web analytics
May 23, 2015 / 5 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

The Pope’s Lose-Lose Choice


Representatives of the religion of peace had their hands full earlier this month organizing demonstrations, burning the pontiff in effigy, promising to assassinate him, instigating church bombings, killing at least one nun, and generally threatening the annihilation of Christian civilization because of the pope’s remarks about Islam nurturing “evil and inhuman” acts. A Turkish cleric declared that the pope’s statement reflected a terrible ignorance of Islam.

Dr. Muhammad Abdul Bari, general secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain, said that while the pope’s apology was a “welcome step,” he still needed to repudiate critical statements of Islam, even quoted ones, because of “the hurt his speech caused.”

And with logic suggesting that the beatings would continue until morale improves, Bari also threatened the country with “two million terrorists” unless the Brits stopped making all those ridiculous connections between Islam and terrorism.

The irony of all this is lost on no one, except The New York Times, of course, which seems only in favor of free speech if the results harm national security. The Gray Lady’s editorial writers offered this piece of pabulum on Sept. 16:

The world listens carefully to the words of any pope. And it is tragic and dangerous when one sows pain, either deliberately or carelessly. He needs to offer a deep and persuasive apology, demonstrating that words can also heal.

Sure, that should help, but let’s consider some consequences of all this.

Benedict did in fact apologize for his remarks, on Sunday, Sept. 17, by saying that he was “deeply sorry” and that the “evil and inhuman” phrase did not reflect his own opinions. He wanted simply to encourage a “frank and sincere dialogue, with great mutual respect.”

Didn’t matter: a whole slew of Muslim organizations from Morocco to Indonesia wanted more; in fact, Islamic theocracies and their terrorist lackeys throughout the Middle East want him to grovel, not apologize, and here’s where the real problem is with Benedict’s remarks. Either a) he should not have uttered them at all, which still would have left him with a pretty good speech; or, b) if he wanted to retain those few words, regardless of how well buried they are among other points in his address, he should not apologize for having spoken them.

Quite the contrary, he should have chided his critics for misunderstanding what he was trying to say.

The first option would have left the pope with an articulate but meaningless address, for the simple reason that it is impossible to carry out a sincere dialogue with those who have contempt for any actions on the part of their opponents other than abject surrender. The result would have been just another innocuous addition to the vacuous palaver that has taken place between Christianity and Islam over the past century or so.

So, Option A is neither win-lose nor win-win; it’s more like nothing-nothing.

Option B could have been win-win, for these reasons. First, he would have demonstrated that a Western spiritual leader had the guts to proclaim what is developing into the prevailing view among Western publics. Second, by not apologizing, he could have demonstrated to political leaders the importance of stating harsh truths and, in the process, defending Western civilization.

Now that would have provoked a real dialogue, perhaps even shaken a regime or two, but at least the menagerie of EU prime ministers would have been forced to stand up for Western values against continued attacks before the disastrous demographic trends in Europe make their comments all but irrelevant.

As it turned out, Benedict XVI chose Option C, which without question is lose-lose. That is, he chose first to declare Islam guilty of “evil and inhuman” acts – it really doesn’t matter when, by the way – after which he backed down, and is continuing to back down.

Islamic radicals can smell the rot of weakness and defeatism half a globe away; and Europe is right next door. Indeed, everything Islamic radicals have learned about Europe since the Second World War has convinced them that Western civilization, regardless of its material comforts and technological sophistication – or perhaps because of those things – is in decline. Just continue to exert pressure and wait, they must conclude; eventually the West will melt into the arms of Islamdom, probably apologizing all the way.

A golden opportunity was missed here, and one may only speculate how long it will take for the Vatican and others to recognize this. Pope Benedict XVI is, by all accounts, a courageous and honorable man. But wittingly or not, he failed to stiffen the spines of beleaguered Christians throughout the Western world. Instead, he filled them with gelatin.

Marvin Folkertsma, Ph.D. is a professor of political science and Fellow for American Studies with The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. He is the author of several books including the recently released novel “The Thirteenth Commandment.” He can be contacted at mjfolkertsma@gcc.edu.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The Pope’s Lose-Lose Choice”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Tzipi Hotovely, new Deputy Foreign Minister.
Foreign Minister Hotovely: Tell the World ‘God Gave Israel to the Jews’
Latest Indepth Stories
Harris-052215

We take a whole person approach, giving our people assistance with whatever they need.

Shalev and Rabbi Levinger

During my spiritual journey I discovered G-d spoke to man only once, to the Jewish people at Sinai

MK Moshe-Feiglin

20 years after the great Ethiopian aliyah, we must treat them like everyone else; no better or worse

Sprecher-052215

Connecting Bamidbar&Shavuot is simple-A world without Torah is midbar; with Torah a blessed paradise

Many Black protesters compared Baltimore’s unrest to the Palestinian penchant of terrorism & rioting

She credited success to “mini” decisions-Small choices building on each other leading to big changes

Shavuot 1915, 200000 Jews were expelled; amongst the largest single expulsions since Roman times

Realizing there was no US military threat, Iran resumed, expanded & accelerated its nuclear program

“Enlightened Jews” who refuse to show chareidim the tolerance they insist we give to Arabs sicken me

Somewhat surprisingly, the Vatican’s unwelcome gesture was diametrically at odds with what President Obama signaled in an interview with the news outlet Al Arabiya.

The recent solid victory of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party produced something very different.

The reaction is so strong that nine times out of ten, parents engage in some form of coping mechanism before arriving at a level of acceptance of a special-needs diagnosis.

“…his neshamah reached out to us to have the zechus of Torah learning to take with him on his final journey.”

The gap isn’t between Israeli and American Jews-it’s between American Jews and the rest of the world

More Articles from Dr. Marvin J. Folkersma

If President Reagan were to give a speech today, what might he say? Perhaps something like the following. Let’s hear one more from the Gipper:

Representatives of the religion of peace had their hands full earlier this month organizing demonstrations, burning the pontiff in effigy, promising to assassinate him, instigating church bombings, killing at least one nun, and generally threatening the annihilation of Christian civilization because of the pope’s remarks about Islam nurturing “evil and inhuman” acts. A Turkish cleric declared that the pope’s statement reflected a terrible ignorance of Islam.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-popes-lose-lose-choice/2006/09/27/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: