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Karen Armstrong is only the dumbest person publishing books on religion under the auspices of something remotely related to scholarship. Have you read any of her books? They're almost painful.

It's fitting that the title of her piece implies condemnation of the west for it's anti-Muslim prejudice. Americans and Israelis didn't destroy Beruit; Muslim extremists did. Americans didn't create one of the largest expatriate Muslim populations in the world when people fled fanatical governments (like the one that overthrew the Shah in Iran) to come to the US; Muslim extremists did.

The fact that your post is entitled "Papal Misstep?" exposes the anti-western bias of the treatment of this entire affair.

This post should be entitled, "Islamic Misstep?" And the question you should ask is why Islamic leaders America and abroad are so sluggish to condemning violence in their own religion?

I don't know whether this Pope is a keeper, but we do need better media.

Why should a religious leader speak of the violence of another religion and ignore the violence of his own religion? Christians, and especially Catholics have a long history of violent acts in the name of religion.

Why should Islam be given a pass on the continued barbaric conduct of its fringe elements regardless of the excuse? No other religious movement has anything on Islam's track record over the last several decades.

Sin A can never justify sin B. How can the largely defensive behavior of Christians several centuries ago justify an offensive war of religion, a reprise of the one Islam conducted in days gone by. Remember the Byzantines?

The Islamists are rapidly becoming the new Evil Empire, and save they discard this war of conquest, they are likely to suffer the rather poetic fulfilment of a long series of Old Testament prophecies.

What Dave, no link to Latter-day Saints discussing this?

The Pope quoted the medieval Byzantine emperor to make two points: (1) the way that emperor spoke about Islam was not appropriate; it was too brusque; (2) although the emperor was not properly respectful or mindful of Islam, his point was valid in an ultimate sense: violence is not a means by which religion can be or should be spread and reason and rationality characterize God more than holy war.

There has been some minimal acknowledgment in the Muslim world (I am thinking particularly of Turkey here) that the reaction was premature and unfounded. Muslims, for example in Turkey's Ministry of Religious Affairs, reacted to and issued statements based on incomplete media pronouncements before having read the entire speech. The media reported the one sentence that the Pope quoted from the Byzantine emperor that characterized Mohammed as having brought nothing new but rather only things evil and inhumane including the injunction to spread the faith by the sword. This was cited in the nature of counter-analysis; reading the entire speech confirms this. It is manifestly silly to quote counter-analysis in an academic speech or a legal opinion and then present it as the main substance. The entire speech is readily available. And yet, amazingly, very few Muslims appear to have the slightest idea what they're talking about with reference to the Pope's speech, even though they feel qualified to decry it. Apparently, it is more productive to burn effigies of the Pope and German flags than to read the speech. This shows immense immaturity on the part of many Muslims. Additionally, it reveals that certain instigators of violence are able to fan flames of ingrained hatred when given such a soundbite, even one that is embarassingly (for the body of Muslims) taken entirely out of context.

Fortunately, in spite of the Pope's comments, we can see in which religion lies the greatest tendency toward violence right now. It is our own great nation of the USA that is threatening Iran with nuclear weapons and invading Afganistan and Iraq and killing masses of people, supporting the massacre and destruction of the Lebanese people, while upholding the brutal regimes of the Saudis, Egypt and Uzbekistan in the region. It would seem our great Christian nation is the one filled with violence to the greater extent.

I think you are confusing religions with political entities, Curtis. The US is not a religion. And have you actually read the Pope's speech, Curtis? It argues against religious violence, not for it. In your mind, you seem to think that the Pope preaching peace and restraint is somehow furthering violence, while Muslims kidnapping and killing innocent civilians is somehow furthering the cause of peace? You just aren't connecting the dots very well.

Sorry to confuse anyone. My point was, that Islam is accused of being a religion of violence... and yet, it is not Islamic believing peoples who have done the majority of the violent acts of the last 100 years or so. It has been Christian believing people from European nations and lately from the US that have been involved in more violence than Islamic believing people.
I was not referring to what the Pope is preaching, but to what the reality is on the ground.
Sure, Muslims are involved in violence in Iraq, but the greatest violence Iraq has seen has been inspired, supported and perpetrated by the US (Christian believing people).

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