Thursday, March 10, 2011


I'm a Baptist. One of the core commitments of all true Baptists is separation of church and state. Religion must be freely chosen and the government has no role in either curtailing or supporting religious practice. Essentially, religion must be invisible to government.

Today, Rep. King, a Republican from NY state is holding hearings to look into the "The Extent of Radicalization of Muslim Americans." While there is no doubt that there are radical Muslims in America and it might even be possible that the number is growing, to paint with such a broad brush is clearly a swipe against freedom of religion, a core principle upon which this nation was founded. When one faith group is singled out for attack, all are threatened.

Representative King, this is as un-american as it gets. You should be ashamed.


Michael Mahoney said...

Oddly, I disagree with your first paragraph (or part of it) and completely agree with the second. :)

buttercup said...

I sympathize with this line of thinking, but I feel that there is one very important aspect of Islam that it overlooks.

Islam, as it was originally laid out by Muhammad and as it is still practiced by extremists, is BOTH a religion AND a political ideology that supersedes ALL temporal political allegiances and espouses the violent overthrow of all non-Muslim governments.

These two facets of Islam CANNOT be separated, and that fact must be reckoned with by modern governments, thus this inquiry into the extent that extremist POLITICAL Islam is being practiced in the US seems both valid and necessary to me. Better it happens in public where people can hear what is being said and respond to it, than in secret, anyway.

Benjamin Wright said...

Actually Separatists, some of the forerunners of Baptists in England, were very early proponents of separation. To do a short thought experiment, what would the reaction be if Congress held hearings on Christianity as a radical religion that promoted killing of doctors for performing perfectly legal medical procedures or that advocated racist violence in the name of Jesus. Would love to see those who are holding those hearings then. OH WAIT! King was an outspoken supporter of the Irish Republican Army, when they were killing Brits or anyone connected to them.

roy said...

say more Michael... I'm curious

Michael Mahoney said...

Without getting long-winded, I don't think the framers meant to eliminate religion from the government to the degree we see today. Religion, faith - whatever you call it - was deeply rooted in their worldview. Everything education, commerce,justice, politics - had a religious aspect to it. They did want to be clear, however, to escape the mistake of England in establishing a state religion that had a higher prominence from any others. But the language of early documents - including the Constitution, clearly show a Judeo-Christian worldview. God is ingrained in the national fabric from day one. To be clich, freedom OF religion is not the same as freedom FROM religion. Of course, the founders were not (mainly) Baptists, they were mostly Anglican. (although Adams was a Congregationalist, I think)

Now what King is doing is anathema to what it means to be American. Muslims are as free - and should be - to worship in their way as anyone. They should no more be judged as a faith by the acts of a few lunatics than, say, Christianity should be judged by the acts of Westboro Baptist.

Salome Ellen said...

I think you're not paying attention to the literal (as oppose to politicized) meaning of the word "extent." You actually gave your opinion on the "extent of the radicalization of Muslim Americans": some are radicalized, and the number may be growing. If the hearings establish what is true, as opposed to what you think or some hope or others fear, how is that detrimental to religious freedom?