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Reply To: What are some of the issues with which we, as Christians, can find common ground with Muslims? How can we engage and unite on those issues?

Joseph Danaher

I think there are many things Christians and Muslims can unite on, which is a big reason why it is alarming that so many on the Right want to ban Muslims from entering America, which literally and horrifyingly became a campaign promise and policy initiative of former Pres. Trump. Instead of banning them, they should be embracing them – for one, because it is the very essence of America to embrace wholehearted religious freedom and to deviate from that embrace is simply unamerican and anti-freedom, and secondly, because they actually agree on so much anyways. There is probably a lot more in common between a devout Evangelical native-born American and a devout Muslim immigrant than there is between a devout Evangelical native-born American and a Massachusetts liberal whose family has been here since the Mayflower. Yes, we want everyone to embrace liberal democracy, and some try to fearmonger that we can’t let Muslims in because of incursions on liberty in many majority-Muslim countries. But one, why would they want to come here if they didn’t, like us, love the freedom of America, and two, aren’t there innumerable incursions on freedom in Western countries, like Sweden or Germany or Italy or Canada? Yet I hear no one on the Right trying to ban any Canadian socialists. It eventually sounds very irrational and prejudicial to me. So I for one would say that an immense way to NOT engage and unite would be the manner in which the Right has acted in recent years. It’s not only wrong but quite unpersuasive, as well as hugely problematic in a pragmatic sense for the effectiveness of American domestic and foreign policy.

Issues Muslims and Christians can find much common ground on are respect for unborn life (though not all Muslims are pro-life, just as not all Christians are either), conservation of the family, a deep reverence for there being something higher and beyond the State, opposition to debauchery of all kinds, repudiation of militant atheism, etc. The reverence for something beyond the State is of huge importance for America or liberal democracy in general because that is typically the only way to get respect for the rule of law as an overarching principle. Francis Fukuyama discusses how Islamic societies and India’s Hindu society have had a much firmer sense of rule of law historically precisely because of their commitment to a religion and God or gods to which the state and laws must be measured and which hold them as right and to be obeyed. Whereas China has not had a strong popular religious foundation for any enduring time throughout its history. And now we see the authoritarian tyranny in China that says the arbitrary will of rulers must be followed rather than the rule of law, and we see this directly in their persecution of the Muslim Uyghurs and others. They are persecuting those who dare worship something other than the State. Militant atheism is real danger to liberal democracy, and it’s something that Christians and Muslims alike are able to both be opposed to and to defy if they are put in the position of needing to.