Thursday, June 4, 2009

Pope Benedict and President Obama Endorse Islam

In the past few days, news headlines and feature stories in the mainstream media have led many to think that the Pope may have lost his mind and that Obama has discovered that America is a significantly Muslim nation. Neither is entirely true, although I have my suspicions that the misapprehension regarding Obama may suit his personal vision to some extent. A little detail and some clarification are in order.

Let's go with the Pope first. I like him better. Pope Benedict has been quoted in the Associated Press, the BBC, the Jerusalem Post, the Washington Times and Al-Jazeera as saying that he has "deep respect for Islam," according to Raymond Ibrahim of pajamasmedia. Given that this sounds a great deal more like Obama than Benedict, it's appropriate to look closer at what the Pope really said. The head of the Church that stopped the Muslim advance into Europe and sponsored the Crusades actually said "I have deep respect for Muslims," quite a different thing. One can have deep respect for a group, and even for their faithful adherence to their beliefs without endorsing, or even respecting the underlying religion. I'm sure he respects Lutherans too, but I don't expect him to be adopting the Augsburg Confession any time soon. I'm sure he respects Hindus, but don't expect a Papal homily on the wit and wisdom of Vishnu to come from the Vatican in the near future. In fact, I'm sure he respects atheists, but he won't be endorsing their view by telling the world from the Papal throne that "we were just kidding, there really is no God."

In order for the Pope to respect Islam, it would require that he believe that there is eternal truth in that religion's core belief that the Koran is the verbatim revealed word of God, that Jesus Christ was a mere prophet, and that Muhammad was God's sole messenger. The Pope may respect someone who believes that, but it's just plain silly to think that the Pope respects the belief itself. Even if all the politically-correct nonsense about Islam being the religion of peace were true, and jihadist mass murderers aside, the idea that the Vicar of Christ would even consider Muhammad to be the sole messenger of God is patently illogical. The Pope would never cede that position even to Luther, and Luther was at least a Christian. So relax all you Christians in general, and you Catholics in particular, Pope Benedict has not slipped his trolley.

On the other hand, President Obama's speech, prepared for delivery in Egypt (a Muslim nation, in case you had missed that juicy tidbit of news), will either be a foray into wishful thinking or an insidiously misleading description of Islam in America. After recently making it clear that he did not consider America a Christian nation, he has gone off on another tangent with his statements about Islam. His legally correct statement about America not being a Christian nation was phrased in such a way as to indicate that he believes that Christianity has little influence on government. I cannot look into the President's heart to know whether he really believes that, or whether he considers that a good thing, but I have no doubt that it was said to placate the raging Islamists and Jihadis. After going out of his way to downplay the influence of Christian thought in America, he now seeks to enhance his position with Islamic countries by inflating the influence of Islam in America. Today, Obama mused about his Muslim roots in Indonesia, and indicated he intended to "open the way for a better dialogue and the common ground between East and West." He reiterated this in an interview with Le Monde and hinted that he would advance the idea in his scheduled June 4 speech in Cairo.

I don't buy the idea that Obama is a secret Muslim, but it's hard to deny that he was raised in his early years in a Muslim household, and that by some Islamic thought, once a Muslim, always a Muslim. It is my humble opinion that in many ways the incorrect belief that the Pope "respects Islam" may very well be true of Obama. And in pursuit of that respect (as well as his diplomatic fortunes in the Middle East), the President's speech will cite a true statistic in an untrue manner. The President is expected to repeat that "The United States is one of the largest Muslim countries on the planet (he already stated that in his Le Monde interview)." This is not being reported by conservative sources only. The New York Times has even picked up on the story.

So what's wrong with that? Well, there are realistically about 4,140,000 Muslims in America (1.4% of the population) as cited by nationmaster.com and the CIA Factbook. That would make America number 41 in Muslim national populations. Muslims and their supporters have tended to inflate that number for political advantage, but even if the statistic is wrong by half, then the most that Muslims can claim in America is 2.8% of the population. I think that the Crips and the Bloods, combined with the many new Latino gangs can claim at least that many, but nobody is claiming that America is a great gang nation. Obama is truly describing the Muslim tail wagging the American dog.

In his Le Monde interview, Obama goes on to state that the "United States and the Western world must learn about Islam, and . . . there is now a real conflict between those who argue that Islam is irreconcilable with modern life and those who believe the contrary, Islam has always evolved along with the progress." In other words, he believes that the United States must learn from Islam rather than the reverse, that those who believe Islam is irreconcilable with modern life are wrong, and that Islam is actually progressive. That will come as a shock to those now suffering and dying in the gay holocaust in Iraq and to millions of women in most Islamic nations. Later, Obama revised his remarks to include instructing Muslims on how the United States and the West view Islam, but it didn't change the meaning of the original in any significant way.

