The U.S. Supreme Court decision to uphold the Trump administration’s Travel Ban on majority Muslim nations strikes at the heart of the very identity of our nation. The first settlers on New England shores fled religious persecution. Centuries later our nation’s founders built a firewall against the corruption of faith through government intrusion or prohibition. They called that firewall the First Amendment to the Constitution. Ours became the first nation in the world to ban the establishment of state religion and our democracy is rich with faith because of it.
Perhaps worse than the Court’s failure to protect a most fundamental right within our democracy is the message this ruling sends to our Muslims neighbors at home and abroad. Law and policy serve as sacred documents for the secular world; reflecting back to society what it believes are good and just ways to live together in the world. What message does it send to our Muslim neighbors, many of whom are fleeing persecution, when U.S. law declares that it is fine to break families and purge people groups and let them die based on fear of the other?
What message does it send when the protection of human dignity is preserved for some and revoked from others? This is the message: U.S. law only cares about some–not all. This is not a democracy. We are not who we say we are.
And what does it say when the majority of people supporting this profound government exclusion of religion claim Christian faith? It says this: The forebears of our faith would renounce us.