He loves messing with the minds of street preaching students at Bob Jones University—and wins every discussion—leaving the fundies totally confused and dumbfounded.

        2) Everyone is either in Hell now or is Going to Hell—except the fundie speaking to you and their fundie friends. Frank Sinatra is in Hell. George Washington is in Hell. Mother Teresa is in Hell. All the Popes but two are in Hell.

        3) The Holy Spirit is lazy. This is why fundies cannot save you with just one presentation. They say: “Well, I guess the Holy Spirit was not active in me today.” What? Did He have to go out for a cup of coffee. Is He taking a nap? Does He have an overdue library book? This is why fundies have to approach one person 7 million different times. The Holy Spirit was not active the previous 6, 999,999 times—but maybe the 7,000,000th time will be the lucky day when He has nothing else to do. For those of you who are LGBTQ, and it seems as if your favorite fundie is harassing you every other minute with the gospel message of salvation, they are just hoping that the Holy Spirit has finished his coffee, nap, or library return—and finally ready to work—for you. Nothing happened at 4:55 p.m.—but maybe clobbering you with the gospel at 5:13 p,m will be the charm that takes you off to Heaven. They fundies never stop to consider that the Holy Spirit may not be working for them because they have been given zero gifts for evangelism and the holy Spirit wants them to be using other gifts that they have been given. Only in fundie churches is everyone required to be an evangelist, regardless of whether they have any God-given gifts for doing it.

        • “Fundie: Have you heard about Jesus?
          Target: Nope. Never have. Does he live in Cleveland?”

          “The Holy Spirit is lazy. This is why fundies cannot save you with just one presentation. They say: “Well, I guess the Holy Spirit was not active in me today.” What? Did He have to go out for a cup of coffee. Is He taking a nap? Does He have an overdue library book? ”

          LOL! Nailed it. They repeat the same tired old crap everyone has heard a thousand and one times. Do they think we all lived our lives in a cave on Mars and just landed here or what? What the hell is their thought process like anyway? Sheesh. Their message will continue to fall on deaf ears until they learn to treat the “unsaved” like human beings with some life experience, education, and working brain cells.

  29. This is probably my last comment on this blog. First, John, I appreciate what you are doing, and what you are saying, and I hope you keep doing what you are doing. I so appreciate Christians who are willing to stand up and be the kind of Christians that would have made sense to Jesus.

    I’m leaving because I just can’t keep engaging in this dialogue. Why? Because we basically are speaking completely different languages – and we can’t understand each other. And I get triggered too easily, and speak in ways that aren’t as kind and compassionate as I really want to be.

    In my life, my opinions have been swayed by conversations that have two essential components: 1) the sense that I was heard, and that my experiences, and the experiences of people like me are acknowledged, taken in, and that someone has walked in my shoes for a while. And 2) evidence and facts.

    I have had a very long (actually over the course of years) and wonderful conversation with an evangelical friend of mine about abortion. It didn’t actually change either of our basic positions about abortion, but it did change how I thought about the issue, and it moved me to think a lot about what it takes to actually reduce the numbers of abortions, which is something I hadn’t thought much about before our conversations. And I think it softened his stance somewhat, as he understood the issues more deeply from the perspective of the lived experience of women. He realized it wasn’t the government’s job to deal with this. And it was a conversation full of love and respect for one another, and actually we became better friends because of that conversation. But that has never happened here. Maybe it’s because it’s not in person (although frankly, my friend would have *never* written the kind of comments some of you write.) But maybe it’s really because some of you are simply trolls, and here not to engage in a real conversation, but just to agitate and uselessly provoke.

    I won’t define what’s necessary for those of you who support Trump and what he is doing – I’ll let you define that for yourselves, because I can’t really understand it. But I do know that science, facts and evidence seem not to really matter to you, nor do you seem to have any interest in walking in the shoes of some people (whether it be women, african-americans, refugees, etc.) Nor does the example of Jesus (or the Bible) seem to matter much either. And since there can’t be conversations full of respect, love and compassion, I realize I’m wasting my time.

    • You insult all the Trump supporters and then say you want “respectful” conversations full of “love”?

      You took a couple of very cheap parting shots that were not respectful or loving.

      Adios, amiga.

