Sunday, September 17, 2006

What is this, Junior High?

You may have heard that the pope said some controversial things. SOURCE

Benedict sparked the controversy when, in a speech Tuesday to university professors during a pilgrimage to his native Germany, he cited the words of a Byzantine emperor who characterized some of the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, Islam's founder, as "evil and inhuman."

The big issue seems to be that he's quoting an old Byzantine emperor. Many people seem to have mentally removed the quotation marks from Benedict's remarks.

I'll give the pope some credit: I bet he knows that even though the Byzantine emperor talked about Islam spreading "by the sword," that Christianity has a lot of that in its own history. With that said, he might want to be more careful about making "sound bites" that run contrary to his purpose.

But I have to fault him for his "apology that isn't." He expressed regret that his remarks caused so much controversy. It's the old "I'm sorry that you feel that way" argument from grade school. The apology that isn't really an apology. "I'm sorry you aren't smart enough to understand what I meant" He needs to reiterate that those views are not the Vatican's view on Islam currently, and apologize for unintentionally conflating the past and present.

On the other hand, if you're trying to refute that your religion is evil and spread by violence, do you know the worst way to countermand that argument? Say it with me: VIOLENCE. Churches have been set on fire in the West Bank, a nun was shot in the back, and people are threatening the Pope and the Vatican.

Meanwhile, some countries are spinning this story so much, it makes me dizzy.

Israeli-U.S. plot behind Pope's Remarks: Iran hardline press

Good old Iran. And here I was thinking, "At least the U.S. and Israel aren't involved in something that a German clerical scholar chose to say." Boy, was I wrong! The statement from Iran's daily Jomhuri Islami says that there are clearly signs of an "American-Zionist connected chain" from the invasion of Lebanon to the pope's remarks.

In somewhat related news, the exhibit of Holocaust cartoons that Iran commisioned in the wake of the Dutch cartoons of Muhammad is interesting. The cartoons are not for the easily offended. See them HERE.

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