Faith Based Initiative 1 Civilization 0

The damage is done. Ratzinger makes a comment contrary to where the Church stood before and then apologizes. Vatican could perhaps get distressed and spin it in any way it can to save face but the cost will be measured in American lives.

For my religious friends here are some inconvenient facts:

1) In a sort of evolutionary conspiracy, clerics of the Western world for some time have realized the fact that all religions are engaged in a common spiritual fight against a rising secular world. The Vatican went so far as to declare in 1962 that Islam has given the world important truths about God and Jesus (and other religious mumbo-jumbos). This is despite the fact that Islam does not recognize Jesus as the son of God and denies crucification.

2) More than a quarter century later (under JP2) in the aftermath of the Rushdie affair, the Vatican was holier than Khomeini — the holiness who issued the fatwa to murder Rushdie. I am not fond of Rushdie myself but I do deeply care about his freedom of expression and his right to express himself without physical threats to him. In 1989 Vatican’s mouthpiece L’Osservatore Romano, criticized Rushdie and Cardinal O’Connor of NY urged Catholics not to read the book and Cardinal Decourtray of Lyons called Rushdie’s book an insult to religion. Clerical interest was put ahead of the fact that murder (of Rushdie) is an UNchristian act!

3) Unfortunately, even the prominent rabbi Avraham Shapira wanted the book banned for he realized that if Islam is attacked today, tomorrow it will be some other religion (his own perhaps). Furthermore, the Archbishop of Canterbury sympathized with Muslims’ “hurt feeling” … “outrageous slur on the Prophet.”

Folks, you may be unaware of all this but the Holy Terrorists of Islamic world are quite aware of the debate within Christian world and Christian clergy’s sensibilities. They may be bigoted but they are not stupid. As such, Ratzinger was hardly the right person to start this “dialogue of civilization and cultures” that Khatami is currently promoting in Harvard and at the National Cathederal. I was shaking my head in disbelief when I watched Peggy Noon proclaim that his holiness (the Pope) did a service to us by starting this dialogue. For the bigots of Islamic world “dialogue” does not mean the same thing that it does for the readers of this blog. For them dialogue means that the Western world (particularly the US) apologize for all the real or perceived sins of the White man’s past. In other words, it means moral capitulation by the West. In the past few days they saw Ratzinger “commit a crime” against Islam and then the apology is the kind of “dialogue” that they are looking for. But I assure you that the apology will not satisfy these people and in their crooked minds they see the US soldiers as latter-day Crusades marching to the tune of Ratzinger. You may laugh at such notion but the military target of Ratzinger’s puerile apology will be US soldiers and American citizens abroad and perhaps even at home.

This war against bigotry will be fought in many different types of battlefields, some of which we do not like but which we can NOT retreat from. As such, here is my recommendation on how to conduct a “dialogue of civilizations”: Have GWB clearly tell Iranians that their nukes are against our interest when he goes to the UN next week. Then send Condi Rice to Tehran to be very clear on where we stand. Give them a week or two and if they do not kowtow to our wish send two or three carrier groups to the Iranian shores. GWB is already known as a “shoot now ask later” type of cowboy to the Islamic world. I think this is a good thing as it establishes US’s credibility. Then watch on how frantically Iranians will start accommodating. And we should not be afraid of using those military assets because we will lose our credibility Ratzinger-like within days. Ratzinger and the institution he represents only morally arm our enemies and I am quite sure that a few fanatics who had second thoughts about killing themselves in suicide bombings have been convinced of the righteousness of their cause.

18 thoughts on “Faith Based Initiative 1 Civilization 0”

  1. “crucification”

    ‘Crucifixion’ is the word you’re looking for. And–despite the commonly known fact that all religious folks are working together in a spiritual fight against the secular world–criticizing an author is not the same as issuing an order to murder him.

    Did chicagoboyz get hacked or something? This is a somewhat lower quality of discourse than I usually expect from this fine blog!

  2. Sulaiman,

    You seem to be changing the subject from what you see as the moral equivalence of Roman Catholicism and radical Islam, to the hypocrisy and tactical ineptitude of western religious and political leaders in dealing with Islam. I think that you are on firmer ground here, though your overall tone of hostility to religion continues to hurt your case.

