Thursday, September 28, 2006

Pope on the Ropes

"[I]t is impossible to carry out a sincere dialogue with those who have contempt for any actions on the part of their opponents other than abject surrender." Marvin Folkertsma, Ph.D.

What's happened to religious tolerance in the world? First Mel Gibson, now the Pope.

Okay, so the analogy's a little soft. The Pope wasn't drunk when he made his alleged anti-Muslim remarks. And Jews didn't threaten to blow up the Western world when Mel spewed his anti-Semitic vitriol.

But that's the basic difference in a nutshell. Verbally attack Jews and our leaders demand reason and redress and justice. Verbally attack Muslims and their radical leaders call for violence and death and destruction.

Which in essence is what the Pope was trying to say. The Vatican, through Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo spins it this way, ''His real intention was to explain that 'not religion and violence, but religion and reason go together.'''

I'm not a big supporter of the Catholic Church, given its appalling past and current record on pedophile priests. But in this case, no one was hiding anything.

During a lecture at the German University of Regensburg, the Pope was trying to shed light on the historic and present danger to society of religious extremism. He quoted an obscure 14th Century Byzantine emperor.

It was an academic reference. It was not a religious slur. But it gave Islamic religious extremists an opening to cry foul and incite terror against the Western world -- in effect, proving the Pope's point.

As Archbishop Lajolo also said:

''It falls to all interested parties - to civil society as well as to states to promote religious freedom and a sane, social tolerance that will disarm extremists even before they can begin to corrupt others with their hatred of life and liberty.''
I don't know about you, but I'm solidly on board with that.

Before Carl or some other comment Nazi attacks me: I'm not anti-Islam. I'm anti-violence. And when the words of any Western leader are twisted into insults by Muslim militants in order to rally extremists into more violence, I say Enough!

Let's not forget that these same Islamic leaders by their own actions--not just words--are anti-Christian, anti-Semitic, anti-American. Anti anything that gets in the way of their own evil agenda.

If he were smart, the Pope would have stepped up and said, "I wasn't talking about the millions of decent, law-abiding, faithful Muslims of the world ... and if I insulted them, I apologize. I don't apologize for exposing their leaders--the worst among them--for perpetrating a culture of violence and ignorance."

But sadly, with their pointless focus on public relations damage control, the Pope and the Vatican are giving the Islamic zealots exactly what they want -- more international chaos.



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