By Ismail Royer
[This article was published by The Public Discourse on June 14, 2017]
Those trying to block the nomination of Russell Vought are not protecting religious pluralism but are rather demanding that all public servants be relativists.
We read in the Qur’an the story of Joseph, son of Jacob, whom Muslims revere as a prophet of God. The king of Egypt has just released him from prison for interpreting the king’s dream in a way that saved the land from starvation. The king recognizes Joseph’s worth and seeks to bring him close to him. Seeing a chance to do good, Joseph asks the king to put him in charge of the treasury: “Indeed, I will be a knowing guardian” (Qur’an, Yusuf 12:55). And so the king gives him this authority. Both of them know well that Joseph follows a different religion from that of the polytheistic king. Indeed, Joseph proclaimed while he was still in prison:
Verily, I have abandoned the religion of a people that do not believe in God and are disbelievers in the Hereafter. And I have followed the religion of my fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and never could we worship anyone alongside God. (Qur’an, Yusuf 12:38)
These passages from the Qur’an describe men unapologetic about their religion and unsqueamish about conveying it, but whose differing visions of salvation do not stop them from finding common cause in seeking the public good. Had it been otherwise, Joseph would have had to conceal his beliefs, or Egypt would have been the worse for losing a qualified, well-meaning steward of its resources…
Read the rest of the article on The Public Discourse
Update: Writer Terry Mattingly discussed this article in his June 21, 2017 On Religion column. Read the column here.