Democrats & Liberals Archives

For Heaven's Sake, Let's Communicate

The Pope associated Islam with violence, and Muslims in many countries erupted in indignant protest. In this way the Pope transformed what President Bush was beginning to call a clash of civilizations and a war against Islamo-Fascism into what the struggle appears to truly be: a clash of religions - Christianity against Islam. A religious war is unwinnable by either side; it will more likely destroy our Earth. We must find a better way.

In general, Christians say that only Christians will go to heaven and Muslims and everyone else will go to hell. Muslims say that only Muslims will go to heaven and Christians and everyone else will go to hell. Now, according to Religions of the World, 1/3 the world population is Christian and 1/5 the world population is Muslim. This is a huge hunk of the world. The probability of either side winning such a world war - WWIII, in Newt Gingrich's terms - as mathematicians would say, approaches ZERO. The probability of producing hell on Earth approaches 100%.

Remember, since religious faith will be at stake, such a war will brook no compromise. Remember too that nuclear bombs are available to both sides. The war will not be 100 years long, as some say. Nuclear bombs will shorten it tremendously. Most of the Earth will become uninhabitable to people, plants, animals, fish and birds. We will produce hell on Earth.

What should we do? I say let us change the nature of the conflict. Pragmatically we should say that we will stick to our beliefs and Muslims should stick to their beliefs. This is what we do all the time in the U.S.: regardless of the beliefs of each of us, we allow other people to follow other faiths; we agree to disagree.

Of course, this does not apply to suicide bombers and extremists who seek martyrdom by annihilating us. We must destroy members of Al Qaeda and of other extremist organizations.

I am talking about the rest of the 1/5 world population - about 1.3 billion people - that is Muslim. We don't want to find fault with their religion. Once religion is off the table, we can address our conflicts in all other areas through continuous, honest and direct communication. I'm not talking about diplomacy, though diplomacy is important. I'm talking about communication among ordinary citizens of all walks of life.

There is a huge gulf in understanding between Muslim people and us. This ignorance drives us further and further apart, and creates all sorts of crazy conspiracy theories and hatreds. Communication can be the means for softening this "war."

Communication can occur in many ways. We may get together as youths, students, teachers, doctors, industry leaders or senior citizens in meetings, symposia, colloquia, celebrity visits. We may interact in international conventions, business expositions, student exchanges, social clubs, vacation tours. We may talk in forums, classes, seminars, institutes, debates - maybe, eventually in interfaith groups.

Though ideally, governments need not be involved, the way things are today, governments will definitely need to arrange meaningful communications. I hope the Bush administration can be convinced to begin such an East-West "conversation."

Once we get to communicate with each other, we will be in a position to cooperate in helping poor countries, reducing world diseases, improving dysfunctional economies, fostering harmony and peaceful coexistence around the world.

On Earth, perpetual religious war will lead to hell, but sincere communication with adversaries will lead to heaven.

For heaven's sake, let's communicate.

Posted by Paul Siegel at September 18, 2006 6:00 PM
Comments
Comment #182389

Schlesinger wrote many, many years ago, that the future wars will center on cultures and values, not nations, land, and resources.

He was so, so very right. Religious perspectives are inciting Americans here at home as well as abroad. Religion has always had that effect on people when competition between their peoples is escalated. We speak of freedom while they demand we get out of their nations and let them have it. Irony always abounds in religious conflagrations.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 18, 2006 6:10 PM
Comment #182391

Paul, we finally got Bush to stand in the same room as Ahmadinejad, only at differing times. Is that progress?

Hah!

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 18, 2006 6:12 PM
Comment #182399

The Pope needs to offer a full, sincere, honest-to-goodness apology. He should have known better to make any statement like that in a time when raw nerves are exposed on every side. Even though he was reading from an ancient text, supposedly in an educational setting, I don’t fully understand why he had to read exactly that passage.

That he regrets the reactions his remark caused is avery poor excuse for an apology.

There is a time and a place for everything. This wasn’t it.

Posted by: Catherine at September 18, 2006 6:48 PM
Comment #182400

…how about not listening to Muslim moderates only when one needs a counterpoint to either Usama, the Pope, or mobs burning cartoons?

…how about not confusing Muslim progressives, with Muslim conservatives, with Muslim moderates?

…how about looking more closely and seeing that Muslims don’t come in only two colors (Usama and not Usama) and that Muslims actually have progressives, moderates, conservatives and the Uber- varieties of each.

…need more?

Posted by: iFaqeer at September 18, 2006 6:59 PM
Comment #182401

Catherine, I respectfully disagree. The Pope is the leader of the Roman Catholic church and is entitled and indeed is charged with speaking the truth as he sees it. Do Popes always get it right? I think history eloquently answers that question for us. However, in our culture, we believe in free speech, sometimes even very robust free speech. I don’t beleive that anyone, of any faith or none, has a right never to be upset or to feel insulted. That is part of the human condition. And it is also true that we often bring such feelings upon ourselves by virtue of our refusal to challenge our own paradigms and by sticking stubbornly to our “beliefs”, which we will often clasp around us more tightly even as we see logically that they are objectively wrong. If mankind has advanced at all throughout our history, it is in our rationality, our capacity to reason, and therefore to argue. Arguement of course means disagreement, but the capacity to have our cherished beliefs trenchantly challeged and still remain civilised and rational is what separates us from the beasts, or at least immature children. Christianity and Western culture had to have a reformation and an Enlightenment to put medievalism in the past. Islam needs to be forged in the same fire, and our pussyfooting around in dear of giving offence will not advance that essential process.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at September 18, 2006 7:02 PM
Comment #182403

iFaqeer:

Where are these Muslims? Are they speaking up? If so, where?

Posted by: womanmarine at September 18, 2006 7:10 PM
Comment #182404

The Pope associated Islam with violence, and Muslims in many countries erupted in violence. Point made and proven.
Being a christen, I was surprised that I belived all but christans are not going to heaven. 12 years of christan education and I never heard of such a thing.
“Remember too that nuclear bombs are available to both sides.” Remember the Soviet Union? Communication did absolutely nothing. Our power, displayed by President Reagan ended that threat. Domesayers had the world destroyed by the year 2000. So much for talking to the enemy.
CoachKen

Posted by: Ken at September 18, 2006 7:12 PM
Comment #182405

Cathrine
I agree with Paul in Euroland. The Pope did not need to or should not have appoligized for what he said. He was quoting history, even though the Christians have a bloody history also. If Christians have to start appoligizing then I think every Islamic Cleric should have to appoligize to Christians for the things they say and do.

Posted by: KAP at September 18, 2006 7:14 PM
Comment #182406

I understand what you are saying however, only after the negative reactions did the Pope (or his people, that is) say the quote wasn’t necessarily what he believed. Maybe he should have prefaced the quote or said something afterward. I just feel that he may have set back Christian relations with Islam quite far.

I too am a believer in free speech and don’t necessarily believe in being politically correct all the time but it seems to me that he didn’t think before he spoke.

I’m all for a good debate, argument or disagreement but to instigate (maybe the wrong word) an argument with a culture whose extremists can (and do) have unpredictable reactions, is bordering on ignorance.

Just my opinion.

Posted by: Catherine at September 18, 2006 7:21 PM
Comment #182408

We should treat Islam with the same respect we treat Christianity and expect adherents of all religions to behave reasonably. Buring churches is not a reasonable response to a few remarks. Once again, the extremists show their true colors. We can regret THEIR action, but there is no need to appologize to them.

Toleration has its limits. We can only tolerate those who live within those limits.

All the trouble is entirely the fault of the extremists who reacted violently. MOST Muslims did not, BTW.

Posted by: Jack at September 18, 2006 7:28 PM
Comment #182411

Paul and KAP

I agree with Catherine. The Pope, because of his position, needs to chose his words more carefully than you or I. Just as GWB or Tony Blair do. They can not get away with letting loose with their words. Words can and do start wars and the leaders of countries and religions must use good judgement and show restraint.

