Bush, Vatican Forget Freedom

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Both the President and the Vatican had stern-sounding words for rioting Moslems today. Unfortunately, both, when read between the lines, had said exactly what the Moslems were hoping to hear.

First, the leader of the most powerful free country in the world, George W. Bush denounced the recent bombing of a major mosque in Iraq with the following words.

"The act was an evil act," Bush said. "The destruction of a holy site is a political act intending to create strife. So I am pleased with the voices of reason that have spoken out. And we will continue to work with those voices of reason to enable Iraq to continue on the path of a democracy that unites people and doesn't divide them."
Except for the fact that so much of what gets preached in mosques these days amounts to incitement, one could, I suppose, call such an act "evil". Too bad we didn't get the same term from our President concerning the worldwide jihad against free speech also known as "the cartoon riots". Here's an example of what he said about those:
First of all, I think its very important for people around the world to know that a free press is important for a democratic state. A free press for peaceful states, as well. Free press holds people to account. Free press makes sure that there is a check and a balance on people in power. Free press also must be a responsible press.

Secondly, I fully understand people taking -- not liking the cartoons. On the other hand, I do not believe that people should use that as a pretext for violence; nor do I appreciate the fact that some are using -- manipulating the anger over the cartoons to achieve political ends.

And therefore, its very important for governments to not allow policy to be set by those who are cynically manipulating the anger that some have felt over these cartoons.
"Fully understand people not liking the catroons"? Bush might as well cultivate a lisp and set money aside for his jizyah.

While he sounds like he understands the importance of freedom of speech here, his failure to morally condemn the deadly rioting reeks of weakness to these animals. "What will this man do to us if he is afraid even to state his mind about what we are doing?" they will rightly ask.

The man in charge of protecting our sacred rights has no business walking on eggshells just because some followers of the religion that inspired the deaths of 3,000 Americans in a single morning claim to be "offended". Until terrorism, rioting, and murder committed in Allah's name become newsworthy again, no Moslem has a right to be offended about anything coming from a Westerner.

And then there's the Vatican. Prima facie, the Catholic Church sounds far better.
After backing calls by Muslims for respect for their religion in the Mohammad cartoons row, the Vatican is now urging Islamic countries to reciprocate by showing more tolerance toward their Christian minorities.

Roman Catholic leaders at first said Muslims were right to be outraged when Western newspapers reprinted Danish caricatures of the Prophet, including one with a bomb in his turban. Most Muslims consider any images of Mohammad to be blasphemous. [bold added]
Note the two passages in bold. To the first, it is sad that the Church is asking for reciprocation from Moslems when our President fails to do even this much. (Indeed, he should be demanding and enforcing reciprocation from Moslems the world over for the rights their coreligionists enjoy in America.) But notice that the Church agrees that Moslems were "right to be outraged". Freedom is not what the Church is concerned about. Rather, the focus is on religion. Notice that the Church's entire focus is on the rights of Christians, and specifically, of them to practice their faith.

Both Washington and the Vatican have vigorously denounced acts against religion, but sound almost indifferent by comparison concerning acts against men. Moslems demonstrate so frequently with suicide bombings the consequences of placing a higher value on religion than on man's life that there is no excuse for a failure on anyone's part to appreciate the point. This makes the statements of both Bush and the Vatican completely unacceptable.

In each case, the notion that religion is more important than man's life was implicitly supported. Agreeing with your enemy's most evil premise is no way to confront him, to rally a defense, or to win.

-- CAV

PS: The piece on the Vatican is titled very aptly, coming from the mainstream media: "Vatican to Muslims: practice what you preach." this sounds fantastic to Westerners and fanatics alike. The Westerners will be thinking about the calls for "tolerance" from Moslems. But what of this Koranic verse: "Fight and slay the Unbelievers wherever ye find them. Seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem of war." Quran, Sura 9:5"? Looks like the fanatics already are "practicing what they preach".

PPS: Here's a very funny animated cartoon I learned about on the phone with my friend Tom. I believe the first word is Dutch for "sensitivity".


Today: Minor edits and added postscripts.


Nicholas Provenzo said...

>Bush might as well cultivate a lisp and set money aside for his jizyah.

Indeed. But that's if he can learn to say 'jizyah' first. :-P

Gus Van Horn said...


Ooooph! Never thought of that. Might our state be so precarious that the one thing stopping us from dhimmitude is GWB's inability to pronounce "jizyah"? Let's keep him away from Snoop Dogg so he doesn't master those medial z's.

On a more serious note, I'm glad you liked this enough to mention it on your blog! I was really torqued yesterday when I learned that he though the bombing was "evil". And I'd better stop thinking about it before I get there again!


Gus Van Horn said...


Thanks for the interesting link! The threat issued by the Anglican cleric had gone under my radar.

This is what I find dirsturbing about it (and the Vatican statement). There are two ways men can deal with one another: presuasion and brute force. Persuasion ultimately entails some kind of rational argument, which religions ultimately undercut by their reliance on faith as a means of knowledge. (Go ahead. Prove that God exists. Prove that you know what he wants. Etc., etc.)

This is, in a nutshell, why the separation of church and state in the context of a representative, constitutional republic, is such a good thing: Everything has to be decided, ultimately, by rational debate.

The clash of cultures has begun already, but the West, for a variety of reasons, is still, in some quarters, debating the issue. If the debate goes on for too long, this clash will degenerate into a mere religious war with the "victors" being people who ultimately discount reason and resort to force as a "first resort" when dealing with others. (I may sound like I have contradicted myself here, but if the West were theocratic, this clash, if it ever occurred, would have been a religious war to begin with....)

Warfare is not categorically immoral, but it should be entered because we are being threatened (as we in the West are), not because someone simply holds different religious views.

These statements by the clergy manage to muddy this issue even further.