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You Can’t Deport Me, I Quit

August 23, 2016

I am too frightened to do the research on this, but apparently there is a hashtag movement afoot regarding the deportation of Muslims from the U.S. It may be an exaggerated threat or a couple of really loud jerks drumming up support, but I simply can’t do the necessary heartbreaking research. This is one of those shooting-fish-in-a-barrel posts, but, simply, NO.

I grew up in a family and community that generally despised or at best was leery of Muslims. Even in his later years, my father jokingly called the Arab owner of his neighborhood gas station “The Terrorist.”

Regardless, in all my years of confronting ignorance and bigotry as a wide-eyed child in Tennessee and an adult in the Atlanta area, not once have I heard anyone–my father, my parents’ friends in Gamaliel, Kentucky, or Lafayette, Tennessee, any member of the regressive fundamentalist churches I had occasion to attend as a child, anyone–call for the deportation of Muslims or of any religious group. This is beyond my comprehension.

My partner has a Muslim first name and was brought up in a predominately Christian environment with a healthy exposure to Islam due to his mother’s temporary conversion prior to his birth.

I work closely with at least two Muslims at my job. I value their friendship and respect them as two of the most principled, thoughtful, and kind people with whom I have ever had the pleasure to work.

Rumors are that my lifelong idol and role model, Janet Jackson, has converted to Islam under the influence of her husband, Wissam Al Mana. Presumably while under this Muslim influence, she created the 2015 album Unbreakable, her finest album in over a decade, full of idealism and social responsibility.

Almost to a person, the most inauthentic and hateful people I’ve known in my life have claimed Christianity as their religion. Every spoken or physical act of violence I have ever witnessed has been committed by a Christian. This may have a lot to do with the overwhelming preponderance of Christians in my environment, but still…

In lieu of saying something cute or clever, I’ll let all of those observations stand on their own. I’ll point out that almost all the Americans that have ever been killed, marginalized, brutalized, disfranchised, disenfranchised, bullied, silenced, tortured, and discriminated against… almost all of them have suffered their abuse at the hands of people who identified as Christian.

So which religion’s members should we be deporting, again?

Answer: even still, none of them. And if U.S. leaders, in their infinite wisdom, decide to deport Muslims because of their religious identification, I’m going with them.

You can’t deport me. I will quit.

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