Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Applebaum v. Dionne

Two editorials in today’s Washington Post go in opposite directions regarding the flap over the Pope’s recent remarks about Islam. The Crusades redux

Anne Applebaum gets it right: Enough Apologies  

Clearly, a handful of apologies and some random public debate -- should the pope have said X, should the Danish prime minister have done Y -- are ineffective and irrelevant: None of the radical clerics accepts Western apologies, and none of their radical followers reads the Western press. Instead, Western politicians, writers, thinkers and speakers should stop apologizing -- and start uniting.”

And mercifully, she doesn’t try and show how even-handed she can be by throwing in some token criticisms of what the Pope said:

“By this, I don't mean that we all need to rush to defend or to analyze this particular sermon; I leave that to experts on Byzantine theology. But we can all unite in our support for freedom of speech -- surely the pope is allowed to quote from medieval texts -- and of the press. And we can also unite, loudly, in our condemnation of violent, unprovoked attacks on churches, embassies and elderly nuns.”

Unfortunately, there is an element of the left that seemingly defines the appropriateness of anything by how the so-called downtrodden and oppressed react. Enter uber-liberal E.J. Dionne with his predictable paean to appeasement. We Need a Real Dialogue (is that title not the perfect summary for the lefts’ approach to all foreign policy)

“I was tempted to defend Pope Benedict XVI's comments about Islam on the grounds that we journalists always profess to admire leaders who take risks to say what they really think.”

Tempted but then he saw and read about the staged reactions and gosh, he just couldn’t assign 100% of the blame for such mindless and cowardly acts to those who commit them.

He takes Pope Benedict to task for not irrelevantly pointing out the far past:

“But then why did Benedict take his shot at Islam? And why didn't he pause to acknowledge that at various moments in history, Christians, including Catholics, have themselves been guilty of inappropriate uses of violence?”

Of course, you really have to be fully immersed in victimology - in all its splendor - if the Crusades still get a rise out of you. Still, even a devoted appeaser like Mr. Dionne has to recognize that Christians, as Christians, do not represent a prime demographic for the current recruitment of suicide bombers.

More of this insipidness follows:

“A significant number of Muslim religious leaders have said some harsh things about Christians, Jews and Western secularists in recent years. Would that all of Benedict's Muslim critics were as critical of anti-Christian or anti-Jewish statements from their own side.”

“Would that all…”? Would that ANY of Benedict’s Muslim critics were even SOMEWHAT “…critical of anti-Christian or anti-Jewish statements from their own side.”
But lest anyone accuse Mr. Dionne of piling on the Muslim rabble rousers, he makes apparent that he thinks Pope Benedict’s words “… take us back to arguments rooted in an era when Christianity and Islam were literally at sword's point.” Well, from where I’m sitting, that era is now.

Finally there’s the de rigueur call for tolerance:

“We should all struggle to interpret our respective traditions in ways that enhance toleration and respect.”

And, of course, a final shout-out to a liberals’ favorite solution for whatever ails us - “dialogue”:

“But religious dialogue will not progress very far if it starts off with a slap in the face.”

…or with bombs attached to young children.

Thanks for saving me the time. Dionne's obtuseness is worse (I think) because he's Catholic. Why can't he stand up for his own religion. Wasn't one of the reactions to the Pope's speech "covert or die?"
I think many American Catholics want to go on enjoying basking in the social good of Catholic organizations without the burden of actually signing onto it as a religion.
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