Let’s pretend!

The social elite’s fantasy-based experiments with gender, marriage, and family have already wreaked havoc on family life. But much worse may be in store.

(Image: kamellita | us.fotolia.com)

Welcome to fantasyland! No, I’m not talking about Disney World. I’m referring to American society circa 2018. It seems that social elites have divorced themselves from reality and are demanding that the rest of us do likewise.

You’re no doubt familiar with the most egregious examples of “let’s pretend:”

  • Let’s pretend that unborn babies aren’t really human beings.
  • Let’s pretend that same-sex “marriage” is a real marriage.
  • Let’s pretend that girls can become boys and vice versa.
  • Let’s pretend that there are far more than two genders and you can choose whichever one you like.

All these “let’s pretends” have the force of law behind them, and you can get in trouble if you don’t go along with the pretense. For example, in New York City a heavy fines awaits those who fail to address a co-worker by their preferred pronoun—even though the pronoun has no connection with reality. In short you can be fined for refusing to tell a lie.

But reality eventually bites back. Outside the world of children’s play, indulging in fantasy can have dangerous consequences. The social elite’s fantasy-based experiments with gender, marriage, and family have already wreaked havoc on family life. But much worse may be in store. That’s because the “make-believe” germ has now infected our understanding of culture, religion, politics, and international affairs.

The most glaring example of dangerous wishful thinking is the Western willingness to play let’s pretend about Islam. Here are some instances.

Let’s pretend that adults are adolescents. In Sweden, a dental hygienist was fired, lost his apartment, and stands to have his entire family’s property confiscated because he reported that up to 80 percent of Muslim child refugees were actually adults, and thus subject to possible deportation. His report also threatened to undermine a related pretense—the pretense that the majority of refugees and migrants coming into Sweden are women and children. In Sweden, as in New York City, you can be fined (and worse) for telling the truth.

Let’s pretend that girls are not really being raped in Rotherham. Over a 15 year period, more than 1,400 English girls in the city of Rotherham, England were raped by Pakistani gangs. The city council, the police, and child protection agencies knew what was happening, but decided to look the other way lest they be thought of as racists or Islamophobes. A similar pretense occurred in the wake of the 1,200 sexual assaults outside the main train station in Cologne, Germany on New Years Eve in 2016. It was only after the incident went viral on social media that the media and city officials belatedly acknowledged the mass assault two days later.

Let’s pretend that the hijab is a sign of empowerment for women. One of the key figures in the women’s movement in America is, believe it or not, a hijabed Muslim woman who is a strong advocate of sharia law and the right to wear the hijab. Meanwhile, students in universities across the country don hijabs to celebrate International Hijab Day and to show their solidarity with their Muslim sisters. This is done not out of sympathy for women who live under the harsh rule of sharia, but rather to ensure a woman’s right to wear the hijab.

Meanwhile, advertisers in Europe and the U.S. are using pictures of hijabed women to sell everything from shampoo to candy, to clothing lines. In the fantasy world of the West, hijabs are a cool marketing symbol—meant to show that one is hip and cutting edge. In the Muslim world, however, the hijab is a symbol of a woman’s inferior status. In many Muslim countries wearing the hijab is mandatory. And women who fail to wear it can be jailed—or worse. Both in the Muslim world and in the West, women who don’t wear hijabs can be beaten, raped, tortured, mutilated, and even killed, and in many if not most cases the punishment is administered by family members.

Let’s pretend that Islam is an important part of the Western heritage. The new head of the Swedish National Heritage Board is Qaisar Mahmood, a Muslim born in Pakistan. Mahmood admits that he knows next to nothing about Swedish heritage and history, but that’s no problem. It appears that his real role is not to celebrate Sweden’s heritage but, in his own words, to “create the narrative [that will make Muslim migrants] part of something.” Most Swedes aren’t too happy with mass Muslim migration and the ensuing crime wave. Apparently, Swedish authorities believe that if Swedes can be convinced that Islam has always been a part of Sweden, they will be more willing to accept Muslim migration.

This falsification of history is not confined to Sweden. There have already been attempts in the U.S. to rewrite history in order to give Muslims a bigger role. By one account the Iftar dinner (that breaks the Ramadan fast) is a White House tradition that goes back to Jefferson. According to others, Muslims discovered America before Columbus. All of this is preposterous, of course. But, as Goebbels observed, if you repeat a lie often enough, people will eventually come to believe it.

