Third Party & Independents Archives

The Pope and Politics

The Pope.
A man who leads many people.
A man who tries to bring peace to all people, regardless of Religion.
Has he really said something that he needs to apologize for?

Religion is not the only subject that is nearly impossible to discuss.
We have a few 'hot button' issues here in our Nation that cannot be talked about by many, for varying reasons.
Most commonly, it is because one side immediately becomes offensive.

Someone actually tries to spark conversation. The words they use may not have been crafted to satisfy the person with the differing opinion. Instead of asking what was meant, or saying 'You really don't understand where I'm coming from. Do you?', an argument ensues and BOTH sides become defensive. Both sides blame the other. Nothing gets accomplished.

Muslims are out in the streets marching and burning 'the Pope' this time. If it escalates as it has in the past, these demonstrations will include pictures of our President and our flag within a couple days.

Here's part of the story:

"The Vatican said the Pope did not intend the remarks — which he made during a speech in Germany on Tuesday — to offend anyone. Benedict didn't explicitly endorse the statement, which recounted a conversation between 14th century Byzantine Christian Emperor Manuel Paleologos II and a Persian scholar on the truths of Christianity and Islam. ''The emperor comes to speak about the issue of jihad, holy war,'' the Pope said. ''He said, I quote, 'Show me just what Muhammad 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 man was discussing something that happened in the past.
He is trying to understand how Islam works.
He is not the only one who wants to know how people who claim Islam is peaceful, can also say that it is their duty to slit someone's throat in the 'name of Islam'.

The Pope is scheduled to visit Turkey. It looks as though his first trip to a country that has a Muslim majority may not happen.

It seems that Muslims don't have a clue about the Pope and his mission in life. If they really understood the enemy they fight, they would know he had no intention to insult.

Posted by Dawn at September 15, 2006 2:37 PM
Comment #181619

Words have meaning, and those meanings conjure images of past events and experience, and words too, can be swords of their own. At this sensitive time between Muslims and Islam and the Western cultures, any leaders who proclaim to represent large numbers of the world’s population should discharge their words with forethought and acknowledgement of how those words may be perceived.

The Pope speaks to a wide audience. The first rule of public speaking is to identify who your audience is, and speak to their level of understanding to establish a bond, before seeking to change their minds and preconceptions.

The Pope screwed up, in this regard, just as Bush did when calling the war a Crusade. Such words have meaning, and those meanings conjure images of the past and experience. All words point to the past. Anyone who fails to understand this, will not be an effective public speaker capable of guiding public opinion.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 15, 2006 5:42 PM
Comment #181625


Too much of what you suggest and you have political correctness. The Pope’s audience was Germans, not Muslims. In this world, everyone has the technological ability to hear everything, but that does not mean that we must never say anything at all.

Recall the instance of the Washington politician who used the word “niggardly”, which means miserly, but he did so in the presence of black people who became offended by it. The politician was made to be at blame, but there truly was no blame on his part.

Muslims, in the words of a teenager, need to take a chill pill. They seem to look for situations that they can become angry about. We must…MUST…hold them accountable for their actions, rather than condemning others. Muslims around the world became incensed to violence over simple cartoons, yet there are many more egregious examples of religious mockery regarding religion.

Imagine if Christians rioted any time they were portrayed by Hollywood as insensitive, ignorant, moralistic buffoons. I’ve actually been each of those things, but thankfully, usually not all at the same time. Would we blame Hollywood or would we blame the Christians? We all know the answer.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at September 15, 2006 6:04 PM
Comment #181633

Like most words, crusade has more than one meaning. One that does not reference Christianity.
Why is it that no one ever asked which meaning Bush was using? No one, that I know of, has even suggested it. No one, that I know of, has even bothered to point this out.

Just like the Pope.

joebagodonuts was correct in pointing out that it was a discussion with Germans - not Muslims.

And why can’t I(we) ask what makes them believe Allah told them to chop the heads off non-believers? or that it is the right way to spread their ‘peaceful’ religion?
Part of this conversation has to include why we don’t think chopping off heads is a good way to spread a peaceful religion and see if they can understand why we feel that way.

I(we) have to ask questions to understand.
If my(our) questions are offensive, part of
your(their) job to get me(us) to understand is to tell me(us) why I(we) offended you.

Posted by: dawn at September 15, 2006 6:29 PM
Comment #181636

Dawn and JBOD, no, you are both wrong. A public speaker has an obligation to be aware of their audience and how their words will be perceived. When the Pope speaks in public, regardless of whether the microphone’s location is Germany, Russia or Mars, the Pope speaks for the Roman Catholic Church as the direct disciple of Jesus. As a public speaker he has an obligation to choose his words carefully.

