There He Goes Again

 

From Reuters:

Pope Francis said on Sunday that equating Islam with violence was wrong and called on Muslim leaders to issue a global condemnation of terrorism to help dispel the stereotype.

Has anyone of any influence anywhere gone on record “equating Islam with violence?” We all know that there are hundreds of millions of peaceful Muslims in the world. But Pope Francis doesn’t limit his disquisition to this particular strawman, taking us into a relativistic moral world not normally associated with the Catholic church.

“You just can’t say that, just as you can’t say that all Christians are fundamentalists. We have our share of them (fundamentalists). All religions have these little groups,” he said.

Note that the Pope is here providing balance to his condemnation of ISIS terrorists, implying that all religions have a problem with homicidal adherents, as if sects of Christians or Buddhists are rampaging about beheading all and sundry.

But wait, there’s more.

“They (Muslims) say: ‘No, we are not this, the Koran is a book of peace, it is a prophetic book of peace’.”

Now the Pope leaps from admonishing against “equating Islam with violence” to endorsing the argument that the Quran is “a prophetic book of peace.” Might I suggest that next time Pope Francis wishes to opine on the Muslim holy book, he first pick up a copy for himself? Spanish translations are available.

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  1. user_3444 Coolidge
    user_3444
    @JosephStanko

    There you go again.

    George Savage: Might I suggest that next time Pope Francis wishes to opine on the Muslim holy book, he first pick up a copy for himself?

    He’s not opining on the content of the book, in the quote you provided he said they (Muslim leaders) say it is a book of peace. He then goes on to suggest that they put their money where their mouth is:

    Francis said he had made the suggestion of a global condemnation of terrorism by Islamic leaders in talks on Friday with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.

    “I told the president that it would be beautiful if all Islamic leaders, whether they are political, religious or academic leaders, would speak out clearly and condemn this because this would help the majority of Muslim people,” he said.

    It seems to me he’s saying (diplomatically of course) the same thing I’ve read many times on Ricochet: fine, if you want to convince us it’s a Religion of Peace, why aren’t you more vocal in condemning the folks who are out chopping heads off in the name of your religion?

    • #1
  2. calvincoolidg@gmail.com Inactive
    calvincoolidg@gmail.com
    @CalvinCoolidg

    The problem isn’t a lack of understanding of Islam. The problem is the messenger. As Joseph Stanko points out, the pope spoke with Erdogan, the president of Turkey. This is the same man who refused to allow passage of the Kurdish refugees in Turkey to pass back into Iraq and assist their fellow man in the fight against ISIS. I would say that the pope is either naive, or politically motivated himself. Either way, he’s showing signs of being the wrong man for the job.

    • #2
  3. Davematheny3000@yahoo.com Member
    Davematheny3000@yahoo.com
    @PainterJean

    ““You just can’t say that, just as you can’t say that all Christians are fundamentalists. We have our share of them (fundamentalists). All religions have these little groups,” he said.”

    You know, as a Catholic I’ve had my little skirmishes with fundamentalists (usually Baptists), who tell me that my Church is the Whore of Babylon, that we worship Mary, and all kinds of offensive stuff. But I’ve never worried about any of them lopping off my head or the head of my loved ones. To minimize the atrocities of the Muslim’s “little groups” by putting these terrorists in the same category as my Jack Chick-tract-toting fundie acquaintances is offensive and either naïve or willfully blind. Well, there’s a third possibility: he is being careless with his choice of words.

    • #3
  4. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Doesn’t he realise that it doesn’t matter what Muslims say until it’s reported on talk back radio or Fox News? Till that happens they can pass as many fatwas against terrorism as they want – who knows and who cares?

    • #4
  5. user_1184 Member
    user_1184
    @MarkWilson

    George Savage: Has anyone of any influence anywhere gone on record “equating Islam with violence?”

    I don’t know what you mean by “of any influence”, but, just as we all have somebody in our family or circle of friends who is into alternative medicine, we all know somebody who says of the Middle East “we should just turn the whole place into glass”. Such a person believes there is not a worthy person among them, don’t they?

    Now I don’t know who the pope was addressing specifically, but there is plenty of equating Islam with violence going around. Every time you hear someone sarcastically say “the Religion of Peace strikes again” they are subtly, half-jokingly equating Islam with violence, aren’t they?

