How far should the protections of the First Amendment spread? Should religious freedom be sacrificed in the interest of public safety?
These are two of the many questions that were born from Donald Trump's comment that he would "strongly consider" shuttering American mosques in response to the Paris terrorist attacks.
Fox News host Megyn Kelly (who has had her own run-ins with the belligerent GOP presidential candidate) invited two guests onto her show on Tuesday to discuss Trump's extreme strategy for dealing with terrorism at home.
Katrina Pierson is a spokesperson for the Trump campaign, and Saba Ahmed is the president and founder of The Republican Muslim Coalition.
Pierson wasted no time in championing her boss's assertation that mosques are breeding grounds for Muslim extremists by ticking through a list of imprisoned leaders of American mosques.
This prompted Kelly to ask Ahmed why it is that, "Even experts such as Andrew McCarthy have said that the mosques tend to be hotbeds for political activity, not as much religious activity."
Ahmed's response was simple but powerful.
"Megan we go to the mosque to pray," said Ahmed, "I find it horrifying that our constitutional rights of free exercise of religion are going to be challenged."
Ahmed went on to say that, "Just because some people in the mosque are associated with terrorism, that does not give you the right to shut down the Mosque."
Pierson's responded by saying, "If it's one person fine, but if it's the entire mosque than the mosque needs to be shut down."
An (Unfortunately) Familiar Feeling
They say that those who do not study their history are doomed to repeat it, and the United States is in danger of repeating some of its biggest blunders.
It was not so long ago that Japanese citizens were rounded up and forced to live in internment camps because the United States government felt they might be dangerous to the rest of the country during World War II.
This country has a habit of trying to kill a single ant by lobbing a hand grenade at the entire colony. It may destroy the intended target, but it also does irrevocable damage to a vast majority of innocent bystanders.
Terrorism is a problem and our country should oppose it. The answer, however, is not to erase the rights and freedoms we were founded upon for the sake of neutralizing ancillary threats.
Some things are more important than safety.
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