  3. Jeesh, did you even read the Pope’s speech? He almost certainly picked the quote he did because the professor who translated that Byzantine Emperor’s work was in the audience and from the school at which he was speaking. If “radical Islam” is going to go on a killing/bombing spree every time some Academic somewhere says something that taken completely out of context then … we have a problem which needs to be addressed or at least mocked and ignored.

  4. Dove – thank you for correcting the spelling mistake.

    Mark – as the head of Vatican, the pope is not just an academic anymore. He represents a state as my religious friends reminded me over a year ago.

  5. why fault the pope for speaking the truth? if anything he should be criticized for apologized.

    his byzantine predecessor was quite accurate in describing islam. the religion is supposed to be an improvement on christianity, but what did it add other than jihad, cruelty to women, and various pagan rituals?

  6. Sulaiman – “Vatican could perhaps get distressed and spin it in any way it can to save face but the cost will be measured in American lives.”

    I am confused. Are you implying that the Muslims will kill Americans in response to the papal statement?

  7. Sulaiman, are you saying that no one should speak what you yourself say is the truth to Muslims for fear they may kill people because it was spoken to them? BTW, IMO, not one more American will be killed than would have been had the Pope say nothing. When it comes to priests and nuns, however, the story is different.

  8. Scotus – where have I advocated that? Did you read what I said about Rushdie?

    What I am saying is that we are dealing with wild animals here … and we have to be a little careful when we conduct “dialogue” with them. And given that the pope has the world microphone in his hand (and given the importance of his stature), every word he says has weight … unless you think it is otherwise. The pope, to be precise, is not like you and me conducting “free speech” on blogs like this. What is even worse, the pope (whose institution was Johnny-come-lately to free speech) does not have the means to enforce the rights of free speech. Freedom incurs costs … in blood and treasure (I refer you to Thomas Jefferson).

    Furthermore, the Pope is free to say anything he wants but the writ of free speech, unfortunately, does not apply among people of faith … this ugly reaction was completely predictable.

  9. Sulaiman, I agree that what the Pope says matters a whole lot more than what you or I say. He must weigh his words carefully, and I believe he did. You seem to imply, however, because his words have consequence and he has no power to enforce them, he should never say anything that might provoke the “wild animals” of the Islamist world. I find this is a rather strange position for a member of a blog that put the Danish flag on its headmast to take. Also, as Ginny has pointed out, you could much more plausibly blame the media’s, especially the Islamic media’s, cut and paste reportage for the violence. In any event, when the Pope, who poses no threat to anyone, sees his call for all to reject religious violence become the “cause” of religious violence, perhaps all of us, you included, should pray for the well being, if not the survival, of the world.

  10. Say, setting the religious issues aside for the moment, doesn’t the recommendation to send the big guns to Iran sort of ignore the fact that it’s likely to turn the entire Axis of Nincompoops (which seems to comprise about 2/3 of the world right now) against us?

    I agree about the credibility issue, but effectiveness would seem to be the more important goal now. I actually think a broader coalition against Iran getting nukes would be easier to obtain than consensus on Iraq was.

  11. There is nothing that is both truthful and important that anyone can say about Muslims or Islam that will not send some substantial group in the Muslim world into paroxysms of violence.

    This being the case, westerners have a choice. They may speak about one of the truly important issues of our era, and run the risk that their words will form the pretext for violence or they may be silent and run the risk of seeing the problem of jihadi violence fester.

    The problem with choosing silence is that there was a time when westerners were silent about Islam. That era ended not because of idle curiosity, but because of the violent acts of some people claiming to be Muslims, particularly 9/11.

    To me, it is fitting and proper that the Pope as the moral teacher of half a billion communicants of the Roman Church should speak about the issues raised by the religious claims of the jihadis. If anyone disagrees with what the Pope has said he is free to dispute it by showing it to be unfactual or illogical.

    But when Muslims respond to words with verbal abuse, threats of violence, and violence, they cause third parties to suspect that Muslims have no rational response to those words, and that the words are likely true.

    It lies ill in the mouths of Muslims to claim that they are upholding a general principle of respect for religions, when the Muslim world is the place where every anti-Semitic trope ever found in the pages of Der Sturmer is repeated constantly, where the notorious forgery, the Protocols, is regarded as family entertainment, and Jews are spoken of in terms of base abuse.