    To say he was “implying that all religions have a problem with homicidal adherents” just because he made the obvious statement that all religions have diverse groups within them is about the least charitable interpretation you could give. He called on Muslim leaders to issue a global condemnation of terrorism. What else do you want him to say?

    • #5
  6. virgil15marlow@yahoo.com Member
    virgil15marlow@yahoo.com
    @Manny

    I wouldn’t condemn a religious leader into looking at the better angels of our nature. The Pope is professing a line of argument that is professed in some muslim circles. He’s trying to hold them up to their ideals. Whether the contrasting view of Islam, also professed by many muslims (that Islam seeks to force its religion on people through force if necessary) and which I think is the correct reading of Islam and the Koran (though upfront I be no expert) is the correct view is open to debate. I think that debate can only be held by muslims. But we in the west need to be prudent by assessing the actions of the muslims that cause us danger and reacting to it. I see that as the difference between the Pope (a religious leader) and Obama (the leader of our national defense) saying that Islam is a religion of peace.

    • #6
  7. user_86050 Inactive
    user_86050
    @KCMulville

    The Pope didn’t just pop off, trying to appease Muslims because he’s a wishy-washy relativist. The Pope is in Turkey on several different missions right now. He’s primarily working on strengthening relations with the Orthodox churches, and that’s why he went to Istanbul.

    But there’s also the stark reality that Christianity is being wiped out in its cradle. And in trying to forestall that, the Pope has to deal with the Islam leaders on the region. As always, the great reporter John Allen explains some of the angles at play right now.

    Given that the Pope leads a worldwide organization that preaches peace and reconciliation, it should come as no surprise that diplomacy is at the heart of its mission. Trying to get the Muslim world to protect Christians within their borders, especially while Islam is going through what amounts to a civil war, calls for a balance between respect and determination.

    The guy is in the middle of a high wire act. Cut him some slack.

    • #7
  8. Davematheny3000@yahoo.com Member
    Davematheny3000@yahoo.com
    @PainterJean

    The guy is in the middle of a high wire act. Cut him some slack.

    Very true — thanks for making the points you did. And Manny makes the good observation too that he is a religious leader, not a political one.

    But, as has often happened with this Pope, I could wish he chose his words more carefully — no, there aren’t any “little groups” today within Christianity. Mormonism, or Buddhism that are at all equivalent, who have killed thousands, destroyed churches and holy sites of other religions, and forced women and children into slavery. To say that, oh, we all have problems with fundamentalists, is simply untrue and appears to minimize the nature and scope of the problem. I think the Pope ought to be in the business of truth.

    • #8
  9. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    I don’t get the crack about fundamentalists, by equating the terrorists as muslim fundamentalists isn’t he saying that Islam is fundamentally a terrorist religion? was there a translation error? Would a better translation have been radical muslim?

    • #9
  10. George Savage Contributor
    George Savage
    @GeorgeSavage

    Imagine if Pope John Paul II had confronted Soviet human rights abuses by first contrasting his position with the John Birch Society, next stressing that some in the West also abuse political prisoners, then wrapping up with a favorable quote from supporters of the Soviet Constitution. Any actual criticism of the Gulag would be lost in a murky sea of context.

    What I find wanting in the current instance is moral clarity. Pope Francis did not deliver his remarks as a diplomatic courtesy in a private meeting or receiving line. His remarks, delivered in an interview on his plane, were for the world.

    And, as Rush Limbaugh likes to say, “Words mean things.”

    • #10
  11. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    George Savage: Pope Francis said on Sunday that equating Islam with violence was wrong and called on Muslim leaders to issue a global condemnation of terrorism to help dispel the stereotype.

    Here’s the problem that Pope Francis doesn’t seem to “get”. There is no “Muslim pope”. There is no “Muslim church”. So, which “Muslim leaders” is he talking to? The presidents, kings, and other leaders of Muslim countries? The Ayatollahs of Iran? The MILLIONS of imams out in the world, all with their own beliefs, agendae, and goals? Etc, etc, etc…

    Yeah, right.

    • #11
  12. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    KC Mulville:The Pope didn’t just pop off, trying to appease Muslims because he’s a wishy-washy relativist. The Pope is in Turkey on several different missions right now. He’s primarily working on strengthening relations with the Orthodox churches, and that’s why he went to Istanbul.

    But there’s also the stark reality that Christianity is being wiped out in its cradle. And in trying to forestall that, the Pope has to deal with the Islam leaders on the region. As always, the great reporter John Allen explains some of the angles at play right now.