Posted by: mark at September 18, 2006 8:07 PM
Comment #182413

Coach Ken,

Are you seriously implying that the fall of the Soviet Union was because of Ronald Regan?!? Are you being serious when you state that communication had nothing to do with the fall of the Soviet Union?!? Please pick up a book before you make such a ridiculous comment. The fall of the Soviet Union came because Mikhail Gorbachev allowed for the people of the then Union to communicate with each other. NOT because some “actor cowboy” president of the U.S. did anything. Unless his 30 second sound bites count, well maybe they did for you.

Posted by: jrob at September 18, 2006 8:16 PM
Comment #182415

Jack

Well said. The reaction by extreme Muslims to the Pope’s words is unacceptable, as would be the acts of an extremist Christian reacting violently to someone whom he disagrees with.
In my post above I am not saying the Pope is responsible for the violence that has followed his message, but that he does need to take measure of what he says more carefully than you or I. It is the same for anyone in positions of leadership. My friend is the Superintendent of our local school system and he is quite often envious of me because he has to hold his tongue when I can speak more freely. We can talk about free speech all we want but with it come responsibilty and this hampers some more than others.

Posted by: mark at September 18, 2006 8:20 PM
Comment #182416

Mark
If speaking of Islamic terrorist or Christian terrorist if you speak the truth why should you appoligize? If it be the case that the pope should appoligize, don’t you think Islam has a lot of appoligizing to do also. The difference being Christians when ill spoke of don’t go around killing people. If that were the case then there would be a lot of dead liberals who put Christians down. But me being a Christian and many like me will just pray for those who put us down.

Posted by: KAP at September 18, 2006 8:21 PM
Comment #182418

Paul,
Your idea is a good one. But sadly it isn’t going to work. Islamic terrorists will never join with Christians in conventions, business expositions and interfaith groups. The very existence of Christians (and any other non-Muslim faith) is despised by the terrorists. They seek to bring about death and destruction in the Western world any way they can. And that is why they need to be stopped, no matter the cost.

Posted by: J Dog at September 18, 2006 8:28 PM
Comment #182419

KAP

I don’t disagree and perhaps my last post above explains my positon better than my first. Whether or not he apologizes(and I believe he has, sort of)is up to him, I wouldn’t say he should or shouldn’t. If I offend someone I usually do apologize, because I probably didn’t mean to offend and feel badly that I did(but not always).

Posted by: mark at September 18, 2006 8:29 PM
Comment #182421

Mark
The Pope could have used better wording in his message. But the reactions of a minority of the Islamic people should not be tolerated either. Their Clearics need to speak to their own people and tell them to be more tollerant.

Posted by: KAP at September 18, 2006 8:44 PM
Comment #182426

KAP
Absolutly.

Posted by: mark at September 18, 2006 8:56 PM
Comment #182430

This is the English translation from German of what the Pope said:

In the seventh conversation edited by Professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the holy war. The emperor must have known that surah 2, 256 reads: “There is no compulsion in religion”. According to the experts, this is one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat. But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Qur’an, concerning holy war. Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the “Book” and the “infidels”, he addresses his interlocutor with a startling brusqueness, a brusqueness which leaves us astounded, on the central question about the relationship between religion and violence in general, saying: “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 emperor, after having expressed himself so forcefully, goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. “God”, he says, “is not pleased by blood - and not acting reasonably is contrary to God’s nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats… To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death…”.

The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God’s nature.

The Pope has nothing to apologize for, though perhaps he’d like to release an announcement with this full text translated into the various languages spoken by the Muslim people. I think it might also have been a good thing if he’d followed up this statement by saying that the Inquisition was a similar episode in Catholic history, and should be denounced as heartily in retrospect as we denounce modern-day jihadism.
Personally, I don’t think jihadists are upset with that quote taken from the Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaiologos — because by focusing on only that, they’ve clearly decided to take those words out of context. I think they’re upset with the idea that someone, anyone, would state that their jihad is an evil and inhuman thing. But guess what? It is evil and inhuman and, as the Pope said, it is “not in accordance with reason,” as most mentally balanced people will quickly and readily grasp.
So IMO, if the jihadists don’t like that sentiment, well, that’s just too damn bad isn’t it? Maybe they should read the whole speech before they start freaking out.

That being said, as an Agnostic person, I’ve come to view religion — any religion — like a KNIFE. It does nothing but cut people off from each other. It has drawn more human blood than practically any other form of insanity known to man. It is too often destructive, rather than constructive. These days, with all this extremism reigning in the world, the whole idea of people self-righteously going to war, whether literally or metaphorically, over their religion, makes me SICK.

Posted by: Adrienne at September 18, 2006 9:27 PM
Comment #182431
We may get together as youths, students, teachers, doctors, industry leaders or senior citizens in meetings, symposia, colloquia, celebrity visits. We may interact in international conventions, business expositions, student exchanges, social clubs, vacation tours. We may talk in forums, classes, seminars, institutes, debates - maybe, eventually in interfaith groups.

This kind of thinking is why so many think that liberals simply don’t get it and never well.

Those measures, which sound more appropriate to a neighborhood meeting about recycling than fighting global jihad, may work very well with much of the world which has cultural differences from us. With the Chinese, for example.

Our problem is that a minority of Muslims are wrapped up what is basically a death cult, Jonestown on a massive scale. Even a minority of a billion-plus religion, however, can number in the millions. There is no genuine dialogue possible now with ANY Muslims because those with peaceful intentions live in terror from their violent minority.

A peaceful Mulim in Pakistan is not going to say to his neighbors, “Look guys, cool it. The pope is not our enemy. Let’s try dialogue.” That is unless they’re ready to be wripped limb from limb.

Posted by: Pilsner at September 18, 2006 9:29 PM
Comment #182435

“This kind of thinking is why so many think that liberals simply don’t get it and never well.”

Sorry, Pilsner, but those that think such childish things about the “liberal” bogeyman are just a small minority, similar to the radicals in the muslim world. A small, but very vocal and devoted minority dedicated to dividing their nation along lines of opinion.
Oh, how much you have in common with them.

Posted by: Observer at September 18, 2006 10:02 PM
Comment #182437

Observer, there is a huge division of opinion here whether or not any of us try to encourage or exploit that division.

Paul Siegel believes that the way to deal with those currently calling for the murder of the Pope is “international conventions, business expositions, student exchanges, social clubs, vacation tours.”

Social clubs and vacations with the mullahs? With Al Qaida? Tell me how that goes for you. I’d be very interested.

And you believe that radicals in the muslim world are a small and insignifcant minority. Nothing to see here, folks. Keep moving.

I’m sorry, but if these head-in-the-sand postures are liberal views, and they do seem to be, it’s the duty of sane people to point out how dangerous these views are and keep liberals as far as possible from the reigns of power.

If speaking necessary truthes means “dividing the nation along lines of opinion,” then sign me up.


Posted by: Pilsner at September 18, 2006 10:18 PM
Comment #182438

“I’m sorry, but if these head-in-the-sand postures are liberal views, and they do seem to be, it’s the duty of sane people to point out how dangerous these views are and keep liberals as far as possible from the reigns of power. “

Ah, but you didn’t refer to liberals of those specific opinions. You lumped ALL liberals together, like we ALL have the same exact opinions (were not conservatives, for gods sake.
This is what dividers do.
Tell me, are you going to move to Canada if we take back power? Or call for a coup?
What about Powell and McCain? Are they now traitors for opposing our toturer in cheif?
Is there any room for debate in your mind?

Posted by: Observer at September 18, 2006 10:37 PM
Comment #182439

Well, to clarify my position then, let me add that liberals that don’t hold those views are okay (i.e., Lieberman).

