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.

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.