Dan Jackson and the “Refugees”

On December 9, 2015, Dan Jackson, North American Division president for the Seventh-day Adventist Church, published an article at the Huffington Post, a secular Left-leaning blog, entitled “Adventists Respond to the Call to Care for Refugees.”  Jackson took the position that we have a Christian duty to accept—based upon the “ALL” in the quote below, capitalized in the original—anyone who claims to be a refugee and wants to come here:

“To close the door to refugees cannot be an option.  To ‘welcome’ them by marking them with shame and suspicion is unacceptable. To incite fear based on prejudice is irresponsible. As followers of Jesus Christ, we are compelled to welcome ALL who are seeking refuge.”

What was happening back when the piece was first published? On November 30, 2015, Muslim terrorists killed 130 and wounded 368 in a terror attack in Paris, France, that included turning the Bataclan Theatre, where an American rock band was performing, into a gory abattoir in which 89 young people were slaughtered.  At the time, Donald J. Trump was running for the Republican presidential nomination; on December 7, 2015, Trump stated that if he were elected president, he would halt the flow of Syrian refugees into the United States, at least until effective vetting measures could be implemented.  “I am saying that, until we figure this out, we should have a ban, it’s very simple.”

Trump’s position would seem the soul of prudence and common sense:  to take a cautious, “safety first” approach to the prospect of admitting tens of thousands of un-vettable aliens from a civil war-torn country infested with terrorists like the “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS),” Al-Nusrah (an Al Qaeda affiliate), and countless others. 

But the bien pensants of the Left were quick to denounce Trump’s position and revile him as a bigot and a hater.  Obama spokesman Josh Earnest went so far as to decree that “what Donald Trump said yesterday disqualifies him from serving as president," an assessment that, although approved by the media chattering class, did not reflect the values of the American electorate. 

Into this super-heated political contretemps Dan Jackson inserted not only himself but the name and moral authority of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.  Jackson sided with the open borders crowd, piling on candidate Trump:

“Some of the leaders of this country want to close that golden door to refugees from Syria and Iraq who are desperately trying to save their families’ lives. The overheated rhetoric by leaders and presidential candidates is planting seeds of fear.”

Jackson made no bones about purporting to speak for the church:

“Make no mistake, the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America unequivocally condemns the terrorist actions of extremists that claimed innocent lives in Paris, Beirut, Iraq, Mali and other places around the world. . . . Resorting to violence in the name of God or Allah is wrong.  But to deny innocent women, children, and men who are fleeing war, hunger, and disease refuge because of fear and prejudice is just as wrong.”

Did you catch that?  We condemn mass murder, but keeping out refugees is “just as wrong.”  To Dan Jackson, the mass killing of random civilians is equally as bad as a closed-door immigration policy.  One is “just as wrong” as the other.  That’s what Dan Jackson claims that you and I, his fellow Seventh-day Adventists, believe.  Include me out, Dan.  I do not believe that a cautious immigration policy is in any way comparable to terroristic mass murder.

Note how Jackson rearranges the typical “men, women and children” into “innocent women, children and men,” to emphasize the women and children.  But as I noted here, the hordes just then invading Europe were about 70% young men of military age.  And as with most invading armies, rape was part of the process; the 2015 Muslim “refugee” invasion of Europe led to a tidal wave of sexual assault.  During just one month, July 2016, hundreds of German women and children were sexually assaulted by Muslim “refugees”; the youngest victim was nine; the oldest, 79. Attacks occurred at beaches, bike trails, cemeteries, discos, grocery stores, music festivals, parking garages, playgrounds, schools, shopping malls, taxis, all forms of public transportation, public parks, public squares, public swimming pools and public restrooms.

Fast forward 14 months, and President Trump is conscientiously keeping promises made by candidate Trump.  Among the flurry of executive orders is a temporary halt to Syrian refugees and a ban on travel from countries associated with terrorism, exactly what candidate Trump promised back in December, 2015.  And the opposition to this precautionary measure is just as hysterical now as it was back then.

The President’s statutory authority to take this action is not in question.  Entry to the United States by non-citizens is not a right but a privilege circumscribed by law. The law provides that:

“Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.” 8 U.S.C. § 1182

But just as Jackson did in 2015, Trump’s current detractors say the ban is immoral or un-American, hyperbolically calling it a “Muslim ban.”  It is not a Muslim ban.  It applies to just seven (7) of fifty (50) Muslim-majority countries: Syria, Iran and Sudan, which the Obama state department designated as “state sponsors of terror,” and Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya, which the Obama state department designated as “terrorist safe havens.” 

Let it sink in that the countries on the travel ban list are countries that President Obama’s pro-Muslim State Department designated as state sponsors of terror or terrorist safe havens.  The travel ban does not apply to Indonesia, the most populous Muslim nation, for example, nor to Egypt, the most populous Arab Muslim nation.  More than 85% of the Muslim world is unaffected by the executive order.  It is a modest, reasonably calculated precautionary measure to stop terrorists from traveling to the United States.