Seems to me though that nobody’s trying to purge McCain from the party in the way that liberals are out for Lieberman’s blood for refusing to share these same characteristicly “liberal views.”

To go further, there’s actually nothing very liberal about those making excuses for people who want to behead homosexuals and keep women in burqas. But hey, I’m not a liberal and don’t get to define what the word means.

Posted by: Pilsner at September 18, 2006 10:44 PM
Comment #182440

Good article Paul.

Jack,

You said, “We should treat Islam with the same respect we treat Christianity and expect adherents of all religions to behave reasonably.”

I must ask just how well we’ve respected the autonomy of those nations that follow the teachings of Islam. How much influence have we exerted on Islamic nations? Now, that doesn’t forgive Jihad, but it’s always “JOB #1” to know what motivates your enemy.

Jack, then you say: “We can regret THEIR action, but there is no need to appologize to them.”

I fell asleep watching Stephanopoulos on ABC Sunday morning (yes I broke my boycott) and I woke up watching the “Hour of Power” and the rhetoric was pretty damn tough about needing to reintroduce prayer into the schools.

Hell, we’ve had Robertson calling for the assasination of Chavez. More and more churches in America are either endorsing political candidates or allowing them time to address the congregation.

Jack, we’re witnessing the beginning of the end. This END needed be except for religious extremism.

What would do a hell of a lot of good is for every Islamic, Christian, and Jewish Religious leader worth their salt to say that violence is unacceptable from any true follower of the word of God. Instead we only hear words from all sides calling for more violence.

I suppose we’ll all keep fighting till we’re all dead.

KansasDem

PS: Have you noticed that Israel estimates that Iran will have a nuke within 4 months? I doubt that but I’ll bet our chimp-in-chief buys every word of it.

Posted by: KansasDem at September 18, 2006 11:09 PM
Comment #182441

“Seems to me though that nobody’s trying to purge McCain from the party in the way that liberals are out for Lieberman’s blood for refusing to share these same characteristicly “liberal views.””

We Dems did not “purge” Joe. He was voted out in a legal primary election. He chose then to run as an independent.

BTW Pilsner,

The name may imply a fine beer, but your opinions reek of neo-con bias.

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at September 18, 2006 11:18 PM
Comment #182444

Oh, I see. Since Lieberman wasn’t “disappeared” in Stalinist fashion, we shan’t call it a purge. What do you want to call it then, if we must play semantic games?

Observer’s point was that Democrats embrace a diversity of opinions, unlike Republicans supposedly, but I point out the treatment of Lieberman to prove this isn’t true.

But do let me know how those social clubs, cultural exchanges and vacations to La-La Land with Al Qaida go. Ah, to be a liberal.

Posted by: Pilsner at September 18, 2006 11:31 PM
Comment #182445

“Let’s communicate.”

How do you communicate with a group that believes you should be executed if you criticize what they believe?

The truth as I see it is that Islam is an old religion. That means there is a long historical record that can be debated and looked at. (Almost as long as we Christians).

Muslims have a tough situation. The world has a large contingent that has open dialogue as a major sport. We criticize everything!! That to me means that there is going to be a great deal of bloodshed in our future.

We are not going to keep quiet, and they are not going to stop killing people with big mouths. It looks like we are in for a long conflict.


Craig

Posted by: Craig Holmes at September 18, 2006 11:32 PM
Comment #182448

Pilsner, you seem to be doing nothing but trolling. WHY? This is the liberal blog. You are insulting liberals and aren’t convincing us of anything. In other words, you’re totally wasting your time.
Joe Lieberman CHOSE to leave the Democratic Party because he didn’t win the Democratic primary in his state. Tough luck to him for sounding more like a Bushite appeaser than a liberal. Being open minded doesn’t mean that anyone has to become a Republican. So, tough luck for you, too.

Posted by: Adrienne at September 18, 2006 11:41 PM
Comment #182449

Adrienne, disagreement is not “trolling,” though I’m not surprised that on a liberal blog some (the liberals) might want to stomp out any disagreement.

After all, that’s what was done to Lieberman, wasn’t it? And what’s poor little Pilsner in comparison to a sitting Democratic Senator and former VP candidate?

I’ve insulted nobody personally, as per the forum’s rules, and have restricted my aspersions to ideas. So spare me the hypocricy about “insults” from one who just said that all and any religion makes them “SICK.” I don’t take that personally at all, though I’m religious myself, so you shouldn’t be offended when I say that liberalism makes me feel the same way that religion does you.

Namely, sick to my stomach.

Posted by: Pilsner at September 18, 2006 11:55 PM
Comment #182451

“Ah, to be a liberal.”

Pilsner,

I could answer back, “ah to be a neo-con”, but I honestly think you fall into the Bush-Bot class. If Bush walked into the UN tomorrow and started shooting other world leaders you’d still defend him. If he crapped you’d gladly clean up after him and smile.

We can’t have a meeting of the minds because your mind has been made up for a long time. A lack of flexibility is good with certain parts of the human body, not so much with the mind.

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at September 19, 2006 12:02 AM
Comment #182452

“Adrienne, disagreement is not “trolling,””

Name calling and slander is trolling.

Social clubs and vacations with the mullahs? With Al Qaida? Tell me how that goes for you. I’d be very interested. And you believe that radicals in the muslim world are a small and insignifcant minority. Nothing to see here, folks. Keep moving. I’m sorry, but if these head-in-the-sand postures are liberal views, and they do seem to be, it’s the duty of sane people to point out how dangerous these views are and keep liberals as far as possible from the reigns of power. If speaking necessary truthes means “dividing the nation along lines of opinion,” then sign me up.Seems to me though that nobody’s trying to purge McCain from the party in the way that liberals are out for Lieberman’s blood for refusing to share these same characteristicly “liberal views.” To go further, there’s actually nothing very liberal about those making excuses for people who want to behead homosexuals and keep women in burqas. But hey, I’m not a liberal and don’t get to define what the word means. Oh, I see. Since Lieberman wasn’t “disappeared” in Stalinist fashion, we shan’t call it a purge. What do you want to call it then, if we must play semantic games? Observer’s point was that Democrats embrace a diversity of opinions, unlike Republicans supposedly, but I point out the treatment of Lieberman to prove this isn’t true. But do let me know how those social clubs, cultural exchanges and vacations to La-La Land with Al Qaida go. Ah, to be a liberal.

Trolling.

“So spare me the hypocricy about “insults” from one who just said that all and any religion makes them “SICK.””

This is what I said:
“These days, with all this extremism reigning in the world, the whole idea of people self-righteously going to war, whether literally or metaphorically, over their religion, makes me SICK.”

Don’t twist my words, Pilsner.

Posted by: Adrienne at September 19, 2006 12:06 AM
Comment #182454
We can’t have a meeting of the minds because your mind has been made up for a long time. A lack of flexibility is good with certain parts of the human body, not so much with the mind.

Well, couldn’t we try cultural exchanges, vacations and social clubs to smooth things over?

How very strange that liberals want to get along with and coo in the terrorists’ ears, but start spewing hatred and nastiness about “cleaning up” Bush’s poo when they’re confronted by conservatism.

Truly, the problem here is that liberals hate American conservatives more than they hate terrorism and tyranny. I don’t care if I’m hated by liberals (that’s a pretty safe thing to be).

I just wish they could manage an equal measure of manly resolve when confronting those who want to kill us for not being Muslim. Not gonna happen though, I know.

Posted by: Pilsner at September 19, 2006 12:15 AM
Comment #182455

It all goes back to Abraham and that patch of mushrooms:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraham

Or maybe it was moldy bread.

Where did they get yeast back then?

If there is an afterlife and I meet Abraham I’ll kick him right square in the nuts.

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at September 19, 2006 12:16 AM
Comment #182456

Kansasdem

“PS: Have you noticed that Israel estimates that Iran will have a nuke within 4 months? I doubt that but I’ll bet our chimp-in-chief buys every word of it.”

