Saturday, September 16, 2006
The Pope's Un-Holy War: Doesn’t anyone have anything else to do but scream, write slogans jump up and down protesting what someone says about a belief?
I cannot understand why on earth the Pope would say what he did. I did read the whole text which seemed to say the Pope was advocating religions to be peaceful. He said it, though, by invoking an obscure 13th century Medieval monarch’s indictment of Islam for being violent. Even if the Pope’s words, if one reads them in their entirety, said what he said they said why wouldn’t the Pope, a supposedly bright scholarly fellow, know that those words would be taken out of context and that someone might just go berserk in Cairo or Istanbul. He is after all the Pope not just some guy on a street corner.
It’s just as absurd, too, when Christians picket local theaters for showing certain films or yell and scream about art exhibits. I remember not so long ago I had to walk through Christian picketers to stand in line to see the film The Last Temptation of Christ which I probably never would have seen were it not for the outcry against it. Of course, I will try to refrain from historical descriptions of the Christian crusades, inquisitions, expulsions, and a host of other cruelties the Church has inflicted. I won’t mention too much either about the cruelties during the Protestant Reformation. Nor will I mention too much about contemporary religious supporters of bombings of abortion clinics, murder of its doctors, nor the killing of homosexuals, firebombing gay bars, bombing of the Olympics and, oh yes, the Oklahoma City bombing perpetrated by a Christian Identity follower.
First it was the cartoons now it’s one sentence of a speech. This is the same Middle East where the eminent scholar George W. Bush wants democracy to flourish. I thought in democracies one has to put up with criticism of those thoughts, beliefs, values and opinions which are the most objectionable for some to hear because free speech is one of the most sacrosanct Constitutional protections a democracy is supposed to offer.
Somehow I think Muhammad, Jesus, God and Moses will thrive despite whatever criticism is levied against them. Democracy’s survival, on the other hand, I’m not so sure will.