Hijab, France and Freedom

In 2004, in one of the most egregious limitations on personal liberties instituted in a western country in recent memory, the French government passed a law banning the wearing of conspicuous religious symbols inside public schools. The law was widely viewed as being aimed at France’s growing Muslim minority because it prevented female Muslim students from wearing headscarves in school.

Wearing hijab (modest clothing) is considered a religious duty by most Muslims, and not just radicals and militants. The Qur’an clearly states that women should dress modestly and cover their hair:

And say to the believing women that they cast down their looks and guard their private parts and do not display their ornaments except what appears thereof, and let them wear their head-coverings over their bosoms, and not display their ornaments except to their husbands or their fathers, or the fathers of their husbands, or their sons, or the sons of their husbands, or their brothers, or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their women, or those whom their right hands possess, or the male servants not having need (of women), or the children who have not attained knowledge of what is hidden of women; and let them not strike their feet so that what they hide of their ornaments may be known; and turn to Allah all of you, O believers! so that you may be successful. (Sura 24:31)

Of course, in many Islamic countries women are forced to wear headscarves regardless of whether they want to or not. But of course, French Muslim women had a choice as to whether or not to wear the scarf. Until 2004.

The French government defended its move by saying that French public schools are secular, and should be free of religious influences. They also argued that the headscarf was a symbol of the subjugation of women inside Islamic societies.

Of course, this was all patently ridiculous. Most Muslim women in the West choose to wear the scarf as a symbol of their faith and culture, without anyone forcing them to do so. None of this is really surprising for France, whose commitment to freedom of religion throughout its history has been at best shaky and at worst downright tyrannical.

Now, French president Nicolas Sarkozy wants to take this a step further. Yesterday, Sarkozy gave a speech before the French legislature where he called for a ban on women wearing the burqa in France.

The burqa is a garment which covers everything but the eyes. It is only worn by a small minority of Muslims who follow strict interpretations of Islam, and only worn by a very few women in France. Sarkozy argues that the burqa “is not a religious sign, it’s a sign of subservience, a sign of debasement.”

The burqa certainly is just that in many cases. But once again, in France the government is not forcing anyone to wear the burqa. If a woman in France chooses to wear the burqa, that is her choice.

Many people in France feel threatened by Muslim immigration and the presence of Islamic culture in France. Often, all Muslims are conflated with violent militants and fears abound of a Europe overrun by Muslims (which currently make up 9% of the French population, so they have a lot of overrunning to do). In such a climate, laws designed to limit Muslims’ ability to practice their religion and culture are appealing. The way to protect your culture, it is argued, is to ban other cultures.

The problem with this is that it is counter-productive. You cannot preserve a culture by building a fence of laws around it which abrogate personal liberty. Culture is in a constant state of change as new ideas emerge and promulgate themselves throughout a population. There is no stopping this, because government cannot control people’s thoughts. Government cannot force cultural change on immigrants, because it cannot make them stop wanting their old culture. Cultures are not created by governments, and they cannot be preserved by them.

But more importantly, these laws are a straight-up abrogation of the basic human freedoms that Western democracy is built on recognizing. Freedom of religion is simply a corollary of freedom of speech, and freedom of speech is fundamental to a working democratic society. Therefore, France’s ban on headscarves and proposed ban on burqas does not protect French culture. Rather, it is an assault on French democracy itself.

32 thoughts on “Hijab, France and Freedom

  1. Chris, I must respectfully disagree with your position on this one. Muslims are a huge threat to Europe, not necessarily because they’re all a bunch of jihadis, but because, as you seem to acknowledge, they are irrevocably changing the culture of France, whether that culture is to be considered Christian (Catholic) or secular.

    This cultural change, additionally, is not natural, as you seem to suggest (“Culture is in a constant state of change as new ideas emerge and promulgate themselves throughout a population.”). If this cultural change were natural, then natives of France would be converting to Islam, which is clearly not the case. The Muslims in France are almost entirely immigrants or descendants of immigrants who were Muslim before they came. This cultural change is therefore more accurately described as “conquest”–the only difference between this conquest, however, and traditional conquests is that the French population is pretty much letting it happen without a fight. This effort to control the way in which women dress is simply a last-ditch attempt of the French to check the influence of Islam on French culture. I’m sure right now they’re probably kicking themselves for not initially acting more like their great ancestor, Charles Martel, who kept the Muslims from entering Gaul at the Battle of Tours.

