Please read this letter and then in the comboxes give me a guesstimate of the percentage of people at the Vatican who actually believe that Catholicism is the True Faith:
Christians and Muslims:
Beneficiaries and Instruments of Divine Mercy
Dear Muslim brothers and sisters,
1. The month of Ramadan and ‘Id al-Fitr is an important religious event for Muslims around the world, focused on fasting, prayer and good deeds, and is esteemed by Christians, your friends and neighbours. On behalf of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and Christians all over the world, we extend best wishes for a spiritually rewarding fast, supported by good deeds, and for a joyful feast.
As is our cherished custom, we wish to share with you on this occasion some reflections in the hope of strengthening the spiritual bonds we share.
2. A theme that is close to the hearts of Muslims and Christians alike is mercy.
We know that Christianity and Islam both believe in a merciful God, who shows his mercy and compassion towards all his creatures, in particular the human family. He created us out of an immense love. He is merciful in caring for each of us, bestowing upon us the gifts we need for our daily life, such as food, shelter and security. God’s mercy is manifested in a particular way, however, through the pardon of our faults; hence he is the one who pardons (al-Ghâfir), but the one who pardons much and always (al-Ghafour).
3. To underscore the importance of mercy, His Holiness Pope Francis declared a Jubilee Year of Mercy to be celebrated from 8 December 2015 to 20 November 2016. In this regard he said: “Here… is the reason for the Jubilee: because this is the time for mercy. It is the favorable time to heal wounds, a time not to be weary of meeting all those who are waiting to see and to touch with their hands the signs of the closeness of God, a time to offer everyone, everyone, the way of forgiveness and reconciliation” (“Homily”, 11 April 2015).
Your pilgrimage (hajj) to the Holy places, mainly Mecca and Medina, is surely a special time for you to experience God’s mercy. In fact, among the well-known aspirations addressed to Muslim pilgrims is: “I wish you a blessed pilgrimage, praiseworthy efforts and the pardon of your sins”. Making a pilgrimage to obtain God’s pardon for sins, both for the living and dead, is truly a salient custom practice among believers.
4. We, Christians and Muslims, are called to do our best to imitate God. He, the Merciful, asks us to be merciful and compassionate towards others, especially those who are in any kind of need. So too he calls us to be forgiving of one another.
When we gaze upon humanity today, we are saddened to see so many victims of conflicts and violence – here we think in particular of the elderly, and children and women, especially those who fall prey to human trafficking and the many people who suffer from poverty, illness, natural disasters and unemployment.
5. We cannot close our eyes to these realities, or turn away from these sufferings. It is true that situation are often very complex and that their solution exceeds our capacities. It is vital, therefore, that all work together in assisting those in need. It is a source of great hope when we experience or hear of Muslims and Christians joining hands to help the needy. When we do join hands, we heed an important command in our respective religions and show forth God’s mercy, thus offering a more credible witness, individually and communally, to our beliefs.
May the Merciful and Almighty God help us to walk always along the path of goodness and compassion!
6. We join our prayerful good wishes to those of Pope Francis for abundant blessings during Ramadan and for a lasting joy of ‘Id al-Fitr.
Happy Feast to you all!
From the Vatican, 10 June 2016
Jean-Louis Cardinal Tauran
Bishop Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, M.C.C.I.
Philosopher Edward Feser at his blog has a very interesting post on the concept of “Islamophilia” and its twin,”Islamophobia”, a term used commonly to shut up people who note the obvious: that adherents to Islam commit most acts of terrorism in the modern world:
By the same token, it would be ridiculous to dismiss McCarthy’s claim merely on the grounds that it must reflect nothing more than “Islamophobic” “bigotry.” Indeed, McCarthy could fling an accusation of “Islamophilic bigotry” back at anyone who would make such a claim. As I pointed out in the post on liberalism and Islam, there are several factors that predispose political liberals too quickly to dismiss the very suggestion that there might be a connection between Islamic doctrine on the one hand and violence and illiberal politics on the other. For example, the very workability of liberalism as a political project presupposes that what John Rawls called “comprehensive doctrines,” or at least comprehensive doctrines with a large number of adherents, are compatible with basic liberal premises (and thus “reasonable,” as Rawlsian liberals conceive of “reasonableness”). If it turned out there is a “comprehensive doctrine” with a large number of adherents which is simply not compatible with basic liberal premises, that would be a very serious problem for the entire liberal project. Hence liberals are bound to be reluctant to conclude that there is any such “comprehensive doctrine,” or to look for evidence that might support such a conclusion.
