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Singling Out One Group: Muslims Or Priests

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Why it is wrong to single out Muslims, but not priests.

Rep. Peter King is being lambasted for starting congressional hearings this week on radical Islam. Robert Kolker, writing in New York magazine, says the congressman’s “opponents say that by singling out Muslims, King is promoting anti-Islam hatred and could actually trigger a domestic terror attack.” Sympathetic to King’s critics, Kolker adds that “America is a tinderbox of prejudice and fear.”

Kolker is just like most of the other pundits—they don’t object to singling out priests. For example, in a 2009 New York magazine article, Kolker wrote that although New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan condemned sexual abuse, “he also fully supported the work of the archdiocese’s lobbying arm to sideline two bills in Albany that would have rolled back the statute of limitations and allowed more alleged abuse victims to make their claims in court.” Kolker failed to note that these bills did not apply to public school teachers. In other words, the bills singled out those who work in private institutions, and were transparently aimed at priests.

Here’s another example. In 2005, a Philadelphia grand jury investigation into sexual abuse singled out priests. Dissatisfied with the results, another was convened. What no one can explain is why no other group has been investigated. This kind of selective probe is also being carried in several other cities. Priests are being singled out, absent any public outcry.

An Associated Press column today is instructive: it raises the question why miscreant clergy who have left the priesthood are not being monitored by the authorities. But why single out ex-priests? Are not all former abusers walking around unmonitored?

It’s not just Muslims who benefit from elite opinion when singled out; it’s true of many other communities, as well. The bias against priests is striking.

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William Donohue

William Donohue is the current president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights in the United States, and has held that position since 1993.

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