For House Democrats, Islam Trumps the Constitution
Twenty years ago, my wife and I were members of an ELCA church. This was about the time the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America drove off the Left side of the road. Both theologically and politically. As part of that process, the local Bishop had sent out a letter of “welcome” to homosexuals. Pastors were to hold “information sessions” about this with parishioners. At one such meeting, some of us pointed out that this approach contradicted Scripture. Specifically I Corinthians 6:9-11. The pastor leading the meeting told us we needed to avoid “homophobia.” My wife, who is an attorney but rarely speaks up in church, erupted. “I’m not ‘afraid’ of homosexuals, Pastor! I simply know that the Bible says it’s a sin.”
Needless to say, we left that church for good soon after.
Why H.R. 6204 Passed the House
Folks, the U.S. House of Representatives just told all of us to stop being “phobic.” But not about gays and lesbians. Rather, about Islam. Actually, the 219 Democrats in the lower house of Congress did so. All 212 Republicans voted against H.R. 6204. But that just proves the latter are “Islamophobic.” Right?
Well, as a certain octogenarian college football analyst says, “not so fast, my friend.” Let’s examine this “Combating International Islamophobia Act.” What spurred its passage now? Lauren Boebert’s big mouth. The bill was initially proposed by Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) back in October. But it was languishing behind more important issues. Like how many Republican grandmothers to indict for calling relatives in DC on January 6. Or how much to add to the $29 trillion national debt.
Then Colorado Congresswoman Boebert, over Thanksgiving, made some extremely stupid and poorly considered comments about Omar in a meeting with supporters. She referred to Omar and her
Marxist “progressive“ compatriots as “the jihad squad.” Boebert also noted her relief that the Muslim Representative was not wearing a “backpack” in the House elevator. She later apologized, but the “Islamophobia” fuse was lit. “Squad” members’ hyperventilation made it burn faster. Boebert’s “anti-Muslim bigotry” was not just “hateful” but “dangerous.” It would “increase hate crimes toward Muslims.” And of course Boebert’s comments were “racist.” No doubt they would soon cause not just mass Democrat hysteria, but dogs and cats to begin living together.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) fast-tracked the “combating Islamophobia” bill. Now it’s up to the Senate to make this lunacy law.
What H.R. 6204 Says and Does
The bill mandates that the State Department “establish…the Office to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia, and for other purposes.” This “Special Envoy” will do the following.
- Keep tabs on and oppose “acts of Islamophobia and Islamophobic incitement that occur in foreign countries.”
- “Consult with domestic and international nongovernmental organizations and multilateral organizations….” to do so.
- Prepare reports on “acts of violence” against Muslims, and “instances of propaganda” that “promote racial hatred … against Muslim people.”
- Report on the degree to which foreign governments “enact and enforce laws” protecting Muslims, and whether they “promote anti-bias and tolerance education.”
This is a very problematic bill. It’s not exaggerating to say that should this become law, the USA will have moved closer to normalizing shari`a law. And making Islam the favored religion.
Why This Is A Bad Idea 1: Illogical
Why is it a bad idea? First, the very occasion for its passage is illogical. What do the tactless attempts at humor by an ill-educated American politician have to do with the conditions of any folks overseas? Nothing at all.
Why This Is a Bad Idea 2: What’s “Islamophobia?
Second, the very premise of the bill is absurd. Nowhere does it define “Islamophobia.” It just accepts that as a bias that needs addressing. In fact, “Islamophobia” does not actually exist. It’s not “irrational fear” of Islam or Muslims to point out that the vast majority of the world’s terrorists belong to that religion. And that they kill far more people than adherents of any other belief system. (See my many writings on this topic at this site over the last few years. Notably this one.) Even to observe that jihadists do put bombs in backpacks.
Why This Is A Bad Idea 3: Christians More Persecuted Than Muslims
Third, why is Islam being given special treatment? Christianity is the most-persecuted religion in the world. And in fact it is Muslims doing most of the oppression of Christians. Eight of the top ten, and 31 of the top 50, countries harassing followers of Jesus are majority Islamic ones. It would actually make more sense to set up a Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Christianophobia. Especially considering that this country is 67% Christian, and only 1% Muslim.
Why This Is A Bad Idea 4: CAIR Gets Its Nose Under the Tent
Fourth, why will this Special Envoy for protecting Muslims consult with NGOs, both foreign and domestic? Why not the FBI and CIA? I suspect so Ilhan Omar’s chums in the likes of CAIR (the Council on American-Islamic Relations) can get input. And CAIR is a front group for the Muslim Brotherhood. So this bill will give a group dedicated to implementing an Islamic state here (even more) access to our government.
Why This Is A Bad Idea 5: Critical Scholarship on Islam Will Be Outlawed
In addition, this legislation will go after “propaganda” that “promote[s] racial hatred … against Muslim people.” But ISLAM IS NOT A RACE! (See my long blogpost on topic from 2017. Or even this Muslim scholar, who also rejects the idea.) And folks like Ilhan Omar and CAIR will get to define “propaganda.” As someone who’s been accused of “Islamophobia,” I can assure you that any historical or theological critique of Islam will be included, soon, in that category. No matter how well-sourced to the Qur’an or to examples from Islamic history. (Like this.) Yes, H.R. 6204 says that its focus is overseas. But don’t think for a minute that it won’t lead to similar legislation aimed at domestic critics of Islam. Especially Christians who point out that religion’s shortcomings.
Why This Is A Bad Idea 6: It’s Unconstitutional
Finally, the constitutionality of this bill under the First Amendment is extremely suspect. The U.S. is a secular republic. So how can Congress mandate that our government favor one religion, and its adherents, for special protection? This bill “respects” a certain religion over others. Including the religion of the vast majority.
The U.S. Senate should reject passage of H.R. 6204. It’s illogical, ill-defined, ill-advised and probably unconstitutional. Contact your Senators and tell them as much. Send them this article!
Timothy Furnish holds a Ph.D. in Islamic, World and African history from Ohio State University and a M.A. in Theology from Concordia Seminary. He is a former U.S. Army Arabic linguist and, later, civilian consultant to U.S. Special Operations Command. He’s the author of books on the Middle East and Middle-earth, a history professor and sometime media opiner (as, for example, on Fox News Channel’s War Stories: Fighting ISIS).