Thursday, August 21, 2014

Straight talk: Israel and the United States and the rest of the West are, in fact, fighting the same intolerant, sadistic and unrepentant foe.

Both the President and Secretary Kerry took pains to sever ISIS from the religion of Islam...

President Obama, in a formal statement on the murder of Foley, said that ISIS, "speaks for no religion. No faith teaches people to massacre innocents. No just God would stand for what they did yesterday or what they do every single day. We will do everything we can to protect our people and the timeless values they stand for. We will be vigilant, and we will be relentless ... to see that justice is done." 
Secretary of State John Kerry followed the President with an equally harsh statement. "There is evil in this world, and we all have come face to face with it once again. Ugly, savage, inexplicable, nihilistic, and valueless evil. ISIL is the face of that evil, a threat to people who want to live in peace, and an ugly insult to the peaceful religion they violate every day with their barbarity." 
Both the President and Mr. Kerry took pains to sever ISIS from the religion of Islam. That is not an appropriate distinction for American political figures to make. Ours is a country that is secular in its governance and does not truck in "true religions" or parsing other people's religious beliefs. The organization speaks precisely in Islamic terms and holds itself out to be authentic Islam. Muslims themselves will either accept ISIS as part of their religious family or drum it out. - The Beheading of James Foley and Other Unintended Consequences

I couldn't agree more.  In fact, for Obama to speak out on the quality of religious belief, even the 'massacre of innocents' is the height of hypocrisy.  He is not a religious leader.  In the United States we massacre innocents every day in and through legalized abortion.  As the above author states: "Both the President and Mr. Kerry took pains to sever ISIS from the religion of Islam. That is not an appropriate distinction for American political figures to make."

On the other hand, the USCCB is calling for continued dialogue  with Muslim leaders.
The U.S. bishops' Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs said the Catholic church remains committed to dialogue with leaders of other religions and Muslims in particular. 
Reiterating that commitment is especially needed now, the committee said in a statement released late Tuesday, because tensions between Christians and Muslims have never been more acute and some Catholics and members of other denominations have rejected interfaith talks. 
"Sadly, in recent years, there has been a deliberate rejection of this call to engage in dialogue with our Muslim brothers and sisters by some in the Catholic Church and in other ecclesial families," said the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' committee, whose chairman is Auxiliary Bishop Denis Madden of Baltimore. 
"We understand the confusion and deep emotions stirred by real and apparent acts of aggression and discrimination by certain Muslims against non-Muslims, often against Christians abroad," it said. "We, and increasingly our Muslim partners in dialogue, are concerned about these very real phenomena." - NCR

Let the bishops do that.

In the meantime ISIS believes they are  the Islamic State, the new Caliphate.  Islam doesn't have a central religious leader, and like Christianity, Islam is splintered.  People have to wake up.  Religious leaders have to get real.  ISIS is the new Islamic State - you can't dialogue with evil.

“I told ISIL you terminated Islam and civilization and humanity. Then in which logic can we address you?” Besharah Al-Rahi, Maronite Patriarch



  2. I would like to know, sincerely, what is the end or goal of the dialogue? What is its purpose? If it is peaceful coexistence among all religions, then what of religions (or factions of religions) which do not wish to go along with that? Perhaps their understanding of their religion is everything but peaceful coexistence. What then?

    I don't see any other conclusion to draw except the one that you have: you can't dialogue with evil.

    World peace is never going to come about perfectly, because there is the underlying spiritual war which will rage on until He comes again. I always get the sense with "dialogue" that such a war is being implicitly downplayed. Perhaps it's time to confess Christ more boldly and name false religion as such. Perhaps Our Lord, so moved by our faith and witness, would deliver us from evil as He has in times past.

  3. “you can't dialogue with evil...”

    Yes we can... Matthew 4 : 1-11

    And let’s not forget the dialogue Jesus had with Saul when the persecutor of Christians worked for the total destruction of the Church.