Then there is the fact that egalitarianism is one of the dogmas of modern liberalism, just as the divinity of Christ is a dogma of Christianity or the divine origin of the Quran is a dogma of Islam. Many liberals find it almost impossible to understand how even a mildly negative characterization of some religion, culture, or group could be anything but an expression of unreasoning hatred. Hence epithets like “bigot” play, within liberalism, the same role that words like “heretic” often do within religion. They are a means of silencing dissenters and sending a warning to anyone even considering dissent from egalitarianism. The irony is that plugging one’s ears and screaming “Bigot!” at someone who is trying to present a reasoned argument is, of course, itself a kind of bigotry — perhaps the worst kind, insofar as someone self-righteously in love with the idea that he is the paradigmatic anti-bigot is the least likely of all bigots to see his prejudices for what they are.
Again, see the earlier post on liberalism and Islam for discussion of other aspects of modern liberalism which can predispose many liberals against looking at Islam objectively. The point for the moment is this. On the one hand, McCarthy can note that any critic inclined to dismiss his position as mere bigotry should seriously consider that there are reasons why the critic may be himself less objective on the subject at hand than he likes to think he is. And on the other hand, McCarthy can point to what one finds in Islamic scripture and law, in the history of terrorism during the last few decades, and indeed in the entire history of Islam as evidence in favor of his position.
Of course, that does not by itself demonstrate that McCarthy is right. But any critic of McCarthy plausibly faces a “falsificationist challenge” of a sort that parallels the falsificationist challenge Antony Flew once raised against theists (a challenge I discussed in the earlier post on the logic of falsification). Paraphrasing Flew, the challenge might be stated as follows:
What would have to occur or to have occurred to constitute for you a disproof of your claim that there is no special connection between Islam and terrorism, or between Islam and illiberal politics?
In other words, if evidence of the sort McCarthy cites does not establish his claim, what evidence will the critic admit would establish it? Unless the critic can offer a serious response to this question, he cannot plausibly claim that it is he rather than McCarthy who is free of prejudice. Continue reading
A piece by Thomas D. Williams at Breitbart looks back at some of the comments of Pope Benedict regarding religions and the roles they play in the World:
In that talk, Benedict cited the 14th-century Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus regarding the relationship between religion and violence. “Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached,” the quote read.
Pope Benedict XVI, a scholar who wrote extensively about religious freedom as well as the proper relationship between church and state, always insisted on speaking about religions (plural) rather than religion (singular). He based his reflections not only on a solid philosophical footing, but also on impartial observation of what religions actually propose and the sort of societies they create.
In his 2009 encyclical letter Caritas in Veritate, Benedict made the case that not all religions contribute equally to the development of individuals and societies. Some, in fact, may obstruct it. “Religious freedom does not mean religious indifferentism,” he wrote, “nor does it imply that all religions are equal.”
Benedict also proposed that in order to safeguard and promote the common good, political authority must in some way discern among different religions. “Discernment is needed regarding the contribution of cultures and religions,” Benedict stated, “especially on the part of those who wield political power.”
The Pope noted that certain religions “teach brotherhood and peace and are therefore of enormous importance to integral human development,” yet other traditions “do not fully embrace the principle of love and truth and therefore end up retarding or even obstructing authentic human development.”
Even before becoming pope, Joseph Ratzinger wrote on the differences between religions, noting that “anyone who sees in the religions of the world only reprehensible superstition is wrong” but also “anyone who wants only to give a positive evaluation of all religions… is equally wrong.”