      Don’t let the proverbial door hit you…

      • Anonymous (why won’t you say who you are?) I actually didn’t mean to make cheap shots. I should have said, instead of “But I know that science…” “My perspective is that science…” I was speaking of my perspective, and I forgot to make that clear in that paragraph.

          • I am considering doing the same thing Michelle. I have had similar experiences with conservative friends re: respectful conversations so I know exactly what you mean. Michelle, you have contributed some great comments here both encouraging and helpful.

            I agree, I think the trolls are discouraging because their sole purpose is to agitate others, spread chaos, bad feelings and misinformation, And to top it off they turn around and blame you for any little way you mis-speak or swear or make a grammatical error. There is no end to it. Tolls have time on their hands and a pre-disposition to pick on people.

            If the blog was moderated to deal with trolls perhaps it would be different but unfortunately too many people have stopped commenting and conversing, instead most left here are contradicting each other in a futile manner. Not all but much of it is tiresome.

            The upside is there are people out there in our communities who need our engagement so that is where we can best shine our light.

            Be blessed, sister, and I personally look forward to seeing a comment from you again sometime in the future.

              • I have friends who have different perspectives, different beliefs and different preferences. So no matter what anyone thinks, between you and me, that makes you wrong.

                Anyone can be a troll it doesn’t matter what you political persuasion or religion is.

                • Can someone be a troll if they go around and tickle others, spread good cheer, warm fuzzies and bedtime stories ?

                  I’m craving a bowl of cereal 😀

            • Faith, Michelle Murrain, A, no, John P doesn’t moderate this blog.

              Here’s what to do about trolls: ignore them, do not engage them. Inform people they are dealing with a troll and if they continue to engage with the troll, ignore them too.

              Another hallmark of a troll is the accusation that people such as us identify anyone who disagrees with us as a troll. That is a self-serving lie the trolls tell because it allows the troll a rationale for a failure to take responsibility for their vitriol.

              It’s a form of gaslighting. Ignore them.

        • Michelle Murrain, Anonymous is a troll.

          It was obvious that you were speaking your opinion. If someone chooses to misunderstand you, you are not responsible for their failure to ask questions and get facts before hurling accusations at you. That’s another way to identify a troll.

    • I pretty much agree with you. The people you call trolls are not here to provoke. They are here to disrupt the blog conversations in hopes it will be so irritating that people will abandon John P.’s blog. That is not going to happen except for a few people like yourself. One of theses days they will see how hopeless their mission is, shake the dust off their boots as a testament against John P., and leave. Basically, the trolls work for Satan and do not know their anuses from a whole in the ground. Almost everyone here knows that.

    • Michelle Murrain, you wrote “I’m leaving because I just can’t keep engaging in this dialogue. Why? Because we basically are speaking completely different languages – and we can’t understand each other. And I get triggered too easily, and speak in ways that aren’t as kind and compassionate as I really want to be.”

      Thank you for that honesty and openness. I too am triggered easily and speak in words different from what I believe is true of myself.

      My solution is simple. I don’t read the trolls. Some of the people here who disagree with John P. are here with a sincere desire to converse, dialog, and learn from others. I welcome conversations with people like that, who quote honest facts and figures and speak in a respectful and validating manner to all.

      ” But maybe it’s really because some of you are simply trolls, and here not to engage in a real conversation, but just to agitate and uselessly provoke.” Sadly, this is also true of the large majority of those who disagree with John P. They are readily identified by the insults, lies, name-calling, single issue obsessions, etc. I have my own personal troll who insults me every time I post.

      Such people are not interested in conversation, dialog, and a desire to understand others. They clutter this blog with their egos, psuedonyms, and vitriol. I ignore them except to tell them to take their hate and leave.

      I encourage you to remain and engage with those of us who are not trolls, who want honest conversation based on actual evidences, true facts, and no lies.

      • Thanks, Gloriamarie. I don’t really know at this point. I feel like on one hand, all I wish that the people who are here disagreeing could say something like: “You know what? I’m scared. I’m scared about my future, and I’m scared about what I’m seeing.” I wish they could be vulnerable, in the way that a lot of us are willing to be vulnerable.

        We’re all scared, and fear is what fueled Trump’s rise, and fear is why some people think the Muslim ban is a good idea. And some people know that people can be manipulated by fear. But you can’t be manipulated if you acknowledge your fears and talk about them.

