You would think “conservatives” would be pretty clear on matters related to the freedom to practice one’s religion — not to mention private property rights. But when that religion is Islam, what passes for “conservativism” these days apparently takes a vacation.Writing as a Christian, I am firmly within the majority in the United States. As a Protestant Christian, I am also within the majority. And as an Evangelical Protestant Christian, I belong to the largest subset of all Christians in the United States. I treasure the way the 1st Amendment protects my rights to worship. But I also understand that the 1st Amendment — the “first draft” of which was written by one of my ancestors — exists more to protect religious minorities than those of us in the majority. It’s an amendment written with Huguenots and Quakers and Catholics in mind. Where the Bill of Rights really has its value is as a check against the tyranny of the majority. It’s for times like these when the passions of Americans — stoked by the memory of September 11th — cause us to do and say things that spit in the face of the freedoms we claim to cherish.
We will not appeal to the official powers to use the machinery of government to stop this project. We appeal, instead, to the sense of decency of the American Muslim community, and to its patriotism.
The First Amendment begins: “Congress shall make no law ….” While the awesome power of a National Review editorial never should be underestimated, it is not an act of Congress. (Somebody skipped Civics Day at Penn.)
(Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go oppress some Huguenots.)