What's wrong with this picture? A Catholic nun is frisked by a TSA worker

November 15, 2010 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

This is the main photo-story at the Drudge Report right now, accompanied by the headline: THE TERRORISTS HAVE WON.

I don’t know about that, but I do know that there’s something very disconcerting, indeed quite outrageous, to see a Catholic nun in her religious habit being ignominiously groped by an airport TSA worker. Note that the picture shows what appears to be a hijab (head scarf) being worn by the TSA worker. Think about the irony of that juxtaposition. How many Catholic nuns do you know of who have committed acts of terrorism against an airliner and its passengers & crew? Hmm . . . I can’t think of any. Can you? Of course, it’s quite possible that it is not a hijab that the worker is wearing. But the picture gives that impression. In itself, it’s an insignificant detail, but given the circumstances we’re living in these days, it’s certainly… remarkable, to say the least.

What do you think of this post?
  • interesting (0)
  • cool (0)
  • funny (0)
  • wow (0)
  • pshaw! (0)

Enter the Conversation...

51 Responses to “What's wrong with this picture? A Catholic nun is frisked by a TSA worker”
  1. Burnetts says:

    If one person needs to be checked then all need to be checked, otherwise that is discrimination. What I find ironic is the person that is doing the check…..I mean, really??? A muslim wearing a hijab? Jeeezzz

  2. Pat says:

    First, this nun does not look like someone from the middle east. If she did, then maybe there is a reason to suspect her. Secondly, why is a devout Muslim working security at an airport? She's a member of the very group who has done every terrorist act I can list.

  3. Your Mobile Minute Maven says:

    "Uh . . . MobileMinute? You really should re-read the original post. I said zilch about an "illegal search." Not sure what you're talking about here, but since I am the only Patrick posting on this thread, I need to point that out to you."

    Hi, Patrick – I was responding to your comment "What about constitutional rights and the fact that an agent of the government is searching me without just cause and without a warrant?" You're right – I shouldn't have added the word illegal, although you seem to have implied that your rights were being violated (which would seem to make it an illegal search).

    Am I missing your point? Or are we just splitting hairs about the use of the word 'illegal'?

  4. Patrick Madrid says:

    Buzz off. You're a boor.

  5. Carolina Bound says:

    My, but you folks are paranoid…

    Why should nuns be excluded from rules we all fly by these days? That's ridiculous.

    If you're gonna make an exception for nuns based on their religious practices, then you have to make the same exeption for Muslims based on theirs. Duh.

    You don't get to say everyone except for white Catholics get scanned, searched, whatever (which is really the upshot of the latest pre-holiday-travel-season paranoia).

    Everyone gets scanned. Period. Don't like it? Don't fly. No one has a "right" to fly.

    Take a train, a bus, drive, hitchhike or stay home. You don't get scanned or searched and the rest of us have more room on the plane. Win-win.

    Sheesh — and I've never seen a fit, attractive person whine about how everyone's gonna see them nekkid and it's such a big sexual assault, blahblahblah. I've only seen fat ugly people who NO ONE wants to see naked, EVER, whine about it. We don't want to sit next to you on the plane, either, so stay home. Again, win-win.

    Sheesh. Get outside and go live your lives. Stop lurking around the internet feeding your paranoia and hysteria.

  6. crazylikeknoxes says:

    I'm not particularly disturbed by the image. It is unfortunate that such measures are necessary, but it is not human beings that have changed, only the technology. I can't presume to speak for the good sister, but I think being frisked ("groped" seems a bit pejorative) at the airport is no worse than a pap smear or colonoscopy – all of which are unpleasant and necessary but not, in my opinion, degrading.

  7. Fr. Eric says:

    Many interesting comments.
    Perhaps they shake down Catholic priests and nuns because they know they won't complain. I have seen top security types profiling people. It works.
    Personal note as a priest; I would rather fly into Newark rather than Atlanta. In Newark it is "Hey Fadda, how ya doin'?" and "Sorry bout dat Fadda." But in Atlanta they look at me like I just might be part of Satan's legions, which means I am more of a suspect than a Muslim.

    Oh, it is ALL about oil and Israel in the Mid East.

  8. Patrick Madrid says:

    Uh . . . MobileMinute? You really should re-read the original post. I said zilch about an "illegal search." Not sure what you're talking about here, but since I am the only Patrick posting on this thread, I need to point that out to you.

  9. anthony j says:

    Why can't the TSA take the nun to a separate room for this kind of thing? At least behind a curtain out of view of the public.