Truly amazing. It seems that no matter what the topic the BDS just can’t be held back.

This was the same problem with the people involved in the peace movement during the 60’s, they were all about love and peace and tolerence in public. But behind the scenes most of them were the nscum of the earth and treated people like s__t. You guys talk about love and tolerence and how all you have to do is talk to them and everything will be wonderful, and then you turn around and the venom comes out.

Posted by: Keith at September 19, 2006 12:57 AM
Comment #182461

Keith,

I wouldn’t worry about Israel’s estimate if we didn’t have the #1 chimp in charge. IMO our President reacts like a 19 year old at his first serious frat party.

I’m very worried about his reactions at the UN the next day or two. I’m hoping he doesn’t try the Merkel tickle with the wrong person.

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at September 19, 2006 2:08 AM
Comment #182462

“I don’t care if I’m hated by liberals”

Pilsner,

There you go, thinking someone spends time hating you. Why would “we” liberals hate you? Did I say I hated you? You just make shit up as you go along.

When you spew crap like this, “Truly, the problem here is that liberals hate American conservatives more than they hate terrorism and tyranny” I feel fairly confident in suggesting that you buy larger diapers because you’re obviuosly full of something that doesn’t smell good.

You really should get back on those psych meds!

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at September 19, 2006 2:19 AM
Comment #182463

“This was the same problem with the people involved in the peace movement during the 60’s, they were all about love and peace and tolerence in public. But behind the scenes most of them were the nscum of the earth and treated people like s__t.”

Curious if you have even the slightest shred of anything to back up this statement.

Posted by: Observer at September 19, 2006 2:20 AM
Comment #182466

womanmarine:

Just to use one example, we keep hearing (from Tom Friedman, for example) that there hasn’t been a single fatwa condemning terrorism or the specific act of 9/11. Now explore this page and it’s links:

http://humanrights.progressiveislam.org/index.php/Fatwas_on_Terrorism

And then try:

http://www.pmuna.org
http://www.muslimcanadiancongress.org

Or you can start on my blog:

http://ifaqeer.blogspot.com/2006/09/flashback-9112001.html
http://ifaqeer.blogspot.com/2006/09/canadian-progressive-muslims-on-911.html
http://ifaqeer.blogspot.com/2006/09/spirit-of-ramazan.html [notice this last is written specifically for a Muslim audience]

and so on.

Posted by: iFaqeer at September 19, 2006 2:37 AM
Comment #182468

“Observer’s point was that Democrats embrace a diversity of opinions, unlike Republicans supposedly, but I point out the treatment of Lieberman to prove this isn’t true. “

You seem to be quite a confused fellow. Leiberman is still welcome to be a democrat. And embracing diversity doesn’t mean voting in reps that don’t represent your beliefs.
The right’s obsession with Leiberman is actually quite funny. They think they sense a weakness on the left when, actually, it’s a sign of strength. I think their apparent outrage stems from the fact that the system, for once, worked. How scary a thought for the right if people start voting out those they don’t think do a good job instead of just voting for power.
An entrenched incumbent with seniority and name power actually LOST. Wow. How could that be? Could it perhaps be because people are supposed to vote for the candidate that best represents their views? Not just the one with the most power? And Leiberman went one too many times against his constituents morals?
Whatta concept.
I realize this could never happen on the right where power is worshipped above all else. But you don’t have to get all pissy with us about it.


“Well, to clarify my position then, let me add that liberals that don’t hold those views are okay (i.e., Lieberman).”

Funny, I don’t hold the opinion that people that disagree with me are NOT okay.
Quite an amazingly arrogant statement.

Posted by: observer at September 19, 2006 2:51 AM
Comment #182470

The pope was having an academic discussion. He never expressed it as a personal belief. No need to apologize.
Islam turned to violence to prove it wrong. Good call.
All religions have killed for sake of religion, but it is now the 21st century. The world is more civilized. Muslims are behaving like it is the 14th century. If you tote an AK-47 instead of a club, then you are not an anachronism, you are evil.

Posted by: JoeRWC at September 19, 2006 2:57 AM
Comment #182471

Paul, good post.
I noticed you said “Of course this doesnt apply to suicide bombers and extremist who seek martyrdom by annihilating us. We must destroy Al Qaeda and other extremist organizations.” I just wanted to repeat it because it just seemed to go over the heads of most of the righties, Pilsner especially, based upon their responses.

Posted by: j2t2 at September 19, 2006 3:40 AM
Comment #182472

For as long as I can remember, which is a good, long time, there have been differing views on such heated topics as Religion, Politics, and Power.
It appears to me, the best any of us can offer is a willingness to have a “live and let live” attitude.
Sure, I want revenge on those who have harmed my loved ones, my colleagues, my church, my state, and so on. I want someone to pay for the pain in my heart - but, this kind of reaction is simply a means of venting the gut-wrenching anger, in hopes of relieving the gutted depths of my/our being. BUT - as pain subsides we naturally begin to reflect on the basis for the pain, our reaction to it, and why such a deep level of hate, (or NOT love). I submit to each one who knows this depth of real pain, to look deeper. I submit what we really want is that which has been taken from us - NOT to destroy the one(s) who has\have taken from us.
“WE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, IN ORDER TO FORM A MORE PERFECT UNION…” (sheepishly; I can no longer recite all of it.)
We began a movement - at least our ancestors did - in which we determined to do things differently than those who came before us. (Or, those whom we left behind in the ‘other world’. We began the development of an idea - the exploration and enthusiasm of creating a “community” rather than a monarchy. WE BECAME THE IDEA, THE EXPLORATION, THE ENTHUSIASTIC REALIZATION OF actually living the DREAM!!
This is OUR dream, let no ONE(s) come before it. Let us NOT be the same as those who would have us disintegrated!
Turning the other cheek ain’t such a bad idea, afterall. It hurts for the moment - but, pain subsides just as memories dim with age.
I, for one, want to stop the insanity. I, for one, want to get back to some sense of civility within our own borders. I, for one, want to NOT hate, or destroy, or diminish another - even though I have been diminished.
I, for one want to continue to build and believe in the American Dream! We are at our best when we remember the reasons this country was founded, developed and established as a Nation! I don’t want to hate anyone! I don’t want anyone to hate me! I cannot change their minds, but, I can change MINE!

Posted by: RudeRo at September 19, 2006 3:43 AM
Comment #182474

Guantanimo sucks, big time!
Why in the world would we associate ourselves in any fashion with the Cuban Castro regime? Hmmmm? I wonder, is there some kind of connection between our leadership and theirs?
What kind of manic behavior has our country gotten involved with?
For God’s sake, how many contained in GitMo are really involved with terrorism? Who knows? I don’t. Do you? How many have we terrorized, killed, confined, and pillaged?
If we blow up anything, let’s blow up the prison at Guantanimo! We are now being viewed only as jailors, criminal activist, cold-hearted, uncivilized… and more.
Whatever happened to the America which comes to the aide of its friends and allies?
The strong-arm tactics, threats of war, bullying tactics needs to STOP!
Most of us are a peace-loving people - let’s act like it!

Posted by: RudeRo at September 19, 2006 3:56 AM
Comment #182480

womanmarine,

Where are these Muslims? Are they speaking up? If so, where?

They don’t. Sometime the silent majority is really silent.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at September 19, 2006 5:52 AM
Comment #182481

Jack, I’m smiling at your “Love Story” philosophy: “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” Al Gore would be proud.

Posted by: gergle at September 19, 2006 6:08 AM
Comment #182482

Pilsner,

Even a minority of a billion-plus religion, however, can number in the millions. There is no genuine dialogue possible now with ANY Muslims because those with peaceful intentions live in terror from their violent minority.

2% of americans are muslims. 5.5 millions.

