Discrimination is still alive

Religious discrimination is still alive and well in the United States today. No one should be treated differently for having different views on how the universe was created, or what happens after we die; yet it still happens constantly.

The most clear, far-reaching example of this is attempts to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. I’m not the first to point out that Muslims are not the only ones who commit crimes, nor are they even close to being the No. 1 offenders, yet it is still a fairly popular position to believe they should not be able to come to the country. A poll from the Democracy Fund Voter Study Group found that most Americans believe Muslims to be “insufficiently American” and 20 percent of those polled said citizens who practice Islam should not be allowed to vote.

The pervasiveness of this attitude in American culture is already shocking enough, since there are an estimated 3.45 million Muslims in the U.S. who likely just want to live their lives without fear of hate. However, the disdain does not just stop with the people. President Trump ran a campaign on banning Muslims from entering the country, and fortunately, he has been unable to do so while in office. I vividly remember meeting two Syrians who were Muslim outside of the White House and remembering that the man who lives in the house behind them, one of the most powerful people in the world, does not think they should be here.

People in power disliking other religions, however, does not end with President Trump or Muslims. Trump’s new pick for Acting Attorney General, Matthew Whitaker, said that all federal judges need to view justice through the lens of the New Testament. This issue was settled in the 1780s when the Framers of the U.S. Constitution wrote that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust in the United States,” and it is appalling that the potential top law enforcement official of the nation would be so ready to ignore that.

Also, as the recent mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue demonstrates, antisemitism is still thriving far more than it should be. Andy Factor, a Jewish man who experienced Kristallnacht, a riot in 1938 targeting Jewish homes and businesses, called the recent resurge of antisemitism “ruthless.” He said he would not be surprised if the atrocities he saw that night repeated themselves. We should not accept that anyone who survived Nazi Germany now has to worry about the same thing in the United States 80 years later.

There is obviously no easy fix to this problem. No politician can simply outlaw hate, and hateful minds aren’t changed overnight. But, something has to change. Start by trying to talk to those around you who may not fully understand other cultures. Sometimes, people are fearful because they simply haven’t met people different from them. Help them experience change, shut them down. You don’t need to hear them out. The dozens of white nationalists screaming “Jews will not replace us” in Charlottesville in 2017 don’t need a platform. Hopefully, as time goes on, these attitudes will return to the dark hole they came from and let us all live in a world in which we don’t have to fear hate for our beliefs.