In his own critical considerations of religions, Ratzinger wrote with brutal honesty, observing that there are “deviant, esoteric forms of religion on offer” as well as “pathological” forms of religion. He wrote of religions that are “obviously sick” and religions that are “destructive for man.” He asserted, moreover, that with the detachment of religion from reason, “pathological forms of religion are constantly increasing.” Continue reading
It often seems to me that most Catholic clerics could care less about the ordinary Catholics they are supposed to be shepherds of. Case in point: mass immigration of Muslims. I wish I could say that Robert Spencer is wrong, but his observation of the feckless policy of the Catholic Church in this country regarding Muslim immigration is on target:
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is calling for the U.S. to take in 100,000 Syrian refugees this year alone.
The Conference shows no sign of knowing or caring that the Islamic State said last February that it would soon flood Europe with as many as 500,000 refugees. Or that an Islamic State operative recently boasted that, among the flood of refugees, 4,000 Islamic State jihadis had entered Europe. Or that the Lebanese education minister said there were 20,000 jihadis among the refugees in camps in his country.
Or that 80% of the migrants who claim to be fleeing the war in Syria aren’t actually from Syria at all, or that German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said the Islamic State is sneaking into the country with the refugees and is active in the refugee camps. Why would these “refugees” think they had to present themselves to Europe, which has welcomed the refugees, with false pretenses unless they had nefarious intentions?
Meanwhile, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is, as Ann Corcoran of Refugee Resettlement Watch points out, “NOT advocating to save the persecuted Christians of Syria through this program.” Instead, bishops such as Robert McManus, Kevin Farrell, Jaime Soto, and others are moving to silence those who speak about the Muslim persecution of Christians, and about the Islamic doctrines mandating warfare against and subjugation of Christians. Continue reading
Shame on you if you think the Obama administration did this to curry favor with Muslims!
The nation’s pork producers are in an uproar after the federal government abruptly removed bacon, pork chops, pork links, ham and all other pig products from the national menu for 206,000 federal inmates.
Saint Corbinian’s Bear is bemused about the hysteria regarding Geller’s Draw Mohammed contest:
See the picture above. Does anything strike you as odd? Muslims attack us, and we are the ones who have to be reminded to be nice? This is a standard tactic: play the victim card. Close down discussion. You don’t want to be a hater, do you?
The condemnation of Pamela Geller’s free speech exercise in Garland, Texas by L’Osservatore Romano was unintentionally hilarious, as were thousands across the globe. They might as well have said that Muslims are mad dogs who can’t control themselves when something (Muhammad drawing, accidental Quran burning, the historical fact of First Crusade, Friday) triggers their irresistible urge to kill. Because in their warnings not to do anything that might offend our delicate Muslim cousins, they not only damn free speech, but could not be more condescending to the very people they’re trying to protect. They’re like Bear Safety Tips.
The Bear would not be the first to draw a comparison to someone blaming rape on the way women dress. “Geller had it coming.” Oh, come to think of it, the last person the Bear remembers doing that was Chief Australian Muslim cleric Taj al-Din al-Hilawi in 2006.
Sheik Hilawi was quoted as saying: “If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside on the street, or in the garden or in the park, or in the back yard without a cover, and the cats come and eat it… whose fault is it, the cats or the uncovered meat? The uncovered meat is the problem.” Yep, ladies, better keep that cat-meat covered!
Pope Francis, who never saw a religion he didn’t like — except some elements of Catholicism — has said you cannot make fun of another religion.
Drawing a picture of a supposedly historical figure is not making fun of any religion. Giving some group advance veto power over speech is the end of free speech in principle. Continue reading
The Pope has proclaimed a duty for Italians to welcome “immigrants” entering Italy illegally from North Africa. Italians might be better advised to consider just whom they are to welcome:
According to a group of Nigerian and Ghanaian survivors, a fight broke out over religion, with a group of Muslim passengers threatening the Nigerians and Ghanaians after they declared themselves to be Christians.
The remaining passengers were rescued and brought to Palermo, where the 15 alleged attackers, who came from Ivory Coast, Mali and Senegal, were arrested.The boat, like many of the claptrap vessels flooding Italy`s shores each week with migrants fleeing conflict and poverty in Africa and the Middle East, had set out from Libya on Tuesday, according to the survivors.
