Opinion

Anti-Islam: be careful, Catholics, of where your argument takes you…

Catholics are way less violent than Muslims … if abortion isn’t violent

Anti-Islam: be careful, Catholics, of where your argument takes you…

Fabrizio Di Nucci / NurPhoto

It is three weeks now since Pope Francis’s latest fateful airplane interview. In this one, he equates Islamic terrorism with domestic violence in Catholic countries, and reading the context doesn’t really help.

He seems to strike all of the notes that the anti-Catholic left does. “There are violent Catholics!” he says, then speaks darkly of “fundamentalists” before using a bizarre analogy to account for violence in religion: “It is like a fruit salad; there’s everything.”

His argument seems strained, at best.

Catholics I respect a great deal point out that the pope’s words are wrong. After all, Catholics aren’t committing acts of domestic violence in the name of Jesus. The pope’s words give people a false sense of security, they say, and that’s dangerous. Why?

First: Because Muslim public opinion should worry us. While it’s true that a small number of Muslims actually commit terrorism, we know that a great many Muslims think that this violence is somehow justifiable.

Second: Because Muslim plans should worry us. Why are otherwise nonviolent Muslims tolerant of terrorism? Because they want to remake the Western world to be Islamic.

Third: Because whitewashing the truth should worry us. And in the end, isn’t it moral cowardice to soft-pedal the evil being committed in the name of Islam? It feels like moral relativism — and that’s the fundamental threat today.

So, it is asked, how is it okay that the pope said such a thing? Is he a fool or a liar?

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He is neither. He is a humble servant of the Lord who knows that in the era of the culture of death, just as strong an argument can be made for fearing the Christian West as can be made for fearing the Muslim East. After all …

First: Catholic public opinion about the ultimate domestic violence, abortion, should worry us.

While a small number of Muslims are complicit in terrorism, a very sizable number of Christians are both involved in and supportive of abortion. In one study all Christians together account for 65% of aborting mothers — and more abortion customers were Catholics (28.1%) than “nones” (27.5%). In another poll, troublingly high percentages of Catholics find abortion morally acceptable.

Second: Catholic plans for the ultimate domestic violence, abortion, should worry us.

And if it’s true that Muslim public opinion is too willing to tolerate terrorism in pursuit of a more Islamic world, it’s also true that Catholic opinion tolerates and spreads abortion. Catholics put President Obama, history’s most pro-abortion candidate, in office: Heck, he even had a Catholic running mate, our pro-abortion vice president Joe Biden. Today, virulently pro-abortion Hillary Clinton and her “devout Catholic” running mate have a huge lead among Catholics. They will likely continue America’s practice of spreading the culture of death abroad, making the world more like us.

Third: Whitewashing the truth about the ultimate domestic violence, abortion, should worry us.

It is moral cowardice to soft-pedal the evil of abortion. Unborn lives are not a separate, dispensable category of human beings. To ignore the evil of abortion is moral relativism. It is exactly the wrong stance to have with regard to the right to life.

Pope Francis ended his remarks on the plane like this: “I do not believe it is right to identify Islam with violence. This is not right or true.”

He is absolutely right. Nor is it right to identify Catholicism with violence. The truth about both religions is more complicated than our caricatures of them.

How would this Muslim woman, serving Christian victims of terrorism, react if the pope said her religion was inherently  violent? A woman like her might be on the road to conversion to Christianity like so many Muslims — but she wouldn’t be if the pope accused her of harboring violent feelings that she knows she doesn’t have.

And how would the Muslim refugees who gave Aleteia’s writer gifts from their grinding poverty feel if the pope summed them up as violent in their hearts? He would be telling them that they are just like the men whose violence made them homeless. What if they believed him? Wouldn’t the pope’s remarks help radicalize them?

A strong papal statement equating Islam with violence is the fondest wish of ISIS. Theirs is a backward mindset fixating on a glorious past to distract them from their pathetic present. They would love for the pope to take their bait and validate their fantasy that they are titans in a worldwide death struggle with “the People of the Cross.”

Sorry guys, our pope is smarter than that.

He is also too smart to simply wish away the real problems in the Middle East. In my book What Pope Francis Really Said I quote the other words Francis has said: Muslim “Christianophobia” is a much worse phenomenon than Christian “Islamophobia,” Muslim leaders should do a better job of condemning violence, and terrorism represents a piecemeal World War III.

He’s just not going to stand in the culture-of-death West, which is stained scarlet with the shame of tens of millions of abortions a year, and define those to his East by the actions of a few terrorists.

Stefan Strigler

Tom Hoopes

Tom Hoopes is writer in residence at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, and author of the book What Pope Francis Really Said.