Leaving aside Trump’s temporary travel ban, Americans have a right to decide who shall be admitted to the United States, and who shall become American Citizens.  Can anyone make a good American citizen, or are certain qualities required of citizens?  This is a serious issue; the United States is a wealthy country, magnetically attractive to anyone living in a poorer Third World country.  Literally billions of people would like to move here.  How do we decide who we want?

Up until about a century ago much of the world was organized into multi-ethnic empires, including at various times the British, French, Spanish, Dutch, German, Austro-Hungarian, Russian and Ottoman.  They had dominant groups (hence their names) but they also had numerous ethno-linquistic and religious minorities, for which allowances were duly made. 

But those allowances were often deemed insufficient by the relevant minority groups.  The First World War broke out as a direct result of a minority group in one of those empires assassinating a royal—an agent of the Serbian “black hand” shot the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, sparking a catastrophic world war. 

The Great War swept away four world empires—the German, Austro-Hungarian, Russian and Ottoman—and although the British and French empires continued to limp along, they lost almost all their overseas possessions within the first couple of decades after the next world war.  Empires have since come to be viewed as very bad relics of the past. 

Starting with the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, an idea began to gain traction that the world should be divided into independent, self-governing nation-states.  Today, that is the world’s basic organizing scheme. The logic of the Westphalian System is vindicated by the violence that often erupts when two hostile tribes or ethnic/religious groups try to inhabit the same state—think Hutu and Tutsi in Rwanda, or the strife in post-Saddam Iraq among Kurds, Sunni Arabs and Shia Arabs.

The nation-state system is arguably preferable to an imperial system, but it is not a panacea or a cure for the fallen human condition.  Nation-states frequently war against each other, and the Second World War was fought largely by nation-states. 

Today, we seem to have come full circle, returning to beliefs underlying the multi-ethnic empires of the past.  The received wisdom is that peace and stability can come only from a world of open borders, in which all races, nations, language groups, and religions live together in the same place, in perfect harmony, drinking a Coke.  (Okay, the Coke is optional; insert your preferred multi-national-corporate-produced consumer product in its place.) Everyone must learn to get along—even though we’ve never gotten along at any time since God created the nations at the Tower of Babel.  All those things that have separated us throughout human history, the multiculturalists insist, are insufficient to separate us now. 

But is that true?  Should multiculturalist ideology govern the United States?

The settlers of North America who formed the United States were white Anglo-Saxons or Celts who spoke English and came from the British Isles.  But Americans had, by the late 19th Century, made a more-or-less conscious decision that our nation would not be based upon or organized around any racial or ethno-linguistic group. 

We decided that, instead of race or nationality, our common denominator will be fealty to a set of shared ideas and values:  the rule of law, equality before the law, private ownership of property (including capital goods), freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, procedural due process, limited government—the default condition being freedom from government coercion and restraint—laws written and passed by elected representatives, and enforced by elected executives, as specified in the federal constitution and the constitutions of the several states. We can refer to this set of ideas and values singularly as the “American Idea.”

When evaluating potential citizens and permanent residents, we don’t ask that they be white Anglo-Saxons or Celts; any race or ethnicity is acceptable, provided they agree with and abide by the American Idea. That’s why every naturalized citizen swears to “support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” 

That’s the main thing we’re looking for in an immigrant.  We don’t need you to prove that you’re of noble birth and can trace your ancestry back to William the Conqueror.  All we really want to be sure of is that you agree with our basic social compact, our way of making our laws and governing ourselves.

And if you cannot agree with that, we don’t need you here.  Some ideologies are just not consistent with Americanism, with the American Idea.  For example, anyone who subscribes to a totalitarian ideology is not a suitable candidate for American citizenship.  The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (the McCarran–Walter Act), was passed, among other reasons, specifically to prevent communists from becoming citizens of the United States.  It had the overwhelming congressional support to override a presidential veto. The prohibition on communist immigrants is still in the law today:

“Any immigrant who is or has been a member of or affiliated with the Communist or any other totalitarian party (or subdivision or affiliate thereof), domestic or foreign, is inadmissible.”

America may be a melting pot, but agreement with the American Idea, the basic social compact, is a necessary precondition for anyone wanting to jump into the pot.

In light of the foregoing, do you think the following categories of people will make suitable United States citizens?:

  • Those who believe that “man-made” law—law passed by elected representatives and signed by elected governors—is not legitimate, and that only the laws given to a desert chieftain 1,400 years ago are legitimate and must be obeyed.
  • Those who believe that the United States Constitution must eventually be replaced by Sharia Law as the supreme law of the land.
  • Those who believe that all other religions are subordinate to Islam, and that Muslims should have certain civic and judicial advantages that non-Muslims should not have.
  • Those who believe that freedom of speech must be subordinated to the rule that Islam and the Prophet Muhammad may not ever be criticized.
  • Those who believe that there should be no separation of church and state.
  • Those who believe that anyone who leaves Islam must be killed.
  • Those whose primary political loyalty is to the Muslim nation, not to the United States.
  • Those who believe non-Muslims must pay a per capita tax that Muslims are exempt from.
  • Those who believe that polygamy is permissible or even mandatory (note: current law makes inadmissible anyone “who is coming to the United States to practice polygamy”).