Let’s pretend that all Muslims are victims. It’s true that Muslims are persecuted in many parts of the world. But for the most part they are persecuted by other Muslims: Sunni Muslims against Shia Muslims, Shia against Sunni, Sunni and Shia against Ahmadiyya Muslims, and fundamentalist Muslims against moderate Muslims. Rather than call attention to this internecine persecution or to the persecution of 215 million Christians worldwide (mostly by Muslims), Western media has chosen, instead, to focus on “Islamophobia” and hate crimes against Muslims. The trouble is, there is very little evidence of a hate crime epidemic against Muslims. The incidence of hate crimes against Muslims in the West is about the same as it is for other ethnic/religious groups, and it doesn’t come close to the incidence of hate crimes against Jews. Moreover, a good many of the outrageous hate crime stories highlighted by the media turn out to be outrageous lies.

Take the case of Yasmin Seweid, a Muslim college student who claimed that three men assaulted her on a New York City subway, shouted anti-Muslim threats at her and tried to rip off her hijab. Her story was on the front page for several days in New York and it also made the national news. Yet, as Seweid later admitted to the police, it was all a lie. She had concocted the story to explain to her strict parents why she hadn’t come home on time. Her case is typical. Dozens upon dozens of “hate crimes” against Muslims turn out to be hoaxes manufactured by the supposed victims. Yet the newspapers rarely carry retractions of their stories, and the fake crimes keep showing up in hate crime statistics compiled by various advocacy groups. In short, Muslims pretend to be a victim class, and the rest of us pretend to believe that they are. The situation has all the elements of farce, except that this fake victimization narrative has become a handy way of distracting our attention from the millions of real victims of Muslim persecution and oppression.

Let’s pretend that Muslims and Christians share much in common. Christians are not immune to the “let’s pretend” syndrome. Perhaps the main pretense is that Muslims and Christians share similar values. There are, of course, some similarities, but there are also vast differences—much greater than most Westerner’s assume. For example, the rape and strangulation of an eight year old Muslim girl in Pakistan sparked mass outage in that country recently. Yet, according to an article by Raymond Ibrahim, the frequent rape and murder of young Christian girls in Pakistan is met with “deafening silence.” That’s because Christians in Pakistan are widely seen as untouchables, fit only for menial work, and regularly “treated like animals.”

“Outside the victims’ family and surrounding Christian community,” observes Ibrahim, “virtually no one else in the 99 % Muslim-majority nation cares when Christians and their children are savaged and murdered.” Indeed, police and other officials, including imams often side with the perpetrators of the crimes. This attitude toward non-Muslims is widespread in the Muslim world. That’s because in Islamic scripture and law books the life of non-Muslims is considered relatively unimportant. According to one widely consulted law book the life of a Christian or Jew is worth only one third the value of a Muslim life. Thus, according to Pakistani Christians, “Christian girls are considered goods to be damaged at leisure. Abusing them is a right. According to the [Muslim] community’s mentality it is not even a crime. Muslims regard them as spoils of war.”

Since Muslim mistreatment of non-Muslim women is now spreading into Europe, it will become increasingly difficult to maintain the pretense that Islamic values are just like Christian values. Nevertheless, many will continue to persist in this and other pretenses about Islam. But one wonders how much longer they can pretend. The information is easily accessible to anyone with a minimal amount of curiosity. Indeed, one almost has to make a conscious effort to avoid it. In this age of instant communication, those who don’t know about the dark side of Islam are those who don’t want to know.

In a report on the inhumane conditions at a local slaughterhouse, Tolstoy wrote “We cannot pretend that we do not know this. We are not ostriches, and cannot believe that if we refuse to look at what we do not wish to see, it will not exist.” The Book of Proverbs also comments on our tendency to pretend ignorance:

If you say, ‘But we know nothing about this,’ does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done? (Pro 24:12).

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About William Kilpatrick 81 Articles
William Kilpatrick is the author of several books on religion and culture including Christianity, Islam, and Atheism: The Struggle for the Soul of the West (Ignatius Press) and What Catholics Need to Know About Islam (Sophia Institute Press). For more on his work and writings, visit his Turning Point Project website.


  1. Thank you for pointing our that the operative in contemporary society — and Church as well is “pretend.”
    It is not kind. It is not inclusive. It is not tolerant.
    It is demonic.

