Chapter 9: Does “Protecting the Nation” serve America?

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Does Protecting the Nation Serve America?

The bow was wedged in and could not be moved, but the stern began to break up under the pounding . . . Once we reached safety, we learned that the island was called Malta. The natives showed us extraordinary hospitality; they lit a fire and welcomed all of us because it had begun to rain and was cold (Saint Paul).[1]

The Executive Order 13769 titled Protecting the Nation and its revised version, Executive Order 13780 with the same title, were enacted by President Trump and his administration to ostensibly protect the American people from terrorism (Salama & Caldwell, 2017) “because you don’t know who’s who . . . We can’t allow people coming into this country who have this hatred of the United States” (Jarrett, 2017). According to the President, “hundreds of refugees are under federal investigation for terrorism and related reasons . . . We’re talking about the safety of our nation, the safety and security of our people” (Trump, 2017g). Prima facie, the intent behind these two Orders seems good – but is it?

At this time of writing, at the level of law, six courts (and counting) have struck down the two Executive Orders as violating both the letter and the spirit of the US Constitution. Some courts have found that there is no probable cause for the Orders in terms of specific evidence and that taken in the context of their construction, they represent nothing more than codified religious animosity toward a different people and a group of territories.

At the level of Christianity and the moral law, President Trump has been known more than once to pray with evangelical leaders, even in public, and it has been reported that he has a longtime spiritual advisor, the megachurch pastor and televangelist Paula White[2] (Timm, 2017). The President has admitted that “we all are made by the same God” (Trump, 2017g). But this public declaration as well as the no-less-equal and public manifestations of faith, taken in context of the design, construction, rollout, and implementation of Executive Order 13769 as shown in the first chapter and Executive Order 13780, beg the question: Are we really all made by the same God?  Continue reading “Chapter 9: Does “Protecting the Nation” serve America?”

Chapter 1: In the name of God / The imperial presidency

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In the Name of God

Look how they love one another (Tertullian).

Christians of all denominations across the US acted no different than their non-Christian counterparts throughout the entire process that was both unfolding and continues to unfold in relation to Protecting the Nation. They have done this despite their calling to manifest a very different kind of behavior by virtue of their professed faith and belief in God.

On the one hand, conservative Christians, in particular those on the extreme right, Catholics included, who had considered President Trump to be a postmodern-day King Cyrus II (the Great;[1] e.g., G. L., personal communication at A House of Prayer) or King Constantine I[2] (e.g., ChurchMilitant.com, 2016; Voris, 2016) upon his election – namely, that he was ‘sent by God’ to save both the nation and the world from its ever-increasing descent into postmodern-era paganism and violence, including the barbaric terroristic violence of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) – stomped and hurled insults at their more moderate and liberal brethren on social media and elsewhere, with a fervor and zeal that would have put the Old Testament high priest, Phinehas, to shame. More often than not, these insults tended to end with the yelled exhortations to “PRAY!” and “STAY STRONG, Christians!” – combined with several requests to the administrators of the relevant social media platforms to censor or block those who disagreed with them in a manner quite different from that of a snowflake.[3]

On the other hand, liberal Christians, in particular those on the extreme left, hurled verbal abuse online, and at times even physical abuse in offline venues, at their more moderate and conservative counterparts with no less fervor, zeal, and versatility. Strings of profanities and vulgarities in the name of God abounded, even though some in the conservative camp engaged in the same behaviors. Civil resistance protests grew in urban areas across the nation and in more than a few cases, riots were incited on purpose to attempt to create a state of anarchy, with multiple instances of physical violence being the result.  Continue reading “Chapter 1: In the name of God / The imperial presidency”

Chapter 1: Who are you? What is your faith?

US President Trump swears in General Mattis as US Defense Secretary . DC
(Credit: Getty Images)

Give me your tired, your poor, 
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door (Emma Lazarus).

January 20, 2017, brought with it the swearing in of a new president in the United States of America (US): the 45th holder of the highest political office in the land, Donald John Trump. Seven days later, the President signed Executive Order 13769 titled Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States (The White House, 2017a). Chaos ensued.

One of a trio of executive orders[1] that have been called “the blueprints for the most significant shift in American foreign policy since the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941” (Suri, 2017), Protecting the Nation was intended to ban citizens of seven countries from entering the US for 90 days (The White House, 2017a). These countries were Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen; all Muslim-majority countries designated ‘of particular concern’ under the legislation H. R. 158 – Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015. Protecting the Nation was also intended to suspend admission into the US of all refugees from any country in the world for 120 days and ban the “detrimental” admission of refugees from Syria for an indefinite time. Upon the resumption of refugee admissions subsequent to the 120-day ban, Executive Order 13769 was furthermore intended to prioritize admissions to the US “on the basis of religious-based persecution, if the religion of the refugees seeking admission was a minority in their country of nationality” (ibid.).  Continue reading “Chapter 1: Who are you? What is your faith?”