Religious bigotry - on a whole new level

You know, I've been thinking ... if Donald Trump ever gained power (God help us!) and began a "registry" of Muslims, I would sign up. Not because I'm a Muslim -- I'm not. But it would be an act of solidarity with those who would be persecuted in this way. And a way to mess up his "system."

But when I heard Trump's latest proposal, it was hard to know what to say. His bigoted ideas always leave me speechless, wondering how any thinking or caring American can say what he is saying. But now, he has crossed a new line: coming out for a policy that would prohibit Muslims (even our own citizens who have been overseas) from coming into the United States!

Of course, it's not legally possible to do what he suggests. In fact, it is blatantly unconstitutional. Trump needs to read the First Amendment which guarantees freedom of religion, and of course, he needs to recognize that his proposal is simply un-American on many scores. (I'm not holding my breath that he will come to his senses!)

But he does seem to represent the views of a small percentage of Americans. I was watching several people who had attended the rally at which he proposed this idea being interviewed on MSNBC last night ... and only one person had any qualms about his proposal. A very small sample, but still: scary.

But there is one ray of hope: his Republican presidential rivals -- long wary of disagreeing with their front-runner -- have begun to criticize his remarks on this issue. And well they might. His words are heard around the globe, and Muslims worldwide have been left wondering if Trump is expressing the sentiment of Americans generally.

And these outrageous comments cannot go unanswered by faith groups other than Muslims. At least one Jewish group has denounced Trump's remarks. But this is a place where the U.S. Catholic Bishops and the National Council of Churches need to make statements -- defending the religious liberty of us all. That would be interfaith work with real significance.

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