  10. Your Mobile Minute Maven says:

    How many of you remember the uproar over security performing an x-ray or, heaven forbid, opening luggage to check for weapons or explosives? 'Our rights are being trampled', people complained. I realize that I am on the unpopular side of this argument, but I am always amazed at what short memories people have when going through security at airports. Despite the inconvenience of being selected for additional security check (for which I've been selected many times), I always thank TSA for making it safer to fly again.

    The ONLY time I've been subject to pat-downs (in my opinion, it is inflammatory and wrong to call it groping) is when the hand-help metal detector goes off and I cannot figure out what is making it beep.

    We never used to have to take off our shoes, then Richard What's-his-name figured out how to put a bomb in his Hush Puppies. Now we scan shoes. Pain in the neck? Yes. Worth complaining about? Not for this traveler.

    It is regrettable that a Nun would have to be searched, but for the safety of others on board it is important (in my opinion) for anyone whose clothing could hide weapons to be subject to additional security measures, if deemed necessary by the TSA. And all the talk about 'illegal search', Patrick, is (in my opinion) a misguided point of view. Nobody makes any of us fly. If people don't like going through security at airports, there's always Amtrak and Greyhound.

  11. juscot says:

    Like I said on Patty Bond's blog, "Mess with the brides and their spouse will get togh with you!"

  12. Kaylan says:

    I read that Muslim women are excused from searches like this because it is said to violate their religious freedom…?? So why are nuns searched like that?! As it also violates their modesty!

  13. Patrick says:

    Incredible to read some of these comments. A reminder to turn the other cheek? What the?! Seriously? What about constitutional rights and the fact that an agent of the government is searching me without just cause and without a warrant?

    We fought a revolution for less than this. This nation is in its death throes and we just nod our heads approvingly, "Oh isn't it nice of them to make us safe? It's such a scary world we live in. Hold me." (Or touch me. Whatever the case may be.)

    If everyone said no, what would they do? Ground every airplane in North America?

    And we are not keeping up with the terrorists. We're devising ways of stopping things they've already tried. Do you really think they're going to try an underwear bomb again?

  14. doanli aka "orange blossom" says:

    Doral– right on, too.

    And at the risk of being un-Christ-like, I'll BREAK the arm of any TSA worker who gropes MY minor son! (Not that I will be flying ANYWHERE ANYTIME soon.)

  15. doanli aka "orange blossom" says:

    Bingo, Jay!

    And are we going to accept "cavity searches" like good little sheeple?

    FOLLOW EL-AL'S EXAMPLE (Probably Muslim terrorists' #1 target)—THEY LOOK FOR TERRORISTS, NOT WEAPONS! How many planes have been lost or hijacked?

  16. Michael says:

    Regardless of whether it makes someone angry or not, this bride of Christ should be serve to be a reminder to you all to turn the other cheek in the experience of humility or anger

  17. cynthia says:

    What is happening to America? We need to require all immigrants to be Americians? I think we are letting our freedom being taking away. My in-laws went to Arlington Cemetery for Veteran's day. The workers in the gift shop could not speak English! There should be some requirments for becoming an Americian. Speaking fluent English should be one of them? Why can't we put true Americians in these kind of jobs, I think she targeted this Sister because she is a Sister and not for just safety's sake.

  18. Quite Rightly says:

    When I zoom in on this photo, I see a man's face and body, though with a weird headcovering, which goes down over the ears.

    I am thoroughly ashamed of our country with all our PC nonsense.

  19. Tim H. says:

    Wow, I can't wait to hear what the Cafateria Catholic radio talk show host and his audience, most of whome havn't been to Church since 9/11 have to say about this!!!

    On second thought, maybe I'll just bring a Fr. John Corapi CD with me to listen to instead.



  20. Denise says:

    The worst thing that I think I have heard is that CAIR has gotten the government to agree that women wearing hijabs are not required to the pat down. TSA agents are restricted to doing a head and shoulder pat downs.


    Maybe the government should take some lessons from El Al about how they manage to keep terrorists off of their flights?

  21. Pete says:

    The image is certainly provocative and has been generating a wide range of comments since Sept 2007 when it was first posted… http://www.flickr.com/photos/cjd/1418632004/#/ .

  22. Ike says:

    Well, said (Fr.) Vic! I completely agree with you! Thanks for your wise input.

  23. gsk says:

    @Phil Onochie: as for your question about women in hijab, CAIR is demanding they be exempted. There is no end to the irony in all of this:


  24. iPadre says:

    It's all about government control. They have gone too far! And it's just the beginning. If they can't control our votes, they will soon use martial law. You may soon prove to be a prophet Pat Everyone needs to get a copy of your DVD "The Battle for the Faith: North America 1700-1900".

