Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 22, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

BLIND HISTORY....So, the pope includes some remarks about Islam and violence in a recent speech, and what happens? The Muslim world goes nuts. Benedict's remarks may have been needlessly insulting, but the vicious and theatrical displays of violence from all over the Muslim world have nonetheless been completely disgraceful.

Charles Krauthammer makes this point today in his usual restrained fashion, and for once I wouldn't really blame him, polemics and all, if it weren't for one thing. In the middle of an acknowledgment that all religions have considerable violence in their pasts, this assertion pops out of nowhere:

However, the inconvenient truth is that after centuries of religious wars, Christendom long ago gave it up.

It's this kind of blithe, self-congratulatory nonsense that makes me wonder where the "clash of civilizations" crowd parks their brains. Cleverly, Krauthammer restricts himself here to "religious wars," and it's true that Christendom hasn't had a genuine religious war in quite a while. But Christendom sure as hell hasn't given up on war not among ourselves, and not against others. Just to name a few, and just to stay within the past few decades, we have Iraq, Kosovo, Bosnia, Nicaragua, Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Algeria, Cuba, Malaysia, Suez, Iraq again, Greece, and Germany. And it would be easy to add a dozen more if I felt like it.

There's no excuse for the barbaric reaction to the pope's speech that's come from some corners of the Islamic world. But neither is there any excuse for Westerners to pretend that we've spent the last century cultivating peace and lovingkindness among our enlightened selves. It's a stupid distortion of reality and accomplishes nothing except to convince the rest of the world that we're blind to our own history and our own actions.

Kevin Drum 1:10 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (90)

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Comments

It's good to know that the Prods in Belfast have stopped beating up on the Papists.

Posted by: Brian Boru on September 22, 2006 at 1:19 AM | PERMALINK

It's a stupid distortion of reality and accomplishes nothing except to convince the rest of the world that we're blind to our own history and our own actions.

This is an decent description of every Krauthammer column.

Posted by: jimBOB on September 22, 2006 at 1:20 AM | PERMALINK

Italy leaves Iraq. The great coalition of the beaten and bribed habve all left... what now?
--
A U.N. report released overnight said Iraq was now deadlier than ever, with 6,599 Iraqis dying violently in the last two months, 700 more than in the previous two.


"Bodies found at the Medico-legal Institute often bear signs of severe torture, including acid-induced injuries and burns caused by chemical substances, missing skin, broken bones, missing eyes, missing teeth and wounds caused by power drills or nails," it said.

http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/articlenews.aspx?type=worldNews&storyID=2006-09-21T174648Z_01_GRA124113_RTRUKOC_0_UK-IRAQ.xml&pageNumber=0&imageid=&cap=&sz=13&WTModLoc=NewsArt-C1-ArticlePage2

--
We are told by the boy king incessantly about the deaths on 9/11.
How does this make sense?

"
UN Report:

Iraqi civilians killed in August = 3009

Reported wounded = 4309.

Many of the bodies were tortured including gouged out eyeballs, wounds from nails, power drills, and acid. "

Posted by: Jay in Oregon on September 22, 2006 at 1:27 AM | PERMALINK

It's a stupid distortion of reality and accomplishes nothing except to convince the rest of the world that we're blind to our own history and our own actions.

It's also a stupid, blind distortion to convince ourselves we're anything like the Islamofascists who wish to take over the world with a totalitarian state and impose Sharia law on everyone and kill all non-Muslims.

Posted by: Al on September 22, 2006 at 1:31 AM | PERMALINK

When American soldiers march on a country and demand they convert to Christianity or die, then you'll have a point.

Krauthammer was right, and twisting it around doesn't change it. Islam needs to outgrow its jihad phase.

Posted by: marcus on September 22, 2006 at 1:41 AM | PERMALINK

When American soldiers march on a country and demand they convert to Christianity or die, then you'll have a point.

Good point Marcus. The Islamofascists demand everyone converts to being a Muslim. Christians do not demand all Muslim be converted. That's why we're morally superior to them and why we are right to demand they surrender or be killed.

Posted by: Al on September 22, 2006 at 1:49 AM | PERMALINK

aWol did refer to the struggle against terrorism as a crusade.

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 22, 2006 at 1:52 AM | PERMALINK

Gotta love it. Krauthammer. Brooks. Medved. Prager. Jewish apologists for Christianity. Whom am I missing?

Posted by: bobbo on September 22, 2006 at 2:04 AM | PERMALINK

I don't know if the Christians have given up on religious wars but there is a good argument that the founding fathers did.

They were a genration away from Cromwell and the Gloroius Revolution. They wrote about Church and State issues. Seprate them.

The Clinton administration promoted the Y2K bug over a millenium crisis of faith. And that led to to a enormous spendng in the IT area with mulplicator effects throughout the economy.

(Unless you thought the milleniun really started in 2001 because the birthdate didn't start at year zero.)

Way back when, the result of the world not ending in the year 1,000, there was a relief and and the a made building spree of churches and cathedrals for along time until a Pope called for the Crusades.

But that is another story the current Pope should know about that bit of history.

Posted by: Scaramouche on September 22, 2006 at 2:10 AM | PERMALINK

Why would anyone expect rational behavior from people who guide their lives with works of fiction that are filled with and promote superstition, bigotry, tribalism, brutality and justifications for pretty much any conduct, all in the name of a fictional character?

Why would anyone expect a discussion of the relative merits of the beliefs and behaviors of two such groups of people to be rational?

