Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A Bridge Too Far

Since I’m both a traditional (small “t”) Catholic, and a person who places great value on clear language, ideas with substance, and intellectual precision, I purposely avoid anything to do with that brain pudding that goes by the name “ecumenism.”

I see it this way: If you want to convert me, or if, by some quirk, I accidentally manage to convert you, then fair is fair. It’s a good system, and it’s worked for thousands of years.

But for God’s sake, or for Allah’s, let’s don’t engage in the mutual adulteration of one another’s religions by dialoguing up buckets of nonsensical mush about how our square is really not so different from your circle.

All of which I mention only because I see once again where people who should know better have been playing at “interfaith dialogue.”

And I also feel a need to explain why, where I would ordinarily rely on quotations to better illustrate my point, when it comes to stories about ecumenical dialogue [sic], the language produced is so nauseatingly tepid and meaningless, that I can't find one thing substantial enough to find worth quoting, let alone worth re-reading. These interfaith events are the only examples I can think of where I actually support punitive government regulations being applied to compel drastic reductions in carbon emissions.

Poor Gregg Krupa at the Detroit News got the assignment to report about local Catholic and Muslim leaders gathering at the Islamic Center of America, where they “worshipped together,” (which is impossible), and, of course, contemplated, collaborated, dialogued, and spiritual journied, and all that other vapid nonsense. (“Catholic, Muslim interfaith dialogue opened”).

And the following will be my only example of the smog such unnatural intercourse brings:

"First of all, we recognize the fact that although these are two distinct religious traditions, we both have at their very heart good solid reasons why we engage in dialogue," said the Rev. Francis Tiso, associate director of the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs for the bishops' conference.

The language abuse is bad enough. But for me, the really embarrassing thing is that the Catholic leaders really believe they are working toward a common goal of mutual understanding, whereas I have no doubt that the ISNA, (the Muslim Brotherhood front group that is organizing the Muslim role in this sideshow), wouldn’t be involved if they didn’t see in it some opportunity for dawah.

The Brotherhood in North America (again, for which the ISNA is a mere front) has gone on record that its goal is “eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.” ("Just What Is the MSA?").

In other words, (and I say it even with something like a grudging admiration), Islam just doesn’t do interfaith dialogue.

Islam’s idea of ecumenism, (which in its Greek root denotes the entire inhabited world), is to invite all nonMuslims on Earth to embrace Islam, and then, whoever refuses to accept it thereafter will be forced to submit to dhimmi status, Sharia law, and the payment of the Jizya tax, and, whoever refuses to pay the tax, will submit to being killed or sold into slavery. For that matter, those dhimmis who don’t resist haven’t any more rights than those who do, and may also be killed or sold into slavery.

Put bluntly, there’s no place in the Koran for sharing common theological ground with Kuffirs.

Which means there’s already a sizeable element of hypocrisy here, (or Taqiyya?), on the part of the Islamic hosts of this “dialogue.” I can’t imagine these discussions serve any other purpose for Muslims than to highlight the weak-mindedness and pliability of local Catholic leaders.

Nor can I take seriously the claims of the local interfaith participants that “they explored guidelines to govern attempts to convert Muslims to Catholicism and Catholics to Islam.”

Islam's guidelines on Muslims converting to Catholicism don't bear much exploring, because, quite simply: “The prophet Muhammad said that anyone who rejects Islam for another religion should be executed.” (“Conversion a thorny issue in Muslim world”).

We saw this last year after Abdul Rahman, an Afghani who converted from Islam to Christianity, faced execution for apostasy, and only escaped with his life by obtaining exile and asylum in Italy. In view of Rahman's case, Pope Benedict pointedly spoke about concerns he had about “communities who live in countries where there is a lack of religious freedom, or where despite claims on paper they in truth are subjected to many restrictions.” (“Italy Grants Asylum to Afghan Christian Convert”).

Last year during another interfaith field trip to the Islamic Center of America, we were witness to the spectacle of Catholic schoolgirls offered as lambs by their Catholic-school teachers to Islamic shearers. (“Catholic Schoolgirls Learn to Cover Hair, Think Islam Is 'Cool'”).

Since then we’ve seen instance after instance of Christians submitting to Islamic demands, including Speaker of the House of Representatives, (and Catholic), Nancy Pelosi, donning a hijab while engaged in an appeasement campaign with the dictator of Syria. Then there was Dutch Bishop Martinus “Tiny” Muskens suggesting “that Christians should refer to God as ‘Allah’ to promote better relations with Muslims.” (“Pray to Allah, Dutch Bishop Suggests”).

Then, there was Rev. Ann Holmes Redding, who decided she was a Christian and a Muslim, “just like I'm both an American of African descent and a woman.” ("I am both Muslim and Christian").

Okay, Redding is not a Catholic, but an Episcopalian priest. But in these circumstances I don’t know if Muslims place that much importance on distinctions among Christians.

My point is, search in vain for photos of young Muslim schoolgirls clutching rosaries, or poring over Bibles, or gathering in a Catholic sanctuary to hear explanations of the ancient Christian doctrines of the Atonement, and the Incarnation, and the Three in One cherished so dearly by those they’re pretending to be dialoguing with. You won't find those images. In these interfaith meets, Mohammed never goes to the mountain, but always vice versa.

And the symbolism of the Kumbayistas going as supplicants to the Islamic Center of America is not lost on the Muslim audience.

Fortunately, a lot of the local silliness of American prelates is neutralized by the firm pastoral hand of Benedict in Rome. Making short work of the recent duplicitous call for dialogue of the 138 Muslims a couple weeks ago, the Vatican promptly came out with a statement that dialogue was hardly possible when Muslims see the Koran as the literal word of God--strictly off-limits to interpretation or being discussed in depth. (“Cardinal signals firm Vatican stance with Muslims”).

Then, speaking for the Vatican, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran also issued this further challenge:

The fact that Muslims can build mosques in Europe while many Islamic states limit or ban church building cannot be ignored, he said. "In a dialogue among believers, it is fundamental to say what is good for one is good for the other," he said.

Since Benedict knows perfectly well that Islamic leaders will never tolerate treating with Christians on equal terms, the impossibility of “dialogue” is baldly apparent. It’s also apparent which party is the intransigent one, and why. (Okay, for those who sometimes miss the obvious, it’s the Muslims ).

Someone's crying, Lord.

Oh, that would be me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

" Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces."

Matthew 7:6

Oops! Is mentioning swine offensive to muslims? Tough sh@t!

They can't handle the Truth!!