  2. The Catholic Church is no longer near the edge. It is over the edge and in free fall. Watch this pope. Look at his advisors. See whom the Vatican has expelled or ignores.
    And yes, dear pew sitters, the upcoming youth synod will be a circus worth the price of admition. Bet on it.

  3. This article is over the top. It’s ridiculously unfair. Yes there are problems in Islam (like all communities) but to focus exclusively on these problems without any nuance or acknowledgment of any good within that community makes this article nothing more than a biased hit piece. It would be akin to judging Catholicism solely on the thousands upon thousands of child abuse victims by the clergy. Anyone can play the same game this article does with any group, including the Catholic Church. I’m an orthodox Catholic and expect better from Catholic World Report.

    • Thank you, Andrew. The writer is affirming his and others desires to maintain the Western culture as the right one. It does help me to understand the election of President Trump who appears to hold many of the beliefs that underlie this article .
      Ias a faithful Catholic, I am saddened by the publication of this article.

    • Dear Andrew, How many bishops, priests or deacons did you ever hear defend child sexual abuse, or say that the children deserved it? Fr. Groeschel of happy memory, a highly trained clinical psychologist, said once publicly that some minors were guilty of initiating a sexual relationship with a priest (not an untrue statement) and he was crucified for it. Yet hundreds if not thousands of Muslim clerics regularly defend terrorism and many even defend sexual predation of non Muslims, and virtually none speak out to condemn these evils. The author is telling the truth, and you are pretending. It is true that all Christians are sinners, but our religion is based on self-sacrificing love, not on submission.

      • Thank you Donald. Andrew is going to be in shock one day, when he wakes up from his coma…I fear for him, until then.

    • I am a Catholic, and I think the logic does hold true when applied to Catholicism. The Catholic church does have us pretend about a fair deal of things, including that bishops are the face of Christ, yet we have severe problems with them raping people (or covering it up). Right now, I’m staying because I’m too lazy to find a place that has a better value system.

  4. Instead of refuting the points made by Mr. Kilpatrick, people leave slurs and unsubstantiated claims behind. This article is discussing things that really happened. You will never read any of this in the major media outlets. Nobody here is denying the goodness of millions of Muslims. Nobody here is denying where and how the Catholic Church is imperfect, what is being said is there have been major atrocities done by Muslims that go under reported or reluctantly reported by the major new outlets. One must ask if one values a free society where information and news is not skewed or biased why this is so. Some of the comments to this article have been unfair and unintelligent. I have Muslim friends and I respect Islam, yet at the same time we cannot ignore reality. Everything in this article happened, why are we so reluctant to address it and discuss it? Why are we ashamed when someone writes intelligently and looks for clarity? Why do we resort to put downs when someone voices something that makes us uncomfortable?
    Thank you sir for an enlightening and much needed article.

    • It is possible to selectively choose events to craft a narrative that is inaccurate. For example, I could judge the USA exclusively on crime stats, school shootings and racist rallies but while those events are factual, they do NOT represent the USA as a whole. This article does the same thing with Islam. I am not an apologist for Islam, but I don’t like it when people do a hatchet job on anyone. This article does that.

    • A) his sources are sketchy and biased. Brietbart is not an objective news source not is jihad watch.

      B) the examples listed conflate either complex social/cultural situations or individual examples into one simplistic indictment of an entire religion and a quarter of the world’s population. It’s a propaganda piece and not a serious reflection on Islam and the complex currents within it. Besides, what the point of the article? Suspicion of all Muslims no matter what?

      Like I said, before; would you deny (or pretend) that thousands upon thousands of children haven’t been raped by priests? That is factual, but it would be wrong and dishonest to say that sad fact represents Catholicism. The above article is a great example of something generating more heat than light.

  5. This article creates a spurious narrative, by exaggeration, innuendo, cherry picking, and tendentious interpretations, that Muslims are evil people, period. He’s fomenting hatred and fear of Muslims, which can only lead to violence and unjust discrimination. The same is done, with the same dishonest tactics, to Catholic priests (they are all child molestors)

  6. Why is it that the only religious groups we are allowed politically and morally to accuse crimes and evils of in public are Muslims and Catholics?

