No, this isn’t about “dialogue” within The Episcopal Church (although it could be).
This week, Pope Benedict XVI gave a lecture at the University of Regensburg on the relationship between faith and reason, and the importance of and legitimate position of Greek philosophy within Church teaching.
Dry stuff, eh? Not when he quotes, in the first third of his talk, the Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaiologos:
“Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”
The reactions have been, unfortunately, predictable:
Across the Islamic world Friday, Benedict’s remarks on Islam and jihad in a speech in Germany unleashed a torrent of rage that many fear could burst into violent protests like those that followed publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad….
Chancellor Merkel is not cowed, and still remembers how to use the word ‘dialogue’ in its non-debauched form:
German Chancellor Angela Merkel defended the German-born pope, saying his message had been misunderstood.
“It is an invitation to dialogue between religions and the pope has explicitly urged this dialogue, which I also endorse and see as urgently necessary,” she said Friday. “What Benedict XVI makes clear is a decisive and uncompromising rejection of any use of violence in the name of religion.”
However, CAIR is busy using ‘dialogue’ in its debased form (meaning, “keep talking until you see things my way”):
“The proper response to the pope’s inaccurate and divisive remarks is for Muslims and Catholics worldwide to increase dialogue and outreach efforts aimed at building better relations between Christianity and Islam,” the group said.
So far, this is all SOP. Here, however, is something deserves a bit more highlighting:
“The pope and Vatican proved to be Zionists and that they are far from Christianity, which does not differ from Islam. Both religions call for forgiveness, love and brotherhood,” Shiite cleric Sheik Abdul-Kareem al-Ghazi said during a sermon in Iraq’s second-largest city, Basra.
(Side note: “Zionists”? I think al-Ghazi’s anti-Semitism is showing.)
Get that? The pope isn’t a “real” Christian, because he’s critical of Islam. Real Christianity does not differ from Islam, according to al-Ghazi. (I’m sure his Chaldean neighbors will be surprised to hear this…)
So. A Shi’ite cleric takes it upon himself to declare what “real” Christianity is — and it turns out to be just like Islam! Those “Christians” who do not accept this vision are therefore not “real” Christians, but rather “Zionists”.
An … interesting approach to inter-religious dialogue, to be sure. One that I think will be rather unproductive with non-dhimmi Christians.
It might have a chance of working at the National Cathedral, however. I hear they go in for that sort of thing.
God have mercy.