Friday, September 15
The Pope and the Byzantine Emperor's Quote about Islam
And... cue the angry bearded men...
The Pope speaks about the need for rationality in religion; he condemns violence in the promotion of religion; and Muslims respond by burning him in effigy.
Islam: Not so good at PR.
Knowing the treatment the Church usually gets on BBC comment boards, I logged onto their comment board about the Pope's quotation of that Byzantine emperor with some trepidation.
Actually, I was surprised that many people are actually recognizing
(1) It was a quotation
(2) The speech itself was promoting PEACE AND RELIGION
(2) The "offended" routine is getting a really, really old
(3) JUST BECAUSE IT'S HOLY TO YOU, DOESN'T MEAN ITS HOLY TO ME
That last bit is something I would ask muslims to say five times a day, as it were.
Of course, although it was a quotation and not His Holiness's own words, it's worth pointing out that he obviously did choose an unusually vivid and obscure quotation. Had any of us heard of this emperor before, besides Matthew? In thinking about this, I think we see again that now, 1 1/2 years after his election, just as in the case with the upcoming liturgical documents, Benedict is returning to the themes of his opening homily. He said at that time that we lived in a dictatorship of relativism. I honestly wouldn't have thought to employ the example which Benedict did, but it has certainly caused a stir: secularists are outraged that Benedict dare argue that Christianity is better or true, muslims are outraged that the Pope --the Pope-- didn't affirm that Islam is better or true. Is there a dictatorship of relativism? Benedict may very well have purposely let this vivid quote fly, just to prove precisely this point.
Still no one else is talking about the fact that a Turkish Muslim killed a German Catholic priest the very day that Benedict critized violence in the name of religion...