Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump addressed Ralph Reed’s Faith & Freedom Coalition this afternoon in Washington, D.C. The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, issued the following statement:
This afternoon U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), along with more than 50 other members of the House of Representatives, introduced the Freedom of Religion Act (FOR).
This bill would push back against one of the most troubling proposals we’ve heard during this already long presidential campaign: banning Muslims from entering the United States. The proposed legislation, by contrast, would ensure that immigrants, refugees and international travelers will not be barred from entering the United States solely because of their religion.
One of the far right’s favorite personalities, Glenn Beck, recently had a discussion on his show about the future of Christian “persecution” in the United States. His guest for that segment, an evangelical leader named Samuel Rodriguez, said he thinks Christians will soon be sent off to jail just for practicing their faith.
The owners of Save Yourself Survival and Tactical Gun Range in Oktaha, Okla., are facing a lawsuit over refusing to serve a Muslim customer. Chad and Niki Neal posted a sign in their business’ front window announcing it was a “Muslim-free establishment.”
Raja’ee Fatihah, a U.S. Army reservist and an investigator for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, says the owners cited this policy when they turned him away from the business.
President Barack Obama last month made a goodwill visit to a mosque in Baltimore. It was the first time Obama had visited an Islamic center on U.S. soil.
During remarks at the mosque, Obama reminded Americans of the importance of religious freedom. He noted that Muslims have been living in America from the beginnings of the country and spoke against hateful rhetoric directed against Muslims today.
In law as in Shakespeare, what’s past is often prologue.
Arkansas “patriot” Jan Morgan announced to the world two years ago that her gun range would no longer serve Muslim customers. At the time, I noted that her actions violated public accommodation law and that she would lose an inevitable lawsuit; that did not deter Morgan, and it did not deter a number of other gun-range owners from implementing the same policy.