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Friday, June 12, 2009

Pope Un-Pius


[Disclaimer: What I'm saying here should not be interpreted as a "dig" against all Catholics, all popes or the papacy. Just the opposite, I have an enormous respect for Catholics and the papacy. I am reacting to the current pope who has shown his true colors by hobnobbing with the enemy.]

I guess I was spoiled. The first pope I remember was a good guy. So I guess I expect the Pope, who is supposed to be a holy man, to be something like the Dalai Lama, a spiritual man who loves all humanity. I’m somewhat surprised when the Pope turns out to be a terrible person.

But I really shouldn’t be surprised. This man was a member of the Hitler Youth and no matter how much he puts on the "pope uniform" and no matter who holy he tries to look, he’s just an old Nazi in a Halloween costume.

Though his "visit to the Holy Land" (as the news media have been putting it) started off in less than holy Jordan (as Arab countries go, perhaps Jordan isn’t the worst, but the statement this Islam-loving Jew-hating practice Pope makes by going first to Jordan is very telling), and he’s bending over backwards to kiss the "you-know-whats" of the "ethnically and linguistically identical Arabs popularly referred to as Palestinians", I found something else more offensive than either.

"Benedict was full of praise for Islamic faith and culture," wrote Father Raymond J. de Souza for an article in the National Post. Father de Souza added, "Benedict argues for open religious worship and witness precisely because he thinks of Islam as an ally of Christianity in resisting secularization. Religious practice and the role of religion in public life are much more robust in the Arab world than it is in largely secularized Europe." (Quoted in the National Post)

Besides totally putting down Judaism and its role in working for a moral and civilized world (not to mention Judaism’s role in the creation of both Christianity and Islam), which is a slap in the face to Jews and our belief base, this statement implies (or, at least, I infer from it) that secularism is evil and that the Muslims are shining lights of morality in this world.

There are two parts to the world, Ruhniyut (spirituality) and Gashmiyut (the mundane). Without the gashmiyut (the day to day living, our jobs, our cars, our houses, etc.) there can be no ruhniyut. The Talmud says "Im ein Kemah, ein Tora" (if there is no "flour" -- food -- there is no Tora -- no time to learn). The pursuit of parnassa (making a living) is secular for most of us. This is something the Pope does not know. He also doesn’t understand that there are secular people who are good and "spiritual" people who are evil. He doesn’t comprehend the power of goodness to transcend belief in G-d.

Belief or trust in G-d can be the basis of a good life. But so can a strong secular sense of morality. There are many people in this world who live very good, moral lives, treating people with respect, helping others, living their lives by a strong moral code.

Conversely, there are people who claim to believe in G-d who treat others like second-class citizens. Many in the Muslim world treat women, gays and non-Muslims, for example, as subhuman, as not worthy of existence. In the Muslim world, honor killings (murder of daughters, sisters, mothers, nieces, etc. for not following their strict code of subservience or murder of gays just for being gay) are common and rarely punished. Non-Muslims (Jews of course, but Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and any other non-Muslim) are regularly murdered for no reason other than their continued existence. And those who aren’t murdered are stolen from, beaten, cheated, arrested, jailed, tortured. Any Muslim who sells land to a Jew, writes articles condemning honor killings or terrorism, "fraternizes" (romantically or platonically) with non-Muslims, for example, is harassed, beaten, arrested, murdered. Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, a Bangladeshi journalist, is being tried for treason. His crime? Defending Israel in his newspaper and wanting to visit Israel.

This is not unusual in the repressive Muslim world. We in the United States take it for granted that criticizing the government or anyone else, for that matter, won’t land us in prison and certainly won’t end with us on trial for our lives. But in the demagogic world of Islamists, you never know what could cause the "police" to arrest you or just shoot you. You never know, especially if you are a woman or girl, what word you say, what outfit you might wear, what deed you might do that will wind up with you in jail, tortured or dead.

This is the world the Pope is defending, supporting, kissing up to. This is the evil that the man who represents one billion plus Catholics worldwide and, by extension, two billion plus Christians thinks will be his bastion of religiousness, his ally in G-dliness. These are the suppressive regimes and terror mongers that the Pope has hitched his star (or should I say "black hole") to.

We need to see the Islamist world for what it is. We need to see the Pope for who he is (and not blame the people he purports to represent). We need to fight his unholy alliance. We can’t allow the cowards of the world, the kowtowing governments, media outlets and so-called religious leaders, to put us in any more danger than we are. Just by our existence we anger the Islamists. Sitting back and allowing them to come in and kill us and destroy our way of life is not the answer. We are in a war, a war of words, a war of ideals, a war of ethics. And it’s a war we can’t afford to lose.

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