Away from the all-too-liberal activism that has plagued the Muslim American political experience in recent years, away from the theological compromises and unsavory trade-offs this activism has forced Muslims into making, a different sort of political vision for Muslims in the West has been developed by many an orthodox scholar or community leader as of late: the notion of partnering with Evangelical Christian organizations, churches, and institutions in order to campaign for socially conservative values shared by both religions, namely, opposition to same-sex marriage, abortion, and sexually explicit aspects of the media. While not necessarily a recent proposition, it is one that has gathered more and more traction as many traditional Muslims grow (rightly) disillusioned with the state of modern ‘Islamic’ political advocacy, which primarily consists of lobbying for liberal causes and candidates with an occasional ayah or hadith report thrown in for loose justification, and seek a more orthodox, a more religiously influenced alternative. This article will attempt to display how, despite its aesthetic appeal, such a union would be a politically, strategically, and most importantly, theologically negative move for the Muslim community.

An interesting point to note here, is that whenever such a partnership is discussed amongst the Muslim community, on social media or otherwise, the Christian acceptance to such a proposal is typically taken for granted. Perhaps it is the years Muslims have spent allying with Democratic Party affiliates, LGBT rights advocates, and progressive Christian churches, groups that put on a facade of tolerance and unity, willingly teaming up with Muslims, while simultaneously lobbying for staunchly anti-Islamic ideals, and smearing the ethical assertions of the Noble Quran. In this way, it may seem refreshing to find a group that openly expresses their true feelings towards our community (White Evangelicals rate Muslims an average 37 degrees on a thermometer scale– the lowest of any religion surveyed, according to a recent poll [1]), however, let us not over-praise their honesty. Yes, they are candid about their true beliefs– but about what? About how much they loathe us and our faith? It is not merely forthrightness that should matter to us, but dignity and respect. Even beyond the question of whether these churches would even be willing to enter into an alliance with Muslims in the first place, if our reasons for avoiding affiliation with liberal and secular communities is their constant backdoor deprecation of Islam, what reason do we have for associating with conservatives who do the same?

But even assuming that there are indeed, orthodox Christian churches and groups that are open-minded enough to be willing to consider a union with similarly conservative Muslims to lobby against societal degradation, there remains the question of whether conservative Christians are even worth forming a coalition with in the first place. The reason that same-sex marriage is legal, that abortion is such a popular cause, that sexually explicit content is so ubiquitous in today’s society is because Christianity has failed, on a spectacular scale, to make any any sort of impact on American ‘values’ for the last several decades. Let there be no mistake: We are living in the age of postmodernism, a moral relativist wasteland in which anything goes, and ethics are determined not by God, but by the all-powerful zeitgeist. If we truly wish to make an impact on Western society, to renew traditional Abrahamic values in a land that has long since forsaken them, there is no bigger misstep that can be made than allying with those that helped make those values vanish to begin with.

Yet another important note to consider is the fact that Christian and Muslim social norms are not identical. In our desperation to find allies in a liberal world order that no longer values traditional sexual and gender norms, we’ve begun to whitewash the many clear and unavoidable differences between Christianity and Islam, a disturbing sign for the generations to come. For example, while the Bible, particularly the Old Testament, accepts polygamy, it is now widely loathed by Western Christians and Western society at large, and was a popular feature in polemics against Mormonism by orthodox Christians in the 19th century, and now, against Islam. Therefore, if Muslims were to attempt to defend Islam’s conception of marriage on this topic, we would almost certainly encounter vicious opposition from the Christian community in this regard. Likewise, on the issue of abortion, which certainly is a tragic crime that should be rallied against by our community, the fact remains that Islamic scholarship has traditionally held somewhat differing views on the matter than the hard-line approach favored by some modern Christian sects, particularly Catholicism, reflects which also needs to be noted and understood by our community [2].

And the situation only grows more complex still once we realize that while our position on social issues might be considered right-wing in the modern West, the Islamic stance on subjects such as access to healthcare and welfare certainly does not toe the conservative line, and to mindlessly parrot the Republican agenda on these matters would be just as much a betrayal of our religion as the liberal alliance the proposed conservative coalition seeks to avert.

However, by far the biggest problem with partnering with the Christian Right, is that a strong, unified Judeo-Christian political force focused on upholding Biblical mores simply no longer exists. Its “family values” principles have now been replaced by the conservatism of people like avowed white nationalist Richard Spencer, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, “red pill” figurehead Mike Cernovich, neoconservative hawks like Douglas Murray, and openly gay provocateur Milo Yiannopolis. If these people, these figureheads of the New Right even are Christians, it is only in the cultural sense, a postmodern interpretation of religion divorced from faith, under which they campaign against supposed threats to Western civilization. Ironically enough, the one ideal left that unites both the old and the new, the traditional and the subversive, the normative and alternate strains of conservatism, is a deep and severe hatred of Islam.

And that is precisely the issue with the very idea of ‘partnering’ politically with differing ideologies, for even if there are areas of mutual agreement and possibilities for collaboration, there will always be conflict and apprehension felt by both sides since, at their core, we are simply not the same. Islam is not liberal, it is not conservative, it is Islam, and we must be wary of attempting to corner the eternal word of God into a temporary, man-made ideological box. If we are to carve out a future for ourselves in the West, it must be with us at the helm, to uncompromisingly assert our own ethical beliefs, the only true moral framework that guides the universe and has always guided it. It was the way of the righteous before us, all the way back to the Prophets (pbut) themselves, to guide society to the right path from whatever evil had misled them before. And if there is to be any hope for the future, it must become our way as well.

And Allah knows best.

 

 

“And among those We created is a community which guides by truth and thereby establishes justice. But those who deny Our signs – We will progressively lead them [to destruction] from where they do not know.” (Quran 7:181-2)

“And leave those who take their religion as amusement and diversion and whom the worldly life has deluded. But remind with the Quran, lest a soul be given up to destruction for what it earned; it will have other than Allah no protector and no intercessor.” (Quran 6:70, part)

 

 

[1] Pew Research Center (2017). Americans Express Increasingly Warm Feelings Towards Religious Groups. The Pew Charitable Trusts. Retrieved from: http://www.pewforum.org/2017/02/15/americans-express-increasingly-warm-feelings-toward-religious-groups/

[2] For an excellent summary on the issue, see Islam and the Abortion Debate by Imam Omar Suleiman for the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research.

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