And another thing, Kevin, what do you mean when you say a "genuine" religious war? Are you suggesting that we disregard the central fact of the division between Christian Serbs and Muslim Bosnians? Should we pretend that religion had nothing to do with it?

Can you name a war that strikes you as a "genuine" religious war?

Posted by: James E. Powell on September 22, 2006 at 2:21 AM | PERMALINK

we have Iraq, Kosovo, Bosnia, Nicaragua, Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Algeria, Cuba, Malaysia, Suez, Iraq again, Greece, and Germany.

these are wars in the expansion of Christendom?

I thought that Iraq was about oil and the phoney WMDs.

Was there a war in Cuba? Was it about Christianity? The Bay of Pigs was about re-establishing a narrow, criminal plutocracy, or something like that.

Posted by: republicrat on September 22, 2006 at 2:32 AM | PERMALINK

>...religious wars, Christendom long ago gave it up.

Wellllll, not quiet, but kinda close.

Christianity is a "defeated" religion in relationship to general society and governments.

It was the King's and Queen's of old europe who got tired of the religious wars and finally told the "bishops" they have to choices: Stop causing problems and live, or die: The King's/Government would be concerned with this life, while the "bishops" would be concerned with the next.

The "bishops", not all that eager to see if there was a real god, decided to stay out of politics in a direct way.

And the concept of sepraration of chunch and State began.

Islam, on the other hand, never got "defeated" by it's own religious wars. It's structure is such that it eats it's own from the inside, but the most of people can't see anything wrong with this as it's "God's Will". They are trapped in it's structure.

However, not everyone in Islam thinks that way.

Islam today is in a fight to decide if they want to be a "defeated" religion and move on like Christianity. They simply don't know what to do and they are afraid. The problem is the violence shaking it spills over to the rest of the world.


Posted by: James on September 22, 2006 at 2:35 AM | PERMALINK

"Clash of Civilizations" eah ?

from the mouth of the Clash of Civilizations dude hisself

"...the West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion...but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do." - Samuel P. Huntington

Posted by: daCascadian on September 22, 2006 at 2:38 AM | PERMALINK

When American soldiers march on a country and demand they convert to Christianity or die, then you'll have a point.

Yeah, nobody on the Christian side ever advocates anything like that:

Ann Coulter: "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity."

Posted by: craigie on September 22, 2006 at 2:49 AM | PERMALINK

c'mon Craigie, that's a strawman. Coulter is in charge if Dick.
Now if you wanted point to such operations as "Shake and Bake" as exemplifying Christian values, we should stimulate a hubbub.

Posted by: opit on September 22, 2006 at 2:59 AM | PERMALINK

>Ann Coulter: "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity."

Americans did practice on the Indians.

(Ok. It wasn't exactly countries...just lands.)

Ann must have been reincarnated for not learning any lessons from the 19th century...or was that the 18th?

Some people never learn, like Ann.

Posted by: James on September 22, 2006 at 3:05 AM | PERMALINK

However, the inconvenient truth is that after centuries of religious wars, Christendom long ago gave it up.

In the first few centuries of Christianity, it spread peacefully throughout the Roman empire. Islam, by contrast, spread by military power as soon as the Muslims had sufficient power to conquer their nearest neighbor.


In the last few centuries European wars have not been sectarian, mostly, but about nations, empires, and types of governments. WWI, for example, pitted the Protestants, Jews, and Catholics of Germany against the Protestants and Jews of England and the Catholics and Jews of France. the leaders of Germany in WWII were anti-Christian cultists, and they aimed to annihilate Jews whether the Jews converted or not. Their greatest enemy was anti-religious USSR. The Communist revolutions and expansion were explicitly opposed to all religions and all religious observance. The largest of these Communist wars of revolution was in Asia, namely China.

When the US defeated Japan in WWII, it imposed a democratic government, civil rights (including suffrage for women), and supported the Japanese market economy, but made no attempt to force Japanese to convert to Christianity. This is basically what the US is attempting to accomplish right now in Iraq, where nearly all of the bloodshed is Muslim vs. Muslim.

I think that you might want to reconsider exactly what it is you mean to write. Krauthammer is basically correct.

maybe you mean that Americans should feel bashful that Americans have killed for freedom, and we should feel that killing for freedom is the same thing as killing in the name of submission to the preaching of Mohammed.

maybe you mean that belief in individual liberty is fundamentally religious (people are endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights like life, liberty and pursuit of happiness), and that fighting to give people freedom is religious war. For that reason, you are embarrassed to support a war for freedom becaus freedom is essentially just another superstition. I don't think you mean that.

Posted by: republicrat on September 22, 2006 at 3:07 AM | PERMALINK

"...the West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion...but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do." - Samuel P. Huntington

The superiority of applying organized violence does follow from ideas and values. Much of the fantastic weaponry of the West arose out of fundamental scientific research, most done for knowledge and in opposition to religious censure. For example, the experiments of Meitner, Hahn and Stresemann that led to the discovery and characterization of nuclear fission had no practical utility when first conceived, and could not have been carried out in any Muslim countries of the time, where such experimentation was derided (quite unlike the age of the great caliphates.) The communication networks, roads and railroads that support the large armies arose principally from commerce. (The German Army learned some of the operation of trains by studying the ringling Brothers circus.)

Even now, the great wealth of the oil-rich sheikdoms does not produce as much scientific and military knowledge as the tiny state of Israel. Saudi Arabia finances schools where nothing is taught but the rote memorization of the Qu'ran. It's really about ideas and values.

