How many divisions does the Pope have?
Michael Reagan echoes the sentiments already expressed days ago on Ultima Thule -- why is the West silent in the face of the violent Islamic reaction to the Pope's speech? In a post entitled "The Silence of the Lambs" (republished directly below), I addressed many issues raised here. But Michael Reagan is the first and only mainstream writer to bring up the subject, and he does it eloquently.
Why is that? Is there a conspiracy of silence even among conservatives? Are we, ahem, a bit afraid of the reactions of CAIR and similar domestic organizations? Afraid of losing campaign donations and votes? Afraid of creating more violence within our own borders? If so, then we are already living under de-facto Sharia law, my friends. Once the bullies have cowed you into keeping silent for fear of violent retribution, you are sunk. Ask the kid who gets his lunch money taken away on a daily basis by the school bully.
This is only a continuation of the silencing of Western speech that began with the fatwa against Salman Rushdie. Since then we have had a rising tide of intimidation and threats of violence that serves to stifle free expression in the West -- such as the Cartoon Jihad of a few months ago , and other examples too numerous to mention. Couple that with our supine acquiescence to political correctness and misguided concepts of multi-culturalism that preclude an honest discussion of the true nature of Islam, and you have the international equivalent of a protection racket.
In England, Australia and several European countries, it is already against the law and punishable by jail time for anyone to defame Islam, while Muslims regularly take to the streets of Western cities to not only defame our culture and our religion, but to make violent threats against us. Yet Oriana Fallaci was exiled from her own native land because she was under threat of prosecution for daring to tell the truth about Islam in her passionate books. In Australia a pastor is being tried for daring to preach the truth about Islam in a Sunday sermon. When he tried to use the Koran to back up his sermon, it was disallowed.
I also noted previously the curious censorship that Fox News, and the news media in general, applied to the conversion at gunpoint of Fox reporters Steve Centanni and Olaf Wigg. Fox has quite obviously gone out of their way to downplay that aspect of the story, and tamps down any references to it even when made by guests on their program. I'm sure they are doing it to protect the safety of their reporters, who are now subject to the penalty of death under Muslim law, should they publicly or even privately renounce the conversion. Apostasy is punishable by death under Islamic law. While understandable, this censorship only proves the point.
In addition, Steve and Olaf may unwittingly be the examples of what will eventually happen to the entire West if we do not fully understand the kind of threat we face. The struggle of civilizations is less a military or legal one, and much more one of faith and belief. The West has lost any belief in itself. What does the West believe in anymore? Do we believe in the bottom line? Freedom? Prosperity? Free markets? Democracy? None of these things means anything unless we have a more fundamental, underlying belief in some principles that are higher than ourselves and our short or even long-term comfort and survival. George Bush is attempting to tackle this struggle with Jihadist Islam with the carrot and the stick. His carrot is democracy and freedom and the rule of law. But these are the outward and secular fruits of our civilization which were borne out of the fundamental religious beliefs of our forefathers. Can this purely secular message that is rooted in our very civilization hope to counter the religious fervor of the true believer in Islam? The West does not believe in itself anymore, does not value its own history and the great contribution that our civilization has made to the world. Instead, there is a post-modern self-loathing that culminates in suicidal identification with the aggressor. The West is in many ways like the deer in the headlights, mesmerized by its own approaching destruction. And just like Steve and Olaf, who emerged from their captivity physically safe, if not psychically unharmed, they may have said to themselves -- well, what difference does it make? Muslim? Christian? As long as we're alive. When you don't believe in anything much anyway, what would be so hard about declaring you were a Muslim just to be able to go about your daily life? And so it may be that the West may one day say to itself -- "Better Muslim than dead". Unfortunately it doesn't rhyme like the old saying from the Cold War days -- "Better red than dead" -- but it amounts to the same thing.
FrontPage magazine.com :: How Many Divisions Has the Pope? by Michael Reagan
Joseph Stalin is alleged to have asked contemptuously just how many divisions the pope had at his disposal. The answer came after the Soviet dictator’s death when the Berlin Wall came crashing down and Eastern Europe came out from behind the Iron Curtain thanks to Pope John Paul II, my father Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher – the phalanx that drove a spike through the heart of Soviet tyranny .
Pope John Paul II had no military divisions, but he had a huge army of people yearning for freedom who responded to his message that united they could prevail over a master who commanded vast military forces. Those forces eventually proved helpless in the face of the people’s determination and will.
Today the question might be, “How many supporters does the pope have among the world’s leaders?” Shamefully, the answer is none. Assailed all across the globe by millions of Muslims for quoting a few passages from a debate featuring the 14th Century Byzantine emperor Manuel Paleologos II – next-to-last emperor of what had been the Eastern Roman empire -- Pope Benedict XVI has been left standing alone among the leaders of the Western world despite his warning that they face a foe determined to subjugate them and their citizens.
Writing in the September 20 Front Page Magazine, Robert Spencer reminded the West’s leaders just how much they owe to Pope Benedict XVI, the man they have left hanging in the wind that is blowing like a typhoon from the world of radical Islam
Spencer, director of Jihad Watch and author of “Onward Muslim Soldiers: How Jihad Still Threatens America and the West” wrote: “In choosing Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger to succeed Pope John Paul II as Pope Benedict XVI, the Catholic Church has cast a vote for the survival of Europe and the West. ”
He quotes historian Bernard Lewis as warning “Europe will be Islamic by the end of the century,” and observes that the pope is unlikely to be happy about that eventuality.
“Late in 2003 the semi-official Jesuit magazine La Civiltà Cattolica departed from John Paul II’s policy toward Islam and published a scathing criticism of the mistreatment that Christians suffer in Islamic societies,” wrote Spencer. “It represented the first indication that any Catholic officials recognized the dimensions of the religious conflict that jihadists are waging against Christians and others around the world.”
He adds that “La Civiltà Cattolica pointed out that ‘for almost a thousand years Europe was under constant threat from Islam, which twice put its survival in serious danger.’ Now, through jihad terrorism and demographics Islam is threatening Europe’s survival yet again — and it looks as if now there is a Pope who has noticed. Maybe in Europe the resistance is just beginning.”
You wouldn’t think so from the wall of silence that has surrounded the West’s leaders, including our own President Bush. Not one of them has sprung to the pope’s defense in the face of the violence and threats made against the pope by Muslims all over the world.
The pope was dangling out there all by himself. There is not one leader in any part of the world – left, right, center, or anywhere in between — standing up for the pope. As Spencer noted, the pope has “dared to speak more clearly about the threat that Islam poses to Western civilization than his predecessor — for all his many and remarkable gifts — ever quite managed to do.”
All this proves the point I have been making for a long time: the world fears Islam and its adherents. In an attempt to spur a dialogue between Christianity and Islam the pope quotes a Byzantine leader from 1391 to make his point about the futility of violence between religions and what do we get?
We get a dead nun, churches burned, the leader of the world’s billion Catholics burned in effigy, hordes of angry Muslims demonstrating in the streets and demanding that the pope be hunted down and slaughtered, all of which proved the point stressed by Manuel Paleologos II, in the 14th century.
And worst of all, we get silence from the leaders of the besieged West.