I can only conclude that as to the Pope--he's sane. As to Obama--not entirely sure.

38 comments:

Writer X said...

And I suppose that President Obama will say that we're a nation of Scientologists when he addresses the people at a Scientology convention. There is nothing that this man will say to win an audience. What's even more troubling is the gullibility of his followers.

freedom21 said...

Thank you for bringing the "respect for islam" report ot my attention. I wouldnt expect the Pope to say something so out of character, but the way things are today, you never know. Good to know that it was just our incompetent media distorting another situation.

As for Obama, the whole thing leaves me uneasy. I truly think that I wouldnt have such a problem with all of the muslim stuff if he was open and honest about it. Just like his transcripts, his view on religion seems just as guarded.

As for being a muslim nation, if that's the case, I am out of here. And I will admit that I am jaded against the religion as a whole. I've been fortunate enough to do a lot of travelling and there is nothing enticing about living in such a country. From the moment a woman even enters the country, they are treated as a second class citizen--at the airports there is a seperate line for women to get searched in side a private room as opposed to the general metal detector lines that men go through. The enforcement of laws is an entire different species. It is not uncommon to see eyes gorged out and hands cut off of criminals (trust me when I say this is something you never want to see). If that is what our future is rooted in, I will have no part in it.

I'll be interested to see how the rest of the trip goes.


Hey, King of Saudi, Mr. T called, he wants his necklaces back.

freedom21 said...

writer x: did you see that the Church of Scientology is being tried in France for organized fraud? I'm sure it's only a matter of time before Obama bows to the Church of the LA elite. Last thing he would want to lose is his greatest weapon...hollywood.

AndrewPrice said...

I agree entirely with Freedom21. How anyone can see the modern Islam in practice and come away seriously disturbed is beyond me.

Writer X said...

Freedom21, I did not know that France is trying the Scientology Church for fraud. I guess Paris is off the travel itinerary for Tom and KittyKat (or whatever they're calling Katie Holmes today).

BevfromNYC said...

I think like Germany, France has anti-cult laws and Scientology is considered a cult. There was a bit of a brouhaha when Tom Cruise went to Germany to film "Valkyrie". The German government was having issues with him as a Scientologist, but I think he had to promise not to "spread the word" or probably just had to pay big bucks under the table to some bureaucrat...

BevfromNYC said...

And because I am in a really foul mood - It is nice to know that we are pandering to the Arab world by having our President call the Saudi King "His Majesty"??? He is the freaking President of the United States and he lowers himself to call the Saudi King "His Majesty"??? And what's with Hillary Clinton wearing a head scarf?? She's should NEVER have done that. She is our Secretary of State, period. It offends me that our official representatives, especially the women, are allowing themselves to be treated this way. What next? Obama will be bowing to the Saudi King? Oops, been there, done that!

LawHawkSF said...

Hey, Gang: All this talk about Scientologists got me thinking about something--so I checked it out. I was right! In the great blockbuster movie Battlefield Earth (OK, so only seven people actually saw it), L. Ron Hubbard's evil alien Psychlos have enslaved mankind. The head Psychlo (or psycho, if you will) is played by John Travolta. The Psychlos look exactly like every painting I've ever seen of the Prophet Muhammad. Coincidence? I think not.

Captain Soapbox said...

Well personally when I saw snippets of the speech in Cairo and saw him intone "As a student of history..." I nearly choked to death. To paraphrase the song, he don't know much about history. His understanding of Islam is fairly whacky too, especially Islam's "contributions" to the world which sound like they came from a CAIR "What's Islam?" pamphlet. Most of the things he said are either flat out wrong or taken out of context when it comes to the "Islamic" flavor of such advances, which were more often than not carried out by subjects of the Muslims not the Muslims themselves.

Incidentally, I can only watch snippets of his speeches when they pop up on the news because watching the man for more than 3 minutes at a time just annoys me to no end, I read the full text later, but I cannot stand actually watching him give a speech live.

Captain Soapbox said...

Lawhawk, I loved the book "Battlefield Earth" and didn't hate the movie either. L. Ron Hubbard was a fairly decent sci-fi writer in my opinion, not on a par with Dick, Harrison or Asimov for sure, but not a complete hack. I hesitate to say this, but by way of full disclosure I even have the entire "Mission Earth" series, all 10 books, in hardback. And I liked them. Hey they were on sale for 5 bucks each at Waldens and I needed something to read that summer...

