Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Pope Redux

Although I thought I was original in discussing the Pope-crisis, apparently, the entire Jewish blogosphere has commented. Given that the purpose of this blog is to address the blogs of others (true, we are the barnacles of the Jewish blogosphere), I've gathered below the good, the bad, and the ugly. I mostly ignored the nonsensical because it hurt my sensitive brain.

I hope I have firmly established my criteria for categorization. A post is good if it eloquently argues its point or if its content is free from major logical gaps. It is bad if it does not fill either of those criterion or if its content makes my blood boil. In this case, it is ugly if it records Muslim anti-Semitism, a characterization that in no way reflects the blog itself. An imperfect system, but one that serves its purpose.

The good

  • Jewish Women's Tempting Topical Topics composed a post so well written, it makes my mouth water. I disagree with portions of this post, but it’s extremely well-reasoned and even-toned. Although we may be on different parts of the political spectrum, JWTTT (what a cumbersome name) eloquently argues for a consideration of Islamic and worldwide hypocrisy in their response to the Pope’s speech. She raises some difficult and provocative questions about the inadequacy and impotence of the Western response to Islamic violence.
  • Treppenwitz offered a humorous, if ineffective, analogy comparing the Islamic world to an abusive husband. The battered wife analogy does not quite work, considering that the wrongs (real and perceived) in this conflict are committed by multiple parties, not just those of Muslim faith, but Bogner reiterates the criticism in JWTTT’s post: that the Western world must respond to the Islamic world with some content, instead of rolling over and apologizing immediately. A consideration from my post-modern, subjectivist worldview: Muslims would use the same analogy to describe their relationship to the Western world, but with themselves as the battered wife. Just so we continue to see the conflict as complex and multi-faceted, not to excuse the actions of violent Islamists.
  • Seattle Jew agrees that the pope screwed up, but the Muslim response was disproportionate given the content of the Pope’s speech. Ignore the misspellings. And the use of the term “callous headed worshippers of Allah,” which undermines the tenor of the post.
  • What will they think of next?

The bad

  • Only one bad post, so I'll address it's flaws point by point:

"Apparently, the Pope believes that Islam is a violent religion spread by force. As if we didn’t know this already.. Anyway, he got as good as he gave, and I don’t feel particularly sorry for him or the Catholic Church."

As I wrote in my original analysis of the Pope's speech, he did not indicate that he believed that Islam is a violent religion spread by force. However inartfully, he quoted the Emperor Manuel II, who argued that violence is illogical and Islamic recourse to violence, when it occurs, reflects their belief in a transcendent God. And the purpose of the quote was not to condemn Islamic violence, but rather to address the disparity between reason and religion in Christianity, a point which directly contradicts Evanston Jew's assertion that, "In his speech the Pope also repeated his basic trashing of secularism and modernity." Not true.

Lastly, because I have a degree in the subject, I would like to address Evanston Jew's biblical scholarship:

“In the Torah God commanded the genocide of Amalek and the native Canaanite inhabitants of Israel. The Torah is full of God’s arbitrary commandments and His rage at being disobeyed. Somehow over the years Jews have managed to avoid jihad.”

The Bible extensively records Jewish holy wars against non-Jewish peoples. Just a quick taste: Numbers 31:7-17; Deuteronomy 2:33; Deuteronomy 2:34; Deuteronomy 3:6; Deuteronomy 20:13-18; Joshua 6:21; Joshua 6:2.

The ugly: The absurd Anti-Semitic response to the Pope’s speech, as addressed in the following blogs (NB: these blogs are not ugly, they are recording the ugliness of the world)

  • Arabic cartoons depicting the Jews at fault for the Pope’s comments
  • A funny reflection on why the hell Arabs are blaming the Jews for the Pope’s comments, that also may fall under the rubric of “the good,” although he walks a very fine line, at some points.
  • Motnews, Little Green Footballs, and Daniel in Brookline all posted the same picture of the Pope wearing a Magen David medallion and matching eye patch.


evanstonjew said...

I obviously disagree with your claim that the Pope did not trash secularism. I ask your readers who are interested to read the text for themselves and decide. One url is here

It can be easily googled.

I also yield to your superior knowledge of Bible, but I have no idea why your citations show there was no command to eradicate the indigenous people of Cannan as well as Amalek. I do not understand your point.

harley said...

The url is also accessible through my post "Pope-aganda" (the hyperlink of "speech" is to a copy of the text). I did not intend to leave any citations out of my list nor that the list be comprehensive. I may have misunderstood you point, but when you said that "Somehow over the years, Jews have managed to avoid jihad," I thought you meant that Jews have never engaged in holy wars. The citations I provided are some examples of holy war perpetrated by Jews.

As for trashing secularism, I would love to hear your perspective on the speech. My issue with your post is that you made a point about trashing secularism (with which I happen to disagree) and then didn't defend it with evidence from the speech. So instead of enlightening me or changing my mind, I was frustrated because I wanted to understand your perspective.

Anonymous said...

Defending my blog

Sorry that the spell errors in Seattlejew offended you. As for the miled epithet "callous headed" refers to the callous muslims develop if they aggressively bow their heads to the ground. I mean the term in an affectionate way much as I would refer to an OJ as becurled or a nun as cowled. If any offense is taken, none was meant.