What If the Westboro Baptist Church Had a Billion Members, and They Wanted to Come to the U.S?
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In the week since Donald Trump proposed a moratorium on Muslim immigration, the same crowd that cheered the blasphemous “Book of Mormon” and applauded the jailing of Kim Davis have rediscovered the virtue of religious tolerance.
The New York Times headlined one recent op-ed “Repugnant Religious Litmus Tests.” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest insisted that Trump’s proposal "disqualifies him from serving as president.” The J Street Blog called the proposal “repugnant and unacceptable.”
“Categorically demonizing the adherents of an entire faith is a fundamental affront to American values,” said the J Street editorialist. Or as President Barack Obama has phrased it—again and again—“That’s not who we are.”
Members of Topeka’s Westboro Baptist Church must surely wish the “coexist” crowd would send a little love and tolerance their way. Although they have no terrorist arm--“We don't believe in physical violence of any kind,” says their home page--the Canadian government has banned the Westboro faithful from entering the country. The United Kingdom has done the same. And the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has categorically demonized the church and its members as a “hate group.”
If Westboro had a foreign presence, does anyone doubt that the Times would rethink its opposition to religious litmus tests for immigrants in a heartbeat? Given that immigration is not a right, why would any American president welcome a group that is so consistently hostile to gays and Jews?
That is a question the media might want to ask about Muslims abroad. Forget terrorism. In their attitudes towards Jews and gays, not to mention women, Muslims in the Middle East and North Africa, the immigration pool for the west, are no more enlightened than the folks at Westboro.
Just ask them. The Pew Foundation has. “Should society accept homosexuality?” asked Pew in 2013. In Germany, 87 percent of all respondents said yes. In the allegedly moderate Muslim country of Turkey 9 percent did. In Egypt it was 3 percent. In Pakistan it was 2 percent. No numbers were given for Iran or the Islamic State. In that both states publicly execute homosexuals, I suspect one risks his neck for merely asking the question.
Jews fare even worse than gays. As Pew reports, “Anti-Jewish sentiment is endemic in the Muslim world.” That is something of an understatement. In Jordan, for example, 99 percent of Muslims surveyed expressed “very unfavorable views of Jews.” In Lebanon, 100 percent did.
On the question of equality for women, the Muslim perspective is much closer to Westboro’s—advantage Westboro--than it is to that of the Times editorial board.
Only 33 percent of the Muslims in the Middle East and North Africa believe women have a right to divorce. Only 25 percent of them believe sons and daughters should have equal inheritance rights. A whopping 87 percent of them believe a woman must obey her husband.
In each of these same countries, no fewer than 75 percent of respondents believe that religious judges should have the power to decide family law and property disputes. Don’t expect future immigrants to shuck the faith once they arrive. According to Pew, 56 percent of Sharia Law supporters believe in “executing those who leave Islam.”
On the plus side, Pew found that “majorities” did not believe suicide bombing to be “justified.” In some countries, however, those majorities were not exactly veto-proof. In Afghanistan, 39 percent of respondents gave a thumps up to the practice. In the Palestinian Territories, it was 40 percent.
Although consistently (and proudly) patriarchal, theocratic, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice, and anti-Semitic, Muslims abroad have somehow found favor with progressives who are otherwise appalled by everything for which Muslims stand.
In the short term, this showy and selective tolerance may boost the left’s self-esteem and score political points. In the long term, however, there is sure to be trouble when the enemies of sexism and homophobia and the friends of Islam try to hammer out a multicultural Ten Commandments.
Heads just might roll. Literally.
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