Friday, September 15, 2006

Message from one Catholic to offended Muslims

Guess what? I think my religion is better than yours. I think we are right and you are wrong. On the matters in which Christianity and Islam differ, I side with Christianity, notably on how we relate to other religions. I suspect most Catholics and Christians who take their religion seriously at all think the same way. I do not think the institutions around my religion are perfect, both historically and in the present, but I believe they keep me closer to God than I would alone.

This does not mean that I want to kill you or force you to follow my religion. This does not mean I consider you a second-class citizen. But I do think you are following a mistaken path, and should the opportunity present itself, I will present my point of view without apology. I will not go out of my way to offend you. If you come to my house, I will not serve pork. I will not draw pictures of your Prophet just to tweak you. But I will not pretend that I think you have the right idea, either.

I suspect you feel the same way with respect to Christianity. You think you're right and I'm wrong. I'm fine with that so long as you don't try to force me to accept your beleifs.

Now, can we please stop with the feigned shock that people who don't follow your religion believe it is wrong? I'd like to live in peace with you, I really would, but it's really difficult when I cannot express my beliefs without you flopping to the ground over how I've offended your sensibilities and you demanding apologies and comparing me to Hitler and Mussolini.

We have a long history of pluralism, and tolerance, and we're proud of it. For the past several years, you've been working a form of judo on us, using this noble instinct against us to increase your influence. You count on us calling a foul on ourselves when you flop to the floor, tossing you the ball and going back on defense. And so far, it's worked every time.

But the victories you've gained this way aren't real, and I think you know it. The truth is, you only win this way so long as we stop when you flop. But I gotta tell ya, we're geting pretty damn tired of stopping, and the day is going to come when we dribble right over you and dunk the ball while you continue to whine for a foul.

So, yeah, maybe you'll get an apology from the Holy Father, even though anyone reading his lecture without looking to be offended knew he wasn't out there to blast Islam. Could he have chosen a quote less likely to offend? Yeah, I suppose he could have. But shit happens. Believe it or not, people sometimes make decisions based on things other than what will offend your sensibilities. Grow up and deal with it. In this country, some people think it's "art" to present my Savior and His Blessed Mother using urine and fecal matter. Do I like it? No. Do I take to the streets and advise the artist he shouldn't travel to my town? No.

You have just about overdrawn on the account of our indulgence of your sensibilities. You're going to have to find a more productive way to have a place in out conversations. Here's hoping you do so.

1 comment:

TheQuietMan said...

Curious post,

The leaders of your religion have gone to great pains to show "respect" for other religions.

This choice, surely, is political. As you point out, an adherent to catholicism is assuredly likely to think Islam "inferior."

Now let's not assume the Pope is intensely stupid. He must have known his comments would stir the pot.

In fact, it's rather hard not to see the Pope's comment as a deliberate provocation.

I don't know his motives, but surely, whatever they are, they were deliberate.