The police said the distraught Nigerians and Ghanaians told a “dreadful” story of their struggle to escape with their lives “by forcefully resisting attempts to drown them, forming a veritable human chain in some cases.” Continue reading
May the souls of the three murder victims rest in peace. You probably won’t hear much about this crime:
Police say a dispute over a parking space spurred the murder Tuesday of three North Carolina college students, but the Muslim father of two of the victims insisted Wednesday that his daughters’ neighbor and alleged killer had menaced them before and was driven by hate.
Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, was charged with three counts of first-degree murder after turning himself in to police in Chapel Hill overnight. Although a Facebook page in Hicks’ name that described him as a supporter of “Atheists for Equality” and blasted “radical Christians and radical Muslims” for causing strife in the world prompted rampant suspicion the crime was motivated by hate, police said Wednesday it was about a parking space at the condominium complex where the murders took place.
Those killed were Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23; his wife, Yusor Abu-Salha, 21; and her sister, Raleigh, N.C. resident Razan Abu-Salha, Chapel Hill Police said in a statement.
The Anchoress asks the pertinent question:
Do The Rapes of Rotherham Tell a Tale of Conquest?
What Rotherham puts me in mind of is the behavior of the conqueror. One of the terrible after-effects of invasion and war has been the subjugation of the women, the rape of wives and daughters, the seed of the conqueror, inserted into a culture and a society — yet another tactic meant to subdue and eradicate.
Christopher Johnson, a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels so frequently for the Church that I have named him Defender of the Faith, suggests that if you are not nervous about Jihad, you probably should be:
Columbus [Indiana] Police said they’ve never had anything like it – three churches vandalized in the same night.
Someone spray painted them on the outside. It’s the words used, though, that have some people asking if this was more than a prank.
“It was just one word. It said ‘Infidels!’” Father Doug Marcotte said of what was spray painted on Saint Bartholomew’s Catholic Church in Columbus overnight Saturday.
Parishioners saw that, along with the word “Qur’an 3:151″ on their way into mass Sunday morning.
“It’s certainly not a warm and fuzzy verse. It talks about the infidels, their refuge being the fire,” explained Father Marcotte.
Specifically, that passage of the Qur’an reads: “We will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve for what they have associated with Allah of which He had not sent down [any] authority. And their refuge will be the Fire, and wretched is the residence of the wrongdoers.”
Saint Bartholomew’s wasn’t the only Columbus church vandalized.
“It’s really bizarre and the fact that they hit two other Christian Churches. It’s not like we’re all in a line. So why did they pick the three of us?” asked Father Marcotte.
Outside East Columbus Christian Church and Lakeview Church of Christ, members there found the same kind of graffiti Sunday morning. Continue reading
Rotherham, a city of about 257,000 in Yorkshire, England, is a battleground in a war that has been waged for 13 centuries:
More than 1,400 children were sexually abused over a 16 year period by gangs of paedophiles after police and council bosses turned a blind eye for fear of being labeled racist, a damning report has concluded.
Senior officials were responsible for “blatant” failures that saw victims, some as young as 11, being treated with contempt and categorised as being “out of control” or simply ignored when they asked for help.
In some cases, parents who tried to rescue their children from abusers were themselves arrested. Police officers even dismissed the rape of children by saying that sex had been consensual.
Downing Street on Tuesday night described the failure to halt the abuse in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, as “appalling”.
Following the publication of the report, the leader of Rotherham council, Roger Stone, resigned, but no other council employees will face disciplinary proceedings after it was claimed that there was not enough evidence to take action.
There were calls for Shaun Wright, the Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire (pictured above, left), to step down after it emerged that he was the councilor with responsibility for children’s services in Rotherham for part of the period covered by the report.
Details of the appalling depravity in the town and the systemic failures that allowed it to continue were laid out in a report published by Professor Alexis Jay, the former chief inspector of social work in Scotland. Victims were gang raped, while others were groomed and trafficked across northern England by groups of mainly Asian men.
