Donald Trump’s recommendation to temporarily halt the traffic of Muslims into our country deserves consideration, not knee-jerk condemnation. Granted, the First Amendment provides for the free exercise of religion, but this has never meant that people have been free to do whatever they wanted. An example of a restriction on the free exercise of religion is the abolition by the U.S. government of the Mormon practice of polygamy; human behavior required a restriction of the broad language used in the First Amendment.
As human beings, we are always negotiating the territory between the ideal and the actual. We need our worthy ideals as something to strive for, even as we struggle to cope with what is actually going on. Our fundamental responsibility as adults is not to sacrifice our children to an ideal; it is to protect them. They did not ask to be born; we brought them into the world of our own volition and we must foster their well-being out of that same volition.
To abandon our sanity for the sake of an ideal is to function as the terrorists do. They are slaves to their ideal, which in their minds may require their deaths and even those of their children in order to achieve, via murder and intimidation, the subjugation of those whom they have deemed “infidels.”
They are counting on our behaving in the same mindless manner. That is, they are counting on our being so desirous of preserving our ideal of being good, kind, tolerant Americans that we will not stand up to them in any effective way. Letting our self-image of ourselves as tolerant override our responsibility to our children is to cherish that self-image over our own children.
As for being a Christian nation — which is the way a lawyer for the latest murderer’s family referred to us — and thus being expected to “turn the other cheek,” that admonition was made to a minority sect of a subjugated people in the terror state that was the Roman Empire. They could not call attention to themselves by engaging in street violence. In order to survive they had to acquiesce to the violence directed against them by their detractors. In order to survive we must do just the opposite.