Carl Olsen at Catholic World Report looks at the inability of many of our leaders to utter the “I” word:
The same facts can be found in the essential March 2015 essay “What ISIS Really Wants” by Graeme Wood of The Atlantic. Over a year later, his insistence that all of us, including our political and religious leaders, take seriously the theological premises of ISIS in order to confront Islamism directly and intelligently sounds even more urgently upon us:
The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam.
Virtually every major decision and law promulgated by the Islamic State adheres to what it calls, in its press and pronouncements, and on its billboards, license plates, stationery, and coins, “the Prophetic methodology,” which means following the prophecy and example of Muhammad, in punctilious detail. Muslims can reject the Islamic State; nearly all do. But pretending that it isn’t actually a religious, millenarian group, with theology that must be understood to be combatted, has already led the United States to underestimate it and back foolish schemes to counter it. We’ll need to get acquainted with the Islamic State’s intellectual genealogy if we are to react in a way that will not strengthen it, but instead help it self-immolate in its own excessive zeal.
Alas, many leaders refuse to be so acquainted, and thus acquit themselves poorly. President Obama, in a statement made yesterday, said that “this was an act of terror and an act of hate”, refused to indicate the obvious connections to radical Islam, and then managed to turn the horrific event into a litmus test of American tolerance:
In the coming hours and days, we’ll learn about the victims of this tragedy. Their names. Their faces. Who they were. The joy that they brought to families and to friends, and the difference that they made in this world. Say a prayer for them and say a prayer for their families — that God give them the strength to bear the unbearable. And that He give us all the strength to be there for them, and the strength and courage to change. We need to demonstrate that we are defined more — as a country — by the way they lived their lives than by the hate of the man who took them from us.
As Jim Geraghty of National Review fumed in his “Morning Jolt” newsletter: “Some Islamist bastard goes on a killing spree, and suddenly Americans need to prove they have the right values?” In the world of progressive moral calculations, certain actions are always the fault, in some way, of the American people. Likewise, the Archbishop of Chicago was also unable to identify the ideological motives at hand:
“For you here today and throughout the whole lesbian and gay community, who are particularly touched by the heinous crimes committed in Orlando, motivated by hate, driven perhaps by mental instability and certainly empowered by a culture of violence, know this: the Archdiocese of Chicago stands with you. I stand with you,” the letter read.
“Let our shared grief and our common faith in Jesus, who called the persecuted blessed, unite us so that hatred and intolerance are not allowed to flourish, so that those who suffer mental illness know the support of a compassionate society, so that we find the courage to face forthrightly the falsehood that weapons of combat belong anywhere in the civilian population…”
What makes Abp. Cupich’s statement all the more disappointing is that he also states, “We all hope that ways may be found, as soon as possible, to effectively identify and contrast the causes of such terrible and absurd violence which so deeply upsets the desire for peace of the American people and of the whole of humanity.” But no mention of Islamism, radical Islam, ISIS, or related matters. Those are empty words. You might as well walk in the Sahara Desert and hope you’ll fall into an Olympic-sized swimming pool every time you jump off a sand dune.