Common Word, Common Lord

In the Name of God: The Eternally and Extremely Loving and Caring 

In the aftermath of the horrific attack in Nice, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich made a truly outrageous statement:

Western civilization is in a war. We should frankly test every person here who is of a Muslim background and if they believe in sharia they should be deported.

He made these comments to Fox’s Sean Hannity. Now, I do not know what Mr. Gingrich believes “Sharia” is, but as it is understood by billions of Muslims, “Sharia” is the “way to God” in Arabic, and it is the individual and collective effort by Muslims to determine the will of God in their lives.

While most Americans may think of beheadings, amputations, and stoning as the essence of Sharia, for the vast, vast majority of Muslims, Sharia is encompassed by moral and ethical teachings, spiritual practices and rituals, and instructions on personal conduct, such as diet and hygiene. This is not to say that there isn’t corporal punishment in Sharia – there is – but it is the tiniest part of the body of Sharia as a whole, and it has been misunderstood and misapplied by many Muslims in our world today.

As shocking as that statement by Mr. Gingrich is, it still left me with a number of questions. For instance, if I don’t eat pork as a Muslim (just like Jews and even Jesus Christ himself), will Newt Gingrich deport me? After all, refraining from eating that delictable piece of pepperoni pizza (because it has pork) is a part of the Sharia.

If I don’t drink alcohol, also part of the Sharia, will Newt Gingrich deport me?

The Sharia is very big on absolute respect and honor for one’s parents. Thus, if I kiss my parents’ hands in public out of respect – which I am blessed to say that I still do at age 42 – will ICE officers come knocking at my door?

What if I am driving on the highway and refrain from speeding because obeying the laws of the land is obligated by the Sharia on me as a Muslim, will I soon see Federal agents on my tail to deport me?

What if I consistently come to work on time, or treat my wife with the dignity and honor she deserves, or work day and night to provide for my family, or vote in every election as an engaged citizen should do, or pick up a wayward piece of garbage I see on the street, or move a nail out of the sidewalk so no one will walk or drive over it, or treat my neighbors with courtesy and respect? All of these things are mandated upon me by the Sharia.

Will Newt Gingrich, then, deport me?

And, by the way, I was born and raised in greater Chicago area. This country is my country, and it is the only country I have ever known. I love this country to death. To where, exactly, would Newt Gingrich deport me?

Such rhetoric by Newt Gingrich and others of his ilk is alarming, counterproductive, and most of all, un-American. As a Statesman and former Speaker of the House (third in line for the Presidency), I would have thought Mr. Gingrich would know better. Apparently, I was wrong.

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