    The other thing to keep in mind, Chris, is that, right now, Muslims are a relatively weak minority in France. But what will happen when they are a majority (which, at the current rate, they will be eventually)? If the Muslims will behave as they’re brothers in the Middle East behave, women will be forced to wear headscarves, or whatever you call them. And you may then argue that, when Muslims will have become a majority, they will have been Westernized to the point where they will respect views different from their own. But don’t you think that’s a pretty big risk that you’re taking with Western Civilization? What if you’re wrong? What if Muslims do not end up tolerating Christianity? Imagine what we as Christians would lose culturally if France should change into a Muslim country! We’ve already lost a lot since it went secular…

    Ultimately, is this a restriction of freedom? Sure. The better question, however, is the following: Do the benefits of this restriction of freedom outweigh the costs?

    If the speed limit on I-40 is 70 mph, then my freedom to drive as I please is restricted–I can’t open up the throttle on my 7.3-liter V8. The benefits of this restriction of freedom, however, certainly outweigh the costs, as most people would acknowledge. If there were no speed limit on I-40, then some people would endanger the lives of others through reckless driving. It is a necessary restriction.

    So, France’s laws vis-a-vis Islam have to be judged in the context of costs v. benefits.

  2. Correction:

    “If the Muslims will behave [when they will have come into power in France] as THEIR brothers in the Middle East behave, women will be forced to wear headscarves, or whatever you call them.”

  3. Wow, Riley, your rhetoric is frightening. I applaud Chris for this article.

    Riley, you can’t legislate your cultural taste. You’re basically saying that it is OK to restrict a minority’s freedom for the benefit of the majority. That is absolutely grotesque. Who are you to judge what is culturally “natural?” Culture changes with its people and you can’t create laws that prevent it from changing — that, my friend, is akin to fascism and should not be tolerated in any free society.

    You wrote that “What if Muslims do not end up tolerating Christianity?” Don’t you get that you’re being ridiculously hypocritical? You’re committing the very same sin by being intolerant of Islam. Our nation was founded, largely, on religious tolerance. How can you then profess that it is OK to limit religious freedom?

    Lastly, a cost/benefit analysis is not appropriate when it comes to deciding whether or not to restrict cultural or religious freedom.

  4. “But what will happen when they are a majority (which, at the current rate, they will be eventually)?”

    Then, they will change the law.

    “If the Muslims will behave as they’re brothers in the Middle East behave, women will be forced to wear headscarves”

    I’m sorry, but this is simply not true. Do you really think all women in the Middle East wear headscarves? You should watch some Arabic music videos on YouTube, it will quickly disabuse you of that notion.

    Only Iran and Saudi Arabia (as well as some northern provinces of Sudan and Nigeria) have laws requiring women to wear headscarves. In fact, it is actively discouraged in some countries such as Egypt and Morocco and wearing headscarves in public buildings is banned in Algeria, Turkey and Tunisia.

  5. “Riley, you can’t legislate your cultural taste.”

    Yes, we can.

    “You’re basically saying that it is OK to restrict a minority’s freedom for the benefit of the majority.”

    What I’m saying is that Islam is a threat to (dominant) French culture. If the French want their culture to exist through this century, they’d better do something, even if it makes liberals like you, Johnny Q, cringe.

    *sigh* Johnny Q, I’m not even going to bother defending myself against the rest of what you said. If you have some kind of a moral issue with the French preserving their culture via the use of laws, then you’re beyond my help. I don’t have the patience to have my views called “grotesque” by a person who grotesquely is happy with seeing France turn into a Middle Eastern country.

    Chris, I appreciate your points about the headscarves. Perhaps I should have been more clear. It’s not really the headscarves, per se, that bother me. For that matter, Catholic women are kinda sorta supposed to have their heads covered when they pray, so the headscarves are not really the issue. France is trying to make sure that she is not made to be Muslim. It’s really that simple. Now, granted, she should have thought about that when she first started allowing Islamic immigrants, but that’s no longer the issue.