Prof Jay wrote: “No one knows the true scale of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham over the years. Our conservative estimate is that approximately 1,400 children were sexually exploited over the full inquiry period, from 1997 to 2013. Continue reading
One of the more distressing aspects of the contemporary world is just how frequently people are asked to swallow the most total malarkey. Case in point, current Catholic policy in regard to Islam. This policy, to dignify ahistoric fervent wishful hoping, is best exemplified by Pope Francis in this passage from Evangelii Gaudium:
253. In order to sustain dialogue with Islam, suitable training is essential for all involved, not only so that they can be solidly and joyfully grounded in their own identity, but so that they can also acknowledge the values of others, appreciate the concerns underlying their demands and shed light on shared beliefs. We Christians should embrace with affection and respect Muslim immigrants to our countries in the same way that we hope and ask to be received and respected in countries of Islamic tradition. I ask and I humbly entreat those countries to grant Christians freedom to worship and to practice their faith, in light of the freedom which followers of Islam enjoy in Western countries! Faced with disconcerting episodes of violent fundamentalism, our respect for true followers of Islam should lead us to avoid hateful generalisations, for authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence.
Andrew Bieszad, at One Peter 5, has a brilliant piece in which he explains how this policy is directly the reverse of the position of the Church until the day before yesterday in historical terms:
In all the furor over the economic passages of Evangelii Gaudium, other sections of that lengthy document have received short shrift. Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa has the comments of Father Samir Khalil Samir, an Egyptian Jesuit, on these passages:
1. Muslims “together with us adore the One, merciful God” (No. 252)
I would advise caution here. It is true Muslims worship one and merciful God. However, this sentence suggests that the two conceptions of God are equal. Yet in Christianity God is the Trinity in its essence, plurality united by love: He is a bit more than just clemency and mercy. We have two quite different conceptions of the Divine One. Muslims characterize God as inaccessible. The Christian vision of the Oneness of the Trinity emphasizes that God is Love which is communicated: Father-Son-Spirit, or Lover-Beloved-Love, as St. Augustine suggested.
Moreover, what does the mercy of the God of Islam mean? He has mercy for whom he wants and not on those whom displease him. “Allah might admit to His mercy whom He willed” (Koran 48:25). These expressions are, almost literally, in the Old Testament (Exodus 33:19). But never arrive at saying that “God is love” (1 John 4:16), like St John.
Mercy in the case of Islam is that of the rich man who stoops over the poor and gives him something. But the Christian God is the one who lowers Himself to the level of the poor man in order to raise him up; He does not show his wealth to be respected (or feared) by the poor: he gives Himself in order the poor should live.
2. “The sacred writings of Islam have retained some Christian teachings” (No. 252)
This is true in a sense, but it is somewhat ambiguous. It is true that Muslims retain words or facts from the canonical gospels, such as the story of the Annunciation which is found almost literally in chapters 3 (The Family of Imr?n) and 19 (Mariam).
But more frequently the Koran is inspired by the pious tales of the apocryphal Gospels, and do not draw from them the theological sense they contain, and do not give these facts or words the meaning that they actually have, not out of malice, but because they do not contain the overall vision of the Christian message.
3. The figure of Christ in the Koran and the Gospel (No. 252)
The Koran refers to “Jesus and Mary [who] are the object of profound veneration”. To tell the truth, Jesus is not an object of veneration in the Muslim tradition. Instead, Mary is venerated, especially by Muslim women, who willingly go to the places of pilgrimage.
The lack of veneration for Jesus Christ is probably explained by the fact that, in the Koran, Jesus is a great prophet, famous for his miracles on behalf of a poor and sick humanity, but he is not the equal of Muhammad. Only mystics have a certain devotion to him, as the sol-called “Spirit of God”.
In fact, all that is said of Jesus in the Koran is the exact opposite of Christian teachings. He is not the Son of God, but a prophet and that’s it. He is not even the last of the prophets, because instead the “seal of the prophets” is Muhammad (Koran 33:40). Christian revelation is only seen as a step towards the ultimate revelation brought by Muhammad, i.e. Islam.
4. The Koran is opposed to all the fundamental Christian dogmas
The figure of Christ as the second person of the Trinity is condemned. In the Koran it says explicitly to Christians: ” O People of the Scripture! Do not exaggerate in your religion nor utter aught concerning Allah save the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a messenger of Allah, and His word which He conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers, and say not ‘Three’ – Cease! (it is) better for you! – Allah is only One God. Far is it removed from His Transcendent Majesty that “(Koran 4:171). These verses against the Trinity are very clear and need no interpretation.
