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Friday, September 15, 2006

A Lack of Perspective

Okay, the Pope says something about Muslims. They see it to be offensive. It probably is. I personally don't think that quoting from the 14th century is enough. Obviously, he quoted it for some purpose. Now, we can argue about whether what he said was both offensive and true. I think it's definitely possible to posit that in fact Islam has had a long history of spreading religion by the sword, and it's understandable by those hurt by it would have harsh feelings for it. But I'm more interested in the reaction. Anger. Rage. Burning effigies in the streets. And a lawmaker in Turkey comparing the Pope to Hitler and Mussolini. Hmm. Let's evaluate. Hitler and Mussolini killed millions of people based solely on their geneologies, oppressed much of the world, and were the cause of a war that almost destroyed Europe. The Pope said something mildly offensive. Okay, I suppose that's where we're at today. I know many Islamic leaders are noted for their rabid hatred of Jews, but equating the butchery of millions of them with the hurt feelings of a group of religious people seems a bit inappropriate. Maybe I'm a little sensitive (I'm noted for it). Others claimed that the Pope was trying to restart the crusades and was totally ignoring the fact that only a small portion of Islam is doing heinous things. Interesting. Cartoons and offensive remarks prompt firestorms of outrage from moderate Islam (often complete with violence against the Pagans foolish enough to say a discouraging word against their beliefs). Meanwhile, horrific violence against non-believers by the "fringe" of Islam prompt...crickets. Bland statements that indicate that what occurred was sad but inevitable. In some sense, the feeling is "you drove those folks to it, and we understand, though obviously murdering thousands of people is usually somewhat inadvisable". If we saw this type of outrage and backlash against the real threat to Islam (itself), there would be nothing to worry about. Unfortunately, this immature and infantile attitude continues to pop up, and underline the growing tension between cultures.


News Flash:
The Pope, of all people, has the sheer audacity to think, and even worse, say, that he sees potential problems with Islam? That he disagrees with it? Didn't he get the memo that told us that we are all multiculturalists now, and that the highest way to follow one's own religion is to follow and adore everyone else's, or at the very least hold hands and sing some non-denominational interfaith love song?

The Pope doesn't think Islam is the best thing since chunky peanut butter? Color me surprised. Here I was hoping to get a private audience with him where we could discuss the finer points of sharia law, after which we would head out to the nearest halal eatery for a light lunch.

Now, I don't really care what this 14th century Byzantine emporer said or wrote, because then I would have to track down and read his whole thing, and then a transcript of the Pope's whole speech, in which I would probably find that HE WASN'T ENDORSING THE VIEWPOINT, HE WAS BRINGING IT UP FOR DISCUSSION AND/OR CONSIDERATION. Have we gotten to the point where one cannot mention a religion of which he is not an adherent without running through the standard "religion of peace, I really heart those guys, and ooooohh, they're so interesting and different, in a good way, and you know, the whole veil thing, that just affirms women's worth as separate from their looks" BS disclosures? If so, I have news for you:

The next time you tell a Catholic joke, you will officially transubstantiate into Hitler.
Ugh... I've already had my fill of trying to calm down overly sensitive asshats today.

Can people develop common sense over night, or are we seriously doomed to screwing the entire race over?
Do you actually know any Muslims?
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