Posted by: republicrat on September 22, 2006 at 3:24 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, the most astounding thing about the speech was his blithe assertion that Christianity relies on reason. One wonders if the whole speech was not meant as satire.

Posted by: focus on September 22, 2006 at 3:39 AM | PERMALINK

Heck Robertson is already preaching Holy War to his followers [rawstory] Dobson and Falwell will follow soon.

I wouldn't mind these folks wanting a holy war if they didn't iinclude the other people that don't follow a fatalist armageddon ideology.

I mean, how selfish can one get to create a war and kill people for their form of religion? It borders on sociopathic behaviour. Praying for War? Asking for the death of others so that you can float off into space?
Isn't that praying for Satan in effect?

Posted by: Taurtle on September 22, 2006 at 3:43 AM | PERMALINK

Heck Robertson is already preaching Holy War to his followers [rawstory] Dobson and Falwell will follow soon.
I wouldn't mind these folks wanting a holy war if they didn't iinclude the other people that don't follow a fatalist armageddon ideology.
I mean, how selfish can one get to create a war and kill people for their form of religion? It borders on sociopathic behaviour. Praying for War? Asking for the death of others so that you can float off into space?
Isn't that praying for Satan in effect?

Posted by: Taurtle on September 22, 2006 at 3:44 AM | PERMALINK

republicrat,

surely you don't intend to suggest that every war America has fought has been to spread freedom and democracy? We essentially quashed democratic movements in the Phillipines directly (read Mark Twain for a bracing critique of our imperialistic rapaciousness there), and all over Central and South America by proxy. When it is to our (perceived) advantage to prop up or cooperate with tyrants, we don't hesitate to do so. Take off your rose-tinted glasses and rejoin the reality-based community...

Posted by: zeke on September 22, 2006 at 3:46 AM | PERMALINK

Poor Charles Krauthammer. Kevin blasts him even while agreeing that he's totally correct.

I think CK was making an important distinction. Yes, Christendom has horrendous non-religious wars. So does Islamdom -- e.g., Iran-Iraq war, Iraq-Kuwait war.

But, there's a real difference today between Islam and all the other religions, in terms of belligerance. Christians fought religious wars centuries ago, but Christianity changed away from that. What's needed is for the Islamic religion to change away from its support for violence.

One reason CK's point is important is Fundmentalist Christians. I have seen many a post conflating the Christian right with Islamic extremists, and that's not accurate. Whether you like Fundamentalism or not, no group of Christian Fundamentalists is committing mass murder in the name of their religion.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 22, 2006 at 5:28 AM | PERMALINK

There's no excuse for the barbaric reaction to the pope's speech that's come from some corners of the Islamic world


Then don't make one.

Posted by: Tourist on September 22, 2006 at 5:43 AM | PERMALINK

Long ago given up?

What I find most annoying is the gross generalisation, as I am based in region and feel entirely comfortable stating that 95 percent of the perfectly Arab and Muslim colleagues, workers, etc. that I have dealt with in the past weeks didn't give a fig about the Pope's remarks - other than some degree of annoyance and 'offence' in a non-rioting fashion.

So, we have several thousand radicals and convenient fools among a sea of a billion odd people that riot and this is called "The Muslim World's reaction" when the rather more general reaction - irritation, verbal condemnation but not terribly extensive interest - gets passed over.

That strikes me as hypocrisy insofar as equally marginal reaction in the West gets excused.

The lesson here is how distorted the imagery going in both directions is, and again, sitting as a businessman in the region with all the relevant langauges (ex-Farsi), I have not seen the information flow get better in the last few years, rather it has gotten worse as the worst imagery plays into the hands of the demagogues on both sides.

Pox on it all.

Posted by: The Lounsbury on September 22, 2006 at 5:51 AM | PERMALINK

I would add by the way that the ostensibly non-religious colonial wars by the French and the British look decidely less so if one looks at both colonial government's interest in allowing and promoting (with varied extents) proslytisation and Christianisation. In the case of Algeria and generally French North Africa, the French rather clearly had religiously discriminatory policies aimed at 'breaking' Islam - the Berber Dahir, etc. Didn't work, but the likes of Krauthammer are engaging in what we call in French "maquillage" (which is to say, willfull and fraudulent distortion or deception).

Posted by: The Lounsbury on September 22, 2006 at 5:55 AM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: mm on September 22, 2006 at 6:28 AM | PERMALINK

"However, the inconvenient truth is that after centuries of religious wars, Christendom long ago gave it up."

This is rather more complicated, as many religious wars were (are) dual-use, so to speak - religion was the justification, the hook, certainly, but . . .

Anyway, this seems a very American perspective. A handful of centuries is "long ago".

I don't actually think religions develop along a fixed path according to a specific timetable, but as oft pointed out, if you go back to the time when Christianity was as old as Islam is now, we're definitely back in the midst of those centuries of religious war, with quite a ways to go. Yes, I know, this is a meaningless observation . . .

The more relevant one is what things would be like today if Islamic lands hadn't, for the most part, been colonized by the West. But that's harder to tell . . .

Posted by: Dan S. on September 22, 2006 at 7:15 AM | PERMALINK

As usual, Krauthammer the pathological liar. IIRC, it was just in the past week that a man drove a van packed with explosives into a birth control clinic- as in, right through the wall.

And last month it was people in Maryland (maybe Delaware?) forced to move because of their "Christian" neighbors.

KD needs to upgrade his reading. Nobody lives long enough to waste time on Krauthammer.