Are they living in terror from their violent minority *in the US*? If so, why Bush did nothing to fix islam extremism in the US *first*? Otherwise, you have to agree that these muslims americans are not that terrorized to dialogue with their fellow non-muslims americans.

Then one could wonder why you don’t think communicate with these 5.5 millions of muslims at home don’t worth the effort…

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at September 19, 2006 6:09 AM
Comment #182483

iFaqeer:

Where are these Muslims? Are they speaking up? If so, where?

Posted by: womanmarine at September 18, 2006 07:10 PM

Patho-wingnuts watching patho-wingnut controlled news will never hear it….and there is an obvious reason for that.

Posted by: expatUSA_Indonesia at September 19, 2006 6:11 AM
Comment #182484

Womanmarine: One place is CAIR.

Their website can be found by googling CAIR. Perhaps our media prefers to expand it’s audience by promoting conflict rather than accord.

Posted by: gergle at September 19, 2006 6:22 AM
Comment #182485

Pilsner,

Paul Siegel believes that the way to deal with those currently calling for the murder of the Pope is “international conventions, business expositions, student exchanges, social clubs, vacation tours.”

Show us where he said that. Please.
If you (re-?)read his post, you will see that he’s promoting communication between non-muslims and the muslims. Not muslims leaders, radical or not, terrorists or not. No.
Simply the ordinary muslims. Which include 5.5 millions of americans. Why not starting with them, at home?

That what I’m doing with the few muslims friends of mine, in France, where 4.5 millions of french are muslims.

Social clubs and vacations with the mullahs? With Al Qaida? Tell me how that goes for you. I’d be very interested.

Let’s hope Bush will watch such too. Because so far he show more interest in lobbying for torture than catching Al Quaida leader…

And you believe that radicals in the muslim world are a small and insignifcant minority. I’m sorry, but if these head-in-the-sand postures are liberal views, and they do seem to be

Then Bush was liberal between Januray 2001 and September 11, 2001.

If speaking necessary truthes means “dividing the nation along lines of opinion,” then sign me up.

Both sides along these lines think their opinions are the necessary truthes to speak. Go figure!

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at September 19, 2006 6:31 AM
Comment #182486

Pilsner,

Oh, I see. Since Lieberman wasn’t “disappeared” in Stalinist fashion, we shan’t call it a purge. What do you want to call it then, if we must play semantic games?

Lieberman choose to split from Democrats party.
Big deal.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at September 19, 2006 6:39 AM
Comment #182488

Craig,

The truth as I see it is that Islam is an old religion.

Islam is in its teenage, compared to older religions (Christianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism). In fact it’s the youngest *and* second major religion:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religions

Christianism is not that old itself when compared to the others, BTW. Seems something good comes with the age to religions too.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at September 19, 2006 6:50 AM
Comment #182491

Pilsner,

Truly, the problem here is that liberals hate American conservatives more than they hate terrorism and tyranny.

Maybe because the formers are damaging more their country than the laters?

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at September 19, 2006 6:55 AM
Comment #182495

Pilsner What bush and co. did to McCain in 2000 does not compare to what Conn. voters did to Lieberman. He was rejected because he followed bush into a stuipid war in Iraq. McCain was swift boated like some other war heros by a bunch of CHICKEN HAWKS. People like you and other neo-cons wrap yourself in the flag and and try to paint everybody who does not agree with your neo-con views un american. I hope people of this great country have had enough.

Posted by: Jeff` at September 19, 2006 7:59 AM
Comment #182496

Philippe;
As a ‘self-defined liberal’ I cannot fathom hating anyone. I do, in fact, abhor the behaviors of those who would slander, abuse, kill, and hate - whether it be in the name of God, Allah, or? It is still hate!
Reasonable people do not hate in such a fashion. If one ‘reasons,’ one realizes there are people who simply become hate-filled when they become involved in hate-ful organizations.
If only the organizations could be dissolved…? Even good ol’ christianity, falls short when it comes to the organizations which drive people to behave ugly. It amazes me the amount of people who have done hateful things all in the name of God, Christ, Allah, and so on. I personally have never known or heard of anyone who killed in the name of Buddha, though.

Posted by: RudeRo at September 19, 2006 8:02 AM
Comment #182497

Jihadist: “Death to America. Death to Israel.”

Leftist: “He doesn’t mean that. And we are bad, anyway.”

Conservative: “I think he DOES mean that.”…watches airplanes fly into towers, civilians bombed in Israel…

Pope to Jihadist: “You are being unreasonable.”

Jihadist to Pope: “You must die.”

Leftist to Pope: “Apologize to jihadist.”

This is now opposite world. Up is down. Right is wrong.

Posted by: nikkolai at September 19, 2006 8:10 AM
Comment #182499

How many of you have actually read Benedict’s speech in it’s entirety? You should, it’s quite good. The comment about Islam was taken out of context completely. What the speech is about is how Christianity has gone through what he calls “dehelenization”, a peeling away of the Classical Greek logic and reason that dominated early Christian philosophy and theology. Here’s the link.

link text

I sadly have to agree with the Right on this issue and say that the Pope has nothing to apologise for. If you disagree, go read the speech first before you comment.

Posted by: leatherankh at September 19, 2006 8:44 AM
Comment #182500

nikkolai well finely someone realized the left is right and the right is wrong

Posted by: Jeff at September 19, 2006 8:51 AM
Comment #182501

Joe RWC:

The pope was having an academic discussion. He never expressed it as a personal belief. No need to apologize. Islam turned to violence to prove it wrong. Good call.

Alright, then, let us look at it in an academic context. Adrienne has been kind enough to provide us with the context the quote appears in, so we can discern that the Pope summarizes his theme with this statement: “The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God’s nature.”

With that point in mind, it is easy to see why he would quote surah 2, 256 (“There is no compulsion in religion.”) This is directly relevant to his point, and appeals to the authority of the Muslim’s own holy text. He then goes on, however, to make the claim that this is a sura of the early period, when Mohammed was “still powerless and under threat”, which seems a deviation from his theme. It would appear to be a jab at Muslims through a subtle insult of their Prophet. It should be noted that he was not quoting the emporer in this instance, but throwing in a tidbit of information he credited to unnamed experts which was purely tangential to his point concerning violence.

He then goes on to talk about how the emperor also knew the instructions in the Qur’an concerning holy war, which seems to be back on topic again. He begins an illustrative narrative, telling of how the Emperor made a single brusque statement on (in the Pope’s words) “the relation between religion and violence in general”, with the emperor saying: “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”.

This statement is what the Pope believes represents an response to “the central question about the relationship between religion and violence in general”? The assertion that the Muslim’s religion adds to Judaism and Christianity only things that are evil and inhuman, such as the command to spread faith by the sword, addresses a question about the relationship between religion and violence in general? It is hard to see how that cannot be taken as a direct insult.

Only after this “forceful” statement does the narrative continue to a point truly relevant to the Pope’s theme: the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. And by this point the Pope’s twin tangents have taken on the role of a second and more central theme in his speech, the negative description of Islam having been granted the most forceful place in his speech rather than a quote which actually addresses what he claimed as his point.

Academically and rhetorically, the Pope’s use of this quote is completely without merit as far as I can see. Perhaps you could demonstrate how this particular quote in any way helps support his premise?

Posted by: Jarin at September 19, 2006 8:57 AM
Comment #182506

So I’ve gone back and read all the comments now, and sheesh is the venom and vitriol flying! Someone should just give Adreienne and Pilsner pistols and have them count off 10 paces already! Why is it that it always comes down to name-calling? Actually, I can answer my own question: because it’s easier than actually taking the time to understand the other person’s point of view. Basically, the Adrienne/Pilsner feud is just this whole conflict with Islam writ small. No one will take the time to walk that proverbial mile.