You may be on to something with the aliens in Battlefield Earth looking like Mohammad too. Although they were missing the turban with the bomb stuck through it, I can definitely see the resemblance. ;-)

LawHawkSF said...

Obama will say pretty much anything that will feed his sick need to be loved. But calling America "one of the biggest Muslim nations" is pandering of the lowest order. It is entirely disrespectful to America and to America's great Christian heritage. While having no compunction about telling 300,000,000 Americans that their religion has no real significance in American governance, he likewise has no compunction about telling the world that the insignificant percentage of Muslims in America are important to our view of the world. Ptooey.

In his speech today, Obama wanted to make sure that none of his primitive friends in the Middle East misunderstood his thinking. So he declared unequivocally "America is not at war with Islam." I'm trying to picture FDR saying "We are not at war with Germany, just those radical Nazis." I can't make that work.

The President is selling out America's safety for the price of a gold necklace.

freedom21 said...

Bev: I feel your rage.

Even though I can't stand her, I loved when Speaker Pelosi went over to Iran and gave the sign of the cross repeatedly. She may be daft, but she got a pair of brass ones :)

As for Obama saying we have "shared goals and aspirations". This is completely wrong. One of the websites that I go to to learn about Islam is http://islamqa.com/en/cat/252 . We share NONE of the same values, goals and aspirations. I for one like to take pictures of grown ups. In Islam, this is verboten.

LawHawkSF said...

Captain: L. Ron Hubbard was indeed a decent science fiction writer, but all that fun foolishness got turned into a religion (of sorts). For those of a more peaceful bent, I'm waiting for someone to turn Milne's work into a religion. Wouldn't the world be a better place if there were a religion in which Winnie the Pooh is God, and his two true messengers are Piglet and Eeyore?

Obama's disciples seem to fit that description of the confused believer: "Those who believe in everything will believe in anything."

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, LOL! Winnie the Pooh!

Captain Soapbox said...

Going by ObamaMath the US would be better termed a "Jewish Nation" than a "Muslim Nation" since there are roughly four times as many of us here as Muslims, but I don't see him saying that while running around in Saudi Arabia or Egypt any time soon, call it a hunch...

The thing he, and most liberals in general, don't get is it doesn't matter if we're "not at war with Islam" if Islam considers itself at war with us.

I also find his assumption that people in those pesky Red States, like me, don't know anything about Islam because we're all hillbilly bigots. Now while I am a hillbilly, I have lots of practical experience with Muslims. So I know plenty about them, more than I'd like to to be honest since I'm a big believer in that whole "know your enemy" deal. But that doesn't mean I'm going to "empathize" with them anytime soon (like ever) because it's pretty hard to find "common ground" with people that tend to try to kill me. I'm weird like that I guess.

StanH said...

Barry’s speech though I hope it helps, is another exercise in banality and half truths. I to do not believe that Barry’s a Muslim either, but probably more of an agnostic with Islamic sympathies, with a nod to Christianity (Rev. Wright) because of the political realities of the USA. It boggles my mind how arrogant this man is and his belief that words are more important than deeds. He probably expects the Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, now to all join hands singing to the Israelis, “Give peace a chance.” This is nothing new this feckless act of our Barry except perhaps his blind naiveté, and his hard core belief in the incessant Morale Equivalence arguments of the left. This cat really believes his own horse squeeze.

Captain Soapbox said...

LOL okay Lawhawk, that was damn funny. And honestly yeah the world probably would be a better place if there was a Pooh-bah religion in place of some of them.

To be honest, I think L. Ron Hubbard came up with the whole Scientology thing as an joke/experiment. To see if he could invent a religion and actually have people buy it. The guy had a good sense of humor after all, so it wouldn't surprise me if it was all a great cosmic joke. No evidence for it, but it wouldn't surprise me if he isn't wherever dead Scientologists supposedly go when they die laughing his ass off.

If any Scientologists are reading this: I have a good sense of humor too, so just kidding?

LawHawkSF said...

StanH: In 1938, Neville Chamberlain made his conciliatory gestures toward Nazi Germany, and along with Ambassador Joe Kennedy, made favorable comments about things we share in common with the German people (completely avoiding any discussion of Nazis). Then Chamberlain came home to Britain and announced "peace for our time."

A year later, Winston Churchill had become Prime Minister, Germany had invaded Poland, and Churchill knew that Germany would soon turn its wrath on England. It was then that he made his famous "Britain's finest hour" speech, filled with courage, resolve, and a clear idea of who the enemy was. Obama has proven he can make a Chamberlain style speech. It is highly unlikely he could make a Churchill style speech. The best he could probably come up with is "Um, uh, um, well I don't think we should react, uh, too angrily to the recent bombing of Chicago and Los Angeles. I am, um, sure we can find common ground with our Islamic friends yet."

freedom21 said...