Posted by: serial catowner on September 22, 2006 at 7:41 AM | PERMALINK

Let's not forget that Hitler himself forged an unholy alliance with the Christian church in Nazi Germany. Propaganda put out by the Nazi's was replete with Christian imagery so perhaps it is no surprise that they so savagely attacked practitioners of a competing religion, Judaism.

Posted by: RememberingWW2 on September 22, 2006 at 8:10 AM | PERMALINK

Christians don't need to fight religious wars, since they control most of the world's best land and resources.

As for Muslims, no Muslim country that I'm aware of is fighting a religious war. What we do have is a carde of Muslim fanatics causing occasional havoc. Our biggest mistake has been to give these whackos the status of warriors by insisting on refer to this whole mess as a war or terrorism or islamofascism or whatever.

Posted by: Virginia Dutch on September 22, 2006 at 8:28 AM | PERMALINK

I would argue that WWII and the Cold War were the greatest religious wars in history. Except we called them "ideologies." But really, what was the difference? It was all about allegiance to one system of Truth vs. another.

Posted by: klaus on September 22, 2006 at 8:46 AM | PERMALINK

Lost amid the self-congratulation are the Pope's own recent slams at Reason. He's a Faith guy. Jerusalem over Athens. All that kind of stuff. When Faith has primacy over Reason, well, you're just a Leader away from barbarism.

So it goes.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on September 22, 2006 at 8:54 AM | PERMALINK

"But, there's a real difference today between Islam and all the other religions, in terms of belligerance. Christians fought religious wars centuries ago, but Christianity changed away from that."

So where's that actual real difference? Where exactly has Islam been waging religious wars? Maybe I'm forgetting something but it seems to me that *ALL* of the invasions in the Middle East in the last twenty years or so have come from the Christian US, the Jewish Israel or the secular Saddam Hussein. Not an Islamic religious war anywhere in the bunch.

Posted by: chaboard on September 22, 2006 at 9:03 AM | PERMALINK

"Not an Islamic religious war anywhere in the bunch." So Saddam's invasion of Shia Iran by Sunni Iraq was what, for oil ? Khomeini's overthrow of the modernizing Shah to install a fundamentalist Sharia regime was what ?

What kind of education do you folks have ? Read Looming Tower and come back when you've finished it.

Posted by: Mike K on September 22, 2006 at 9:10 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, it's been many centuries since the crusades, but that is simply not the whole story.

Look at the various struggles between the Catholica and Protestant states of Europe. While not 100% religious in their basis, a substantial portion of the motivation and reasoning was religious.

The Nazi regime was not in and of itself Christian, but most of its members were and the regime freely co-opted what they could from the church. Ask the Jews if they felt targeted because of their religion, I think they might say yes.

The Cold War was frequently presented as a war against "godless communists". (Note that even today, an atheist in America would have a harder time getting elected than any other religion - it's a socially acceptable form of bigotry.) When "Under God" was added to the pledge of alligience by Congress, what percentage voting on it was anything other than Christian? I'm betting on 0-1%, tops.

Every religious war has had motives other than religion attached; religion has frequently been abused to motivate the rubes to get rewards in heaven while the powerful get theirs right here on Earth.

Posted by: Fides on September 22, 2006 at 9:18 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin - do you have any evidence that Christian ministers or Christian seminaries are advocating violence against pagans?

Didn't think so.

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on September 22, 2006 at 9:26 AM | PERMALINK

Right on, Mr Krauthammer

Posted by: Ian Paisley on September 22, 2006 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

But most of the recent wars of the west haven't been waged to advance Christianity.

The Nazis were only incidental Christians, Vietnam and Korea were battles against Communism, the Civil War was about slavery, etc...

Krauthammer, despite his repugnance, has a point: Islam has problem right now that Christianity hasn't had for some time.

Posted by: Matt D on September 22, 2006 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

"*ALL* of the invasions in the Middle East in the last twenty years or so have come from the Christian US, the Jewish Israel or the secular Saddam Hussein. Not an Islamic religious war anywhere in the bunch."

So when the US invades, it's a "Christian" invasion, but when Saddam Hussein invades, it's "secular"? In this way we conveniently exclude the Iran-Iraq War, 1980-1988, over a million dead -far and away the greatest catastrophe in recent Middle Eastern history. It's just a coincidence that this was a war between a Sunni state and a Shi'ite state - no religious implications there. Also we can ignore the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Also the Syrian invasion of Lebanon the same year, because Syria is secular. And we don't need to consider the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, which began before your your 20-year window but isn't over yet. That was an invasion by secular Turks - it's just coincidental that the country they invaded happened to be majority Greek Orthodox.

Posted by: JR on September 22, 2006 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

Why have the terms of this discussion turned from the Pope's challenge of (some) Islamic clerics sponsorship of modern-day terrorism (when bombs do lots more damage than they did in say, 1900) to the fine points of whether he insulted the religion of Islam? Why aren't good liberals supporting his exercise of free speech and condemning the violence he is referring to, rather than 'understanding' why Muslims might be insulted? This kind of namby-pamby tap dancing is why most Americans think Dems are too soft to fight terrorists.

Posted by: maryLou on September 22, 2006 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

"*ALL* of the invasions in the Middle East in the last twenty years or so have come from the Christian US, the Jewish Israel or the secular Saddam Hussein. Not an Islamic religious war anywhere in the bunch."