    And then there are the peacemakers – blessed are they. But they need to dialogue to be peacemakers.

    1. Neither of the incidents cited by bg is an example of a dialogue. Jesus never dialogued with the devil. After all, 1 John 3:8 tells us "The reason the Son of Man appeared was to destroy the works of the devil." The temptation in the desert was not a dialogue -- no compromise or rapprochement was reached. Satan came unsolicited and was rebuffed and soundly dismissed. As Thomas Aquinas points out, the fate of the fallen angels is sealed forever. Exorcists are cautioned never to dialogue with the demon they are trying to expel from the possessed. Remember that Jesus said in Matthew 10:28 "...rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell."

      Similarly, the exchange between Jesus and Saul of Tarsus is not a dialogue. Saul is traumatized and blinded and is given his marching orders. He had the freedom to reject this extraordinary moment of grace, but one does not dialogue when lying on the ground. I think Caravaggio's painting of St Paul on the Road to Damascus (OK, maybe the horse isn't mentioned in Acts) shows the posture that Saul / Paul was in.

      We must dialogue with those whom we disagree with even if the disagreement is on the most profound issues. We must try to dialogue with "bad guys". But to engage in a dialogue with pure evil is not possible. I’d like to think that the members of ISIS are still capable of repentance, are still capable to receive the Lord’s mercy. But repentance would require that they have a change of heart, lay down their weapons and go back home.

    2. Thanks for your good contribution Frank - I was willing to let it go. You are absolutely correct in what you have said and I'm very grateful. Lately I've been quite content to be 'wrong on the internet'.

    3. Never, never, ever admit you're wrong on the internet. Fight till the sun goes down.


    4. LOL! I've been deleting posts from 2006-2007 where I was wrong or simply obnoxious. Not to save face - but trying to right some wrongs.

    5. @ Frank:

      Thank you! It is possible some of those members of ISIS can be's an example:

      “Ghazala told me that all the people told the terrorists that ‘we prefer to be killed rather than convert,’ ” Mansour said. She said Ghazala added that members of the group scolded the terrorists for ignoring Islamic sacred texts that forbade forced conversions of non-Muslims.
      Mansour said the elderly told the militants that the Islamic State had nothing to gain from the conversion of a group of sick, disabled and elderly people."

      Granted, they still robbed them of their materials but something must have moved in them to let the elderly folks go when all they had to do was gun them down.

      I decided to the best of my ability, with God's grace of course, to hope against hope to pray for the conversion and salvation of these ISIS folks. Many will not be moved, but some just might be.

      As we all know..."Nothing is impossible with God, absolutely nothing."
      “When ISIS heard that they told the people to leave Karamless immediately, without taking anything, to leave with only with the clothes they were wearing,” she said.

  4. “No compromise or rapprochment was reached. Satan came unsolicited and was rebuffed and soundly dismissed…”

    By Jesus… but for any of us this is not always the case. There are occassions when we listen to and accept the temptation placed before us. We dialogue in this way. We can say yes, or we can say no.

    There are times when we accept the temptation to demonise our ‘enemies’ and those closer to home (gossip), those made in the image and likeness of God. We say things like: “You can’t dialogue with evil”, forgetting that we are also capable of turning a deaf ear to God and respond to the temptations of the Evil One instead.

    But for those who choose to persecute Christ in others and who bear his name, we should not forget the words Jesus uttered from the Cross: “Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing.”

    Saul did dialogue… converse… listen to… respond to the voice of Jesus. He asked the question: “Who are you, Lord?” The voice answered: “I am Jesus and you are persecuting me.”

    God speaks to all hearts, even to the hearts of those who persecute him, whatever faith they profess. Love makes no distinctions.


Please comment with charity and avoid ad hominem attacks. I exercise the right to delete comments I find inappropriate. If you use your real name there is a better chance your comment will stay put.