How do conservatives feel about this?

This survey caught my eye:

Western conservatives tend to dislike Islamic fundamentalism.

Western conservatives tend to dislike atheism.

So here’s a question for conservatives: If these surveys are correct (a big if), what does it portend about the future of civil society in the Middle East?

I’m not conservative, and I don’t see this as either good or bad. But it may be a symptom of certain trends, which might be good or bad.

PS. This caught my eye:

In a poll conducted last year by the Pew Research Center, only 25 percent of white evangelical Christians said the United States has a responsibility to accept refugees, while 65 percent of those not affiliated with a religion affirmed that duty. 


HT: Sam Bowman



18 Responses to “How do conservatives feel about this?”

  1. Gravatar of Bob Bob
    11. November 2019 at 10:30

    The immigration issue is what finally made me lose all semblance of respect for the Christian virtue-signalers. The Bible goes back and forth on a lot of issues, and you can understand how a reader could reasonably come to a conservative conclusion on many of those issues. While reading the old-testament, I realized that immigration is not one of those issues. The Bible is unequivocal in saying that immigrants should be respected and cared for. Exodus repeats that point over and over in very clear terms. The fact that such a large share of the self-proclaimed religious right chose to just ignore that point shows how much their religiosity is a marriage of convenience, not ideology.

  2. Gravatar of Brian Donohue Brian Donohue
    11. November 2019 at 11:45

    I don’t know many evangelicals, but Ma was a good, practical Catholic woman and lifelong Democrat who was fond of saying “charity begins at home”, from 1 Timothy: “But if any provide not for his owne, & specially for those of his owne house, hee hath denied the faith, and is worse then an infidel.”

    Maybe it sounds a bit selfish, but I think of it like an air mask on an airplane. If needed, the first thing to do is put your own mask on, only than are you in a position to help others.

    A lot of big-hearted virtue signallers don’t understand this and don’t do much of anything to help anyone but provide critique.

  3. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    11. November 2019 at 13:54

    Brian, So Jesus would say that an incredibly rich country like the US should not take in suffering refugees? Or am I missing your point.

  4. Gravatar of Arilando Arilando
    11. November 2019 at 13:59


    The old Testament’s treatment of this issue is to be understood in the context of very low rates of immigration, other then through conquest, which was how things were until very recently in history. To think that the old Testament requires as part of its morality that societies accept mass immigration and ethnic replacement is almost certainly a misunderstanding of the message of the old Testament. The old Testament is all about an ethnic group carving out a territory for itself, through conquest and ethnic cleansing.

  5. Gravatar of Brian Donohue Brian Donohue
    11. November 2019 at 14:16

    It’s true that most professed Christians don’t live up to their precepts. It’s hard. It’s one reason I don’t consider myself a Christian.

    Hell, you’ve admitted you can’t even live up to your own crappy utilitarian ethics, which would surely require you to host a family of refugees at least.

  6. Gravatar of Nick Ronalds Nick Ronalds
    11. November 2019 at 14:39

    I wonder how distorted the refugee question is by the fact that most “refugees” are not in fact refugees but economic migrants. One might be in favor of accepting refugees (I.e., true refugees) but opposed to accepting “refugees” who are economic migrants.

  7. Gravatar of Lorenzo from Oz Lorenzo from Oz
    11. November 2019 at 14:40

    Well, if you are a Western civilisation conservative you might be positive, as it suggests that (mainstream Sunni) Islam is on its way to being a lot easier to live with.

    The Evangelical Christian’s not being so keen on refugees makes a little more sense if they see such intakes as making them (and their values) even more a minority outlook. It is clear they already generally see themselves as increasingly beleaguered.

  8. Gravatar of Bob Bob
    11. November 2019 at 15:53


    The Christian Right has spent decades insisting that the Bible should be taken literally. So much so that they’ve invested many hundreds of millions of dollars into denying basic scientific concepts like evolution. And much more into denying and persecuting LGBTQ people. Also denying rape. And now you insist that the text of the Bible should not be taken seriously, but rather in a “come on, you know” sort of way. That sounds like moral relativism, which the Religious Right tends to get really angry about.

    You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.
    Deuteronomy 10:19

    The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.
    Leviticus 19:34

    ‘Cursed is anyone who withholds justice from the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow.’ Then all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
    Leviticus 27:19

  9. Gravatar of Matthias Görgens Matthias Görgens
    11. November 2019 at 19:52

    Brian’s and Nick’s points nicely cancel each other out.

    The economic refugees are generally willing to work quite hard, and would want to come even if they paid higher taxes and never got a chance to vote or get welfare payments.

    In fact, illegal immigrants don’t get to vote and usually have a rather hard time getting welfare payments.

  10. Gravatar of Nick Nick
    12. November 2019 at 00:48

    You don’t have to do anything to help. People are more than capable of helping themselves. Just stop actively pushing them back to the countries they want to escape from.

  11. Gravatar of Arilando Arilando
    12. November 2019 at 05:27


    Just to be clear i’m an atheist.

    Those quotes are talking about foreigners, presumably merchants and ambassadors etc, who are staying in the country temporarily, not permanent immigrants.

  12. Gravatar of Student Student
    12. November 2019 at 11:31

    WWJD? Recall the judgement of nations in Matt 25. (Also called the parable of the sheep and goats… but it’s not a parable and I already digress). In summary, “Whatever you did to the least of my brethren, you did to me.”