So when the US invades, it's a "Christian" invasion, but when Saddam Hussein invades, it's "secular"? In this way we conveniently exclude the Iran-Iraq War, 1980-1988, over a million dead -far and away the greatest catastrophe in recent Middle Eastern history. It's just a coincidence that this was a war between a Sunni state and a Shi'ite state - no religious implications there. Also we can ignore the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Also the Syrian invasion of Lebanon the same year, because Syria is secular. And we don't need to consider the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, which began before your your 20-year window but isn't over yet. That was an invasion by secular Turks - it's just coincidental that the country they invaded happened to be majority Greek Orthodox.

Posted by: JR on September 22, 2006 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

The Holocaust fed off of the anti-Semitism of European Christianity (blaming the Jews for killing Jesus). Northern Ireland's conflict was religious in nature, as was the pre-partition conflict between Britain and its Irish colony. Franco's Spain and Salazar's Portugal (and their colonies) had a Christian bent on traditional Mussolini (a former athiest-socialist) style-corportaism. We slaughtered hundreds of thousands of people not long ago in the Phillipines trying to convert them even though they were Catholic. A big part of the European imperialist project around the world was conversion. This project only wound down in the past century, not centuries ago. If Israel counts as part of the West, the settlement movement in Gaza and the West Bank has been pure "religious fundamentalism" driven by the religious conservatism and identity politics of the Likud, which has brought violence to the Palestinians. Some of these conflicts and/or actors were somewhat secular, but religious identity considerations were not entirely absent.

Posted by: Reality Man on September 22, 2006 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

Um, he didn't say Christendom gave up on war, just religious wars. It seems obvious that he was talking about how the Pope hasn't ordered any crusades in the past few centuries.

I think you're trying to make something of nothing here.

Posted by: Staunch Moderate on September 22, 2006 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

I blame the press. While in Germany, little was made of the Pope's remarks, in English, I was horrified to read that the press' headlines were typically something like "Pope quotes anti-Muslim remarks" (it should have read something like "Pope quotes anti-Muslim remarks as an example of stupidity").

There was no explanation provided that the Pope was using this citation as an example of erroneous logic.

Later when the Pope apologized, the English language press had it down as "Pope "regrets" Muslim reaction" whereas in German, French and Italian, when someone, anyone apologizes, they say "I regret that I made you cry". This is the equivalent of saying in English "I am sorry that I hurt your feelings"

Now why the English language press wants to stir up animosity between Muslims and the Vaticans is anyone's guess, but it seems it was almost done on purpose.

Posted by: Michele on September 22, 2006 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

Rwanda use to be known as "the most Christian nation in Africa".

Just sayin'...

Posted by: A Hermit on September 22, 2006 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

Once we discovered race, we lost interest in religion. Goodbye Inquistion, Hello Slavery!

Posted by: jimmy on September 22, 2006 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

I love the Holy Father!

Oberammergau, BAVARIA, September 14 Pope Benedict XVI addressed a giddy crowd today at Flugzeugabsturz Stadium for his annual Blessing of the Munich Fall Fashion Line. But he veered from his expected topic of sweater knits and the return of wide belts to the problem of too many slovenly Muslims.

Der Papst, as he is known in Germany, delights in inciting fun-loving Bavarian crowds against their neighbors. So, it wasnt too surprising that Benedict began a tirade with a shot at a British TV cameraman whom the Pope called a macaca.

The Pope went on to say, All I see coming out of the Middle East is a bunch of sheet-wearing ragamuffins. Theyre a dishonor to a thousand years of fashion development.

But what really burns my cassock, he said, is that disgraceful headwear they sport. Their so-called imams show up wearing a pile of inflammable rags on their heads. Nothing but cheap, flimsy shmatas excuse my French.

When questioned later, the Pope said that he was merely quoting the medieval Lithuanian king, Vytautas Didysis, and it wasnt his personal opinion.

http://www.dcpox.com/


Posted by: JeffII on September 22, 2006 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

Everything changed since 9/11.

Before 9/11: War is hell; kill or be killed.

After 9/11: Life is hell; kill or be killed.

All you need to know:

Democracy=Capitalism=Religion=War=Life=Death

Posted by: snoopy on September 22, 2006 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

The Lounsbury wrote:

What I find most annoying is the gross generalisation, as I am based in region and feel entirely comfortable stating that 95 percent of the perfectly Arab and Muslim colleagues, workers, etc. that I have dealt with in the past weeks didn't give a fig about the Pope's remarks - other than some degree of annoyance and 'offence' in a non-rioting fashion.

So, we have several thousand radicals and convenient fools among a sea of a billion odd people that riot and this is called "The Muslim World's reaction" when the rather more general reaction - irritation, verbal condemnation but not terribly extensive interest - gets passed over.

That's an interesting point. When you spoke with your Arab and Muslim colleagues, did they openly denounce the protests? My guess is that they didn't, and in fact, that they inwardly supported or were on some level of agreement with the protestors. Did you get any sense of that?

For example, I'm a Christian. When I hear about a fellow Christian attacking or killing an abortion doctor, I think that person should be thrown right in jail to rot. I feel similarly when I hear about fellow Christians using Christianity as the basis of doing something horrific like protesting a funeral.

I just don't think there's evidence of an equivalent reaction in the Muslim community.

Posted by: sportsfan79 on September 22, 2006 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

. . . Northern Ireland's conflict was religious in nature, as was the pre-partition conflict between Britain and its Irish colony. Posted by: Reality Man

No it isn't. It's about self-detemination. The British colonized Ireland. The only reason there are any protestants in the north is because the Brits sent them there to dilute the native population. It's pretty much the same in Palestine. That the European colonists are Jews is immaterial to the native Arabs. The Europeans (and later, non-Europeans) came and took land that was owned by others. That is the root issue.

