Conservative Republicans Disavow Trump’s Comments
“On a day like this, I am proud my Muslim parents immigrated to the USA from Pakistan and I have an American passport.”
—Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum Action Fund
WASHINGTON, D.C. — America is better than Donald Trump’s sweeping and likely unconstitutional responses to legitimate concerns about our security. And more and more deeply conservative Republicans are saying so.
Trump’s comments are “not what this party stands for and more importantly it’s not what this country stands for,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said this morning. “Freedom of religion is a fundamental constitutional principle … This is not conservatism, what was proposed yesterday.”
“I think this whole notion that somehow we can just say no more Muslims, just ban a whole religion, goes against everything we stand for and believe in,” former Vice President Dick Cheney said Monday on conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt’s show. “Religious freedom has been a very important part of our history and where we came from.”
“Anyone who cares an iota about religious liberty should denounce this reckless, demagogic rhetoric,” Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, wrote Monday in the Washington Post. “ … Make no mistake. A government that can shut down mosques simply because they are mosques can shut down Bible studies because they are Bible studies. A government that can close the borders to all Muslims simply on the basis of their religious belief can do the same thing for evangelical Christians.
“A government that issues ID badges for Muslims simply because they are Muslims can, in the fullness of time, demand the same for Christians because we are Christians.”
And the Republican Party leaders in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina also have condemned Trump’s remarks. Matt Moore, Republican Party chairman in South Carolina, where Trump spoke Monday, posted on Twitter: “As a conservative who truly cares about religious liberty, Donald Trump’s bad idea and rhetoric send a shiver down my spine. American exceptionalism means always defending our inalienable rights, not attacking them when it’s politically convenient.”
“It is incredibly easy to fear the person or the place we don’t know. The question is, how do we respond?” said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum Action Fund. “Although we must not dismiss legitimate fears, we must also recognize that targeting anyone from a single religious background is a response that would only divide us. That’s not the answer to our fear.
“Instead, we must be compassionate: to people fleeing war, afraid for their lives and their families, and to those who are afraid of the place and people they don’t know.
“It is past time for our elected officials and other political leaders to model this kind of behavior. As the leader of the GOP, Reince Priebus must do more than disinvite Donald Trump from a fundraiser.
“We need institutions and candidates to help us move beyond our fears and return to American values. That also means confronting dangerous rhetoric that serves only to worsen our fears.”