    Given that the Pope leads a worldwide organization that preaches peace and reconciliation, it should come as no surprise that diplomacy is at the heart of its mission. Trying to get the Muslim world to protect Christians within their borders, especially while Islam is going through what amounts to a civil war, calls for a balance between respect and determination.

    The guy is in the middle of a high wire act. Cut him some slack.

    Fair points.

    Gotta give him credit for trying any sort of diplomacy in Turkey while Ergodan’s in charge.

    • #12
  13. user_1184 Member
    user_1184
    @MarkWilson

    George Savage:Imagine if Pope John Paul II had confronted Soviet human rights abuses by first contrasting his position with the John Birch Society, next stressing that some in the West also abuse political prisoners, then wrapping up with a favorable quote from supporters of the Soviet Constitution. Any actual criticism of the Gulag would be lost in a murky sea of context.

    You imagine Soviet Communism was mostly an ideology of peace, freedom, and human rights, with only a small minority of extremists committing political violence? There was hardly a nuance about it, and no need (nor room) to approach the Soviets will faux humility like you describe. We know the Soviet system was immoral and violent from top to bottom, from its birth to its death. The mainstream Communist leaders owned every sin committed by their underlings because the violence and oppression was all part of the same system.

    So do you really think there is an analogy between our approaches to Soviet Communism and Islam?

    • #13
  14. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Mark Wilson: You imagine Soviet Communism was mostly an ideology of peace, freedom, and human rights, with only a small minority of extremists committing political violence?

    I do think a very small minority of people stuck behind the iron curtain were committing political violence.

    • #14
  15. user_1184 Member
    user_1184
    @MarkWilson

    Misthiocracy:

    Mark Wilson: You imagine Soviet Communism was mostly an ideology of peace, freedom, and human rights, with only a small minority of extremists committing political violence?

    I do think a very small minority of people stuck behind the iron curtain were committing political violence.

    My point is that they were not a breakaway sect from peaceful, “mainstream” Communism. They were acting on behalf of the party. So it would have made no sense to try to stroke the delicate egos of the party leaders, saying “even we in the West have some small extremist sects” to try to convince them to distance themselves from the KGB.

    • #15
  16. George Savage Contributor
    George Savage
    @GeorgeSavage

    Mark Wilson:

    So do you really think there is an analogy between our approaches to Soviet Communism and Islam?

    The analogy–the only analogy–is that it is absolutely vital to speak the truth on moral issues–to accurately frame the problem. The specifics are of course different.

    Ever since 911, the Religion of Peace trope has been deployed against a strawman: a wholly imaginary proposition that large numbers in the West believe that all of Islam is radical and violent. The propaganda is blurring reality sufficiently to render real progress difficult if not impossible. Most Muslims are emphatically not terrorists, nor are they violent in any respect. But, as a pure statistical matter, most terrorists are Muslim, and justify their actions in explicitly Islamic terms. Eliding jihadism into religious “fundamentalism” generally to avoid facing this reality is not helping anybody.

    • #16
  17. user_86050 Inactive
    user_86050
    @KCMulville

    George Savage:What I find wanting in the current instance is moral clarity. Pope Francis did not deliver his remarks as a diplomatic courtesy in a private meeting or receiving line. His remarks, delivered in an interview on his plane, were for the world.

    And, as Rush Limbaugh likes to say, “Words mean things.”

    Yes, they do have meaning. That’s why, if you respect words, you try to appreciate more than a phrase or a snippet. There’s a bigger picture. These remarks were made on a plane … after a very important diplomatic trip. No one imagines that the post-trip remarks on the plane were the focus of the story.

    Let’s put this in the context which it deserves. Just a few hours earlier, this same pope delivered an address, far more important and meaningful than these remarks to reporters, in which …

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Pope Francis urged Muslim leaders to condemn the “barbaric violence” being committed in Islam’s name against religious minorities in Iraq and Syria as he arrived in neighboring Turkey Friday for a delicate visit aimed at improving interfaith ties.

    Francis sought to offer a balanced message as he met with Turkish political and religious officials at the start of his second trip to the Middle East this year. He reaffirmed that military force was justified to halt the Islamic State group’s advance, and called for greater dialogue between Christians, Muslims and people of all faiths to end fundamentalism.

    In that context, what more “moral clarity” do you think we need?

    • #17
  18. user_1184 Member
    user_1184
    @MarkWilson

    George Savage: The analogy–the only analogy–is that it is absolutely vital to speak the truth on moral issues–to accurately frame the problem.