    Headscarf-requirement or not, I don’t ever want to see a large number of Muslims living in France. Perhaps if you lived among a growing population of them, you’d have a different opinion. After all, it seems that many Europeans feel this way. As Pat Buchanan says in his book “The Death of the West”:

    “Cardinal Giacomo Biffi of Bologna has called on Rome to restrict immigration to Catholics to ‘save the nation’s identity,’ raising eyebrows with his remark that Muslims have ‘different food, festivals, and family morals.’ ”

    There is undeniably a huge Islamic wave of migration crashing down on aging Europe. As “The Death of the West” also notes, “There are fifteen hundred mosques in Germany.” And the Muslim population of Europe is skyrocketing while native Europeans are declining in number. Again, that’s not natural cultural change. That’s conquest.

    It’s completely undeniable that religion is one of the main pillars of a culture. If France adopts Islam (which it is certainly in danger of doing), French culture as we know it will not exist. If you’re content knowing that, I just don’t know what to say to you. At least I know where you stand and what the West is up against.

    On another note, you’ve expressed Christian sentiments before, Chris. Are you seriously willing to stand idly by as a false religion is spread in a nation where once Christianity prevailed?

  6. “You’re basically saying that it is OK to restrict a minority’s freedom for the benefit of the majority.”

    That’s democracy for you. No matter how you spin it, the minority ALWAYS loses in democracy. For example, currently abortion is allowed, because those that are against it are in the minority. They can’t do a thing about it, and as the minority, they can’t change it until they’ve gotten that magical 51%. Are you going to scream for the minorities’ rights for those who are pro-life? I highly doubt it.

    Yes, culture does change, but only when the people want that culture to change. Obviously, the French people don’t want a Muslim nation, and to an extent, are fighting against Muslim influence. They have EVERY right to do that, whether Muslims are in the minority or not.

    You have deluded yourself, Johnny, into believing in this false sense of freedom. You don’t actually support liberty, but rather license. Any time that you or the minority are restricted, you scream that your liberties are being restricted. Here’s a newsflash, Johnny. You are not as “free” as you believe. You are not allowed to do anything that you please. Catholics are not allowed to wear a massive crucifix around their necks while in a public school, but I don’t see you scream for Catholic’s rights. Our liberties are restricted, and that is the direct result of democracy. The majority rules.

    You accuse Riley of fascism, but at the same time you sing the praises of what is commonly known as anarchy. And here’s the scary thing. Democracy is just one step above anarchy. With your twisted sense of “freedom” it is no surprise that you, unwittingly perhaps, support anarchy under the guise of “freedom” and “democracy”.

    Chris,

    ““But what will happen when they are a majority (which, at the current rate, they will be eventually)?”

    Then, they will change the law.”

    Exactly. At the moment though, the Muslims are still a minority. Which means that, according to democracy, the majority doesn’t want burqas to be allowed. It’s the will of the people, and it doesn’t matter if it is wrong or right. France is still nominally Catholic, at least, in terms of their culture. They have every right to preserve that culture. If they want Muslim influence, then they are welcome to it. It’s their country. If Muslims don’t like the fact that Catholics aren’t willing to give into to Muslim influence and pressure, then that is just tough. They can fight for that influence, but they don’t have a right to demand to be influencing.

  7. Wow, never mind. This really isn’t worth getting into. You guys have a very perverted view of other cultures. There is nothing I can really say to help you understand the benefit of religious and cultural tolerance in society. It is something you have to experience for yourself. I hope that your xenophobic and intolerant rhetoric is never a part of mainstream thought.

  8. On second thought, you guys are right. You know what? I want a purely American culture in America. I’m going to crusade for the banning of Taco Bell, soccer, Mexican restaurants, China Town, and the like for diluting our culture. If it ain’t apple pie and baseball and Christianity, to hell with it! Actually, let’s just ban all immigration from the Eastern Hemisphere… they’re hurting Western Civilization!

    What do you think, Riley?

  9. Johnny Q, you are tiresomely ignorant. Do you ever read books/newspapers or just subject yourself to MSNBC 24/7? Have you ever taken history classes?