        As I’ve said multiple times, human beings all want the same things. The disagreement is not about those things, but about who gets to have those things. And if John, and most of us here say “everyone gets to have those things, no matter what – that’s what Jesus taught,” and other people point at some of us and say, “you don’t get to have all of those things because you are (not a Christian, not orthodox enough, not a citizen, aren’t working hard enough, not a man, not straight, not white, etc.)” then how is a conversation possible?

        And it seems impossible to have a conversation on this blog that can get somewhere because of way that those people who disagree with John choose to interact here. And I might like to think that ignoring the trolls is going to do the trick, but the problem is human nature. The reason trolling works is that it triggers us into fight or flight mode, and we aren’t actually using our full brains, so we respond to them. And they can keep disrupting the conversation.

        • Michelle Murrain, you write with compassion and wisdom.

          I think your point about fear is very well-made. My own personal troll is clearly a fear-filled person. This person attacks me because I have the audacity to say that I am poor and in need. It’s hard for me to understand why making such a statement, admitting my poverty and my need, would cause such resentment. Perhaps it is because this person is also in some sort of need and is afraid to ask for it to be assuaged because of past experiences.

          “And if John, and most of us here say “everyone gets to have those things, no matter what – that’s what Jesus taught,” and other people point at some of us and say, “you don’t get to have all of those things because you are (not a Christian, not orthodox enough, not a citizen, aren’t working hard enough, not a man, not straight, not white, etc.)” then how is a conversation possible?”

          This point is also very well-made. I’ve been musing recently on the concept that Jesus didn’t come to make us Christians. He came to make us better people. His commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves didn’t come with a list of exceptions, footnotes or appendices that let us off the hook about seeking to love everyone in the world.

          I fail to understand why certain Christians cling to Leviticus when Jesus gives us the Beatitudes.

          “The reason trolling works is that it triggers us into fight or flight mode, and we aren’t actually using our full brains, so we respond to them. And they can keep disrupting the conversation.”

          I must disagree with you here. In my opinion, you are giving the trolls the power to trigger you. In my opinion, you are allowing them to dominate you. In my opinion, there is a very simple way to avoid this and that is not to read them.

          They may never go away because they enjoy the ego strokes they get when people engage them. But those of us who have identified the trolls, can be an example to others and ignore them.

          I am thinking of ignoring someone who is clearly always in agreement with John P yet chooses to use the language of trolls. I don’t care for name-calling and I realize saying some are trolls is a form of name-calling and I wish I could figure out how to discuss their existence without the label but I fear I am not clever enough.

          Today the Compassion Reading Group takes off. Perhaos you would enjoy that. It is not intended to be onerous as there will be but one one question or task a day. Please join us.
          https://www.facebook.com/groups/1625117557792102/

        • “you don’t get to have all of those things because you are (not a Christian, not orthodox enough, not a citizen, aren’t working hard enough, not a man, not straight, not white, etc.)” then how is a conversation possible?

          It isn’t possible. You can’t talk to them. You can’t have a conversation with them. “It’s more than not speaking the same language”. Your right, it’s much much more. You’re talking about people who hate your guts because you care about people they hate. They hate your guts because you advocate for the people they hate. They hate your guts if you fall into a category of the people they hate. They hate your guts because you are smarter than them. They hate your guts because you don’t agree with them. They hate your guts because you challenge them. They are a disgusting and despicable bunch that would kill us if they got the chance. These people worship Mars the God of War and Thanatos the God of Death. They project that belief onto the Savior and hope and pray He’ll kill all their enemies (real and imagined, mostly imagined) when He returns. They don’t deserve the time of day. Don’t argue with them just tell them the truth. That’s all we can do. The truth pissed me off for a long time. I don’t know what caused me to finally see the lies and hate but I’m eternally grateful to Whoever that I did.

  30. Michelle, I’m coming with you. This has turned into verses from the bible being thrown at each other in pure hatred. Waste of time. The best to you.

  31. Pingback: No, The Muslim Ban Isn’t About Safety – FairAndUNbalanced.com

  32. Of course, if truth were a primary concern of yours, Mr. Pavlovitz, you would mention that a group composing one-eighth of our population is responsible for half of the murders in this country (and for some violent crimes, the disparity is much worse). Of course, since this group is a leftist victim-group, you will never call them out on being over five times as murderous as the rest of the population. Nope, you will never say a word critical of black Americans.