Posted by: JeffII on September 22, 2006 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

The radical conservatives have instilled so much fear in everyone that even someone like Kevin feels the need to qualify his criticism by explicitly professing his disgust at the barbaric reaction to the Pope's speech lest he be branded as sympathetic to the barbarians.

Posted by: gregor on September 22, 2006 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

Michele:

I dunno if the example Benedict used was to point out the illogic of religious supremecy. I thought that rather, the example was to make one of his central points: that the mind of God (which is reasonable) finds religious compulsion (Islamic forced conversion) abhorrent. His whole point was to say that violence in the name of religion is unreasonable and faith without reason (such as the transcendental supremecy of Allah beyond reason) leads to dangerous consequences.

That 9th century Byzantine emperor can't be spun as an example of what not to say to Muslims. That Emperor made Benedict's larger point about the necessity of reason in faith. It was a stupidly undiplomatic example to use -- tantamount to saying "my religion is better than your religion, pbbbbbt !" -- and the reaction should've been anticipated.

But there you go.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 22, 2006 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

sportsfan79:

For example, I'm a Christian. When I hear about a fellow Christian attacking or killing an abortion doctor, I think that person should be thrown right in jail to rot. I feel similarly when I hear about fellow Christians using Christianity as the basis of doing something horrific like protesting a funeral. I just don't think there's evidence of an equivalent reaction in the Muslim community.

You're such a good person! So much better than any Muslim. You will go to heaven and they will go to hell. While still on earth, you will have luxuries and they will have squalor. Bless your goodness.

On the other hand, where's the "evidence" for widespread condemnation in the Christian community of violent acts committed by Christians?

Posted by: JesusFuckingChrist on September 22, 2006 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

mhr wrote: "The difference between people like you and Krauthammer is that Krauthammer is an educated man."

Krauthammer is a fraud and a liar, and you are a propaganda-regurgitating mental slave.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 22, 2006 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

This post was breathtakingly dishonest. The West doesn't define itself as "Christendom" and hasn't for some time whereas the violence perpetrated by Muslims is an explicitly religious act. Further, Western wars were not initiated on a religious impulse (or sanctioned with a religious edict) unlike the fatwas issuing from Saudi imams. Even if you think bin Laden's invocation of Islam is a cynical attempt to rally Arabs to expell foreign occupiers, the explicitly religious cast of their violence puts lie to the notion that this is somehow just the same as when America or the West takes military action.

Why the lame attempt at equivalence?

Posted by: Gregory Scoblete on September 22, 2006 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

On the other hand, where's the "evidence" for widespread condemnation in the Christian community of violent acts committed by Christians?

Everywhere. In every Church, every Synagogue. Even rabid, religion-hating lefties like yourself know that deep down.

Posted by: sportsfan79 on September 22, 2006 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

I didn't have time to thoroughly read all the comments above but I would like to state a position that it not religion or God that has caused so many wars that have been fought "in the name of religion." It is man's perversion of that religion. As a Christian myself, I am only familiar with the precepts of my religion which teach peace to all mankind (Yes, I am aware of all those wars in the Old Testament supposedly sanctioned by God). The message of Jesus Christ is to love God, yourself and your neighbor - even your enemies. And since Christianity, Judaisn and Islam all believe in "the God of Abraham" I can't help but believe that they all promote brotherhood. Any suggestion that relgion results in war and death is incorrect. It is simply man's perversion of religion.

Posted by: Lamonte on September 22, 2006 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

Please specify, without US media, what the theatrical violence was and where it was performed. I am unaware of any vicious response to the popish plops. I am aware that Muslims felt insulted by the remarks of El Papa, the dark eyed twin of Richard Perle.

Posted by: Hostile on September 22, 2006 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory Scoblete:

"Operation Infinite Justice" doesn't have a, umm, strong religious connotation to you?

Helpful hint: Bush immediately changed the name.

Just like he stopped using the term "Crusade" after saying it once in a press conference.

No, you're probably right that America wouldn't engage *explicitly* in a war with strong religious motives.

It looks very bad on the world stage, doesn't it.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 22, 2006 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory Scoblete: Why the lame attempt at equivalence?

If I am blown to bits by a suicide bomber, or blown to bits by a 2000 pound bomb dropped from an American warplane, or blown to bits by an Israeli cluster bomb, I am equivalently dead in all three cases.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 22, 2006 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory Scoblete: Why the lame attempt at equivalence?

Why the lame attempt to suggest that some so-called "reasons" for committing mass murder of innocent civilians are OK, and other so-called "reasons" for committing mass murder of innocent civilians are not OK?

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 22, 2006 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

That's it let's outlaw Religion around the world and peace will prosper.

Posted by: Mann Coulter on September 22, 2006 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

Mann Coulter: That's it let's outlaw Religion around the world and peace will prosper.

Ok, or instead we could just have one more big blowout and call it "The War to End All Wars". Both approaches have about the same likelihood of achieving their goal.

Posted by: alex on September 22, 2006 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

In every Church, every Synagogue. Even rabid, religion-hating lefties like yourself know that deep down.

There is no church, temple or synagogue in the US that has condemned the American men and women fighting for Bush in Iraq. Not one. Even most anti-war proponents will not condemn these people who have chosen violence as a means. Nationalism is a greater force than religion, informing individuals and institutions to endorse and commit violence.

Earthoids should recognize the 19th Century's nationalism as a force for violence and abolish it.