A lesson he is no doubt, learning well, today! Breaking in a new Pope is a pain in the rectory.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 15, 2006 6:36 PM
Comment #181642

I have no idea what the Pope’s intentions were. The first rule for a speaker is to know his audience. Yes, he was speaking directly to Germans. But he knew very well that what he said would be heard all over the world. The entire world was his audience.

If the Pope had thought about this at all, he would have known that Muslims would be offended. But he said Muslims were prone to violence anyway.

The Pope has a failing the vast majority of us have: we are sure we are right and everybody else is wrong. And, do you realize that what he said pushes many Muslims toward terrorism?

It may help a lot if the Pope apologizes to all Muslims for his remarks.

Posted by: Paul Siegel at September 15, 2006 6:48 PM
Comment #181693

I think some of these things are overblown both here and abroad, it is clear to me what the Pope’s real intention was. The fact that he was involved with the Nazi youth does not help. Does this betray a racists streak? If so, is he willing to recant and is he sincere in that? I think that these things sometimes reveal a persons real attitude - like Mel - but I still don’t see why such a big deal is made of it. Mel probably is a racist. He probably is a jerk. I will be less likely to go to a movie of his in the future, on the other hand if it is a really good movie - I am going. When Laura Bush made her racist comments about the people in New Orleans, it should translate into slightly reduced political support for her, her husband, and Republicans, but it should not be a big deal. There are plenty of racist and jerks in the world - some of em are liberal - when we discover one it should affect our opinion of them - but they are human beings - flawed human beings - but human beings… Why are always so shocked to discover that they are flawed? What is the big deal? The Pope’s mission to reach out to Muslims just got harder and that is as it should be. He shot himself in the foot, but lets wish him well - because the world needs healing (from George Bush).

Posted by: Ray Guest at September 15, 2006 9:21 PM
Comment #181701

What’s ridiculous is that the remarks getting attention are not the Pope’s. He merely quoted (without either endorsing or denying) somebody else’s remark of centuries ago—and he did so in the context of a rather obscure academic lecture. A lecture you can be sure all those people rioting and burning have not read or heard in its entirety and don’t even the ability to understand if they did.

What we’re actually seeing here is completely manufactured and politically motivated outrage.

Radical Islamic clerics have learned to play both their ignorant followers and the Western media like a fiddle.

It’s a simple pattern, and we’ve seen it again and again from everything to cartoons to exaggerated or outright fabricated stories of abuse of Muslims. Throw a fit and wait for concessions, which they too often get.

But I’m sorry, when people are strapping on bombs to kill civilians, cutting off heads and flying planes into buildings in the name of their religion and they reserve outrage for something sombebody said about them 600 years ago, their outrage only makes them looke even more ridiculous and evil than they already do.

Posted by: Pilsner at September 15, 2006 10:27 PM
Comment #181704

Thanks Pilsner - I did try to point that out and it seems no one really tried to find that out for themselves.

- ‘The man was discussing something that happened in the past.’

Posted by: dawn at September 15, 2006 10:37 PM
Comment #181728

Although words have meanings, too many people look between the lines to find hidden meanings. If we cannot have an open discussion of religion with violent reactions, we will never understand where anyone is “coming from.”

Posted by: Jorge at September 16, 2006 12:02 AM
Comment #181736

David and Paul:

Forgive the disrespect, but you both need to pull your heads out of the political correctness quicksand. You are quick to jump on the Pope and castigate him for his word usage. I wonder if you will be as quick to jump on the Muslims who resort to violence as a result of mere words. I have no doubt you will condemn them, although I also have no doubt there will be a “but the Pope should…..” in there as well.

When we kowtow to violence, we are weak. When we must be fearful of our God-given right to speak, and fearfully turn our words into pablum in order to not offend anyone in the slightest, we give up our freedoms. (Oh no, I used the word God-given—-how insensitive of me. Allow me to insert Buddha, Allah, Vishnu, Beelzebub and any other manifestation in my phraseology lest someone somewhere be somehow offended.)

Paul, you said that the “Pope has a failing the vast majority of us have”. How dare you denigrate the holiest of men in the Catholic religion? In his wisdom and grace, the Pope has no such failings as mere mortal men have. You have demeaned all Catholics by your comments. I’m offended—-I request…no I DEMAND an apology.

See how silly that is? And if you don’t, I’ll expect your apology. Or will you equivocate since it is now YOUR words that are being held in the spotlight of political correctness?