  25. Doral says:

    The fact that most of the posters see a terrorist under every bed tells me that the miniscule handful of "terrorists" have already won and mostly they are just sitting back and laughing. Personally, I will never fly again unless someone starts up an airline that will allow passengers to bypass all of that Chicken Little TSA hysteria.The real terrorists are the gropers in uniform at the airports.

  26. Jay says:

    I think we are all missing the white elephant in the room. This is happening because the TSA is not allowed to do what makes sense and is correct. They are not allowed to profile base on race/ethnicity/religous affliation.

    9/11 and the succeeding events were all committed by 20-45 year old male Muslims of Middle-Eastern decent. You don't do a pat down on a Catholic Nun, in her habit, who is in her 60-70. Has TSA no decency? The TSA has orders to not pat down a Muslim woman in a burqa, but a nun…no problem. This makes no sense.

    As long as people tolerate it, it will continue.

  27. M. Bedded says:

    It's all being done to keep ONE COUNTRY safe—and that country is NOT the USA.

  28. wardiea says:

    Our oldest daughter is a Franciscan Sister in full habit who gets to visit us each year during her two week home visit. Every year at the end of the visit we take her to the airport and watch as she always gets singled out to be patted down. My wife and I get upset each year at this but our daughter says it just comes with answering God's call to religious life.

  29. M. says:

    It's nothing short of disgusting to see a nun a BRIDE OF CHRIST being frisked like that. What a world of inverted values we (especially you Americans) live in…

  30. M. says:

    "but I know that their goal is to take over the world, and has been from before Christ"
    Er, Judy Mohammed came AFTER Christ….. having said that I agree with you that their goal is to take over the world

  31. Simon says:

    I agree with Dave. The picture is jarring at first because you assume it's a nun and that this will happen to nuns other nuns. But as Dave et al point out, we can't assume that the terrorists wouldn't dress as religious, and we certainly can't announce a policy that religious go straight through TSA checks; you might as well give the policy a yellow cover and call it "how to skirt security checks for dummies."

    WI Catholic says that we must start looking at the people and where they are going. That fails even the threshold test of foiling past plots: Had TSA questioned Mohamed Atta on the morning of September 11th, they would not have met a beardy weirdo trilling "Allah Akhbar," but a clean-shaven muslim flying from Boston to Los Angeles. Is that really a basis for arrest? Someone who is (1) muslim and (2) flying cross country?

    scunninghamjr (after misquoting Franklin: no one gets this right, BF criticized those who "give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety"; God not havnig given us wings, I doubt that flying or anything appurtenant to it is essential) and says that pilots should be armed in lieu of invasive pre-boarding security checks. That's useful against hijackers, but not so much against a bomber.

  32. fabricdragon says:

    the TSA has instructions to make the friskings as humiliating and personal as possible, to force any OTHER people in line to reconsider, and go through the back scatter Xray devices.. which show you naked to all the TSA workers.

    and the nun is lucky, my female (rape survivor) friend was groped by a MALE TSA worker, she had a complete breakdown and had to leave her job which required flying….

  33. annschneider82 says:

    What scares me is that with extremists, nothing is off limits. We already know they use children as suicide bombers. Why would not have a child "underwear bomber" with an extremist adult on a plane? According to the TSA's logic, the only way to ensure our safety is to use these measures for screening. There is no way I want my child to be okay with someone touching them in that area just because they say they're with security. It's difficult enough to teach them not to trust every adult they come across. This approach to terrorism just provides a false sense of security while taking advantage of the people's fear.

  34. Vic says:

    Islamic Terrorists would try to impersonate a nun or any other good willed person. In Iraq, some of the Islamic Terrorists impersonate police and military personnel. So, I must say, this picture doesn't mean the terrorists have won. It's means we in America are watching out for them. And, really, this is not that big of a problem. I'm a priest and when I travel I always travel looking like a priest. After I go through security – even if they pull me aside for extra security screening – I thank the security guards for their work.

    Even if that security guard is wearing some kind of Islamic headgear – and this is not certain in this picture – if she finds a bomb or a knife in the clothes of anybody she frisks, you can be sure they are not getting on the airplane and will be put in prison. So, America is winning!

  35. Jane E says:

    When do we say, enough is enough? Are we still a free country?

    Government sanctioned molestation doesn't stop terrorism. Every traveler is now guilty until proven innocent. Other countries do not resort to such violation of modesty. Read about the Israeli airports and security measures taken there.

    And yes, the TSA has utterly violated and mocked the Fourth Amendment. Apparently, they are above the law.

