Gary Emerling of U.S. News and World Report thinks he has discovered a double standard: “Obama’s comments were criticized as ‘offensive,’ ‘wrongheaded’ and detached from present-day reality. Of course, it’s more politically acceptable to criticize the president then the pope – time will tell if Francis’ remarks draw a similar response.”
Happy to oblige, Gary: the Pope’s comments are offensive, wrongheaded, and detached from present-day reality.
Where today are the Christians who are guilty of “ideological extremism” that moves them to “violent conflict, hatred and brutal atrocities”? Where are there mobs of Christian “extremists” lynching innocent Muslims for perceived “blasphemy,” turning mosques into churches, and forcing Muslims to submit to them and pay them a special tax?
There is an escalating Muslim persecution of Christians that makes the Pope’s moral equivalence at best, disastrously out of focus. At best. Do the suffering Christians not warrant any consideration at all? Any realistic discussion of what has happened and is happening to them? Does the Pope not have any responsibility to speak out realistically and honestly about them and why they are being persecuted? Do those who say he does immediately by doing so put themselves outside of the Church? Are Catholics so in awe of his position they will not oppose him to his face when he stands condemned (cf. Galatians 2:11)? Do they really think God values blind sycophancy over standing for the truth even against the hierarchy?
“Pope Francis Just Echoed Obama’s ‘Offensive’ Prayer Breakfast Remarks,” by Gary Emerling, U.S. News and World Report, September 24, 2015:
While delivering the first address from a pontiff to a joint meeting of Congress on Thursday, Pope Francis touched on topics ranging from the plight of immigrants to climate change and the death penalty….
“Our world is increasingly a place of violent conflict, hatred and brutal atrocities, committed even in the name of God and of religion. We know that no religion is immune from forms of individual delusion or ideological extremism. This means that we must be especially attentive to every type of fundamentalism, whether religious or of any other kind. A delicate balance is required to combat violence perpetrated in the name of a religion, an ideology or an economic system, while also safeguarding religious freedom, intellectual freedom and individual freedoms.”The remarks echo those delivered – albeit with more explicit historical references – by President Barack Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast in February.
“Lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ … So this is not unique to one group or one religion. There is a tendency in us, a sinful tendency that can pervert and distort our faith.”
Obama’s comments were criticized as “offensive,” “wrongheaded” and detached from present-day reality. Of course, it’s more politically acceptable to criticize the president then the pope – time will tell if Francis’ remarks draw a similar response.