Posted by: joebagodonuts at September 16, 2006 12:26 AM
Comment #181744

Joebagodonuts, I don’t know “politically correct” it actually is to talk about Muslims as if they are retarded children who can’t be held to the same standards as responsible adults.

By which I mean, a standard that requires them to respond calmly to real and imagined insults instead of demanding everybody else in the world to tip toe around their enormous and volatile sensitivities.

Can you imagine what liberals in this country would say if Jerry Fallwell and his congregation started rioting in the streets and burning stuff and issuing threats in response to say, Howard Dean, quoting some anti-Christian remark from six hundred years ago? Or better yet, Rosie O’Donnel’s recent remarks?

Liberals would justifiably mock and ridicule such stupidity. They already mock and ridicule much less. If they ever treated Christians the same way they demand we treat Muslims, they’d have to spend every day of the week doing nothing but begging forgiveness.

As it stands, though, they act as though Muslims are nothing but severe mental handicaps who can’t be held to any standard of civilized behavior whatosever. They say they’re offended? Okay, grovel and apologize.

The thing is, I actually have a certain amount of respect for god-fearing peaceful Muslims.

I hold Muslims to the same standards that I expect to be held to myself. Which means zero tolerance for utter stupidity, violent threats and for making excuses for those indulging in utter stupidity and violence. Unfortuntatly, of late, for reasons of fear or something worse, most of the Islamic world has shown themselves to be completely unworthy of any respect or deference whatsoever.

Posted by: Pilsner at September 16, 2006 12:54 AM
Comment #181769


The thing is, I actually have a certain amount of respect for god-fearing peaceful Muslims.

I have a LOT of respect for god-fearing peaceful Muslims, just as I have a LOT of respect for many Catholics, many Mormons, many Presbyterians, many atheists (okay, not many cuz I don’t personally know many, but I know a couple) etc.

I don’t have to agree with their belief system in order to respect them. I actually have a lot of respect for David Remer, who is Buddhist. I disagree with his opinions quite often, and he disagrees with mine. But I hold him in high respect for his passion, for his intellect, for his questioning nature and for his love of his country.

I don’t feel the need to moderate my comments to or about David in order to spare his feelings. I believe I can say what I think, and that he will respect me even when he disagrees. This is how I would treat others different from me, whether they be different racially or religiously, sexually or genderbased etc.

Once I was playing football with a bunch of guys and the conversation turned to a racial issue. One of the guys shushed the others, pointing out that there were two black guys in the group off to the side. My take was to continue the conversation, but to not say anything different whether the two black guys joined the conversation or not. In that way, I treated them as people, not as black people.

The Pope did not say anything all that incendiary. And certainly, over the past years, Muslim leaders—mostly radical ones—have said things far far worse. Yet their comments receive no condemnation. The condemnation only goes one way. In that way, we treat the Muslim comments, and those making them, differently. And that means we are biased. And when we are biased, we fall flat.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at September 16, 2006 7:11 AM
Comment #181774

Those were calculated words spoken by the pope, I think.
This pope, unlike John Paul the Great, has always been a hard liner and a profoundly conservative thinker. His writings ,very conservative in nature, have always reflected this.
This is a seismic event…mark my words.
The Vatican is drawing the line in the sand theologically, and wants to enter into debate over the essence of the Moslem faith.
Mark me in the “Go Pope” column.
Something very big happened this week.

Posted by: sicilianeagle at September 16, 2006 7:30 AM
Comment #181788

Hold your horses. There’s already an apology in the works, I think. The Pontiffs of today are not meant to be crusaders, but peacemakers instead.

What you seem to miss from my perspective is the adulterating effect that war and violence have always had on the faith of men. War and violence cannot be allowed to become false idols, to replace the love and compassion demanded by God, by the vanity of coercion and forced conversions. On any side. We should know better. We’ve had centuries of experience with this stuff, enough to know absolute hogwash wars of religious rivalry are.

The secularists and atheists rightly criticize sectarian wars. Going to war against a religion is no better an idea than going to war against a tactic. You don’t fight ideas, you fight groups of men, and you fight them because you have to.

We should fight the terrorists because of the threat they pose. They could believe in the flying spaghetti monster, and the only questions I would have would be how to defend against their attacks and how to discourage the spread of their noodly extremism.

War is chaotic, it’s expensive, and there are no guarantees of success. Thusly, they should not be the first means considered for solving any problem, save a direct, ongoing attack.

