The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Atrocity in Orlando

Early Sunday morning, not far from where we live here in central Florida, a young Muslim man murdered at least 49 people at an Orlando gay nightclub before being shot dead by law enforcement. The FBI quickly declared the murders an act of terrorism and indicated that the lone terrorist had possible connections with the Islamic State.  The FBI also revealed that this young man, a native-born American citizen of Afghan descent, had made two trips to Saudi Arabia in recent years and had been investigated several times for connections with terrorists and for threats of violence, but they had subsequently "closed the case." 

His beliefs, however, were nothing new and seem to have been formed years ago. His high school classmates report that on the morning of September 11, 2001, he openly celebrated the terrorist attacks. We have also learned that his ex-wife had to be rescued by her parents after only four months of marriage because he had beaten her so frequently she feared for her life. And it now seems his father, an Afghan living in the USA, actually ran for the presidency of Afghanistan. His father also hosted a California-based satellite TV show in which he regularly condemned the United States and strongly supported the Taliban. Indeed, despite this questionable background the Orlando terrorist was permitted to continue his employment with a major security firm that is a key subcontractor with the Department of Homeland Security and the Central Intelligence Agency. 

None of this apparently triggered any alarms within the local, state or federal law enforcement bureaucracies. As a security professional, he therefore had no problem legally purchasing the two weapons he used in the attack.

I realize that, unlike the FBI investigators, we have the advantage of hindsight, but I can't help but wonder whether political correctness played a role in the lack of scrutiny this man received from both his employer and law enforcement. Did his immediate supervisors fear the backlash that might arise if they had disciplined or fired him because of the threats he had made to coworkers and others? Did he get a pass because he was a Muslim? After all, that's exactly what happened in the case of the Fort Hood terrorist, an Army psychiatrist who was investigated by the FBI for his terrorist connections and then went on to murder 13 innocent human beings. Lots of red flags that seem to have been overlooked.

My major concern, however, is that as a nation we apparently have not accepted the obvious fact that we are at war and have been since well before September 11, 2001. Equally disturbing, we seem unable to define the enemy. For example, just moments ago I  heard one supposed expert declare that we are engaged in a "war on terror." It would seem that few people recognize the stupidity of such a statement. Terror is not our enemy; rather, it is a means of waging war. One might as well say we are engaged in a war on strategic bombing or a war on anti-personnel mines. It makes absolutely no sense unless one's purpose is to obfuscate. It's not unlike the president blaming the Orlando atrocity on guns rather than on the Islamist terrorist who repeatedly pulled the trigger. At some point, if we hope to defeat our true enemies, we must be willing to identify them. Quite simply, we are at war with Islamic Jihadists, those Muslims who believe that Islam must wage war with the infidel nations -- i.e., the rest of the world -- and are more than willing to use terrorism to achieve this goal.

Of course, most Muslims just want to live their lives and have no desire to join the jihadists in their war against infidels like you and me. But a surprisingly large percentage of the world's Muslims accept much of what the jihadists preach. Islam's teaching on homosexuality is particularly relevant given what happened in Orlando where the terrorist chose as his target a nightclub catering to the LGBT community. By doing so he actually carried out the demands of sharia or Islamic law which calls for the death sentence for homosexuality. It's important to realize that many, if not most, of the world's Muslims believe that sharia should be the "law of the land" throughout the world. In many Muslim nations a majority believe the death penalty should be applied for such offenses as adultery, homosexuality, and apostasy. Indeed, in Iran, Saudi Arabia, and several other Muslim nations, homosexuals are regularly executed. Even here in the United States too many Muslim leaders preach the same. Ironically, just a few weeks ago, an imam speaking in Orlando stated that gays should be executed "out of compassion."  (See the video below.)

To see the eye-opening results of the Pew Research polling of Muslims worldwide on these and other issues, click here: Muslim Beliefs about Sharia.

Strangely, though, the notables of the political left are so blinded by political correctness they cannot accept even the most obvious truths. Yesterday I read that lawyers of the American Civil Liberties Union had declared, quite incredibly, that the "Christian Right" was responsible for the terrorist attack in Orlando because "they created this anti-queer climate." And, trust me, the ACLU includes the Catholic Church among the Christian Right because of its moral teaching on the homosexual lifestyle. The Church, of course, does not in any way condemn homosexuals, who like the rest of us are sinners for whom our Lord Jesus Christ suffered and died. We don't condemn the sinner; we condemn the sin.

The left simply cannot bring itself to criticize Islam and instead attacks the soft target of Christianity knowing it has little to fear from Christians. I cannot recall having heard any Christian leader call for the killing of homosexuals, and to my knowledge no terrorist attacks have been perpetrated by Methodists, Episcopalians, Jewish rabbis, Benedictine monks, or the Little Sisters of the Poor.

Pray for the dear souls, God's children, who lost their lives in Orlando. Pray for those who mourn them. And pray for our nation as its citizens try to decide which adolescent to elect as our president.

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