    But by all means, continue dumping on white Christians and preening about how “bold” and “honest” you are.

        • Gloriamarie is one of the meanest and most hateful people I’ve encountered on the internet.

          But somehow if you don’t buy into her religion of political correctness, you’re a troll and you’re the one who is “hateful.”

          Liberal Land is an upside-down world.

  33. and the number of murders by Muslim immigrants equals exactly zero.

    Cease your lies, Pavlovitz, lest it become clear you are speaking the language of your father.

  34. I don’t understand the christian hate for Muslim people. Didn’t Paul say, I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might win others to the faith. I am confident in my belief in Jesus and none can shake my belief, but it does not mean I need to be fearful of those who believe differently, especially if they have a belief in the God of Abraham. We gave common ground with Muslims in that regard.

    • I don’t understand that Christian hate for Muslims either, Kathy, for the simple reason that they, like Jews, worship the same God as CHristians, but in a different manner, as do Jews.

      “Allah” is no more of a name of a god than is “God.” Allah is the Arabic word for God. Arabic Christians also say “Allah Akbar” just as Muslims do and all they both say is “God is great.” I, as a Christian, also affirm God is great.

      I am convinced Muslims and Christians have more in common than otherwise.

      I am also convinced that so-called Muslim terrorists are not Muslims. Just as I am convinced that white supremacists or the people who murdered Matthew Shephard or bomb abortion clinics are not Christians.

      Terrorists are terrorists, whether they are prefaced with Christian or Muslims. White supremacists, those who murdered Matthew Shephard, those who bomb abortion clinics all have much more in common with each other, ISIS, Taliban, Al Qaeda, Bib Laden, then they have with Christianity or Islam.

      • I wholeheartedly agree. It’s nice to hear someone else say what I have been saying for 50+ years. Thank you, now if we can just change a few minds every day along the way, wouldn’t that be great. I explained to my grandson that it’s like when everyone gets an assignment, they don’t all do it the same, they might read different books to get the answer but in the end they are all looking to get it right. No one way is a given because all people are not alike with the same experiences.

        • Kathleen,

          Anyone on the extreme right of any religion, political party, nation, etc has more in common with everyone on the extreme right of anything then they have with the group with which they claim to be a member.

          I have been saying this for DECADES. Extreme right Christians have more in common with ISIS than with Christianity.

          The issue is mindset, way of thinking, and very probably, a form of mental illness. Such is my opinion.

              • The comment about patently obvious was written by me. Drat the way my name and email address no longer automatically fill-in and I have to remember to check.

                Still if that is the worst inconvenience… … LOL

          • I agree with your way of thinking. My husband and I spent 40 years in the church fighting the right wing and they darn near killed my husband who was a pastor. So it is great when you realize everyone isn’t like them. Thanks,

            • Kathleen, I am so sorry to read this. It is truly terrible when a commitment to prejudice is stronger than one’s commitment to Jesus.

                • I knew that.
                  The right come into a church, cause a split and then when they have control, they can’t get along, so another split until you don’t recognize that church anymore. They are good at sowing hate and discontent but not so good with the love and tolerance. But we are retired now and we call ourselves followers of Jesus Christ because the christian word has been so sullied with hate. Anyway we will continue to love everyone no matter. I will admit I struggle with the self righteous right but I am working on that.

                  • Yeah, I really hate how self-righteous those rightwingers are especially the ones that call themselves “Christians”. Its like they cast all the blame for their own failings on other people but never think to look inside and wonder if maybe theyre doing something wrong. I don’t think Ive once heard one of those rightwingers admit to being a sinner himself. They just call everyone else that.

                  • I dislike calling myself a Christian because I do not wish to be mistaken for the kind you describe.

                    I do so hope there was some joy in that 40 years and not all hideousness.

                    • Of course there was joy, there were a lot of wonderful decent people on our journey. And I believe we helped a lot of them. The pettiness and judgement of the those who felt it had to be their way or the highway just made it more of a challenge. God never said it would be easy. I just wish that instead of judging my heart and mind they would look at their own. None of us measure up and we are all in this together. For all that we had a wonderful time, a lot of the time, with most of the people. We neither of us regret. We have tried to live by our beliefs and that is to love all Gods creatures, even the most unlovable.

