Tuesday, January 24, 2006

WorldNetDaily: Pope believes Islam incapable of reform?

We hear this from the founder of Ignatius Press, one of many who attended a private conference with Pope Benedict XVI last fall.

Last summer, the Pope pointedly refused to characterize Islam as a religion of peace, as President Bush has done. Now we hear that His Holiness actually said that democracy goes against the Koran, and therefore Islam and democracy (or republicanism, which is not quite the same) can never mix without fundamentally compromising one or the other.

But the Pope got one thing wrong in that conversation last fall. He said that Christianity has an "inner logic" that permits its reinterpretation in modern times--in other words, its adaptation to secular trends. That is absolutely, positively not correct.

What is correct is that Christianity was itself the greatest liberator and protector of the dignity of women in its early days, and its principles are far more woman-friendly than those of Islam ever were. That might not seem true to those, men and women alike, who want to jump off the deep end without checking to see whether the pool even has any water in it. But sober reflection, and careful reading of Scripture (and comparison either to life without restraint or life under the stultifying restraints of Islam), will reveal that under Christianity, men and women alike get the best deal.

What might have confused the Pope is that nothing in the Old or New Testaments forbade the emancipation of slaves, or the establishment of forms of government other than monarchy or tyranny. Jesus will be the Greatest Monarch of all time when His Millennial Reign begins, but until then, Christianity is entirely compatible with a republic--and even a republic that does not establish any particular church. And the advice Paul gave to masters and slaves could apply equally to employers and employees.

This is still the best understanding that any Pope since Urban IX has had about the true nature of Islam, and its fundamental incompatibility with the human spirit.

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