Why Robert George Is the Chris Christie of Conservative Intellectuals

Princeton Professor Robert P. George is a leading American conservative thinker, with some undeniably outstanding accomplishments. The New York Times has hailed him as “this country’s most influential conservative Christian thinker.” But as is the case with many mainstream conservatives, George has a peculiar blind spot regarding the Islamic jihad threat and the oppressive character of Sharia, Islamic law.

George’s blind spot is peculiar in light of the fact that he has been criticized for his membership on the board of directors of The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, which has provided funding for foes of jihad terror including David Horowitz, Frank Gaffney and Daniel Pipes. And he sees some aspects of the jihad threat with supreme clarity: last August, he warned that the Islamic State would carry out “mass slaughter in the United States” unless it were quickly “destroyed as a fighting force.” He explained that Islamic State jihadis “have every intention” of getting into the United States,

and these are people who achieve what they set out to achieve. Unless somebody stops them, they make good on their threats. They have threatened to carry out activity in the United States — killing people, mass slaughter in the United States.

Yet George’s awareness of the dangers of the Islamic State have not dimmed his open admiration for some aspects of the Islamic law that the Islamic State is dedicated to implementing. In February 2014, George published a piece in the Catholic journal First Things titled “Muslims, Our Natural Allies.” He included in his article a video in which an organizer of an event titled World Hijab Day defended her right to cover her hair; George proclaimed:

I am a Catholic. My Church teaches me to esteem our Muslim friends and to work with them in the cause of promoting justice and moral values. I am happy to stand with them in defense of what is right and good. And so I stand with the young woman in the above video in defense of modesty, chastity, and piety, just as I stand with Muslims like my dear friends Shaykh Hamza Yusuf and Dr. Suzy Ismail against the killing of unborn children and the evil of pornography, and with my equally dear friend Asma Uddin of the Becket Fund in defense of religious freedom.