              • On what evidence do you assert that his congregation was prejudiced? You’ve heard almost none of the story, have you? And you’ve heard only one side.

                Why, it’s almost like you’re judging a bunch of people before you have sufficient information. If we only had a word for that kind of mindset. Judging people prematurely . . . what could we call that?

            • Doncha know those horrible right-wing protestants routinely drag insufficiently racist pastors out behind the church and give them a beatin’ within an inch of their sissy lives. That’s right before they go out and attack the blacks with no provocation whatsoever.

  35. Donald Trump’s gospel is not the Gospel of Jesus

    Fr. Peter Daly | Feb. 2, 2017 Parish Diary

    What are U.S. Catholics going to do with Donald Trump?
    We have to deal with him because he is president of the United States. He occupies what Theodore Roosevelt referred to as the “bully pulpit,” a position of legal and moral authority.

    In calling it the “bully pulpit” Roosevelt did not mean the president could be a bully to others. In the speaking parlance of the early 20th century, “bully” simply meant “good” or “great.” The presidency is a good pulpit from which to address the nation and world.

    What does Donald Trump teach and preach by his words and actions? Trump’s behavior is the antithesis of the Gospel. He teaches so many things contrary to the Christian way of life. He is a “scandal” in the literal sense of the word; that is, a stumbling block. He impedes our own proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ.

    We teach our children not to be bullies. He is a bully. We teach our children to tell the truth. He openly lies and repeats those lies with greater and greater insistence, until they become truth in his own mind. For example, “Obama was born in Kenya.”

    We teach our children to be kind and respectful of others. He open mocks the disabled and belittles his opponents, e.g., “Little Marco” for Sen. Marco Rubio and “Lying Ted” for Sen. Ted Cruz.

    We teach our children to be generous with the poor and the needy. He is selfish in the extreme and gives little or nothing to charity.

    We teach our children not to be prejudiced on the basis of race or ethnicity or looks. He ranks women by their looks. He speaks with open racism. He stereotypes Latinos and African-Americans. Remember his remarks about Judge Gonzalo Curiel. Remember his characterizations of African-American culture and living conditions.

    Jesus began his public ministry with a proclamation of the need for repentance, that is, “re-thinking” our lives. Trump has said he isn’t sure that he has ever asked God for forgiveness.

    In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus called on us to repent as he began his ministry. Immediately afterward, he gave us the Beatitudes. In those eight couplets, Jesus gave us the formula for Christian life.

    “Blessed are the poor in spirit, theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

    Generally we take this to mean we should be “detached” from worldly goods. We don’t have to dwell in poverty, but we don’t measure the value of life or people by their wealth. Trump brags about his wealth. He lives ostentatiously. He sees such enormous wealth as perfectly OK, even laudatory. He does not think he needs to contribute even the socially required minimum to the commonweal, the common good, by paying his taxes. He ignores the needs of the poor.

    “Blessed are they who mourn for they shall be comforted.”

    Jesus meant for his followers to be empathetic, sharing in the joys and sufferings of others. If we want to be comforted by others we must mourn with them in their sorrow.

    Empathy is a part of the Christian life. Donald Trump mocks people for their looks and handicaps. He mocks those who are empathetic. When Jeb Bush said immigrants come here out of love for their families whom they support, Trump mocked him.

    Narcissism is the antithesis of one who mourns with others. Narcissism is a preoccupation with self. You cannot share in the sorrow of others because you are only focused on yourself. Only you count. Trump is a textbook narcissist. He is so busy bragging about himself and the size of his crowds, so busy obsessing over every slight, that he cannot mourn with others.

    Jesus also said “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”

    When we think of “meekness” Donald Trump does not spring to mind. Meekness is an aspect of the virtue of humility. It is the quality of deferring to others and being open to learning from others. Humility means not arrogant, but teachable. Meekness requires that we admit when we are wrong. Meek people are not puffed up with themselves.

    “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice or righteousness, for they will be satisfied.”

    Justice or righteousness in the Scriptures was a right relationship with God and others. It was being zadok, righteous like St. Joseph. It means we should humbly seek to conform our lives to God’s commandments and not our own will.

