Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ground Rules: Muslim Hearings

I increasingly try not to have a knee-jerk partisan reaction to things like the hearings on Muslim extremism in the House today.  I don't know all the details.  However, I do know the principles against which such things must be judged, both Christian and American.

Love your neighbor and love your enemy.  This is easy to conceptualize.  How would I want to be treated if the shoes were on the other feet?  What if I were being scrutinized because some people who looked like me had done bad things?  How would I want to be treated?  I am not allowed to hate or persecute someone because they are not a Christian.  No buts.  This is one of very few Christian absolutes.  You must love your neighbor as yourself.  No exceptions.

1. Individuals are innocent until proven guilty, and a community can never be found guilty.  Only individuals can.  This is not only an irrefutable fact of logic, it is an indisputable fact of the US Constitution.

2. Islam is a fully permissible religion in America.  Islam cannot be prohibited under the Constitution, and US citizens who are Muslim have every last right that non-Muslims have.

3. There is a history here.  In times of war or crisis associated with particular groups, there is a tendency for those in power (=non-Muslims) to go psycho in a way that our children make fun of.  The McCarthy witch hunt for communists, the internment of Japanese Americans during WW2, we have a history of over-reacting.

Can you think of any other ground rules?  National security concerns are important, and in times of crisis, rights can be curtailed.  But the burden of proof is always on those wanting to curtail rights.  I feel confident that we're nowhere close to that planet right now.


Rick said...

I think you bring up good points, and good ground rules. However, I am not sure those running the hearings (Rep. King in particular) would disagree with you.

The concern is that a problem may be taking place (one example would be the Minnesota/Somalia situation), and because of the unfortunate historical abuses of power, people are too afraid and/or politically correct to even talk about that potential problem.

As many in Gr. Brit. will probably say, turning a blind eye to that potential issue can cause headaches in the present and future.

I am not saying the hearings are being run 100% appropriately (more law enforcement testimony appears to be needed), but the "national security" issue does fall under the "love your neighbor" rule.

Ken Schenck said...

I tried to refrain from passing judgment on those convening the hearings for these reasons. I agree that the policies in Europe have not worked. One question I have is whether a balanced group of people have been invited to the hearings, as you said.

JohnM said...

No knee-jerk reactions is itself always a good ground rule. My knee jerk reaction would be to suspect politicians of grandstanding (without much fear it will result in any real harm to anyone in this case), but I suppose I too need to refrain from passing judgement just yet.

Might you want to reconsider #3? Maybe not your concious intention but doesn't the statement "There is a history here" imply you've reached a conclusion about the hearings?