    He is urging Muslim leaders to come to grips with the fact that they are associated by name with the crazies and they can’t ignore it. One tactic he’s using is empathy, by pointing out that every religion has diverse groups claiming its name, and it’s normal to want to distance yourself from them.

    • #18
  19. T-Fiks Member
    T-Fiks
    @TFiks

    The pope’s equating of Christian fundamentalists with Jihadi terrorists may endear him to the Islamic leaders who tacitly approve of the terrorists within their ranks, but it certainly gives lie to the Catholic hierarchy’s often-expressed desire for Christian unity.

    I guess Ecumenism has its limits: Baptists and Pentecostals need not apply.

    • #19
  20. user_3444 Coolidge
    user_3444
    @JosephStanko

    Painter Jean: no, there aren’t any “little groups” today within Christianity. Mormonism, or Buddhism that are at all equivalent, who have killed thousands, destroyed churches and holy sites of other religions, and forced women and children into slavery.

    There were Catholic terrorists active in Northern Ireland in the recent past. Granted it was on a smaller scale, but that could be in part because the British government was more effective at keeping them in check than the governments of Iraq and Syria are with their domestic terrorists.

    • #20
  21. user_1184 Member
    user_1184
    @MarkWilson

    T-Fiks:
    The pope’s equating of Christian fundamentalists with Jihadi terrorists may endear him to the Islamic leaders who tacitly approve of the terrorists within their ranks, but it certainly gives lie to the Catholic hierarchy’s often-expressed desire for Christian unity.

    I guess Ecumenism has its limits: Baptists and Pentecostals need not apply.

    Can you please identify the statement where the pope did this? Note he has strongly condemned ISIS and said the use of military force is justified against them. Let’s see where he said that about Baptists and Pentecostals.

    He is specifically telling those Muslim leaders not to tacitly approve of the terrorists, but to condemn them.

    Maybe he was just making the obvious, undeniable observation that there are diverse groups within every religion.

    • #21
  22. T-Fiks Member
    T-Fiks
    @TFiks

    Mark Wilson:

    T-Fiks: The pope’s equating of Christian fundamentalists with Jihadi terrorists may endear him to the Islamic leaders who tacitly approve of the terrorists within their ranks, but it certainly gives lie to the Catholic hierarchy’s often-expressed desire for Christian unity.

    I guess Ecumenism has its limits: Baptists and Pentecostals need not apply.

    Can you please identify the statement where the pope did this? Note he has strongly condemned ISIS said the use of military force is justified against them. Let’s see where he said that about Baptists and Pentecostals.

    He is specifically telling those Muslim leaders not to tacitly approve of the terrorists, but to condemn them.

    Maybe he was just making the obvious, undeniable observation that there are diverse groups within every religion.

    For what possible reason would the pope make the analogy about Christian fundamentalists if he weren’t comparing them to Muslim fundamentalists and attempting to whitewash the violence inherent in Islam? It isn’t the diversity of religious belief that is the problem, it’s the sociopathic behavior of one particular component of Islam that is now the problem.

    If the pope were honestly encouraging Muslim leaders to end their tacit approval of terrorists, he wouldn’t compare those same terrorists to elements within Christianity whom he’s heretofore shown no eagerness to condemn.

    • #22
  23. Davematheny3000@yahoo.com Member
    Davematheny3000@yahoo.com
    @PainterJean

    “There were Catholic terrorists active in Northern Ireland in the recent past. Granted it was on a smaller scale, but that could be in part because the British government was more effective at keeping them in check than the governments of Iraq and Syria are with their domestic terrorists.”

    Good grief — you’re not serious, are you? First, the Irish terrorists were first and foremost motivated by territory, not theology. Theirs wasn’t terrorism directed against Protestant concepts of “Sola Fide”, private judgment, or once-saved-always-saved, it was directed against the British presence in Northern Ireland. They did not have publically-stated goals of converting the entire world to Catholicism. And their terrorism was not made in the name of Christianity, nor was it in conformity with the principles of Christianity, Catholic or otherwise, which is why their actions were condemned by popes. They did not require conversion to Catholicism as the only means to avoid being savagely executed. Militant Islam, on the other hand, can reasonably be seen as one valid interpretation. Without a pope-like head of Islam to tell them that they’re out of line, this interpretation will go on to be seen as valid and even encouraged by not-insignificant numbers of Muslims.

