Monday, September 18, 2006

Why does Rev Sinkford not speak out in support of Benedict?

Here's the offending paragraph from Benedict's Regensburg speech.

If Rev Sinkford can speak out against Judge Alito as a threat to civil liberities seems he should not remain silent on those inciting hatred of Benedict for what sounds to me a very liberal defense of reason and faith.

We forsake our own Liberal tradition if we can't join in defense of Benedict against a minority of Islamic thugs who incite Muslims for their own political gains.

We should not remain silent here. When those kidnapped reporters forced to convert to Islam on pain of death we're confronted with a kind of assualt on civilization that makes our own disputes in the US pale in comparison.

Again, the quote from the speech,
In the seventh conversation (διάλεξις - controversy) edited by Professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the holy war. The emperor must have known that surah 2, 256 reads: "There is no compulsion in religion". According to the experts, this is one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat. But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Qur'an, concerning holy war. Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the "Book" and the "infidels", he addresses his interlocutor with a startling brusqueness, a brusqueness which leaves us astounded, on the central question about the relationship between religion and violence in general, saying: "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 emperor, after having expressed himself so forcefully, goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. "God", he says, "is not pleased by blood - and not acting reasonably (σὺν λόγω) is contrary to God's nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats... To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death...".

2 comments:

fausto said...

As I mentioned over on my own blog, the Pope was actually speaking in favor of reason in religion, not against Islam (though I think the point about Islam is also well taken).

Which makes it all the more imperative for Sinkford as the titular leader of Unitarian Universalism to speak up in support, as you say. Good point.

Bill Baar said...

Exactly Fausto and I'm so happy you and I agree here.