Here are the headlines:
• “Pastor at St. Margaret Mary Parish resigns amid FBI investigation.” The opening, from a TV station in Kentucky:
LOUISVILLE (WHAS11) – Father Stephen Pohl resigned on Thursday, Aug. 20, from his position as a pastor of the St. Margaret Mary Parish.
Pohl is under investigation by the FBI and is accused of taking inappropriate pictures of children.
• “FBI investigates possible child pornography at Independence church.” This headline is out of Independence, Missouri, the story opening reading:
INDEPENDENCE, MO (KCTV) — The FBI is investigating an Independence Catholic church following what they say were two downloads of child pornography.
Police have taken the hard drives of about four computers from St. Ann Catholic Church, located at 10113 East Lexington Ave. A state warrant was carried out at the rectory, a building next to the church where a priest lives.
A spokesperson for the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph said authorities told them there were two child pornography downloads connected to the church’s IP address.
• “Senate Panel Probes 6 Top Televangelists.” CBS did this report, which begins:
CBS News has learned Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, is investigating six prominent televangelist ministries for possible financial misconduct.
Letters were sent Monday to the ministries demanding that financial statements and records be turned over to the committee by December 6th.
According to Grassley’s office, the Iowa Republican is trying to determine whether or not these ministries are improperly using their tax-exempt status as churches to shield lavish lifestyles.”
• “West Bloomfield Township, MI — FBI Raids Michigan Jewish Institute Over Allegations Of Defrauding The Federal Government.” The story begins:
West Bloomfield Township, MI — After years of seemingly suspicious activities, the FBI raided the Michigan Jewish Institute (MJI) yesterday, with approximately 15 federal agents targeting MJI’s administrative offices in Southfield.
Ha’aretz writes that employees there were directed into a conference room, where agents took their contact information and sent them home. While the exact reason for the raid is unclear, there is some evidence pointing to $25 million in Federal Pell Grants claimed by the Institute over a five-year period.
So what do we have here? The federal government of the United States — specifically here the FBI and a committee of the United States Senate — headed, no less, by a Republican! – are investigating Catholic Churches, Protestant televangelist ministers and an Institute affiliated with the Jewish faith.
Outrage from the media? From some Republican presidential candidates? From liberals? None. Exactly none. Now let’s look at this headline:
Trump: You’re going to have to watch and study the mosques.
And? And the media goes nuts. As I noted here at NewsBusters, conservative columnist A.J. Delgado immediately discovered the baloney behind the charge that Trump was suggesting a database to track every Muslim in the U.S. He never said it. But he has called for the surveillance of Mosques — and the reaction?
There is Jeb Bush, as the Washington Post reports:
Jeb Bush calls Donald Trump’s Muslim surveillance comments ‘abhorrent’
Bush also said Trump was “manipulating people’s angst and their fears.” Congressman Peter King said “Donald Trump is talking before he knows what he’s talking about. I have been critical of people in the Muslim community, but the fact is you can’t be shutting down mosques… We do have freedom of religion.”
Headline after headline after headline featured Trump’s calls for Mosque surveillance, with all kinds of people expressing shock and suddenly holding the First Amendment aloft. But… but.
As those first headlines show, the federal government is repeatedly injecting itself into religious matters. The FBI goes after the Catholic Church for child abuse, the Senate targets Protestant televangelists for their finances, the FBI swoops in on a Jewish institution for fraud. And the outcry? Total silence.
The broader point? It’s OK to go after Catholics, Protestants, and Jews in America. But Muslims? Muslims who in fact may well be using Mosques for propagating out and out terrorism?
No can do.