The power of weapons is always far easier to use than the power of words, but words are really the root cause of all conflict. Words are used to inflame the masses, words are used to justify the means, words are used to coerce, intimidate, demonize, and do all but pull the trigger. Zyklon-B may have killed the Jews, but it was Mein Kampf that was the root cause. Words, unless we take care, will always divide the world more easily than it will unite it. The enemy shall always be “evildoer” or “infidel” until and unless we choose to see them as people and not the titles we foist upon them.

And yet people like Pilsner insist that words cannot end this conflict? Bull. Words, and the actions taken because of them got us here in the first place, and only words, and actions following those words, will get us out. Radical Islam insists we are bullies, they lash out at us, and we bomb them back into the stone age, becoming exactly what they said we are. How will violence solve a conflict where our violence creates more enemies than it removes? The only course open to us is to become the peaceful nation we claim to be. To quote one of Pope Benedict’s quotes

“God”, he says, “is not pleased by blood - and not acting reasonably is contrary to God’s nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats.”

Posted by: leatherankh at September 19, 2006 9:38 AM
Comment #182507

Jarin-

He then goes on, however, to make the claim that this is a sura of the early period, when Mohammed was “still powerless and under threat”, which seems a deviation from his theme. It would appear to be a jab at Muslims through a subtle insult of their Prophet.

I don’t see that as a jab so much as a reference to the widely accepted Islamic belief that later Surahs supersede and replace earlier Surahs in accordance with Surah 2.106:

None of Our revelations do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but We substitute something better or similar: Knowest thou not that God hath power over all things?

Posted by: George in SC at September 19, 2006 9:43 AM
Comment #182508

Umm, Jarin, you didn’t actually go and read the whole speech, did you? Check mine and Adrienne’s links to the whole thing. If you really want a summation of the speech, here it is.

“For philosophy and, albeit in a different way, for theology, listening to the great experiences and insights of the religious traditions of humanity, and those of the Christian faith in particular, is a source of knowledge, and to ignore it would be an unacceptable restriction of our listening and responding. Here I am reminded of something Socrates said to Phaedo. In their earlier conversations, many false philosophical opinions had been raised, and so Socrates says: “It would be easily understandable if someone became so annoyed at all these false notions that for the rest of his life he despised and mocked all talk about being - but in this way he would be deprived of the truth of existence and would suffer a great loss”. The West has long been endangered by this aversion to the questions which underlie its rationality, and can only suffer great harm thereby. The courage to engage the whole breadth of reason, and not the denial of its grandeur - this is the programme with which a theology grounded in Biblical faith enters into the debates of our time. “Not to act reasonably, not to act with logos, is contrary to the nature of God”, said Manuel II, according to his Christian understanding of God, in response to his Persian interlocutor. It is to this great logos, to this breadth of reason, that we invite our partners in the dialogue of cultures. To rediscover it constantly is the great task of the university.”

Posted by: leatherankh at September 19, 2006 9:48 AM
Comment #182510

Paul,

“Once religion is off the table, we can address our conflicts in all other areas through continuous, honest and direct communication.”

Sorry. I don’t think you will ever get religion off the table until the more basic objections of the Muslims are addressed. Israel, Palestine, religious persecution, Iran, self-governance….These are the rivets holding this jihad together. Address them first, then further meaningful communication can prevail.

“Of course, this does not apply to suicide bombers and extremists who seek martyrdom by annihilating us. We must destroy members of Al Qaeda and of other extremist organizations.”

While I agree with this statement, beware that our opponents in this struggle may be saying the exact same thing only substituting “extremist Christians” where appropriate. There really are two sides to this conflict. I clearly rest on one side, but to understand the solution, you must first understand your opponent’s objection. In sales, it is called overcoming closing hurdles.

Unfortunately, this administration believes in bull-rushing its way through with use of force. The blinders will eventually have to come off and a real understanding of the situation will have to be obtained, or we really will be in for a long, bloody, never-ending conflict that will only end with the US and those who stand with her with permanent mud on their faces.

Posted by: Chi Chi at September 19, 2006 10:09 AM
Comment #182512

George:

How does acknowledging that later surahs are seen as replacing earlier surahs (a statement which the Pope at no time actually makes, despite your choice to interpret it in that manner) require the suggestion that the surra of the earlier period was the result of their Prophet being “powerless and under threat”? Do you truly not see the slight?

leatherankh:

I did, actually. I fail to see how the quote you have provided requires any reference to the emperor’s words about Mohammed adding only things that are evil and inhuman. You can quote the emperor on the subject of the reasonableness of violent conversion without adding in his insult of Islam. It is not necessary to make the point.

Posted by: Jarin at September 19, 2006 10:27 AM
Comment #182514

leatherankh:
“So I’ve gone back and read all the comments now, and sheesh is the venom and vitriol flying! Someone should just give Adreienne and Pilsner pistols and have them count off 10 paces already! Why is it that it always comes down to name-calling? Actually, I can answer my own question: because it’s easier than actually taking the time to understand the other person’s point of view. Basically, the Adrienne/Pilsner feud is just this whole conflict with Islam writ small. No one will take the time to walk that proverbial mile.”

I must object to you calling what I said to Pilsner as namecalling. I didn’t call him a troll, I told him I realized that he was trolling — that doesn’t necessarily mean that this is all he ever does (I don’t really follow his postings). Nor did I name call or slander the right in general.
Did you see me say anything remotely like: “I�’m sorry, but if these head-in-the-sand postures are conservative views, and they do seem to be, it�’s the duty of sane people to point out how dangerous these views are and keep conservatives as far as possible from the reigns of power?” Substitute the word conservative with the word liberal, and you will have Pilsner’s direct quote to us.
Are we supposed to allow such things to be said to us with no comment? Is it so rude to tell Pilsner that he was obviously trolling in this thread? Is it so wrong to inform him that the obvious purpose for his comments was to insult everyone in this column, that he was not convincing any liberal of anything and so, was wasting his time? Are we to be silent when he twists the meaning of what we write?
I was at no time as rude, angry or vehement as he was, so I don’t think it fair to hang the word “venom” on what I said to him.

“And yet people like Pilsner insist that words cannot end this conflict? Bull. Words, and the actions taken because of them got us here in the first place, and only words, and actions following those words, will get us out.”

I agree. Like I said before, the Pope should make sure the Muslim world has the opportunity to read his speach in full, translated into their own languages. He was not attacking the Muslim faith, he was attacking the idea of religious war and forcing religious conversion by the sword. And as I said, it might be nice for the Pope to make another public speech acknowledging that the Catholic Church has had a similar past that it must acknowledge and condemn. He could denounce the Inquisition and call up the similarity between that brutal, senseless and violent attempt to force religion upon the masses, for it was in no way different to all these current day jihads that are raging in the world.

Posted by: Adrienne at September 19, 2006 10:36 AM
Comment #182519

Jarin:
“The assertion that the Muslim’s religion adds to Judaism and Christianity only things that are evil and inhuman, such as the command to spread faith by the sword, addresses a question about the relationship between religion and violence in general?”

His speech was not about the Muslim religion as a whole, he was addressing the idea of jihad. That Holy Wars and forced conversions are evil, inhuman and against reason — and they are.

“It is hard to see how that cannot be taken as a direct insult.”

A direct insult to jihadists. If this is the truth as he sees it, as his church sees it, and he the head of his church, why doesn’t he have the right and/or the moral obligation, to say it?
Why should anyone, including the Pope, be overly sensitive to the feelings of jihadists who will slaughter people in the name of their God, and who think it’s a good idea to force people to convert or die?

Posted by: Adrienne at September 19, 2006 11:03 AM
Comment #182520

Jarin-

Well you “chose to interpret” the reference as a jab to Muslims. I simply offered you a different opinion.

Muslims certainly know that Rasulullah had a difficult early life. His struggle from weakness and poor beginnings to become a great leader and prophet is much celebrated in their religion. I just don’t see the jab.