This is not a war we can win by attrition. Rather, this is a war we can only win by making the kind of situation that enables al-Qaeda to recruit and maintain its cohesion a thing of the past.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 16, 2006 9:25 AM
Comment #181878

Im not a fan of the pope, but say what you like about the pope and his comments…

Irony is in the fact that the weird beards in the middle east immediately began lighting fires, destroying property, calling for assassination and basically proved the pope to be fairly accurate in his assessment.

In case that isn’t convincing, I was able to gather a short portion of TODAY’s, “Top 10 Peaceful Muslim Activities”:

9/16/06 Thailand, Hat Yai: At least five killed and 79 injuried when Muslim militants set off six separate bombs.
9/16/06 Iraq, Samarra: An al-Qaeda ambush leaves four tribesman dead.
9/16/06 Iraq, Baghdad: Two bombs, including one strapped to a corpse, kill three people and injure 22.
9/16/06 Iraq, Ramadi: Jihadis kill 4 civilians and injure 8 with a roadside incendiary bomb.
9/16/06 Iraq, Baghdad Forty-seven more tortured and executed victims are found.

Posted by: Matt Goldseth at September 16, 2006 6:10 PM
Comment #181888

The problem with this entire issue is that some of us have missed the point entirely. It’s not about being polite.

Insulting Islam is only the tip of the iceburg. Your nonadherence to Islam is just as offensive as insulting Islam. Where will you draw the line?

Posted by: esimonson at September 16, 2006 7:40 PM
Comment #181894

At the borders!
Peaceful Muslims come on over…
Leave the weird beards to manage their own sandpits and virgins.

Posted by: Matt Goldseth at September 16, 2006 8:53 PM
Comment #181903

People who absolve Muslims of responsibility for their violent actions do them no favours nor pay them any compliments. Muslims aren’t machines like guns whose responses can be “triggered” (to use the words Khatami’s spoke at Harvard) by this and that trivial word or image. To suggest so is imply they are not human but some unstable chemical compound in our clumsy hands; to argue that they are above responsibility is to suggest a Muslim supercessionism that insults the rest of us. Those who excuse the behaviour of others that they would not tolerate in their neighbours and friends are nothing beneath their fine talk and polished principles but cowards.

Posted by: Abu Nudnik at September 16, 2006 9:10 PM
Comment #182106

I think its staggering the manner is which any criticism of Muhammed stirs mindless violence at the instigation of Islamic clerics, bearing in my that these are mere word. Where is the condemnation in the Islamic world of the savage muslim on muslim violence? It is true that Christianity has a violent epoch in its history, but surely Christianity has long since moved on from that? Surely mankind has learned from the enlightenment? We moved from the dark, superstitious ages into the light. And of course this is not just a western inheritance, it is the inheritance of all mankind, if all mankind chooses to accept it. However, if they choose irrationality over reason, they should not be excepted from criticism. It was and usually is interesting to see the hate filled faces of mass muslim protests at whatever imagined insult are current. Perhaps it just the media seeking the sensational, but it seems that most times that we see muslims on the streets in the media, they are revelling in hysterical outrage at the west or christianity, but we never see such outrage at eastern or muslim violence. Time for Islam to take responsibility for itself and to forge its own enlightenment. For a culture that was once at the forefront of science and technolgy, it is now known principally for oil and extremism.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at September 17, 2006 7:01 PM
Comment #182919

Wow the media really does control the world.

When was the last time people said “who cares” instead of escalating every slight to a crisis with 24 hours news coverage…

Do the majority of muslims react to these things or is it just the majority of muslims that the media finds gossip worthy to fill the “news” with?

Were the majority of blacks out looting and beating up truck drivers when Rodney King happened - or was it the small amount of “news-worthy” blacks that got the attention.

If we continue to be a nation that thrives on gossip and controversy, the media will continue to sell us it.

Speaking of the “enlightenment”, that hasn’t happened in the poor Muslim world yet - if you look a coupele hundred years ago we acted the same - we burned witches, executed and lynched blacks, passed blue laws, didn’t marry inter-faith or inter-racially (in fact outlawed it)etc…

We still haven’t completed our own “enlightenment” yet, we still persecute gays, execute people - even through the so-called religious in our country are bound by the commandment thou shall not kill, start wars with sovern nations and kill 100,000s of people (including our own), etc. We teach our kids consensual sex is evil, impeachable, and R-rated, but killing is ok and only deserves a PG rating.

Even will all that, its still better to live here than just about anywhere else at least until our government credit cards come due…

Posted by: Redlenses at September 20, 2006 6:01 PM
Comment #183082

As expected, Paul Siegel conveniently got “too busy” to respond. Seems to happen most often when his comments are categorically dismissed. Very interesting.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at September 21, 2006 4:47 PM
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