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Nate Jackson / Nov. 19, 2015

No Religious Test? Actually, Yes, There Is

Apparently, American law is un-American.

During his Monday press conference in Turkey, Barack Obama slammed opponents of his agenda to flood our nation with Syrian refugees. “When I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which a person who’s fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted … that’s shameful,” he lectured. “That’s not American. That’s not who we are. We don’t have religious tests to our compassion.”

Except American law says we do have a religious test for admitting refugees (in contrast with no religious test for holding public office). Specifically, former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy notes, “Under federal law, the executive branch is expressly required to take religion into account in determining who is granted asylum. Under the provision governing asylum (section 1158 of Title 8, U.S. Code), an alien applying for admission ‘must establish that … religion [among other things] … was or will be at least one central reason for persecuting the applicant.’” Furthermore, Section 1101(a)(42)(A) of Title 8, U.S. Code defines a refugee as a person “who is unable or unwilling to return to … that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of … religion [among other things].”

The reason we have asylum laws, and the reason they are geared toward a religious test, is that refugees are often fleeing their homeland because of religious persecution. The Islamic State is specifically and horrifically targeting Christians for persecution, slavery (including for sex) and death. Yet just 53 of the Syrian refugees Obama has admitted since 2011 have been Christians.

Exit question: Remember the time Obama fought extra hard to deport a Christian homeschooling family back to Germany? Was that a religious test?

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