    Who are the least of my brethren? Are they only refugees or all immigrants… or none of them? That’s the hard part. Evangelicals for the most part, don’t care. Modern evangelicals seem to think they can just whisper Jesus’ name in a mirror 3 times and they magically get a get out of jail free card. Like with the trends of rising secularism, there are fewer and fewer religious people that know anything about their supposed beliefs. So identifying, not identifying… doesn’t seem to much matter.

    Take Catholics as well… they have a formal teaching on the matter:

    “ 2241 The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him.
    Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants’ duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.”

    Even so, I bet 1/3 are even aware of that, and of those that are, at least half would try to argue that the common good permits the exclusion of strangers even in the richest most obliged country on earth.

    I bet… if you were to focus on those that actually try to learn and practice their faith (those who have the ears to hear), you would see that religiosity does have an impact on people’s behavior… and it more often than not, has a good influence on it.

  13. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    12. November 2019 at 12:47

    Now we are quoting the bible to determine immigration policies? Or to prove “hypocrisy”?

    I do not think religion should factor into this at all. But it feels silly to even have to say it.

  14. Gravatar of Salem Salem
    13. November 2019 at 05:34


    Without wishing to be presumptuous, I’m pretty sure he’d tell people to look to their own actions and the state of their own hearts, not what the government is doing. Jesus didn’t tell the rich young man to use his wealth and influence to lobby Herod and Pilate into better decisions, and this isn’t because they were such perfect rulers that there was no need. Almost none of Jesus’s ministry was about public policy issues, and when people asked him about those issues he sidestepped them and redirected his audience back to their personal responsibilities. He would likely encourage his audience to give generously to refugee charities and to take refugees into their own home – and mock those who tried to look pious on this issue while making no personal sacrifice. At least, that is what he said about similar subjects.

  15. Gravatar of Student Student
    13. November 2019 at 06:13

    Salem and Michael,

    Fair points. But the Church is a social institution as is society. Its true that if ones house isn’t in order, everything else is hypocrisy and virtue signaling so we must emphasize our own house first… but it is our duty to apply the gospel to all aspects of our lives. We must in some ways, walk with the gospel into the public sphere. St Thomas in the Summa Theologeia makes the case well in his disputations involving the hierarchy of laws and the role of the state. We ought not (and it’s not really even possible) hide our lamps under bushel baskets after all.

  16. Gravatar of Student Student
    13. November 2019 at 06:27


    Law is directed to the common good, and human law is no exception. The promotion of virtue is necessary for the common good, and human laws are instruments in the promotion of virtue. Aristotle already pointed out that most people are kept from crime by fear of the law. Thomas accepts this judgment, suggesting (r. Ad 1, p. 57) that by coercion even men who are evilly disposed may be led in the direction of virtue.

    Laws are also important, says Thomas, for other reasons noted by Aristotle.

    (1) It is easier to find a few wise persons who can make good laws than to find many who, in the absence of laws, can judge correctly in each instance.
    (2) Lawmakers can deliberate at length before making laws while many particular cases must be judged quickly, when they arise.

    (3) Lawmakers judge in the abstract and are less likely to be swayed by emotions evoked by concrete circumstances or by the kinds of things that tend to corruption. There is less danger of perversion of law, which is formulated in general, than there would be perversion of judgment in particular cases where no law exists to guide judgment. (Q. 95, A. 1, R. Ad 2)

    Even though laws are general, they are still adapted to the nature of the community, which is not everywhere the same, and to the classes of individuals who make up the society. For example, there may be one set of laws that govern the conduct of trade, another set of laws that govern the control of parents over their children, another set of laws setting limits on the powers of what passes for a police force.

    In other words, there may be different laws for different kinds of citizens, who have different functions in the community. Still laws are general to two ways. All human laws worthy of the name laws are directed towards the common good. And even specific laws, say, for merchants, are general in some way: that they go farther than a single case. (Q. 96, a. 1)

    The human law, says Thomas, is not obliged to repress all vices. It is framed for most people, who are far from perfect in virtue. It is aimed at the more grievous vices from which the majority can abstain, i.e., those which are to the hurt of others, e.g., murder, theft, and the like. Were the law to attempt to legislate perfection, it would make people hostile to the law and defeat its purpose. (Q. 96, a. 2)

    For the same reason, the law does not prescribe all the acts of the virtues. But it does prescribe some acts corresponding to each virtue. For example, some acts that a just man would do are prescribed; some acts that a temperate person would do are prescribed. (A. 3)

    Everyone is subject to human law and ought to obey the human law, that is, the true human law, not the occasional perversion of it which is sometimes presented as law. But the ruler (charged with stating and enforcing the law) is in a special position. Normally, he is obliged to follow the law which he himself has stated. But there is nobody over him to judge him in this life. However, he is not exempt, since he will be held accountable by God. (A.5).

  17. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    13. November 2019 at 13:04


    very good points. People like Scott love to talk about refugees and immigrants, which is easy when you live in Orange County, where the underclass of refugees/immigrants tends not to settle at all. Demanding policies without having skin in the game is always easy. To me it sounds more like virtue signaling.

  18. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    13. November 2019 at 13:12

    The only question that conservatives (should) have is whether the number of conservatives will remain the same or better still increase. In any case, I cannot see that there are less conservatives in the recent world, you could even argue that the trend is opposite.

    If religious fanaticism, such as in (huge?) parts of Christianity or Islam, becomes less, then that is to be welcomed. One can be atheist (or spiritual) and conservative.

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