  10. I think, Johnny Q, since you’re asking, that you are a benighted leftist who is hopeless in his naivete and closed-mindedness. You know, being open-minded is more than simply “conversing” on a conservative blog. But I’m not getting into a discussion with you about America. The topic here is France’s laws vis-a-vis Islam.

    “There is nothing I can really say to help you understand the benefit of religious and cultural tolerance in society.”

    That’s because there is nothing for you to say. Even John Locke didn’t tolerate just any religious view. He definitely didn’t think that atheism should be tolerated, and, if I remember correctly, he didn’t think that Roman Catholicism should be tolerated either. Every society has legal limitations on religion. Granted, some are more strict than others, but limitations exist nonetheless. America doesn’t allow human sacrifices…

    I also find it incredibly ironic that leftists (not necessarily you, Johnny Q–I don’t know you that well) decry Westerners when they try to preserve their own cultures, but then turn around and decry Westerners again when they give the slightest hint that they just might be imposing too much on other (non-Western) cultures. And believe you me, whether all the leftists on this forum would fall into that category or not, it is certainly the case with most leftists. I took an entire class on it last semester.

    Ever heard of “uncontacted peoples?” Leftists are among the chief supporters of the rights of “uncontacted peoples” to remain uncontacted. This is interesting considering that these same leftists basically support open borders for Western nations. What really amuses me is when leftists start to explain why they think that uncontacted peoples should remain thus–if we contact them, we’ll ultimately destroy their indigenous cultures.

    But Western nations shouldn’t get the same treatment–after all, we’re just a bunch of racist, xenophobic, sexist bigots.

  11. Johnny,

    Your stupidity surprises even me. You preach religious and cultural tolerance to the point where there would be no culture, no country, and no religion.(ie anarchy) It’d just be one big mish mash of your precious “tolerance” without any substance.

    Why aren’t you screaming about the Muslim’s intolerance of other cultures? Why aren’t we allowed to influence the “native” Americans, or African culture? Oh yeah, that’s right. They’re a minority, and so the rules change. You’re so caught up in feel good tolerance and acceptance of minorities that you ignore the majority’s rights.

    Here’s the thing Johnny. Cultures do influence one and other. But there’s the thing. ONE and OTHER. That means it goes both ways, something that you persistently ignore. If one culture doesn’t want American influence, they are free and even encouraged by the like of liberals such as your self, to reject the influence of the “white man”. But America be damned if they want the same thing.

    ALL cultures seek to preserve their identity, whether it be Muslim culture, Mexican culture, or Black culture. Except for, according to you, American culture which is supposed to bend over backwards and tolerate all other cultures. No other culture needs to do this in your perverted world.

    “the benefit of religious and cultural tolerance in society”

    Give me a break. You can’t explain it. You can only “experience” it. That’s bull. What that means is that it “feels” good, which is totally different from the term “benefits”. If it really benefited a country, then you would be able to provide concrete examples. However, since you can’t explain the “good feeling” that you get when you see religious tolerance, then there is no real benefit, except on an individual basis. Do you realize just how close to being an anarchist you are? Or are you a self proclaimed anarchist already?

  12. “I don’t ever want to see a large number of Muslims living in France. Perhaps if you lived among a growing population of them, you’d have a different opinion.”

    Most of the year, I DO live amongst a growing population of Muslim immigrants. It’s called the Triangle area of North Carolina. Having spent 3 semesters studying Arabic at UNC, I’ve met many Muslims both from the university and in the wider community. I really don’t feel threatened by them and I don’t feel they are a mortal threat to America.

    “On another note, you’ve expressed Christian sentiments before, Chris. Are you seriously willing to stand idly by as a false religion is spread in a nation where once Christianity prevailed?”

    What better way to convert Muslims to Christianity than to have them leave their home countries (where freedom of religion is often not allowed) and come to the West?

    Here’s the real problem. You are trying to defend western civilization by taking away the best products of western civilization: democracy, freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

    I cannot see why preserving culture is more important than maintaining democratic freedoms, especially since culture is such a malleable thing which is susceptible to change.