Posted by: George in SC at September 19, 2006 11:10 AM
Comment #182525

Adrienne:

With respect, that may be what the Pope intended but it is not what he expressed in this portion of his speech. He specifically said that the statement “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” was meant to address “the central question about the relationship between religion and violence in general”. Read the quotation from your own post:

“Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the “Book” and the “infidels”, he addresses his interlocutor with a startling brusqueness, a brusqueness which leaves us astounded, on the central question about the relationship between religion and violence in general, saying: “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”.

It is not until several sentences later that he quotes the emperor on the subject of God and reasonableness. Think for a moment what the effect of his speech would have been if instead he had said the following:

In the seventh conversation edited by Professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the holy war. The emperor must have known that surah 2, 256 reads: “There is no compulsion in religion”. But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Qur’an, concerning holy war. Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the “Book” and the “infidels”, he addresses his interlocutor with a startling brusqueness, a brusqueness which leaves us astounded, on the central question about the relationship between religion and violence in general, saying: “God is not pleased by blood - and not acting reasonably is contrary to God’s nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats… To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death…”. The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God’s nature.

Does the omission weaken his speech, or does it strengthen the true premise? Does it in any way make the speech less of an indictment of jihadists, or does it strengthen that indictment while removing the jabs at Islam itself?

George:

My interpretation does not require the Pope to be using the statement as support for a point he does not actually go on to make.

Moreover, it doesn’t take a lot of effort to see the jab. This article certainly sees it: http://www.arabnews.com/?page=7§ion=0&article=86678&d=17&m=9&y=2006

There’s also the fact that Muslim scholars do not agree on when that sura was authored:
http://www.malaysia-today.net/Blog-n/2006/09/serious-errors-of-both-fact-and.htm

Posted by: Jarin at September 19, 2006 11:57 AM
Comment #182529

This is a liberal posting here so, [deep breath],

There is also the outsider/insider angle on any religious discussion (we should political discussions as well) -

challenges from within the faith/party are considered introspection, critical thinking and dialogue;

challenges from other faiths/parties are attacks, hateful blasphemies or, at best, uninformed insults coming from dubious intentions.

I believe, unfortunately, that there is nothing that the Pope could have said short of kowtowing that would have been acceptable. I read the whole speech and he absolutely tweaked the jihadists intentionally.

But I find that Benedict was more understanding than any of his counterparts.

I am searching anywhere for a quote by any Imam in the Middle East which reflects any sort of tolerance of Christian or Jewish faith.

Just one quote. I don’t even need a retracted insult or apology (which I can’t ever recall being mentioned in the news), just some quasi-tolerant “we are all children of God” kind of statement.

Then we can speak of extremist versus moderate views from within the Muslim world. Until that void is filled, the claim that Islam only speaks of violence rests unopposed.


Again, the quote must be from a religious leader, not a secular or political leader (though it can be from a religious leader who also holds power).

Posted by: CPAdams at September 19, 2006 12:18 PM
Comment #182530

We need to say enough is enough. We’ve heard it too much (mainly from our own media) how we need to be tolerant, we need to “understand” muslims to find out why they hate us, we promote too much animosity around the world. Bullcrap!!!!

We’re not the ones beheading people, rioting in the streets, threatening death, or burning effigies b/c someone said something derogatory about our religion. And they’re doing this while telling everyone they’re a religion of “peace”. Whatever. Bunch of sickos that’s going to get theres…

Posted by: rahdigly at September 19, 2006 12:25 PM
Comment #182534

What is absolutely amazing to me is that no one sees the simple fact that assumptions cannot, and will never successfully drive human social interaction. That assumtion-based history is a plainly documented train wreck spanning human history. Ban ungrounded assumptions as governing criteria, and problems cannot arise from them.

Secular social law has long and better succeeded the need for odd, fear-based, cartoons out of early civilizations that fester and cause constant division and conflict as ineviatbly opposing guess-work continuously collides with all participants pointing skyward for authority.

Take responsiblilty! Put away the silly clothes, the meaningless contrived and childish rituals. For once in human history, learn from history. Equality, decency, consideration, respect, and especially responsibility are the province of no assumption, no religion; these are only the necessary parts of being human.

Posted by: Harry Lorry at September 19, 2006 12:40 PM
Comment #182536

CPAdams:

How about this? It literally has a senior Muslim cleric saying the phrase you were looking for:

As the afternoon progressed, Mufti Ruslan Valgatov, north Ossetia’s most senior Muslim cleric, made an appearance and tried to mediate in the crisis. […] Mr Valgatov said: “Children are innocent and all children are Allah’s children. They should think about their actions and about what things will be like when Judgement Day comes.”
http://subs.nzherald.co.nz/feature/story.cfm?c_id=680&objectid=3588688

Posted by: Jarin at September 19, 2006 12:56 PM
Comment #182539

CPAdams:

This was also posted on the religion and the war on terror thread over in the republican column, which succinctly answers your question:

http://www.unc.edu/~kurzman/terror.htm

Posted by: Jarin at September 19, 2006 1:14 PM
Comment #182540

Paul,

Your first sentence left off a few words. It should’ve been:

The Pope associated Islam with violence, and Muslims in many countries erupted in indignant protest … by being violent people, arsonists, and even murderous in a few cases.

Posted by: Ken Strong at September 19, 2006 1:15 PM
Comment #182550

Jarin,

thanks for your post.

You posted quotes by religious and political leaders in the Muslim world speaking against the outrage of 9/11 and how that is against Islam, which I respect and appreciate.

However, with respect, being offended at murder qualifies as basic humanity, not religious tolerance.

What I was asking for was evidence of religious tolerance, some statement from a Muslim religious leader speaking respectfully (brotherly?) about Christianity or Judaism or any other world religion. Some comment that might reflect a respect for worshipping the same God in different way.

I know this sounds absurd, but I can’t recall one such statement - certainly not from any religious leader in the Middle East.

And I struggle with that. I can’t criticize the right fringe who believes we are hated for what we believe. I know they are wrong (and sometimes bigoted) but I don’t have direct evidence to the contrary.

Posted by: CPAdams at September 19, 2006 2:07 PM
Comment #182553

So, the call here is to be intolerant and angry because a few extremists among the Muslims took their anger too far?

The Pope made a mistake using the quote that he used, because it implied something about a world religion that was deeply offensive to those who believe in it.

He’s acknowledged the mistake, which should indicate to you that his original intent was not to offend. Unfortunately, the Right, as a culture, takes a certain glee at being offensive and politically incorrect, as if being the opposite of the hated liberals they imagine in their minds doesn’t just mean they’ve committed an opposite error.

What the Pope said wasn’t truth, it was opinion, and apparently not even the opinion he intended to offer. Christians are clearly called upon to put aside gossip and revilement, which are equated with fornication and homosexuality by Paul. The Pope should not fear to claim what its his job to claim, but he should not, as a leader of the Christian Church, commit the very sins that its founders frown upon.

We can say Christianity is a good religion without being snide or disrespectful of the religions of others.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 19, 2006 2:21 PM
Comment #182554

How clever of the media, first stoke the fire. (taking papa’s words out of context). Show isolated incidences of violence and hint that a nun being stabbed to death was a result of this manufactured ferver.
A handfull of wack jobs set debris on fire and the media runs with ” Church’s fire bombed!!!”.
Presidnet Lincoln told us that the elite would use our predjudice to divide us. The conservative mind is so easily manipulated be it Nationalist or religious zealots.

Posted by: Justin Anderson at September 19, 2006 2:22 PM
Comment #182555

nikkolai,
What a crock. Liberals are just as concerned with the jihadist as any neo-con.

I agree that the radical element must be destroyed.

What I disagree with is the way Bush has tried to do it. His lack of planning and his inability to be flexable will be the down fall of this country.

