“That’s why I reject discrimination against Muslim Americans who are just as patriotic as we are.”
But protecting our way of life requires more than our military. Democracy can buckle when we give in to fear. So just as we, as citizens, must remain vigilant against external aggression, we must guard against a weakening of the values that make us who we are. That’s why, for the past eight years, I’ve worked to put the fight against terrorism on a firm legal footing. That’s why we’ve ended torture, worked to close Gitmo, and reform our laws governing surveillance to protect privacy and civil liberties. That’s why I reject discrimination against Muslim Americans who are just as patriotic as we are. That’s why we cannot withdraw from global fights – to expand democracy, and human rights, women’s rights, and LGBT rights – no matter how imperfect our efforts, no matter how expedient ignoring such values may seem. For the fight against extremism and intolerance and sectarianism are of a piece with the fight against authoritarianism and nationalist aggression. If the scope of freedom and respect for the rule of law shrinks around the world, the likelihood of war within and between nations increases, and our own freedoms will eventually be threatened. —President Barack Obama, January 10, 2017.
I was standing in what would be considered the “nose-bleed” section of McCormick Place when you delivered your farewell speech. As you recall, we were a rowdy bunch cheering when we wanted to cheer, chanting when we wanted to chant, and at the moment you delivered the line: “That’s why I reject discrimination against Muslim Americans…” we erupted.
While I don’t think it was the best line you’ve had written, I do applaud the sentiment.
Although well-intended it reads “us” and “them” which, I believe, is opposite what you were trying to convey. Recognizing that, I do appreciate that you made it known that in no way were you, a sitting President, supporting such barbarity.
I don’t think we need a pat on the back for doing what is right. In fact, it’s awkward. Nevertheless, I honor your choice to deliver this sentiment because you said it while you held the highest office in our land.
And any ally or concerned foreign country heard it directly from you. Most importantly, our American Muslim brothers and sisters heard it from you.
If you’ve taken a moment to peruse this site, you know that I am a Christian. What you don’t know is that my family came from a country that is currently listed on a no-entry document. So, executive orders on immigration hit closer to home than a mere “I have a friend who’s Muslim” remark.
Further, as a Christian, I am reminded of these scriptures:
1) When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. (Leviticus 19:33-34)
2) Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. (Ezekiel 16:49)
3) “So I will come to put you on trial. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive the foreigners among you of justice, but do not fear me,” says the Lord Almighty. (Malachi 3:5)
4) But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:29-37)
Thanks for upholding what it means to be a part of this fondue dish of a country, aka America.
xo | Danielle
prints | “We the People” by Shepard Fairey