    At a minimum, it means that we should treat others fairly and keep our commitments. A man who cheated his contractors and repeatedly evades his creditors in bankruptcy is not righteous. A man who defrauds people enrolled in his so-called “university” by taking money and not delivering training is not zadok.

    A righteous man is more than just doing the minimum. He goes beyond justice to mercy. He upholds the widow and the orphan and defends the alien and the stranger.

    “Blessed are the merciful,” says Jesus, “for they shall be shown mercy.”

    Can a man who advocates torture and extreme interrogation techniques be considered merciful? Can a man who advocates beating up people at his rallies be called merciful?

    “Blessed are the pure of heart, or the clean of heart, for they shall see God.”

    Everyone struggles with this, to be clean of heart. Lust and greed cloud our judgment and become competing “deities.”

    But a man who admits to and brags about groping women cannot be called pure of heart. A man who objectifies women, by assigning “numbers,” is not pure of heart.

    What does he worship? Physical beauty and superficial attributes? He owned the Miss Universe pageant. Such a superficial and degrading view of women is not pure of heart.

    Can we imagine Mother Teresa or Dorothy Day in a beauty contest? What number would Trump assign to Mother Teresa? What does he see when he looks at virtue and goodness?

    Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”

    Can a man who would deliberately target the civilian families of terrorists, in violation of the law of war, be called a peacemaker? Can a man who is so thin-skinned, that every slight, every disrespect, every implied insult, must be answered by a full frontal Twitter storm be called a peacemaker? How does he make peace with others?

    He never apologizes. He never backs down or lets up. He does not do what peacemakers must do: listen. He does not see the other side’s point of view. He does not credit his opponent with good will.

    He sees every opponent as someone to be shouted down or roughed up. He is not a peacemaker.

    Finally, Jesus says, “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you and speak ill of you for my sake, for your reward will be great in heaven.”

    In other words, we don’t have to win every argument and answer every insult. We don’t live for the praise of others. We live for the approbation of God. Him alone do we seek to please. When we are insulted, we should offer it up and let it go. Jesus tells us to love our enemies and pray for our persecutors.

    Repentance is not an option for a Christian. It is the essential beginning of our Christian life. Every follower of Jesus must at some point repent.

    The gospel Trump is preaching absolutely contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We who stand in the real pulpit should be willing to say so.

    [Fr. Peter Daly is the pastor of St. John Vianney parish in Prince Frederick, Md.]

    https://www.ncronline.org/blogs/parish-diary/donald-trumps-gospel-not-gospel-jesus

    • Sadly, you’ll be able to dig up left-leaning Catholic priests who don’t mind preaching their politics. These types are also often in rebellion against Church teaching.

      This post does not represent the Catholic Church or any legitimate Catholic organization.

      • Of course. Then we have the priest who used an aborted fetus, you know the very ones they scream to have such compassion for, as a prop for a sermon. There is the one who is said to have posted a meme telling all Trump haters to jump off a building. There is the one who told his parishioners if they voted for Obama they didn’t deserve to receive Communion. You can just feel the love.

        • When I was in seminary, there were those fellow students who actually believed that Roman Catholic Eucharist was eating an actual baby.

          Can’t make that kind of thing up, that level of ignorance and clinging to alternative facts is mind-boggling.

          The thing is, people commit to ignorance, lies, misinformation. They give their hearts to it in such a way that truth has no chance to shine in their minds.

          Yes, the Holy Spirit weeps as she attempts to illumine closed minds and soften hard hearts.

          I’ve been long convinced at least one Anonymous is Benny/Joe/Lone. The writing styles are too nastily similar.

        • Lone Joe I do not know how to link anything as I am computer challenged. The name is Rev. Philip Pizzo of New York. The one from 2008 was Rev. Jay Scott Newman.

          On a later post you spoke of persuading with love which by the way Is the first time I have heard you say the word love so much in regards to your faith.

          So to me every time you scream at everyone who does not agree with you, when you call them murderers and sinners you blaspheme. That is NOT persuading with love. That is hateful and cruel. I do not call you names because you disagree with me.

          You blasphene every time you call them murderers when they have not murdered anyone. They just disagree with you. People have a right to their own faith. I know your faith teaches you that you hold the only key and it is good you have such faith. But I have heard many others who believe that of their own faith too. So to me logically there is more than one key out there.

