Alright, give me a moment before you start the respective religious retaliation that my post’s headline might invoke. I dig Islam and I dig Christianity. By and by I agree that the two promote relatively peaceful and more fulfilling lives for several billion people. That said, I’ve never been overly kind or sensitive to any religion and have on occasion said some disparaging remarks of my own – so I guess I sort of sympathize with the Pope and his recent comments.
The Pope, quoting a 15th-century Byzantine emperor, told his audience at the University of Regensburg: "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’s not so much that I agree or disagree with him, it’s just that I don’t think that churches should be blown up in protest to comments made about the violence of Islam.
Earlier Saturday, Palestinian gunmen firebombed four Christian churches in the West Bank city of Nablus and opened fire on a fifth in the Gaza Strip. Iraqi and Somali militants threatened to kill the pope or attack Rome.
The prime-minister of Turkey claimed that the Pope’s comments sounded more like they were from a politician than a man of religion. How so? Politicians are the ones that should be working to negotiate peace and stability between nations and when nations are driven by religion, as Islamic nations are, they need to be more sensitive about these things than religious leaders – that’s what we pay them for. Religious leaders have two goals – protect their flock and promote the ideologies of their religion while denouncing all others.
Despite having a crapload in common, Islam and Christianity do conflict on some pretty major issues (namely the whole ‘Son of God’ thing). So, the Pope saying disparaging remarks about a religion that goes against his own shouldn’t really be that surprising, should it? I’m not pushing accepted thought when I quite confidently state there are no shortage of derogative remarks about the Christian or Jewish worlds coming from the mouths of high-level Islamic clerics. I say fair play to the Pope.
There have been attempts to clarify the Pope’s statement as putting the emphasis on the "spread by the sword" bit, and not the "only evil and inhuman" bit. Yeah, ok, it was a stupid quote that OBVIOUSLY would anger a bunch of Muslims. I wouldn’t want to be called "evil and inhuman". But if I was, I’m certain wouldn’t go blow shit up – even if the Pope said it. I mean, he’s of no consequence to me, what do I care what he says about me?
However, it’s become unsurprising that Muslim militants are threatening to kill because of it. Unsurprising, but universally moronic. I mean, roll with the punches my brothers; your prophet preached "turn the other cheek".
Of course this is all nicely tucked into the ‘one bad apple blows up the bunch’ and ‘Islam as a whole cannot be blamed for the actions of few and furious’ exculpations – but really, how long is that going to hold water?
I’m not anti-Islamic, I’m not pro-Christian, I think organized religion is an oxymoron, and I think that people (despite their position or status in life) should be able to say things (or draw pictures) and have the recourse be only words (or more pictures) – not munitions. Am I alone in this?
Update: Sept. 18 @ 12:06 a.m.
Gunmen shot and killed an Italian nun at a children’s hospital in Somalia’s capital on Sunday, hours after a leading Muslim cleric in Mogadishu condemned the Pope for his remarks on Islam and violence.