Posted by: Hostile on September 22, 2006 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Mr. Drum. Greece was a civil war. Between mostly communist (ie not Christian) vs Royalists (Christians). So, how are the Christians implicated when funds and weapons came from communist countries? Were they supposed to just surrender?

Revise the list.

Posted by: Go Red Ox on September 22, 2006 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

After reading all the comments, one thing strikes me as funny.
Freedom of speech, shouldn't that be everyones right? Or is it "right" that we, the Pope, CK among hundreds of others, are being told either say what WE want you to say or you are a liar?
Let them riot, let them threaten, let them bomb churches, and let them show us the true nature of what they are. There are PLENTY, a majority of muslims that are kind, decent, gentle people and as long as we don't lump them all together and are able to separate the monsters from the good people, we should be able to speak out and say exactly what we wish to say. This IS america and we have the right of freedom of speech.
After all, if we didn't, half the posts on here would be censored.

Posted by: Susan on September 22, 2006 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

The Pope represents the largest denomination of Christians (1.2 billion Catholics) and Christianity is said to be the declared religion of 33% of the world's population. As such, he has a responsibility to exercise wisdom and -- dare we suggest prayerful? -- judgment in his public declarations. I have read his speech in its entirety; he was making a fair point. That does not excuse his ignorance or, or dimissal of, or contempt for, the realities of contemporary media -- it is a certainty that the soundbite will prevail. The attention span of the world does not allow for a reading-in-context and an annotated discussion of the points therein. In the inevitable style of a patriarch, he took thousand of words to make his simple (and fair) point. His audience was tamping down the powder before he even got to the Amen.

Posted by: Wendy on September 22, 2006 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

sportsfan79:

Everywhere. In every Church, every Synagogue.

So you've visited every church and every synagogue? When's the last time you were at a mosque?

Posted by: JesusFuckingChrist on September 22, 2006 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

So you've visited every church and every synagogue? When's the last time you were at a mosque? Posted by: JesusFuckingChrist

When would he have had the time?

Posted by: JeffII on September 22, 2006 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

This post was breathtakingly dishonest. The West doesn't define itself as "Christendom" and hasn't for some time whereas the violence perpetrated by Muslims is an explicitly religious act.

Apparently one has to be a very old man, such as I, to recall that the Cold War was often described as a struggle against "Godless communism." There was very much a Christianist element to Western exceptionalism during the Cold War.

By the way, I see that Christians are rioting in Indonesia. I will assume that the deafening silence of "moderate" Christians may be taken as tacit approval.

Posted by: rod on September 22, 2006 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

Let's take a straw poll: is the bigger problem the Pope's comments or the Muslim reaction? Which is worse?

My guess is that your answer pretty much determines if you're anti-Christian.

Krauthammer was right. There hasn't been an explicitly Christian war in the West in a long time. Oh, there are fringe individuals who justify it that way, but the leaders and most of the followers don't. But large swathes of Islam apparently believe they are in a religiously-motivated violent struggle against Western societies (the leaders and the followers, not just the fringe).

Saying "Christendom" wages war as happily as anyone else is like saying African-Americans are waging war on ear drums because some of them listen to loud rap music. Correlation, not causation, as Mr. Drum might say (and not that correlated anyway).

Posted by: polthereal on September 22, 2006 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

Can you honestly be so freakin' thick that you think readers of the WaPo would somehow forget about the wars that have been fought over the last 50 or 100 years. The only way you can accuse Krauthammer of obfuscating is if you think his readers wouldn't be able to list the wars you have, Kevin Drum.

Posted by: Birkel on September 22, 2006 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

There hasn't been an explicitly Christian war in the West in a long time.

The German war against the Jews was explicitly a Christian war. The German war against the Jews was the culmination of over 500 years of Christian antipathy towards the Jews.

Posted by: Hostile on September 22, 2006 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, I see that Christians are rioting in Indonesia. I will assume that the deafening silence of "moderate" Christians may be taken as tacit approval. Posted by: rod

Of course not, Rod, so long as they are mixing it up with Muslims.

"Onward Christian soldier . . ."

Posted by: JeffII on September 22, 2006 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

The German war against the Jews was explicitly a Christian war. Posted by: Hostile

No it wasn't. Not in the sense of it being a part of the Nazi philosophy. Hitler and the Nazi leadership were not big time Christians. Hitler's anti-Semitism, in particular, was not "religiously motivated" because he wasn't a Christian. In fact, much of the Nazi Aryan mythology was patently pagan.

Fact of the matter is that the psychology behind anti-Semitism has little or nothing to do with religion, Christian or otherwise. Look at the anti-Semitism that existed in the godless Soviet Union.

Posted by: JeffII on September 22, 2006 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

My point is, if al Queda is an Islamic war against the West, then the German war agasinst the Jews was a Christian war. However, even if Hitler and the Nazi leadership did not use Christian anti-Semitism to justify the killing of Jews, the actual people who did the killing, who were baptized and Catechized, almost certainly must have rationalized their behavior as a Christian act to rid the world of the killers of Christ.

Anti-Semitism is a Christian concept. The Nazis were descendants of Christians, as were the Stalinists, and they were both deeply influenced by the anti-Semitism of their Christian societies.

Posted by: Hostile on September 22, 2006 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

I am anti-Hostile and I hope the crazy muslims kill her.

Posted by: death to reason on September 22, 2006 at 9:06 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder what Mr. Krauthammer thinks the recent unhappiness in Northern Ireland was about if it wasn't a religous war. I'll go farther, what was the Cold War if not a war against athiesm? Does that not qualify as a religious war?