  36. Oh Gloriamarie, thank you for posting those words. They are, to me, truly Christian words and values. They also sound like the same words many of us here have posted over and over again only to be mocked, arrogantly dismissed and ridiculed.

    The words of SisterJoan Chittister, a Catholic nun, who speaks of the true meaning of Pro-Life also reminds me of what has been repeated here only to be with the same response.

    • {{{{{{{{{{{Joanne}}}}}}}}}}} You are welcome.

      The National Catholic Reporter has been a voice of sanity as long as I have known of it. I think it is important that we see that the Roman Catholic Church is not a monolithic church that speaks with only one voice for all Catholics, but there are a variety of voices. Some are filled with hatred, that is true. But there are a great many voices filled with love.

      Sadly, the hate-filled voices are the loudest, most frequently heard, and the shrillest so we tend to remember those voices.

      As for Sr Joan Chittister, I love her. She also speaks a prophetic voice.

  37. Thanks for writing this John, it was important and needed to be said. It’s concerning the amount of fear we have to that which is “other” and different. I actually wrote a blog post today on ways we can practically respond to Trump’s refugee ban and I mentioned the fact that zero terrorist attacks in our country have been linked to a refugee, especially a Syrian one. I received some heat for it, but it’s important to stand up against injustice. http://www.saritahartz.com/5-practical-ways-to-respond-to-trumps-refugee-ban/

  38. Who are the real terrorists amongst us?

    In 2014, the FBI released a report titled: “A Study of Active Shooter Incidents in the States from 2000 to 2013” https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/office-of-partner-engagement/active-shooter-incidents/a-study-of-active-shooter-incidents-in-the-u.s.-2000-2013 …It gives us a Snapshot of only 160 shootings across America (there were many, many more) at schools, universities, malls, businesses, governmental buildings, etc. All shooters were American citizens…Ironically, out of the 160 shooters identified, only 4 were identified as having “Muslim-like” names…The vast majority of shooters had Anglo-Saxon, American names who were of the “white” race…and, of course, our corporate-controlled mass media and the NRA continues to promote the illusion that ISIL Muslim extremists are the real killers coming into our country( the strategy here is to “pump up” the war machine and military spending that was already at 54% of discretionary spending in 2015 alone https://www.nationalpriorities.org/campaigns/military-spending-united-states/ )…Total denial of the real facts about mass shootings across America is doing a disservice to all of us…The report gives us the name and age of the shooter. It also describes each incident regarding how many were killed and injured by gunfire by each individual shooter, as well as the types of weapons used in the shooting…and we don’t have a national epidemic in America when it comes to guns? The NRA talking points are simply strategized to sell more weapons while innocent American families get killed in the process…Only 3% of those “good guys with a gun” are ever successful…

    “Good Guy With a Gun” video true facts:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCI4bUk4vuM#t=12

    47 page 2014 FBI Report pdf file: https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/office-of-partner-engagement/active-shooter-incidents/a-study-of-active-shooter-incidents-in-the-u.s.-2000-2013

  39. This is not about Muslim or others , It is about lies, deceit, and mandated oppression by their religion. , YOU have to stand firm against the lies of the devil , you have to take a stand against others imposing their way on YOU . If you don’t you will surely pay. as a whole country.
    Abuse, Slavery, tyrony , just to name a few , YOU LOSE YOUR Freedom.

  40. It is chocked full of stupidity and errors. It is, in fact, progs who have worked so diligently to bring in unvetted muslims.
    It is progs who have worked to stop all profiling , tracking, surveillance, and investigations. It is progs who have fought to give muslims, even ones with ties to the “Brotherhood” seats in the FBI and HS.
    And just exactly where are all these “unstable” Christians anyway? When is the last time one of them has made the news for any reason.
    As usual reality has been put on it’;s head because any fool can easily prove that Christians are almost invariably the victims in situations of nut job violence.
    Because actual Christians are acutely aware that they GOD commands they never do such things. (duh!)

