On Tuesday's "Joy Behar Show," Behar decided to delve into religion. And actually, that is not the most cringe-worthy part of this story.
The question she posed to her panel of a Jewish rabbi, a Catholic priest, and a Muslim imam centered on whether or not Osama bin Laden is evil. And would you be surprised to know that there wasn't a unanimous answer?
The answer that might surprise you most came from Father Edward Beck, a religious correspondent for ABC News. According to him, bin Laden's actions were evil, but in the end we can't know if bin Laden himself was evil. And guess what, Behar said some of the most sensible things of the night when pressing him.
"I don't think we can know the heart or mind of somebody, you really can't know the motivation of somebody," he said. When Behar asked why not and said she thinks you can, he responded to the effect that bin Laden thought he was just being a good Muslim.
"But you can rationalize anything and still be evil," Behar pressed.
"But his actions are evil. Only God can judge the inner heart and soul of somebody. Only God sees the true motivation. ... So how can you deem hiim as a person evil. All people are created in goodness and love."
"Really?" Behar asked, which is probably what many are asking, especially considering the whole doctrine of original sin.
Besides Behar, the rabbi may have said it best when he called out the priest for "moral relativism:"
As Behar alluded to, Father Beck (no relation to Glenn) was on Bill O'Reilly's who earlier this week trumpeting a similar message. From NewsBusters:
According to the man ABC News relies on for religious analysis, it's impossible to say whether Osama bin Laden was "evil." Father Edward Beck, the network's religion correspondent, appeared with Bill O'Reilly on Tuesday and offered moral equivalence on the subject of the terrorist's death.
When the O'Reilly Factor anchor pressed Beck on whether bin Laden truly represented malevolence, Beck replied, "That's not for me to judge. His actions were certainly were evil."
O'Reilly pressed Beck on this point, prompting the ABC News analyst to assert, "No, I think that's up to God to ultimately decide who's evil."
After asserting that the United States shouldn't celebrate bin Laden's death "like a Super Bowl," Beck compared American happiness over the terrorist's death to Middle East examples, such as celebrating on 9/11: "Yes, but when you watch these people celebrating, how does it make us any better than those in the Mid East who celebrate when America falls?"
(This prompted Bernie Goldberg, who appeared in an unrelated O'Reilly Factor segment, to interject about Beck. He derided, "The idea that... the Palestinians celebrated when they attacked the World Trade Center, we're just as bad if we celebrate when Osama bin Laden takes a bullet to the head. That's pathetic. That's pathetic. I mean, and that isn't Catholicism, that's liberalism.")
Father Beck's thoughts are curious. If we can't know if a man is evil, then how can we ever take action against someone?
To be fair, the priest's thoughts are outside the mainstream. Heck, even the Dalai Lama has suggested bin Laden's death is justified:
Yet, in an appearance Tuesday at USC, he appeared to suggest that the United States was justified in killing Osama bin Laden.
As a human being, Bin Laden may have deserved compassion and even forgiveness, the Dalai Lama said in answer to a question about the assassination of the Al Qaeda leader. But, he said, "Forgiveness doesn't mean forget what happened. … If something is serious and it is necessary to take counter-measures, you have to take counter-measures."