    The question that has engulfed the world for the past few years is whether Muslims can find a way to live peacefully in a world that is filled with infidels. Muslims are deluding themselves if they think that non-Muslims will see the superiority of Islam. Everything that Muslims have shown the Western world about Islam for the past generation is repellent. Ignorance, fanaticism, violence, misogyny, and tribalism are not attractive to civilized men.

    We in the West, cannot change Muslims nor Islam. They will have to change themselves to shed their savage aspect. If they do not do so, it will not end well for them.

  12. I generally agree with Sulaiman’s thoughts and conclusion.

    Here are my two cents on some of the ideas discussed.

    ON IRAN:
    “Only when the initiators of force learn that their actions lead to their own destruction, will peace be possible in the Middle East”.

    I believe that before Iran manages to wipe Israel off the map that Iran should be ruthlessly destroyed. If civilians die in the process, as they did in Japan in WW2, it merely underscores the enormity of the stakes when a populace embraces (or submits to) a murderous, theocratic regime. America should not be in the business of guarding Iranian civilians but guarding American lives. Advocating a deal with Iran purchases a false sense of peace today at the expense of unleashing catastrophic dangers tomorrow(this also applies to another evil-axis memeber: North Korea). Nuclear weapons come in handy here. Remeber that there were no insurgents after Japan was forced to come down on its knees. Today Japan is the world’s second biggest economy.

    “The proper response to Islamists and their supporters is to identify them as our ideological and political enemies–and dispense justice accordingly. In the case of our militant enemies, we must kill or demoralize them–especially those regimes that support terrorism and fuel the Islamist movement; as for the rest, we must politically ignore them and intellectually discredit them, while proudly arguing for the superiority of Americanism. Such a policy would make us safe, expose Islamic anti-Americanism as irrational and immoral, and embolden the better Muslims to support our ideals and emulate our ways.”

    “It is often said that we must win the “hearts and minds” of supporters of totalitarian Islam. Indeed we must: their hearts must be made to despair at the futility of their cause, and their minds must be convinced that any threat to our lives and freedom will bring them swift and certain doom.”

    It is a form of philosophy and should be separated from the state and should not be the province of government. Remember the dark ages until REASON (Renaissance) was brought back into the political sphere? I think Ayn Rand has it right here: Faith (religion) is the enemy of Reason and along with governments has historically been the greatest spiller of blood. Freedom (reason) and religion are like water and oil. Religion only serves valuable purposes on a personal/cultural/community level. Like Ayn Rand, I fight for reason, not against religion.

  13. Additional comments on Islamists:
    Muslims in the West have embraced the respect for reason, belief in individual rights, and the separation of church and state, thus they are law-abiding and loyal citizens. However, Islamists in the middle east come from a different mindset. It is important to understand their philosophical underpinnings.

    1. Islam rejects reason. Koran explicitly states that knowledge comes from revelation, not thinking. Islam advocates the subordination of every sphere of life to religious dogma. The word Islam means submission. Individuals are not supposed to think but to selflessly subordinate himself to the dicatates of religion. In the West this was called the Dark Ages (post Rome to pre-Rennaisance).

    2. A derivative tenet of Islam is that it should be imposed by force. A reading of the Koran will make the reader aware that Pagans should be fought and slain.

    These ideas easily lead to JIHAD and terrorism. Terrorist are not un-Islamic who have hijacked a great religion, they are consistent and serious followers of their religion with no respect for reason and law.

    The best way to win the heart and minds of these people is to impose Western values on them. Until democracy and capitalism flourishes in the middle east, violence will continue.

  14. Final comment regarding NKorea.

    The following paints a picture on some of the underpinnings of my opinions.

    I live in Japan and to me the threat of a NKorea is real. On top of that a nuclear NKorea would be extremely alarming to the point that I would consider moving to the US. Assuming a missile hits Tokyo, the consequences would be devastating. Positively speaking my wealth and life would be in danger, negatively speaking I may be dead.

    Therefore at this point, I could care less about a NKorean’s life assuming NK was nuked or a total war was waged. My life comes first. As a Japanese citizen, I demand my government to end the diplomacy and bring an end to Kim’s regime. I would also be grateful to the United States if they stepped in and helped.

    On a relative basis, I think that most Americans are comfortable mentally by being thousands of miles away from suicide bombers. They can afford to have a more laid back attitude towards Islamists… Americans should be grateful to Bush for keeping the war away from American shores and shifting Islamists’ focus to Iraq.

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