Posted by: frank logan on September 22, 2006 at 10:08 PM | PERMALINK

zeke: surely you don't intend to suggest that every war America has fought has been to spread freedom and democracy?

not every war. my assertion was that the wars were not fought for religious goals as were, for example, the extinction of the Huguenots and the 20 Years' War.

the Lounsbury: What I find most annoying is the gross generalisation, as I am based in region and feel entirely comfortable stating that 95 percent of the perfectly Arab and Muslim colleagues, workers, etc. that I have dealt with in the past weeks didn't give a fig about the Pope's remarks - other than some degree of annoyance and 'offence' in a non-rioting fashion.

that's reported elsewhere also. I'm glad you stopped in.

remembering wwii: Let's not forget that Hitler himself forged an unholy alliance with the Christian church in Nazi Germany.

He subjugated the Catholic church and the church found itself powerless to resist effectively. At least on a large scale, there was much small-scale, and even heroic, resistance.

klaus: I would argue that WWII and the Cold War were the greatest religious wars in history. Except we called them "ideologies." But really, what was the difference? It was all about allegiance to one system of Truth vs. another.

On this reading, the enlightenment is just another religious revelation, freedom is just another form of submission and an elected government is not importantly different from a brutal theocracy. I think that's wrong.

rod: Apparently one has to be a very old man, such as I, to recall that the Cold War was often described as a struggle against "Godless communism." There was very much a Christianist element to Western exceptionalism during the Cold War.

true, but partial. communism was opposed because it entailed so many restrictions on human liberties, as well as the right to worship.

By the way, I see that Christians are rioting in Indonesia.

Islamists have been burning Christian churches and burning the homes in which Christians worship. The Christians are not just defending the right to be Christians, they are defending the rights of everybody to be non-Muslim. that may be an important distinction, or it may not. Indonesia reminds me of Germany in the late 20s, when the Nazis were a minority party, and had not taken control of the government, but were making life miserable for their opponents.

Posted by: republicrat on September 22, 2006 at 11:10 PM | PERMALINK

"The West doesn't define itself as "Christendom" and hasn't for some time whereas the violence perpetrated by Muslims is an explicitly religious act... Why the lame attempt at equivalence?
Posted by: Gregory Scoblete on September 22, 2006 at 12:12 PM"

news.bbc.co.uk, Oct 17, 2003:
"US is 'battling Satan' says general
US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has declined to criticise a senior army officer who told audiences the war on terrorism is a battle with Satan.
Evangelical Christian Lieutenant-General William G Boykin was also quoted as saying a Muslim warlord in Somalia had an "idol" for a God.
Secretary Rumsfeld, questioned by journalists, defended the general's statements as "a private affair".
Lt Gen Boykin enjoys a glittering military record as an officer and a commando and is currently deputy under-secretary of defence for intelligence.
However, it is his fiery evangelical Christianity that has brought him suddenly to national attention, says the BBC's Adam Brookes in Washington.
An American newspaper found him addressing church congregations wearing his uniform.
He told audiences that terrorists hated America because it was a nation of Christian believers and that the enemy in the war on terrorism was Satan.
In one speech, he recalled a Muslim fighter in Somalia who said he had the protection of Allah against US forces.
"Well you know what I knew, that my God was bigger than his," said Lt Gen Boykin. "I knew that my God was a real God, and his was an idol."

You were saying?

Posted by: smartalek on September 22, 2006 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

"God told me to invade Afghanistan and I invaded Afghanistan. God told me to invade Iraq and I invaded Iraq."

- George Bush. Quoted by Kevin Phillips in a lecture given in Seattle in 2006.

Krauthammer is wrong.

Or, possibly he is right, if this God talking to Bush is the same God that Jews and Muslims believe in. But then why would God want his people to fight each other. It's all so confusing.

Posted by: strong silence on September 23, 2006 at 7:44 AM | PERMALINK

That's an interesting point. When you spoke with your Arab and Muslim colleagues, did they openly denounce the protests? My guess is that they didn't, and in fact, that they inwardly supported or were on some level of agreement with the protestors. Did you get any sense of that?

Well, you guess wrong mate. Phrases such as "really stupid" and "waste of time" were used.

So, instead of reading your assumptions, understand you don't know fuck all about the pulse.

Posted by: The Lounsbury on September 23, 2006 at 8:02 AM | PERMALINK

A perfect example of the excuse making (own side always has a reason that is reasonable): Islamists have been burning Christian churches and burning the homes in which Christians worship. The Christians are not just defending the right to be Christians, they are defending the rights of everybody to be non-Muslim. that may be an important distinction, or it may not. Indonesia reminds me of Germany in the late 20s, when the Nazis were a minority party, and had not taken control of the government, but were making life miserable for their opponents.

No Xians are fighting for Xian territorialism, etc. The connexion drawn to Nazi Germany is simply droolingly stupid party political whanking.

Posted by: The Lounsbury on September 23, 2006 at 8:06 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, you're way too kind to Der Krautenfuehrer.

The post-Yugoslavia mess was WAR, waged by Christians against both Muslims (Serbia and Croatia BOTH against Bosnia at the start) and Christians against fellow Christians (Serb-Croat). Yes, it was nationalistic, but that nationalism was explicitly tinctured with Christian overtones.

Northern Ireland? It would have been war all along if it weren't part of the UK.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on September 23, 2006 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: support my wedding on September 24, 2006 at 8:05 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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