The following will update my comments in which were originally posted on June 19, 2016 under the title: Would Muslim Immigrant Ban Violate Religious Freedom of US Citizens?

In the six months since that comment appeared, Donald Trump has been, of course, elected as the next president of the United States (with almost 3 million fewer popular votes than his opponent) and he has appointed two of America's leading detractors of the Muslim religion, General Michael Flynn and security "expert" Frank Gaffney Jr. as his National Security Advisor and transition team member, respectively.

Trump has recently suggested that his original proposal, announced one year ago, in December 2015, to ban all Muslim immigration to the US may (or may not) have "morphed" into a plan to conduct "extreme vetting" for immigrants or visitors from Muslim countries only, as in his August 31 immigration address, but this still singles out Muslim immigrants for suspicion and antagonism purely because of their religion, without any actual evidence of possible terrorist affiliations.

Trump's proposed total (or partial, whichever it may turn out to be) ban on Muslim immigrants also, to say the very least, casts suspicion on American citizen Muslims as well who seek nothing more than to exercise their right to freedom of religion, as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the US Constitution. To put it very mildly, in Trump's stated view, the line between the alleged dangers posed by Muslim immigrants and Muslim US citizens is blurred.

This is what Trump said to a reporter at a campaign event in Iowa, according to the Huffington Post, when Trump was asked if there should be a database system that tracks Muslims here in America:

"There should be a lot of systems, beyond databases...We should have a lot of systems, and today you can do it...

I would certainly implement that, absolutely."

Trump's recently appointed National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, blurred the distinction between Muslim immigrants and Muslim US citizens even further, if anything, in his following remark, made this past August:

"Islam is a political ideology. It is a political ideology. It definitely higes behind this notion of it being a religion...

It's like cancer.,,And it's like a malignant cancer, though, in this case. It has metastasized."

But the above two statements would seem to be models of religious tolerance compared to former national security specialist turned anti-Muslim advocate and Trump transition team member Frank Gaffney Jr.

Gaffney is quoted by the Southern Povery Law Center as making the following statement in 2011:

"So pervasive is the MB's [Muslim Brotherhood's] 'civilization jihad' within the U.S. government and civil institutions institutions that a serious, sustained and rigorous investigation of the phenomenon by the legislative branch is in order. To that end, we need to establish a new and improved counterpart to the Cold War era's HUAC [House un-American Activities Committee] and charge it with rooting out anti-American - and anti-constitutional - activities that constitute an even more insidious peril than those pursued by communist Fifth Columnists fifty years ago."

Since Gaffney mentions the Constitution, what does this document actually have to say about freedom of religion? Is this a doctrine that applies to non-Muslims only? Or is it one that protects all religions, even ones that might not be popular with our incoming president, some of his advisers, or even a certain segment of the American public?

In this regard, an October 1, 2012 Legal Memorandum by Jay Alan Sekulow published by the Heritage Foundation, not known as a left wing or pro-immigrant organization, entitled:

Religious Liberty and Expression Under Attack: Restoring America's First Freedoms

is of a great deal of interest, even though it does not mention Islam or attitudes toward the Muslim religion specifically.

This document, one of the best summaries of what religious freedom really means in America (hint: not what Mssrs. Flynn, Gaffney and Trump appear to think it means), and which includes quotes about freedom of religion by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison which some of the leaders in our new administration would no doubt find interesting reading, will be discussed in Part 2 of this series. The link is:

Roger Algase
Attorney at Law