These are all tenets of sharia law, widely subscribed to within Islam.

(Some Muslims have domestic cultural practices—not core tenets of Islam, it should be stressed—that are not compatible with Western values, like “those who believe that pubescent girls should have their clitorises cut out” and “those who believe that male family members may with impunity murder female family members who have brought dishonor on the family.” But let’s leave those to one side, since they are specific to certain regions and/or schools of Islamic jurisprudence, and aren’t core tenets of Islam.) 

The most important thing about Islam is that it is not a private religion, not what Western Christians think of as “religion,” but rather a totalitarian religio-political ideology, comparable to communism.  Don’t take it from me, read what Muslims themselves say about Islam.  The following block quotes are all from Muslim websites in “evangelism mode,” meaning that they are trying to explain Islam to English-speaking Westerners: 

In general, one can see that Islam is a religion which not only governs the private religious life of an individual, but also mandates and regulates all aspects of public life

Islam is a “total way of life.”  It has provided guidance in every sphere of life, from individual cleanliness, rules of trade, to the structure and politics of the society. Islam can never be separated from social, political, or economic life . . .

Muslims trying to explain Islam to the Western mind freely admit that it is more helpful if we do not think of it as a religion:

Islam, unlike modern Christianity, does not differentiate between matters of 'state' and matters of religion.  In this respect, Islam should not really be regarded as a religion because it is a total system.  

As a totalitarian system regulating all aspects of life, Islam is not compatible with separation of church and state, a very basic aspect of America’s social compact:

As we have mentioned, in Islam God is acknowledged the sole sovereign of human affairs, so there has never been a distinction between religious and state authority.  In Christendom, the distinction between the two authorities are said to be based upon records in the New Testament of Jesus, asking his followers to render unto Caesar what was his and unto God what was His.  Therefore throughout Christian history until the present times, there have always been two authorities: ‘God and Caesar’, or ‘the church and state.’  Each had its own laws and jurisdictions, each its own structure and hierarchy.  In the pre-westernized Islamic world there were never two powers, and the question of separation never arose.  The distinction so deeply rooted in Christendom between church and state has never existed in Islam.

Muslims believe that Islam is a total and a complete way of life. It encompasses all aspects of life. As such, the teachings of Islam do not separate religion from politics. As a matter of fact, both private and public life are considered under the obedience of Allah through His teachings. Hence, economic and social transactions, as well as educational and political systems, are also part of this obedience.

Perhaps most troubling is the fact that Islam holds that “man-made law,” that is, law passed by elected legislatures and signed by elected governors, to the extent it differs from sharia law, is not permissible or legitimate:

Islam does not [empower the government with] the right of creation of novel legislations.  Rather, legislation is the right of God alone, and religion must be pivotal in deciding the validity of any new law. Bypassing this right of God amounts to the unforgivable sin of polytheism, for it from the basis of the belief in the Oneness of God that He and only He has the right of legislation.  What this means is that the people or their elected officials do not have a right to make permissible what God has forbidden, or to declare forbidden what God has made permissible.  Both in granting them such a right and then following their legislation is their elevation, making them lords like God, and this is what is meant by polytheism.  No-one has the right to change the Law of God, and His Law is superior to and supersedes all man-made laws.

This is a comprehensive repudiation of the American Idea.  No one who believes this—and it is standard, orthodox Islam—can swear to “support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic” and swear to it “freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion.”  This is why Wafa Sultan, a physician and an immigrant from Syria, has written:

"No one can be a true Muslim and a true American simultaneously. Islam is both a religion and a state, and to be a true Muslim, you must believe in Islam as both religion and state. A true Muslim does not acknowledge the U.S. Constitution, and his willingness to live under that constitution is, as far as he is concerned, nothing more than an unavoidable step on the way to that constitution's replacement by Islamic Sharia law."  Wafa Sultan, A God Who Hates, p. 234.

Again, Trump’s modest travel ban was not a “Muslim ban,” and a pity it was not.  A total ban on Muslim immigration is entirely defensible, and would be the sane and prudent course just now.  Such a ban is defensible not only, or even mainly, because of the threat of terrorism, but because Islam—the totalitarian system the terrorists are trying to impose—is grotesquely incompatible with, and destructive of, not only the American way of life but the American Idea, the American People’s agreement among ourselves regarding how we make our laws and govern ourselves.

As I have noted before, the plutocrats and ruling elites have tried to cast their preferred regime of open borders and mass, indiscriminate immigration as virtue itself.  In this, fellow travelers like Dan Jackson carry their water.  But it is not virtue to invite into our country those whose religio-political ideology is hostile to the values upon which this country was founded, and which made her the greatest nation on earth.  Rather, it is a decadent, nihilistic abdication of the duty to defend the constitution and people of the United States.  On matters of politics and policy, Dan Jackson speaks only for himself.  He would do better not to say anything at all.