The best thing about the anti-Syrian hysteria that swept the U.S. this past week in the wake of the Nov. 13 Paris terrorist attacks is that the results of the panic were not worse.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and more than two dozen other Republican governors said their states would not accept any more Syrian refugees. But at least some of the very worst proposals of the week got little support.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and fellow Republican presidential contender Jeb Bush agreed on blocking Syrian refugees, but they suggested that exceptions could be made for Christians.
There should never be a religious test for entry into the United States.
Donald Trump, never one to let his mind interfere with his mouth, said he would consider requiring Muslims in America to carry special identification cards specifying their faith.
Jews must have cringed at the memory of times in their history, particularly in Nazi-occupied Europe, when they were required to wear badges signifying their faith.
Thursday’s House-passed bill aimed at shutting down the meager flow of Syrian refugees into this country — 1,854 since 2012, while millions have fled war-torn Syria — might achieve that goal in practical terms, but it didn’t expressly end the program or its funding.
The bill would require the agencies that conduct background checks on people in the refugee program to certify that every approved applicant from Syria or Iraq poses no terrorism threat.
Democrats in the Senate could block the bill, and Obama has said if it passes he will veto it.
Still, it was a humbling week for Obama, who has set a goal of admitting 10,000 Syrian refugees to the U.S. during the next year.
A Rasmussen poll showed that 60 percent of likely U.S. voters oppose settling those refugees in their states, while just 28 percent would accept them.
In another poll by the same company, 92 percent said radical Islamic terrorism is a serious threat to the United States. A plurality (46 percent) said they agree with Obama that the radical Islamic State does not represent true Islamic beliefs, but that figure is down from 58 percent in February.
“People are very nervous, very worried about this,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan.
Our worries should not rule our hearts and minds.