OMG! I just got an email from David Axelrod and the White House and here is what it says :

Majority-Muslim countries around the world are filled with extraordinary people who simply want to live their lives and see their children live better lives, just as in America. Indeed, part of what makes America great is having nearly seven million Muslim Americans living here today and enriching our culture and communities.

We can extend that kind of relationship abroad. It won't always be easy, but if we make an effort to bridge our differences rather than resigning ourselves to animosity, we can move toward a more peaceful world over time.

Thank you,
David Axelrod


SEVEN MILLION--->WHAT TYPE OF CRACKPOT CENSUS BUREAU IS RAHM RUNNING?!?!?!?!

LawHawkSF said...

Freedom21: Lovely note from the charming Axelrod.

You probably noticed that even Andrew and I had slightly different versions of how many Muslims there are in America. But that seven million figure is based on CAIR's crazy way of calculating. They take the actual number of Muslims who are members of a mosque, and then use some sort of Koranic calculus to inflate the number of non-attending Muslims to astronomical numbers. At times, they have even claimed numbers as high as ten million. I chose the CIA figure for two reason: it is likely highly accurate, and if they had any reason to fudge, they would fudge upward because it would be in their interest to maximize the numbers for purposes of national security. No organization with any decent credentials has ever come up with much more than four million, and the numbers have come in as low as 1.7 million.

Anonymous said...

Hawk: To think of Barry standing in the shadow of Churchill is really kind of funny. I’m surprised when he had that bust of Churchill removed he didn’t replace it with a bust of Chamberlain. I saw an extended documentary of Nero the other day on, The History Channel, at one point in the documentary Nero was faced with an attack by barbarians on their northern frontier. Instead of calling out the Roman Legions he wanted to go himself and sing and play his Lyre, and the barbarians will recognize the beauty that is Rome and will lay down their arms and go home. To the senate of Rome this was further confirmation of Nero’s insanity. I died laughing thinking of our Barry and the correlation of these two stories.

StanH said...

I am anonymous said?

freedom21 said...

Hawk: I nearly fell out of my desk when that email showed up in my inbox. What is Axelrod doing with my email address!? Like you, I'll stick with the CIA estimates.

As with CAIR calculus...didnt you know it was Islam that came up with astronomy, algebra, relativity (yes, they claim that they got that centuries before Einstein)....so they probably applied some sort of astrocalutomoetry to get that figure.

Captain Soapbox said...

Lawhawk, you hit the nail on the head. Barry is definitely more in line with Chamberlain's worldview than with Churchill's.

As I said in the other thread, one of the other inconsistencies with the Muslim count in America is a lot of pollsters will count any Arab as being Muslim, which is far off the mark as many Arabs in the US are Christians from various Middle Eastern countries where they'd be persecuted by the Islamic majority. I also think the CIA number is slightly inflated but only by a couple hundred thousand at best.

StanH, there are plenty of parallels between Rome and the US right now, sadly though Nero was around when the Empire was more or less stable save at the top. The guy was loony. I'd put us more in the era of Bread and Circuses, perhaps even as far as when the Legions were called back to Italy and the rest of the Empire could just deal with things as best they could. It's hard to say, but it ain't good.

LawHawkSF said...

Anonymous: I had sort of put the flap about the Churchill bust in the back of my mind. Based on what you said, it would be logical for Obama now to have both a Chamberlain and Nero bust in the oval office. In the wee hours of the morning they can all sing Kumbaya together.

LawHawkSF said...

Freedom21: At least I only get e-mails from Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Boxer, and occasionally our illustrious Mayor Noisome. I guess Axelrod figures he's already got San Francisco in his pocket.

Captain: I agree. Obama may be Nero-like, but it would be the wrong era. Maybe he's also like Marcus Aurelius, writing wonderful Meditations at the time of the last great days of Rome, just before internal strife and barbarian invasions pushed Rome back to its home territory. Then, destruction. But look at the bright side. Obama is not only providing falafel and circuses, he's giving us tinfoil cars, too.

BevfromNYC said...

Law, I was thinking they would sing something like "We Are The World" while splitting a Coke and a smoke...

Captain Soapbox said...

I was thinking of mentioning good ol' Marcus Aurelius but then I figured that would be giving Obama too much credit, since he actually did oversee some effective military campaigns in Germany, even if his heart wasn't totally into it he campaigned on.