    • #23
  24. user_1184 Member
    user_1184
    @MarkWilson

    T-Fiks: For what possible reason would the pope make the analogy about Christian fundamentalists if he weren’t comparing them to Muslim fundamentalists and attempting to whitewash the violence inherent in Islam? It isn’t the diversity of religious belief that is the problem, it’s the sociopathic behavior of one particular component of Islam that is now the problem.

    If the pope were honestly encouraging Muslim leaders to end their tacit approval of terrorists, he wouldn’t compare those same terrorists to elements within Christianity whom he’s heretofore shown no eagerness to condemn.

    I can see you’re determined to interpret his remarks in the worst possible light. I don’t know if you have read any of my previous comments on this thread, but to reply to your question I would just repeat what I wrote before.

    • #24
  25. Davematheny3000@yahoo.com Member
    Davematheny3000@yahoo.com
    @PainterJean

    “These remarks were made on a plane … after a very important diplomatic trip. No one imagines that the post-trip remarks on the plane were the focus of the story.”

    It doesn’t matter where he was when he made those remarks, or whether they were made before, during, or after his trip. He’s the Pope, fer Pete’s sake, and so what he says is listened to. He must surely be aware of that.

    • #25
  26. calvincoolidg@gmail.com Inactive
    calvincoolidg@gmail.com
    @CalvinCoolidg

    Maybe the pope should explain how the Vatican denied the events of the Holocaust as well. All the while the Vatican Rat Line helped SS members escape prosecution for war crimes and made it safely to his home town in Argentina. Then maybe he can explain how there isn’t a modern day holocaust going on in the Middle East all in the name of Islam. How ironic things have become.

    • #26
  27. user_3444 Coolidge
    user_3444
    @JosephStanko

    Mark Wilson: I can see you’re determined to interpret his remarks in the worst possible light.

    That is standard operating procedure for many posters on Ricochet.

    • #27
  28. user_3444 Coolidge
    user_3444
    @JosephStanko

    Calvin Coolidg: Maybe the pope should explain how the Vatican denied the events of the Holocaust as well.

    From A Righteous Gentile: Pope Pius XII and the Jews by Rabbi David G. Dalin:

    During the months that Rome was under German occupation, Pius XII, who secretly instructed Italy’s Catholic clergy “to save human lives by all means,” played an especially significant role in saving thousands of Italian Jews from deportation to Auschwitz and other Nazi death camps. Beginning in October 1943, Pope Pius asked the churches and convents throughout Italy to shelter Jews. As a result, although Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and the Fascists who remained loyal to him yielded to Hitler’s demand that Italy’s Jews be deported, in churches, monasteries and private homes throughout the country Italian Catholics defied Mussolini’s orders and protected thousands of Jews until the Allied armies arrived. Although their lives were endangered by helping to save Jews, Italian Catholic Church leaders, from Cardinals to parish priests, hid Jews from the Nazis. In Rome, 155 convents and monasteries sheltered some 5,000 Jews throughout the German occupation. No less than 3,000 Jews found refuge at one time at the Pope’s summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, and thus, through Pius’ personal intervention, escaped deportation to German death camps. Sixty Jews lived for nine months at the Jesuit Gregorian University, and many were sheltered in the cellar of the Pontifical Bible Institute. Pope Pius himself granted sanctuary within the walls of the Vatican in Rome to hundreds of homeless Jews. Following Pope Pius’ direct instructions, individual Italian priests and monks, cardinals and bishops, were instrumental in saving hundreds of Jewish lives.

    • #28
  29. user_3444 Coolidge
    user_3444
    @JosephStanko

    Painter Jean: And their terrorism was not made in the name of Christianity, nor was it in conformity with the principles of Christianity, Catholic or otherwise, which is why their actions were condemned by popes.

    And Pope Francis is challenging Muslim leaders to similarly condemn the actions of Islamic terrorists and declare they are not in conformity with the principles of Islam — as some already have.

    • #29
  30. T-Fiks Member
    T-Fiks
    @TFiks

    I think it needlessly muddies the waters to misinterpret anyone’s criticisms of the current pope’s regular confession of stereotypical leftist talking points as a general hostility to the Roman Catholic Church.
    I, for one, have great respect for the role of the Catholic Church throughout history, even since Luther posted his theses on the church door. It’s going to take more than an occasional misguided pope to stop what Peter began.

    • #30

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