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Major Nidal Malik Hasan....the Ft. Hood mass shooter.....will, rightfully, be held accountable for his gruesome and insane actions in killing 13 and wounding 30. What Hasan did was inexcusable, and cannot be rationalized.
Hasan, as everyone in the world knows now, was a devout Muslim. Many conservative Americans, and some not-so-conservative, think Hasan's act was an act of Islamic jihad. Many conservatives in America have used the opportunity of Hasan's heinous crime to encourage more profiling of American Muslims.....and not just those in the military, but all Muslims and Muslim organizations. A similar ethos prevailed after the 9-11 tragedy.
One of the memes that has been circulating since the Ft. Hood massacre concerns itself with a characterization of Major Hasan by one of his classmates......
While studying for a masters degree in public health in 2007, Hasan used a presentation for an environmental health class to argue that Muslims were being targeted by the U.S. anti-terror campaign, said Val Finnell, a classmate. “He was very vocal about the war, very upfront about being a Muslim first and an American second,” said Finnell, 41, a preventive medicine doctor in Los Angeles, in an interview yesterday.
Now...keep the above in mind as I move on to the heart of today's post.....
Rhode Island's top Roman Catholic leader has asked Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI and son of the late Ted Kennedy) to stop taking Communion over his support for abortion rights, the diocese said Sunday.
In a statement issued Sunday, Providence Bishop Thomas Tobin said he told Kennedy in February 2007 that it would be "inappropriate" for him to continue receiving the fundamental Catholic sacrament, "and I now ask respectfully that you refrain from doing so."
This past Sunday, Kennedy made public Tobin's request.....
In an interview published Sunday, Patrick Kennedy told the Providence Journal that Tobin had barred him from receiving communion and instructed priests in the diocese not to administer the sacrament "because of the positions that I've taken as a public official."
Why Congressman Kennedy chose to make the Bishop's 2007 order to priests excluding Kennedy from "the sacrament" is summed up by CNN's "Vatican analyst", John Allen....
" The Catholic bishops have been fairly successful, at least to date, at putting abortion at the center of the debate over health care reform, and that obviously has generated some resentment from people who don't share their views," Allen said.
Bishop Tobin was a guest on Chrissy Matthews "Softball" program last night. I took notes.
Matthews, a Catholic, to his credit, pressured Bishop Tobin about the secular nature of our U.S. government, reminding Tobin of JFK's (our first Catholic president) clear statement in 1960....
"I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish. Where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Chruches or any other ecclesiastical source, where no religious body seeks to impose it's will, directly or indirectly, upon the general populace, or the public acts of it's officials."
Bishop Tobin responded this way....
"What we're trying to do...is have Catholics who are in political office be faithful to the dictates of the church.....the teachings of the church."
Responding to JFK's words, Tobin said..."I suppose there's different ways of approaching that, but the point is, that any Catholic in public office, his first commitment has to be to his faith...."
Translation: Catholic public office holders are to put Catholicism first, America second.
In 21st century America, unfortunately, Bishop Tobin's sentiment is not an outlier. Many evangelical Christian leaders instruct their flocks with the same line of "thinking." Many religious "teachers" point to the 10 Commandments, reminding that the first four commandments about serving only Yahweh come first....for a reason. Serve God first, all else is secondary. That's exactly what Bishop Tobin is saying also applies to America's elected officials.
Now the questions....
How is what Bishop Tobin said any different from what Major Hasan allegedly said about Islam?
If American Muslims think similarly to what the Muslim Hasan allegedly said.....Islam first, America second.....and are, therefore, a potential threat to the U.S. deserving of special watchdogging by law enforcement because of it......wouldn't consistency demand that Bishop Tobin and American Catholics who think like Tobin, are deserving of special watchdogging by law enforcement as well?
And if not......why not?