  7. Andrew, Mary and Thaddeus. You need to read some history.Islam is not a religion of peace. Nothing in this article is inaccurate.Islam is remarkably and brutally intolerant. It is particularly sexist. I know because i work with female muslims and they have told me so. Yes, there are non-violent muslims. But Islam as a belief system itself is violent. Look at the overall pattern.Read history

  8. I don’t think the author is indicting an entire religion. Rather, he is balancing the news. What he is reporting on is not inaccurate. Has anyone managed to refute any of what he has said and proved that it has not happened?
    I think that what he is trying to say is that if we do not address these issues (the issues he mentions in his article) then things could get worse.
    It seems that he may be right because most of the comments to this article have been either a) attacks against the author b) or a misunderstanding of his intent instead of talking about the topic some people are trashing the author.
    The author is not condemning Islam. He is speaking about radical Muslims that have been immune to ridicule from some corners because nobody wants to be seen as taking part in Islamophobia.
    Many years ago I was up at Cornell in Ithaca. There were Muslim graduate students there. One of them was my friend. Our host was a Muslim couple. As we were getting ready to eat, another Muslim male friend came in. He began to yell at the lady of the house about her wearing jeans. He told her she wasn’t a real Muslim. He told her she wouldn’t dare dress like this in her own country. As he yelled at her and belittled her in front of everybody, we all remained silent. Including her husband.
    Isn’t being silent about Muslim atrocities akin to be silent about predator priests?
    Isn’t it better to shed light on these things rather than ignore them?
    As a Catholic, I am ashamed and disgusted by those priests who hurt young boys but now that it has been brought to light we can deal with it, eradicate it and better avoid it. Shouldn’t our Islamic brothers and sisters do the same and bring to light the areas within their religion that do not represent their religion?
    Are we willing to eradicate sin and injustice wherever it may be found?

  9. While the above commentators are debating Kirkpatrick’s intent and meaning, I am struck by Carl’s inclusion in this issue of CWR of Roland Moreno’s 2014 column on St. John Paul’s prophetic vision of the primordial meaning and value of marriage and family life. As I often opine in these pages, St. John Paul not only further developed and defended Catholic truth about the human person, sexuality and the vocation of marriage. In Familiaris consortio (1981) nos. 65-71 (sections that Mr. Moreno did not cite), he laid out a framework and vision for renewing the domestic church. i.e. accompany couples through their life cycle. Marriage preparation is not enough. I believe the sacraments of infant baptism, first reconciliation, first Communion, and confirmation provide timely “intersections” where parishes could strengthen marriage and the domestic church, viz the life cycle.

    Had the Bishops back then taken this vision to heart and put it into action, perhaps we would not have needed another, even more contentious Synod on the Family 35 years later. I recently visited the USCCB web site, and from what I can tell, our chief pastors are still working in committees to defend marriage and make pastoral suggestions, offer a few resources, but have no concrete, comprehensive strategy to renew marriage as per St. John Paul’s prescription. Like all good bureaucracies, it can pretend its doing something meaningful and significant. This kind of “Let’s pretend” continues to miss the opportunity that is there.

    If there’s any vision of civilization that is an antidote to Kirkpatrick’s analysis of the demise of Western culture, it is Catholicism. But this requires action, not more posturing, or preaching at people. I believe Pope Francis calls for “credible witnesses.” If husbands & wives (the pastors of the domestic church) are to fulfill their noble, essential mission, they need to be evangelized, catechized, and supported. Without credible witnesses, all our defending of doctrine risks being a noisy gong, clanging, not to mention a poor use of our tithes and offerings. The Christian family deserves better.

  10. I believe the author spoke the truth. I wonder if most peaceful Muslims even really know their faith. If they did, wouldn’t they all be extremists? How could they go along with the things the prophet did and demanded anyway? Sharia law? Let’s get real about the Muslim invasion in Europe and coming to a state near you. It is not the people we are at odds with, it is their philosophy. I even hesitate to call it a religion. It was made up by a self-proclaimed man. Their god is not my God.

  11. Basically,the article is what the Holy Bible has said and cautions about, millennia ago,in the Book of Genesis- Sodom and Gomorrah, in Leviticus as well as St. Paul in his letters mainly to the Romans and to the Corinthians. Rome and Greece, the then Super Powers and most advanced, were also hotbeds of depravity and deviances especially in 1 A.D., and attributable to their downfall.

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