The Koran denies the divinity of Christ: “O Jesus, Son of Mary, did you say to the people, ‘Take me and my mother as deities besides Allah?’” (Koran 5:116). And Jesus denies it!
Finally, the Koran negates Redemption. It even says that Jesus Christ did not die on the Cross, but it was a look-alike: “And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them” (Koran 4:157). In this way God saved Jesus from the wickedness of the Jews. But then Christ did not save the world!
In short, the Koran and Muslims deny the essential dogmas of Christianity: the Trinity, the Incarnation and Redemption. It should be added that this is their most absolute right! But you can not then say that “The sacred writings of Islam retain part of Christian teachings”. You simply must speak of the “Jesus of the Koran” which has nothing to do with the Jesus of the Gospels.
The Koran mentions Jesus because it aims to complete the revelation of Christ to exalt Muhammad. Besides, seeing what Jesus and Mary do in the Koran, we notice that it is no more than apply the prayers and fasting according to the Koran. Mary is certainly the most beautiful figure among all those presented in the Koran: she is the Virgin Mother, whom no man has ever touched. But she can not be the Theotokos; instead she is a good Muslim. Continue reading
The title is meant to be hyperbolic. Obviously Islam is not the official religion of this country. However, there are signs that Islam is beginning to receive a deference in this country that is denied to other faiths. Points to consider:
1. The Prophet Mohammed-Newscasts routinely bestow upon Mohammed the title of Prophet. I think I would faint if I head a member of the Mainstream media refer to Jesus Christ, the Son of God. A little thing perhaps but the Mainstream Media is usually a good barometer of liberal opinion in this country.
2. Sensitivity Training-The US military is ramping up Islamic Sensitivity Training for our troops.
3. Government Censorship-After Mona Eltahawy, journalist, activist and publicity hound, defaced an anti-Jihadist post in the New York Subway, the Metropolitan Transit Authority amended its policy on advertisements to ban those that “would incite or provoke violence.” This of course gives a heckler’s veto over advertisements. The woman behind the poster, Pamela Geller, also a publicity hound, vows a fight in the courts.
4. Obama and the Mohammed Video-President Obama has gone out of his way to denounce the Mohammed video. Other faiths are routinely mocked in this country: the Piss Christ of Andres Serrano which received an award in 1987 paid in part by the National Endowment of the Arts, an agency of the Federal government, there is a hit play running on Broadway, The Book of Mormon, which savagely denounces the Mormon faith, in 2010 the Loveland Museum in Colorado City, city owned and operated, displayed a painting, The Misadventures of Romantic Cannibals, which was a bitter attack on the Church. When Christians have complained about such insults, they have usually received a lecture on the First Amendment, told not to view it if it offends them, and, in general, told to suck it up.
5. First Amendment-Last week I wrote a post, which may be read here, in which Christopher Johnson fisked University of Chicago law professor Eric Posner’s view that the First Amendment was not an absolute bar to banning anti-Islamic statements. Last year Justice Stephen Breyer of the United States Supreme Court seemed to indicate that the burning of a Koran might be equivalent to yelling fire in a crowded theater.
6. Government Policy-There have been incidents under the current administration that have been very odd in regard to Islam. One of the odder ones was the statement by Charles Bolden, NASA Administrator, that the top priority for NASA according to President Obama was “and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science … and math and engineering.” Continue reading
Newt Gingrich in a great article sums up the surreal world we now inhabit thanks to the Obama Administration:
The policies of Obama have made our intellectual incoherence and strategic incompetence even worse.
It is no accident that the embassy in Cairo issued a groveling statement, apologizing to the haters for having inconvenienced them with American freedom of speech.
The embassy was simply following Clinton’s lead, set months earlier in her meetings with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
The OIC has a long- term campaign to manipulate the U.S. government into defining any criticism or improper reference to Islam as unacceptable.
No one should be confused by this. As Andy McCarthy wrote yesterday, the Islamist definition of heresy would destroy American free speech.
The Obama administration is waging war on the Catholic Church while appeasing the most extreme elements of Islam.