I can only pray (yes, many liberals are also religious) that the intelligent people of this country will vote this regime out!

Bush has not kept this country safe! We have just been lucky!
Five years after 9/11, our ports remain wide open, our borders are woefully underprotected and the Transportation Security Administration is more concerned with searching your 80-year-old grandma than doing anything truly effective.

Posted by: Natasha at September 19, 2006 2:29 PM
Comment #182556

I made a suggestion that we in the West try to communicate with Muslims in the East. So I’m tarred as being a liberal soft on terrorists and with a few other epithets.

Why can’t we stick to the issue? Regardless of whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, a hawk or a dove, tell me what is wrong in trying to talk to people who disagree with you? You’re doing it here. Why can’t you do it in the broader world?

Posted by: Paul Siegel at September 19, 2006 2:34 PM
Comment #182559

Stephen,
“The Pope made a mistake using the quote that he used, because it implied something about a world religion that was deeply offensive to those who believe in it…He’s acknowledged the mistake, which should indicate to you that his original intent was not to offend.”

He apologized for the reaction to it; his original intent was to initiate an open (intellectual) dialogue. As we see from the “religion of peace” reaction, the (so called) “moderate” muslims didn’t step up intellectually. Unfortunately, the Right, as a culture, takes a certain glee at being offensive and politically incorrect, as if being the opposite of the hated liberals they imagine in their minds doesn’t just mean they’ve committed an opposite error.

“What the Pope said wasn’t truth, it was opinion, and apparently not even the opinion he intended to offer.”


It was an historical statement he made and he’s entitled to it. The “muslanimals” went beserk (yet again) and it’s their loss; they’ve shown the world that they are completely intolerant.

“We can say Christianity is a good religion without being snide or disrespectful of the religions of others.”

Posted by: rahdigly at September 19, 2006 2:52 PM
Comment #182608

Whatever your religious beliefs may be - Islamic, Christian, Jewish, Blue Druidism — whatever — consider this concept: The single biggest problem facing humanity in the world today is the practice of EXTREME religiousity.

Other than religion — for what cause do human beings kill each other, hate each other, divide themselves from each other, punish each other and deny reality in favor of some manufactured picture of the meaning of life and the meaning of death? No doubt there are some benfits in the practice of religion. I personally reject the idea that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.

We need to create a zone in each country where athiests and agnostics can live in peace, while the rest of the country is occupied by religionists who happily oppose, hate, torture and kill each other in the name of god.

Posted by: Ed Sommers at September 19, 2006 5:13 PM
Comment #182613

Ed,

And you compare Islamic extremists who want to caliphate the entire world in size and scope with what other religious extreme? Do tell.

And you said “today” so I’ll assume you’ll leave the yester-millenium Crusades out of the discussion. Thank you.

Posted by: Ken Strong at September 19, 2006 5:48 PM
Comment #182617

Ken -
I can’t quote you chapter and verse because what I know about religion is what I know about stuffed grape leaves: I don’t like it.

Read your bible, read your neighbor’s bible, read whatever religious history you want. The Catholics have killed in the name of religion, the Protestants have too, the Jew have too, and for Christ’s sake — the Muslims have too. I’m not sure about the Blue Druids, but if I had to bet, I’ll bet they’ve done their share of killing too.

Thank you.

Posted by: Ed Sommers at September 19, 2006 6:00 PM
Comment #182630

“The Catholics have killed in the name of religion, the Protestants have too, the Jew have too, and for Christ’s sake — the Muslims have too. I’m not sure about the Blue Druids, but if I had to bet, I’ll bet they’ve done their share of killing too.”

Then why is it the Scientologists scare me the most?

Posted by: Observer at September 19, 2006 7:34 PM
Comment #182659

CPAdams:

“However, with respect, being offended at murder qualifies as basic humanity, not religious tolerance.”

Isn’t all religious tolerance simple basic humanity? And where does this simple humanity begin?

“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection. “

Buddha

Posted by: Tim Crow at September 19, 2006 9:05 PM
Comment #182732

Stephen, did you read the entire speech? When taken as a whole, I don’t see how it can be construed as overtly offensive — unless one is a jihadist, and searching for offense in order to stir up unrest.
Moreover, why can the Pope not have an opinion? And why can’t the Pope have an opinion that doesn’t always please, or bring instant agreement with the world at large? He is the chosen leader of the Catholic faith. Leaders always make statements and form opinions and then broadcast them — and others listen — though they needn’t always agree or go along.
The various Popes during my lifetimes have made statements and formed opinions that I did not always agree with, indeed, some of their decrees have offended me deeply — but that’s just too damn bad for me, isn’t it? Yet, I felt no urge to go out in the street and start a riot, or kill people because the leader of the faith I was born into has said things and promoted ideas that I was completely opposed to.
If the Muslim faith is so strong, then why can it not take a bit of opposition? And if they cannot take any opposition graciously, then what are they? You tell me.
The Pope was speaking at an academic university, in his own country. Is he to censure and inhibit is ability to think and speak for himself on a topic as morally loaded as Holy War and Forced Religious Conversion at all times now, simply because he is a public figure? How about the rest of us? Must we all live in fear of what we might say that may offend Muslims and jihadists?
Is each and every word from each and every one of us to now be measured against it’s negative repercusions in the Muslim Street?
That’s no way for free people to live — stifling and inhibiting their thoughts and their words in constant fear that violence may result.
In fact, by definition, that is oppression.
And I’m against it.

Posted by: A at September 20, 2006 12:35 AM
Comment #182733

Huh. For some reason when I posted, it recorded my name as “A” rather than Adrienne.
Anyway, those are my thoughts above.

Posted by: Adrienne at September 20, 2006 12:38 AM
Comment #182745

Adrienne, sorry, the whole “vitriol and venom” thing was directed at all the posts in general, not yours in particular. I just pointed out you two since the back-and-forth was particularly fierce there. In fact, you were quite civil all things considered. The name calling was all on his part. So my bad if there were misunderstandings. I should know better than to post on 4 hours sleep :-)

Posted by: leatherankh at September 20, 2006 1:24 AM
Comment #182809

leatheranhk,
No biggie. Hope you caught up on the needed shut-eye.
No response from Stephen… ?
Maybe I’ll check back this evening — busy day ahead.

Posted by: Adrienne at September 20, 2006 11:56 AM
Comment #183047

Regarding dialog between the religions who is going to explain to the Muslim world that they can’t outlaw other religions and execute those who convert from Islam? Who is going to convince them that you can’t burn churches or murder cartoonists when they hear something they don’t like?
The bottom line of all of this is that when people call for dialog what they really mean is Islam is not going to change so how can we water down our belief system and/or culture to be less offensive to Islam in the hope that this will lessen the Muslim desire to subjugate non Muslims.

Posted by: Carnak at September 21, 2006 1:31 PM
Comment #188105

i am a religious studies teacher and know alot about both religions. i know in islam the reason the the thingd Mohammed (pbuh which should always be said as a mark of respect) is that the bible and torah was once true, but each phrofet who sent it down (jesus, moses) new that it was not the last book of god and would one day be not the nook to follow. I converted to islam 2 years ago from christianity and feel as if the pope should apologise if he does not no facts about islam, the same for the muslims. There are extremist in the world who are not muslims even if they claim to be, islam means peace.

Posted by: Naima at October 14, 2006 11:18 AM
Comment #188108

i agree with naima in which people should not say things if they do not no the facts. i think people should spend less time fighting and more time becoming understanding about other peoples beleif. Alot of people do take time to learn about islam that is why it is the fastes growing religion in the world, and one day is predicted to be the largest religion in the world.Since 911 islam has grown in america more than any other country. i think that says something. I am agnostic and read the bible and quran and am becoming close to chosing a religion i beleive i should follow.

Posted by: jane at October 14, 2006 11:26 AM
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