Fans of the late Peter Sellers well remember his portrayal in “The Pink Panther” movies as Inspector Clouseau.
In one memorable scene from the third movie in the series, the bumbling detective approaches a blind organ grinder sitting with his monkey in front of a bank. In a heavy French accent difficult for the organ grinder to understand, Clouseau queries whether he has a license to play the organ in public for “commercial enterprise.” As the organ grinder struggles to understand the query, the bank behind him is being robbed. Despite the robbery being visible through the plate glass window behind the organ grinder, the inept inspector remains totally oblivious, still focusing on the minor license infraction issue. As the robbers jump into their getaway car, wearing masks, one drops a bag of money at Clouseau’s feet. The detective – unable to grasp the bigger issue – picks it up and hands it over to the escaping bandits.
The scene’s recollection is relevant in the aftermath of criticism by Pope Francis of President Donald Trump – criticism suggesting the pontiff himself is clueless about a most serious issue, choosing, instead, to focus on a less important one.
The pope attacked Trump’s effort to build a wall along our southern border, naively comparing it to the Berlin Wall built by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. It was a foolish comparison involving walls built for two entirely different purposes: the Berlin Wall sought to keep East Berliners from getting out; Trump’s wall seeks to keep illegal intruders, and the tons of drugs they bring with them, from getting in.
One would think that before criticizing Trump, the pope might seek to set an example, perhaps by tearing down the wall surrounding the Vatican. Undoubtedly, his security people advised against this as drastically impairing the ability of the Swiss Guard to protect him. Despite such counsel, had he done it, it would be interesting to see how Francis then chose to deal with the homeless seeking shelter in a wall-less Vatican.
But, putting aside the hypocrisy of his comment, the pope ignores a much more serious issue – one that existed years before Trump even sought to build a wall. It marks a dangerous global trend to which the Argentinian has taken a head-in-the-sand approach ever since becoming pope in March of 2013.
The genocide of Christians is occurring at an alarming rate, yet the pope remains relatively quiet about it. While he did raise the issue in 2015 during a tour of South America, a continuing increase in the persecution and prosecution of Christians has gone ignored. The main reason Francis even mentioned it in 2015 was the brutal ISIS atrocities against Christians. It caused, for what 2,000 years had been the largest Christian community in the Middle East, situated in Mosul, Iraq, to virtually disappear. In January 2018, Newsweek magazine reported the global persecution of Christians “has worsened substantially in the past two years compared with the two years prior, and has grown more violent than any other period in modern times.”
Despite the Newsweek article being based on a study conducted by a Catholic organization, Pope Francis – perhaps suffering from a severe case of conflict avoidance syndrome – ignored its clarion call, focusing instead on issues of less import. This is so despite the study leaving no doubt the most serious offenses against Christians, including executions by hanging and crucifixion, occurred primarily in communist and Muslim countries.
Today, sadly, violence against Christians is no longer solely limited to states where their ideology is condemned by non-Christian governments. It has spread to democratic nations as well. In France, during 2018 alone, over 1,000 attacks against churches or Christian symbols, such as crucifixes, icons, statues, etc., were recorded.
Critics, lamenting Catholicism’s fate in France believing, like the Cathedral of Notre Dame, it is doomed, have failed to motivate Francis into speaking out more aggressively against this genocide. A recent book, titled “L’Archipel francais,” does spell it out and, for doing so, was awarded the 2019 Political Book Prize by a panel comprised of political editors from 30 leading newspapers and the media. It boldly warns, “Catholicism, once France’s main religion, is indeed waning. So is, by implication, a traditional view of life, death, family, individual destiny and politics. By the same token, immigrant Muslim communities with completely different outlooks and values are rising within French society at a rapid pace, and getting ever more assertive.”
Based on its past history of absorbing and assimilating various groups of immigrants regardless of background, France, in welcoming Muslim immigrants, has made a major miscalculation. Unlike previous immigrants, Muslims’ focus is not on assimilation and absorption into French culture but on non-assimilation and France’s surrender of its culture to Islam. A subtle transition is occurring by which the host is gradually becoming the guest. Whether the guest is then welcome turns on whether he accepts Islam’s demands.
The pope has said the Quran is a book of peace and Islam a peaceful religion. One wonders if he has even read the Quran, which makes clear every Muslim’s duty. It is to impose Islam upon all non-Muslims, voluntarily if possible, by force if not, with the non-believer’s death mandated if the first two options fail.
These three options are memorialized in the Conditions of Omar, embraced by Muslim extremists and moderates alike. Since, as Turkey’s Muslim President Recep Tayyip Erdogan assured us, “moderate” Islam is nonexistent, as Islam is Islam. And, since the Conditions of Omar have been embraced by the leading “moderate” authority on Sunni Islam, Egypt’s al-Azhur University (an authority President Barack Obama endorsed in his 2009 Cairo speech), we need heed the Conditions of Omar’s call even if Pope Francis does not.
By pontificating against a U.S. border wall while ignoring Christian genocide around the world, the pontiff ignores his duty to followers. When Clouseau acted irresponsibly, it was humorous; when the pope does so, it is serious – deadly serious.