  36. Patrick Madrid says:

    Hi, Sarah. When I magnify it, I don't see a ball cap. Notice that the blue material covers her cheek and seems to gather across her shoulders and around her neck, which would better fit the "hijab" theory. I could be wrong, of course, but that's what it appears to me. Also, as someone who flies a lot (sometimes, over 100,000 miles per year), I don't think I can remember ever having seen a TSA worker wear a ball cap, much less wear it backwards. I think that would be absolutely prohibited by TSA policy. But I certainly have seen women TSA workers wearing a hijab. I'm pretty confident that they would not have assigned a man to frisk this poor Catholic nun. I think it's a woman wearing a hijab who's doing the frisking.

  37. Sarah says:

    If you magnify the pic a little bit you find that the TSA worker was wearing a blue ballcap–backwards…However, I agree with the premise of the article: They're frisking the wrong people.

  38. Patty Bonds says:

    Do you really think they would back off if we stopped backing Israel? Seriously. That's what they say. But I hear world domination in their speaches and in their world view. I have serious doubts that this is really all about Israel.

  39. scunninghamjr says:

    as Ben Franklin said 'if you give up some of your liberties for an ounce of safety you will have neither and lose both'. TSA's violate the 4th amendment everyday. a free society would have settled this long ago. you know pilots used to be armed when they transported cargo but not humans?
    i'd like to start glock airlines or rugger air. individual airlines should conduct their own safety practices NOT the over reaching federal gov't. as a lady said in video thats going viral of when you buy a ticket you lose all rights.
    until the day we leave their land their backyards we will never have security.
    imagine an army in your backyard. they telling you how to live how to act. would none try to get rid of them? check out Bruce Fein's book 'american empire'.

    social disobedience is only way to stop these practices in airports. enough being sheeple and lets be free

  40. WI Catholic says:

    Until we start to do background and interviews, and LOOKING at the people, where they are going, how they are paying, etc, as they do on EL AL, we will keep giving up our rights, and we will keep losing the battle.

  41. Theresa says:

    Talk about carrying the Cross of Humility!

  42. Nick says:

    "I wonder if impersonating a Christian religious might actually be a line that Muslim terrorists wouldn't cross."

    Muslims are instructed to respect nuns, yet terrorists have been known to use children as scapegoats. So I don't think a terrorist would have a problem impersonating a nun "in the name of Islam", as terrorists are wont to lie.

  43. Judy says:

    I am very sorry, sister.

  44. Judy says:

    By a Muslim, no less. I am sorry, but I know that their goal is to take over the world, and has been from before Christ, and that they do it with violence, and rule by violence. May there are some "moderate" Muslims, but most of them have not spoken out about the Muslims that are practicing their faith fully, because that is what the so called "radicals" are doing. We on this site are "radical" Catholics, as we are all trying to practice our faith fully. This is one "older" ladies opinion, one who is a history buff and has read how Muslims get their "converts".

  45. Nick says:

    Inappropriate sexual gesture, like groping, implies a disordered motive, like lust or anger. Is the man lusting after or angry about the nun, or display in any way a disordered motive of any kind? I don't think he is. So I don't see the problem.

    Yet, while this does not justify or excuse evil, a Christian can bear evil patiently as a spiritual sacrifice in penance, in reparation, or in some other pure intention.

  46. Phil Onochie says:

    Commenting on what you just posted Patrick, wouldn't it mean anything if the Superiors of the nun were contacted to make sure she is in fact a legitimate nun? TSA would have a legitimate ID of the woman rather than frisking her.

    Plus, do people wearing Hijabs go through the same treatment at the airport?

    Furthermore, do TSA employees get frisked on a daily basis before assuming their office?

  47. Dave says:

    Actually, as I think a little more about it… I wonder if impersonating a Christian religious might actually be a line that Muslim terrorists wouldn't cross. I can imagine one might be reluctant to go before Allah and say, "So I dressed up as a nun…" "NEXT!"

  48. Phil Onochie says:

    It is very sad indeed. We are living on fear and because of this fear, we have descended to a deplorable low.

    If I will not let a TSA agent frisk my baby, why should it be OK to frisk somebody who is a nun?

    We simply cannot operate on "maybes" and hypotheses.

    The terrorists have won. I no longer have freedom in a land where I thought freedom existed. I am not a slave of the state.

  49. Patrick Madrid says:

    I agree with both of you. A terrorist wouldn't scruple to impersonate a nun. That's the dangerous reality we face. I understand the rationale behind the TSA security measures, as well as the devious mindset of those who want to get past them for a sinister purpose.

    But that doesn't make it any less outrageous and offensive to me to see a nun, a bride of Christ, being groped this way.

  50. Carlos says:

    What Dave said is what I was thinking.

  51. Dave says:

    Well… I dunno. If you had a woman who was willing to commit an act of terrorism, wouldn't that woman also be willing to impersonate a nun in order to breeze through security?

Share Your Thoughts...

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar for free here!
Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately...