I didn’t start this website to discuss politics, and I know it annoys some people when I do. But I find myself caring about that less and less each day. I shouldn’t have to keep silent on political issues just because I also happen to be religious; hell, no other religious person on Earth does! Even those who are involved in the tax-exempt church racket will often pontificate to the masses about public policy whenever they can, despite the fact that it really should cost them their precious 501(c)(3) status. Well if they can do it, so can I; I’ve got nothing to lose but readers, after all. And if you’re the kind of reader who’s offended by what I’m going to say next, you’ll probably be much happier reading something else anyway. (Might I recommend Mein Kempf?)
Well, the white nationalist dinosaur that calls itself “Trump” has vacated its oily bowels all over the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (and his scat will probably splatter on some of the other amendments before we’re through). I know we have to protect ourselves from groups like DAESH, but there are certain lines that just shouldn’t be crossed. I find it difficult to accept that we are now living in an America where people can be turned away from our borders simply for belonging to a particular faith. Hell, many of the people who were targeted by Trump’s executive order have already earned their green cards, and many are even married to U.S. citizens (and have children). Naturally, Trump and his cronies claim that this has nothing to do with Islam, but that’s a crock of shit if I’ve ever heard one. He called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” during his election campaign, and that’s exactly what he’s trying to do. The fact that the order is phrased to focus on nationality rather than religion is just an attempt to make it sound legal. What else should we think when Trump says he will prioritize Christian refugees from the same seven countries that are on his list?
The Trump Administration also announced on Thursday that it will be re-structuring the government’s Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) program to focus exclusively on Islamic extremism. Until now, the CVE has targeted not only jihadists but also white supremacists who create terror right here on American soil. The purpose of the initiative is to identify and deter any group that subscribes to a violent ideology, regardless of whether it uses Allah, Jesus, or Fred Flintstone to justify its heinous acts. There’s always room for improvement, of course, and I’m certain the CVE program is no exception to this rule. But choosing to ignore white supremacism is completely unacceptable, especially given that more Americans have been killed in domestic right-wing attacks than in jihadist attacks since 9/11. I guess victims of white supremacist terror will just have to fend for themselves while our government continues to detain, deport, and otherwise punish innocent immigrants who have every right to be here.
If that doesn’t seem tragic enough to you, it’s pretty self-evident that Trump’s anti-Islamic actions will also fuel jihadists as they seek new recruits. Muslims across the world are watching this situation with baited breath, and some who have been sympathetic to the United States up to this point are probably starting to think we might actually be “the Great Satan” after all. This will serve only to make DAESH’s lies seem much more attractive to those who are without hope. Even worse, the jihadists will be galvanized by the rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes that is almost sure to follow this current spectacle. Just look at what happened when Trump won the election in November; people all over the country started vandalizing mosques (among other things). It’s funny how Trump, the Republican Party, and even the Trump supporters who “aren’t racists” had absolutely nothing to say about that bullshit while it was happening. And that was nothing but the racist white contingency flexing its muscles, collectively punching the air in victory. Now that Trump has made it clear that he means to outright ignore the threat of domestic right-wing terrorism, what do you suppose will happen next?
You might be wondering why I care so much about Muslim Americans. After all, were I to live in a Muslim majority country that applies sharia law to its non-Muslim citizens, I’d probably be fined, taxed, mocked, tortured, enslaved, or even beheaded for being a kafir or “infidel,” right? Well, maybe. But in a 2013 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, in which more than 38,000 Muslims from 39 Muslim majority nations were interviewed face-to-face, a global median of roughly seven-in-ten Muslims (72%) stated that violence in the name of Islam (e.g., suicide bombings, targeting civilians, etc.) “is never justified.” This literally means that most Muslims around the world do not sanction religious violence, which is certainly consistent with my own experience. My area has one of the largest Muslim populations in America, and we have yet to suffer any jihadist attacks (thank all the Gods). As a matter of fact, the Muslims I know are all doctors, nurses, EMTs, or other important public servants. If there should ever be a jihadist attack in my area (Gods forbid), a large percentage of the wounded would likely be treated and nursed back to health by Muslims. So if you ask me why I care about prejudice against Muslims, it’s because I accept my Muslim neighbors as valued members of my community.
But there’s another reason why I seethe at these contemptible policies. As a Pagan devotee of Seth, I worship the very Divinity of otherness. In my preferred spiritual language, Seth is God as someone who was marginalized from His own family since the moment of His birth. He has been vilified by the beautiful and the powerful, and He understands better than anyone what it’s like to be an outcast. But Seth refused to stay that way; He rebelled and changed the structure of His family forever, and He did so in ways that made each of Them better in the end. Seth then formed His own adopted family during His quests across the expanse of the unknown, and our job is to do what He does within our own spheres of life. This means two things to me personally:
- Ritually smiting the Chaos Serpent (i.e., battling evil and injustice, both within and outside of myself, with words of power and symbolic deeds)
- Upholding Ma’at in Deshret as well as in Kemet (i.e., promoting peaceful cooperation and dignified treatment of others across as many cultural, ethnic, political, religious, sexual, and social intersections as possible)
Seth is the Divine Foreigner, and as one of His ambassadors in this world, I can’t just remain silent as I watch my country devolve into a xenophobic horror show. Yes, Islam does teach that I will roast in hell (or Jahannam in Arabic) for all eternity just because I don’t worship Allah; and yes, I am very resentful of that teaching. I don’t like being told by anyone that I’m going to be punished just for believing differently than they do, no matter how good a person I might be. But the truth is, Christians are the ones who’ve been handing me that bullshit for my entire life, not Muslims. The Muslims I’ve met have all been kind enough to mind their own damn business and leave me alone; not one of them has ever been confrontational with me about my Sethianity. As a Pagan American, most of the ill treatment I’ve received for my faith has come from other white people who were born right here in the States and who claim to follow Christ. And while most of the trouble these people have given me has been nonviolent (though there have been times when I was afraid for my life or for someone else’s), it hasn’t been any less traumatic. Here in America, there are plenty more ways of intimidating and silencing people than just killing them. (Hell, just ask Donald J. Trump; he’s been keeping many of us awake at night all week!)
My point here is not to demonize white Christian Americans, but to point out that all Americans are just as capable of evil as any Muslim immigrant. This goes for every human category, including Pagans. What really needs to happen is for the good-hearted people in each category to band together and take a stand against this foolishness. Trump’s travel ban is not going to help anything; in the long run, even conservatives will see that it’s only made things worse. (Sutekh be praised, some of them already do.) I pray to Seth, Jesus and Allah that this nonsense is reversed somehow before DAESH or even the goddamn Ku Klux Klan can figure out how to capitalize on it.