Honestly I'd put Obama in the Caligula category. Again the Empire itself was in better shape than perhaps we are, but the narcissism and personal excess is on a par, if not perhaps the actual methods of excess, if you know what I mean. And honestly if he had a horse and brought it to the Senate to be confirmed as a member of that body, do you doubt for a minute Pelosi would at least consider it?

Oh and on my earlier comment about Nero, I meant sadly we were in worse shape than the empire was then, not sadly meaning you were in error StanH. That happens when I type fast and am all hopped up on caffeine. He does share some very Nero like qualities, and I won't get the images of the singing along with the busts out of my head anytime soon. LOL

Captain Soapbox said...

Bev, the only thing that would make that image better is if Bill Cosby busted in mid-chorus, slapped them and said,"Have a Coke and a smile and shut the eff up!"

Hey I can dream...

LawHawkSF said...

Captain: I was thinking in terms of Aurelius's writing rather than his leadership. Like Aurelius, Obama still has a great military to support him, but he will ruin that at the current rate and become more like Aurelius's successor, Commodus.

I just hate to think that I am living in the era in which America may have to consider for the first time that the future is no longer so bright. From Reagan challenging the Evil Empire to Obama greeting the Evil Caliphate in just twenty-five short years. Who would ever have believed it?

As for the Caligula reference, I'm looking forward to the swearing-in ceremonies for Senator Horse. A horse couldn't do any worse than our current sheep.

StanH said...

That’s a great image Hawk a bust of Chamberlain, Nero, singing Kumbaya with our Barry, ha. Soapbox I to suffer from hurried thought. I do this from office as I am the owner it’s okay, no offense taken. But, the picture of Barry possibly drunk in the we hours of the morning in the Oval Office with a bust of Chamberlain and Nero in his lap singing is perfect, LOL!

Captain Soapbox said...

Lawhawk, no one would have believed that flip flop in backbone. If I had a time machine and went back and told you all about the world of 2009 in 1989 you all would think I was completely off my rocker, because the changes in America would be that incomprehensible to you. I'd bet my 401k on it, all $72.40. Thanks Barry!

Speaking of his writings, who by the time they reached their mid-40s has had such a rich and amazing life that they need to write not one, but two autobiographies? Again, narcissism in the extreme there in my opinion.

As soon as Marcus Aurelius and Commodus came up I'm sure some people here started thinking about "Gladiator." Now while a fine film, if you haven't seen "The Fall of the Roman Empire" do check it out since it handles that whole period a little more accurately.

LawHawkSF said...

Captain: I didn't even think of Gladiator when I wrote that comment. You're right on target. I described Gladiator as Spartacus meets The Fall of the Roman Empire when it first came out. The latter is much closer to historical reality, even with the expanded Sophia Loren role. But Alec Guinness gave Marcus Aurelius the proper gravitas.

Now you've got me picturing the chaos that followed the death of Commodus, with the Senate and the generals all trying to out-bid each other for control of Rome.

LawHawkSF said...

Bev: I think that's "Sharing some coke and a smoke."

Even the Obamassiah's imperfections are perfect. Couldn't you just swoon?

Captain Soapbox said...

I've heard enough pundits call him "dreamy" that the whole swooning thing isn't far off base, some of them were even women no less...

"Fall of the Roman Empire" meets "Sparticus" is a very appropriate way to characterize "Gladiator." And I agree that Alec Guinness was perfect as Marcus Aurelius, I felt he was brilliant in pretty much everything he did, including as the blind butler in "Clue" even. But where we may differ slightly is that I see absolutely nothing amiss with giving more screen time to Sophia Loren (especially Sophia circa 1964) at all. ;-)

LawHawkSF said...

Captain: I'm with you. After I first saw her in a couple of American movies, I saw her in some of her Italian films. With some of the make-up gone and a non-pushup bra, she was even more stunningly beautiful. I guess I should have said the over-emphasis on Lucilla, not Sophia.

Captain Soapbox said...

Lawhawk, agree with you on that too, she's definitely a "natural beauty" and the less "work" that they put into her on a film the more stunning she is. I fell in love with her at the age of about 7 or so when I saw the movie Arabesque on one of the local TV station's Saturday Movie Matinee shows. She definitely is also one of those women that never showed her age at all, I point this out because I realized I may have been selling her short with the whole "circa 1964" thing too.

As for Lucilla, I probably agree with you on that as well, it's been a while since I've seen the movie. For my money I've always thought that Agrippina (the Younger) would have been a perfect woman to do a Roman era feature about. But no one even did it to my knowledge.

LawHawkSF said...

Captain: Ah--Mushroom Aggie. That would make a great movie, or even a BBC-like miniseries. She got major play in the production of I Clavdivs, but she deserves her own tale.

Post a Comment