Last Tuesday young Muslim men with knives burst into a Catholic Church in Western France and cut the throat of the 85 year-old priest conducting services. They yelled “Allahu akbar!” ISIS claimed credit for the dastardly deed. This was just the latest in a long series of atrocities committed by young Muslim men in the name of radical Islam, taking the lives of thousands of innocent people in Europe and America. On a plane yesterday returning to Rome, Pope Francis told reporters (be sitting down for this), “I think it’s not right to identify Islam with terrorism.”
It would appear that Francis has Catholic priests’ backs in much the same way Barack Obama has American police officers’ backs.
In an absolutely stunning and grotesque example of moral equivalency, Francis seemed to be equating the deliberate shooting, trucking, bombing, beheading, and airline-crashing deaths of thousands of innocent people in the West with more mundane violence committed by members of other religious groups but not motivated by religion. (You have to be a cynic or a special kind of obtuse to claim that people who murder while shouting Allahu akbar are not murdering in the name of religion.)
“I think that in nearly all religions there is always a small fundamentalist group,” Francis said in a world-class non-sequitur. (I came up around fundamentalist Baptists. Not a one of whom slit a single throat while chanting, “God is good!”) “I don’t like to talk about Islamic violence because every day when I look at the papers I see violence here in Italy — someone killing his girlfriend, someone killing his mother-in-law,” he added, without suggesting that these reprehensible acts were committed because the mother-in-law was an infidel. Nor did Francis inform us of previous incidents where Methodists burst into Baptist churches, cutting the preacher’s throat while chanting “John Wesley is great!” Nor did he cite members of any other religious group flying airliners into office buildings full of people.
Francis went on to give the standard bromides out of Marxist catechism that lack of economic opportunity and lack of social justice are the real causes of terrorism. The holder of the office of the Vicar of Rome deserves a certain respect and deference to his position, to himself, and to the Church he represents. But even after paying “all due respect” to all three of these, it’s perfectly justifiable and seemly to ask the obvious question, to wit: Is this man paying the slightest attention?