    This quote is even more ignorant than the OP.:
    #1 As most of the anti-Christian fools , the author has no freaking idea who or what a Christian is.
    HINT: now try and grasp this, Christianity is not islam or buddhism where you can claim it and it is instantly a fact. ONLY 5% to 10% of those who call themselves ‘Christians” are actually those who have obeyed the Bible and done what it takes to be an actual born again believer. Hence a small percentage of those who say they are Christians actually are.
    NO ONE is a Christian because of where they are born, what their name it, because they have attended church, or because they say so.
    So indicting Christians, or Christianity, for the acts of slime who appropriate the name is a lazy dishonest fraud that is, and has always been done by PROGRESSIVES and their ilk.
    Liars who are looking for an easy (mostly passive) target who won’t give them back what they deserve.
    This is precisely the same sort of blackhearted evil perpetrated against the Jews by the same class of people.

    islam (try and pay attention here) *islam* (not all muslims) is evil. It is the polar opposite of Christianity. people imagine that would be satanism, but even satanism believes in free will. Islam does not. Islam has accounted for more deaths than communism and Nazism combined. Nothing by massive plagues of history out do it in bringing death and misery. islam is the source of the vast majority of slavery in human history since it’s advent.
    islam has literally nothing in it actual honest record to recommend it as any sort of benefit to humanity. Where it is employed the lives and wellbeing, and education, and human advancement slow or stop. As it is liberalized or removed humans again become creative and free.

    ONLY those utterly ignorant of history (ior deluded by the liars for islam) could possible imagine it has any redemptive value. the liars for islam use the same tactics as the USSR did in it’s heyday claiming in bold lies , to have been the source of all manner of human advancements. ALL totally disproved by honest historians and experts. And ALL ignored by the simpering apologists for this demonic cult. who still today has an estimated 4 MILLION ppl held as slaves all over the world.

    The liars of the left try (in their ignorance) to accuse Christians of Old Testament tactics and beliefs while refusing to look at the over 100 times the koran advocates murder and violence against anyone who opposes islam.
    They of course fail to show any such message in Christian teachings as that is anathema to the entire life and teachings of CHRIST.

    This authors ignorance is of the charts. What an intellectual coward he is. He seems to have confused his feelings about “moderate’ or leftist non-believing muslims and the reality of the serious islam.

    Lastly (and I will only touch on this) I must make the point that the MAJORITY of muslims in America support shariah. Now I have heard that some liberals actually claim shariah is a fantasy, or over blown, etc. That is just too stupid to imagine.
    The simple and easily proved fact (if one has any intellectual integrity) is that shariah and the words, and principles, of the US Constitution and our Bill of Rights or, without question, MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE.
    NO “yeah buts’ , no “maybes”, no arguments.
    They are are oil and water, slavery vs freedom, life and death.
    And only an abject idiot or degenerate liar would suggest otherwise.
    And BTW – I speak as one who has been in their nations, mosques and have friends of this ‘faith’. I have a friend that was captured young and forced into Hamas. And I have and have actually rad the koran and the surahs and have numerous books on islam.
    I face the facts and reality and don’t live in the delusions of those who elevate their wishful thinking to some imaginary reality.

    “Liberalism is predicated on two things:
    The denial or ignorance of history, and
    the denial or ignorance of human nature.” – JMG

  41. I wonder if the author even has a clue as to what it’s like in a Muslim country, or if he’s ever even traveled in Europe since the refugees started moving in. I was in Paris and Brussels quite recently, and it is a common common site to see soldiers in uniform walking the streets in groups of four, carrying assault weapons. People who live in the City of Calais have suffered greatly and experienced tremendous turmoil, strife, disruption, loss and hurt as a result of the refugees. Yes, we are called to love others, but we are also called to be wise as serpents and to have discernment. People say America has changed under Trump and it’s not the same as it was before, but if we don’t secure our borders, then America will change to what it’s like in Europe, and our children and grandchildren will be living in a society where the military walking the streets is a common site because it will simply not be a safe place. Wanting our country to be safe IS NOT A SIN. In fact, it is and should be one of the greatest priorities of our President. To mock him, bash him and paint him with ulterior motives when only God knows his heart is anything but Christlike. Try to envision how you would feel if the FBI knocked on your door and told you that you were on an ISIS hit list. That happened just recently to very close friends of mine right where I live, in Southern California. Perhaps you might think about wanting a little more safety if this happened to you. Mitch got it right when he said that Islam is evil. It is evil to the core, straight from the pit, and the goal of the Muslim faith is world domination. Muslims kill Christians. Yes, we are called to love Muslims, but we are also called to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. To speak condescendingly against white Evangelicals who support Trump and the safety of our country is anything but Christlike.

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