by Chance Palm

When President Barack Obama visited a Baltimore mosque on Wednesday, Feb. 3, it should not have sparked controversy, nor should this have been the first time he has visited a mosque in the US. It is odd to think that former Republican President George W. Bush, days after 9/11, went to a mosque to argue that terror and terrorist acts do not in any way represent the religion of Islam.
At the mosque, Bush said, “Islam is peace. These terrorists don’t represent peace.”
The tide has changed in the Republican Party; now some Re- publican candidates have gone the way of belittling Muslims in America. Republican candidate Ben Carson has said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he would not advocate for a Muslim becoming president. However, Article VI of the Constitution states, “No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” In November, Businessman Donald Trump called for shutting down mosques, and in December, he called for barring all Muslims from entering the US. In the past, he has also been open to establishing a database for all US Muslims. In some ways, this parallels what Nazi Germany did to the Jews.
Why is there such a divide between Republicans now and Republicans 15 years ago? When you convince people they will be in danger if you are not elected president, chances are better that they may vote for you. It’s similar to the way dictators control their people. Trump is not a fascist, but he carries some of same traits by exploiting fear in a negative way.
Christianity is similar to Islam: They both have origins in the Middle East, are monotheistic and Abrahamic, and one of the only differences of both Christianity and Islam is Muslims believe that Jesus is not the son of God. Plenty of Islamic art both influences and has been influenced by Christian art. When some Christians criticize Islam, they are also inadvertently criticizing their own religion.
There is a reason the first amendment was to make sure people could worship without the government impeding on the right to exercise religion; and, for example, shutting down mosques, what Donald Trump wants to do, would certainly be violating that right. America was made to be open to religion, and by allowing some of these candidates to spread hate and prejudice against a specific religion, it takes a little bit of freedom and liberty out of America.