The Pope's Misguided Defense of Islam

The Pope could have used his forum in Congress to call attention to the plight of Christians


Unlike Communist Cuba, America hasn't seized and nationalized Catholic churches and schools. It hasn't locked up Catholic clergy or installed surveillance equipment in their homes. It hasn't denounced the Catholic church as "exploiters" and "fascists". And yet Pope Francis, who had few criticisms of Cuba, came to Congress to denounce the collision between Americans and Indians, and to urge the United States to take in illegal aliens without regard for the law.

There's a condemnation of the death penalty. Never mind that in the US, the death penalty is used after extensive appeals against some of the worst monsters imaginable, unlike Cuba, where it was used to massacre political opponents of the Castro crime family. And condemnations of selling weapons. Much of this is couched in vague language, but it's still a sharp contrast from the visit to Cuba.

The Pope even threw in a backhanded defense of Islam...

Our world is increasingly a place of violent conflict, hatred and brutal atrocities, committed even in the name of God and of religion. We know that no religion is immune from forms of individual delusion or ideological extremism. This means that we must be especially attentive to every type of fundamentalism, whether religious or of any other kind...

But there is another temptation which we must especially guard against: the simplistic reductionism which sees only good or evil; or, if you will, the righteous and sinners. 

No religion is technically immune from anything if you mean that some members of it might misbehave. But that's misleading language that tries to avoid the reality by setting up a strawman.

No country is immune from violating human rights, but there's a big difference between David Cameron and Adolf Hitler. There's also a huge difference between most religions and Islam when it comes to "violent conflict, hatred and brutal atrocities" committed in the name of religion. Especially when we focus in on the contrast between Western religions in the free world... and Islam.

There's also a simplistic reductionism in reducing unpleasant truths to strawmen. There are clear cases of evil that have to be addressed. To say that does not mean an inability to see anything except black and white.

To say that no religion is immune to brutal atrocities is true and meaningless. We might as well say that no one human being is immune to evil. It doesn't get us any closer to dealing with the reality of evil people out there.

It's easy to talk around problems and Islam is the most talked-around problem today. But the plight of Christians in the Middle East deserves more than more 'talking around'. Instead of elitist lectures, they need a moral authority to forcefully advocate intervention on their behalf by making it clear that they face genocide. And that it's up to the West to make Christianity in the region sustainable or evacuate its last remnants.

It's a much more vital issue than Global Warming, which the Pope mentions repeatedly.

The Pope could have used his forum in Congress to call attention to the plight of Christians in the region and demand action. Instead he talked generally about Syrian refugees, most of whom are Muslims.

Advocates are hoping for more.

Now that Pope Francis is in his first day of his two-day visit to Washington, D.C., advocates for persecuted Christians in the Middle East are urging the pontiff to speak out forcefully on their plight in his meeting with President Obama Wednesday and in his historic address to Congress the following day.

“I’m hoping the Pope points out that thousands of Christians are persecuted, denied their fundamental rights, and killed because of their faith [in the Middle East],” George Marlin, chairman of Aid to the Church in Need USA, told me.

Marlin, who has written a much-praised book on the subject of Christian persecution in the Middle East, emphasized that “someone has to bang pots and pans on this issue. The Administration is not doing it. The national media is not doing it. If the Pope brings this up, it makes front-page news worldwide.”

“If Pope Francis calls it genocide before Congress, there will be a moral clarity added to this issue and it will bring a new ray of hope to persecuted Christians,” said Taimoorazy, herself a refugees from Iran who came to the U.S. in 1991, “The whole world will now be paying attention.”

In underscoring why the Pope must use the word “genocide,” she cited the fact that the Assyrian Christian population in the Middle East was 1.6 million prior to 2003 and “now we only have 300,000.”

I suppose it's not as important as the critiques of capitalism and Global Warming and illegal aliens and the death penalty.