Darron Birgenheier



Two-Faced Hypocrisy of Republican Religious Freedom

The Syrian refugee crisis has lately become political cannon fodder for a supposed clash between Muslim and Western values. Donald Trump and American conservative media organizations like the Daily Caller have claimed that the existence of Islam, with our society’s “liberal political correctness,” threatens to impose its (immensely diverse) set of values on Europe and America.

Time and again, though, whenever they take offense from other religions, the right has demonstrated that their notion of “religious freedom” and “political correctness” has been built upon conservative lies and identity politics.

This past week, the Daily Caller’s Jacob Bojesson has gone so far as to cite a source that contradicts his Islamophobic point. His August 4th story had a headline which read, “Water Park in France Bans Non-Muslim Outfits,” referred to a waterpark in Marseille, France. This “ban” will only occur on September 10th, from 10 AM until 6 PM. Why? Because the pools’ owners had no involvement in the ban—Smile13, a private organization created to foster friendship among Muslim women, reserved the pool for a private event for its members. It asked its members to wear “burqinis”—a full-body, open-faced swimming suit—when attending.

Let’s be clear here: a one-day private event, that the public has no interest or ability in attending, paid for by a private religious organization aimed at fostering friendship, whose members can withdraw at any point in time has been branded as a “ban.” The presence of Islam has been taken as an imposition of its beliefs.

The conservative media’s vilification of Islam is stretching into the presidential election, with Trump himself saying that he’d consider firing TSA agents wearing hijabs (head covering). At the same time, Republicans in Florida and other states have employed the ruse of “religious freedom” to vote against protecting LGBTQ populations from workplace discrimination. When questioned, they continue to claim media attacks occur because it is “politically incorrect” to support Christianity.

There is no other way to describe Trump-era conservative principles on religious freedom and “political correctness” as anything other than patently hypocritical.

Today’s Republican platform pledge “to defend the religious beliefs” is set to defend Christians’ discrimination against LGBTQ and Muslim citizens, without tolerating the slightest Muslim fashion faux pas. Truly, just as it is “politically incorrect” to liberals for conservatives to discriminate against minorities, it is politically incorrect to conservatives for liberals to fight for minorities’ right to exist.

They’ve ironically played into ISIS’s hands by taking offense at the very sight of a subgroup of Muslims that express themselves through their clothing and portraying Islam as incompatible with the West.

Is there any hope of resolving the War on Terror and preserving our republic demands that we uphold the values that protect citizens of all colors and creeds?

Trump-era conservatives are only interested in propping up their religious beliefs without regard for how they impact others’ lives. They have no concern for the rights of all citizens. They are not leading an intellectual movement, but rather a movement for their ethnoreligious politics.

Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson would have called their shameless fight today nothing less than a sloppy endeavor for a tyranny of the majority.