A martyr falls in France - and French officials don't quite get it
France's leaders have a way of misreading what's going on in their embattled society.
First, they failed to grasp the religious implications of the devout French priest who was slaughtered on the altar by a Muslim terrorist as he said mass, calling it "tragic" and claiming it was impossible that anyone couldn't "like" the kindly old priest.
Now, they are missing the point about the French policeman, Col. Arnaud Beltrame, 44, who died after exchanging his own life for the life of a hostage held by a Muslim terrorist last night, an act of self-sacrifice that evokes only awe across borders.
According to Fox News:
Interior Minister Gerard Collomb wrote in a tweet early Saturday that Beltrame had "died for his country."
Actually, he died a martyr, a red-crown-in-heaven martyr, not for the French state but for the French "homeland," as his mother put it. His death was animated by the Christian ethos of France's founding faith, and it shows that his homeland is frankly still under attack by Muslims who confuse martyrdom with murder-suicide.
Do the French officials who let this terrorist into the country understand that?
France wouldn't exist without the animating influence of its Christian founding and faith, the kind that commands a person to give up his life for another.
Beltrame was an elite French police officer from a storied and prestigious French military academy, got a lot of promotions (he was a colonel at age 44) and obviously had a good life. Yet when the test came for him, from a Muslim militant French authorities had let into the country, he had the leonine courage to choose to give up his life for another instead of act out of self-preservation. He was no Scot Peterson.
Beltrame's act of self-sacrifice evokes saints such as Maximilian Kolbe, a Polish priest who was sent to a Hitler death camp, and then voluntarily exchanged his own life for the life of another prisoner the Nazis capriciously marked for death.
What does compel a man give up his life in a split-second decision for another? It had to have been faith, the very faith that enabled the founding of France, which has very religious roots, recognizable in the Song of Roland, the stories of Charles Martel, in the story of Joan of Arc, and in a more distant echo, in the French Resistance of World War II with its Cross of Lorraine emblem.
The enemies of France's heroic heritage are either Muslims who would barbarcize the country or petty conniving state officials who would undermine the country to turn it into some other country.
Sound like what's going on now? Right now, France is under attack from the same Muslim scourge. And if Beltrame was willing to die for his country to save it in the same tradition as France's heroes, then his death is evidence of it. France's officials who think this is a simple police act and his death a small act of patriotism still don't get this.