This is the bizarre situation we now find ourselves in. Continue reading
Time magazine, anyone still reading it?, has a truly despicable piece by Bruce Crumley in which he basically says that “they had it coming” after a French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, was firebombed:
Okay, so can we finally stop with the idiotic, divisive, and destructive efforts by “majority sections” of Western nations to bait Muslim members with petulant, futile demonstrations that “they” aren’t going to tell “us” what can and can’t be done in free societies? Because not only are such Islamophobic antics futile and childish, but they also openly beg for the very violent responses from extremists their authors claim to proudly defy in the name of common good. What common good is served by creating more division and anger, and by tempting belligerent reaction?
The difficulty in answering that question is also what’s making it hard to have much sympathy for the French satirical newspaper firebombed this morning, after it published another stupid and totally unnecessary edition mocking Islam. The Wednesday morning arson attack destroyed the Paris editorial offices of Charlie Hebdo after the paper published an issue certain to enrage hard-core Islamists (and offend average Muslims) with articles and “funny” cartoons featuring the Prophet Mohammed—depictions forbidden in Islam to boot. Predictably, the strike unleashed a torrent of unqualified condemnation from French politicians, many of whom called the burning of the notoriously impertinent paper as “an attack on democracy by its enemies.”
We, by contrast, have another reaction to the firebombing: Sorry for your loss, Charlie, and there’s no justification of such an illegitimate response to your current edition. But do you still think the price you paid for printing an offensive, shameful, and singularly humor-deficient parody on the logic of “because we can” was so worthwhile? If so, good luck with those charcoal drawings your pages will now be featuring. Continue reading
But it is a document that ensures a pesky little thing called religious freedom, something that Herman Cain has seemingly missed.
Herman Cain, a Republican presidential candidate, says Americans have the right to ban Muslims from building mosques.
“They have the right to do that,” Cain said on Fox News Sunday, expressing his concerns with Sharia law. “I’m willing to take a harder look at people that might be terrorists.”
Cain’s comments were in reference to a Tennessee town that is attempting to ban a mosque in its community. “That’s not discriminating based upon their particular religion,” he said. “There is an aspect of them building that mosque that doesn’t get talked about. And the people in the community know what it is and they’re talking about it.”
“Our Constitution guarantees the separation of church and state,” Cain said. “Islam combines church and state. They’re using the church part of our First Amendment to infuse their morals in that community, and the people in the community do not like it.”
I’m the last person to deny the perniciousness of many elements within Islam, but this is nonsense on stilts. The most deliciously ironic aspect of this comment is Cain’s relying on the “separation of church and state trope.” So Cain doesn’t seem to think that the First Amendment guarantees freedom of religion, which it in fact does, but he does think it guarantees a separation of church and state, which it in fact does not. And I especially have to laugh at Cain saying “They’re using the church part of our First Amendment to infuse their morals in that community and the people in the community do not like it.” First of all, the church part of our First Amendment? What? Second, does anyone doubt that if an atheist or hardened leftist (I know, I’m being redundant) had said something like this he would have been excoriated by most conservatives. Evidently only pre-approved religious viewpoints are allowed to influence people in a given community. Perhaps Herman Cain would like to share with us which viewpoints are acceptable, this way we can be all clear in the future.
Naturally this has provided an opportunity for people to beat their chests and play “more righteously angry and conservative than thou.” Because only a hippy could possibly think that it is a dangerous thing to start prohibiting certain religions from constructing places of worship. This selective application of the first amendment could never be applied to Catholics, right? No one could possibly fathom using the same precise rationale that Cain has advanced here in order justify blocking the construction of a Roman Catholic Church.
I thought the construction of the Islamic cultural center at Ground Zero was a terrible idea, but that had to do with the symbolic import of the location. Even then, I thought the way to oppose it was through social pressure, not by the strong arm of the state intervening and prohibiting construction. The people of the local community can certainly express their displeasure, but once we allow the state to intervene we have destroyed the concept of religious freedom.
And yes, I know that many adherents of Islam do not even believe in the concept of religious freedom. Certainly there is a political element within Islam that makes it as much an ideology as a religion, at least in certain quarters. But are we willing to completely write off all Muslims as deranged fanatics unworthy of constitutional protections? If you think as Herman Cain does, then that’s implicitly what you are saying.