It's telling that we excuse Islam's 'aberrations', but not the Church's
It is time to put the Catholic Church "in the dustbin, where it belongs", left-wing TD Bríd Smith announced in the Dáil last week. There are strong echoes here of former US president Ronald Reagan, who once memorably said communism belonged in the dustbin of history.
There was barely a murmur of protest in response to Ms Smith's statement. Approached by 'The Irish Catholic' newspaper, Micheál Martin said it was an example of "intolerant populism". It was at least that. If Ms Smith had said it was time to put Islam "in the dustbin where it belongs", the denunciation of her fellow politicians, and the commentariat generally, would be ringing in her ears. She would be asked on to radio shows to defend herself against her accusers.
But she would never say such a thing about Islam, and it would not be out of fear of retaliation by a jihadist. It would be out of concern for the Muslim community as a minority. Catholicism is not considered a minority even in countries like Britain where Catholics are in a minority. It is considered fair game (as is Christianity) for every kind of attack, no matter how extreme, whereas almost any criticism of Islam is condemned as 'Islamophobic'.