  13. I guess we’re just going to have to agree to disagree, Chris. The Muslims migrating to the West are not converting to Christianity as a result of their being exposed to “freedom” of religion in the West. Instead, they are simply transplanting their religion from the Middle East to wherever they end up, and they are most clearly changing the culture of the West as a result of it.

    And the West cannot be summed up merely as a place of democracy, freedom of speech, and freedom of religion. As I pointed out earlier, even Locke didn’t support granting atheists and Roman Catholics freedom of religion. American freedom of religion wasn’t originally intended to include non-Christians. And democracy definitely can’t wholly describe Western governments. If I recall correctly, you’re a History major, so I’m sure you already knew that. Freedom of speech has also been a mark of Western Civilization, but that too has always had its limits.

    As George Kennan once said, “(P)eople are not always more reasonable than governments…(P)ublic opinion…is not invariably a moderating force in the jungle of politics.” The West has a rich history of monarchy, oligarchy, republicanism, democracy, etc. I don’t think that democracy is the West’s greatest achievement.

    Also, as njr has pointed out, the French’s decision was democratic, was it not?

    Additionally, Christianity is an essential element of Western Civilization. If Christianity is abandoned, then bid the West farewell as we know her, and as I, for my part, love her.

  14. Just to make sure that I’ve addressed all your points, Chris, I want to emphasize that:

    1.) The Western idea of freedom of religion has never literally been freedom of religion. If “freedom of religion” ever should be fully implemented, it would result in complete anarchy, as njr has mentioned.

    2.) Freedom of speech/expression has always been an discernible aspect of Western culture. But there have always been restrictions on freedom of speech/expression, as there ought to have been. All things in moderation. I don’t think that burning the American flag ought to be legal.

    3.) Examples of democracy have been evident throughout the history of the West. But so have examples of monarchy, oligarchy, republicanism, etc. Different forms of government have proven successful with different peoples, cultures, and eras throughout the history of the West. Sometimes democracy has been a good idea, sometimes it has been a bad idea. In fact, some Westerners have opined that democracy is the last form of government that exists in a society before said society collapses.

    4.) For the past two thousand years, the West has been shaped and guided by Christianity. Ever since Christianity’s inception, it has found a welcoming home in Western Civilization (barring some persecution by the Romans, who nevertheless eventually accepted Christianity). Western man has been helpful to Christianity, and Christianity has been helpful to Western man. Christianity did not depose pre-Christian Western thought, heroes, etc. Instead, Christianity perfected the good things that pre-Christian Western man had formed. The day Christianity dies in a society is the day on which that society is no longer Western by the standards of the Western man of the last 1500-2000 years.

    5.) Conservatives have traditionally sought to preserve such things as Christianity, and have traditionally sought to preserve their cultures by doing such things as controlling immigration. If it weren’t for conservative forces throughout history, I can guarantee you that our society would look much different from how it looks right now. Russell Kirk considered Christianity and Western Civilization inseparable. I highly doubt he would agree with you on this issue.

  15. Riley, I think the central problem with all of your arguments is that at their core you are trying to legislate virtue. Virtue that is coerced is not true virtue. True virtue can only come when a person has a free choice between right and wrong, and chooses right.

  16. Perhaps it’s time for a leftist-Catholic-History major to interject.

    George Washington, in a letter to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, Rhode Island:

    “May the children of the stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants;–while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.”

    In case you wondered Riley, that fig tree allusion is from the book of Micah. Sorry, I had to go all Catholic school on you. Anyway, he went on to say that America “gives…bigotry no sanction.” What’s that say about you? I think the Founding Fathers had a more inclusive concept of Western Civilization than you do, Mr. Matheson. In 1818, John Adams wrote:

    “It has pleased the Providence of the first Cause, the Universal Cause, that Abraham should give religion not only to Hebrews but to Christians and Mohamitans (Muslims), the greatest part of the modern civilized world…”

    We have Islam to thank for preserving much of the West’s history, and contributing incredibly to art, science, and literature. The Founders also had more respect for it than you do. When Keith Ellison, the only Muslim Congressman, swore in, he did it on Jefferson’s personal Qu’ran. Have you bothered to read it at all?

    America is not a Christian nation. Period. What else is there to argue? In 1797, the Senate ratified a treaty with the nation of Tripoli that states “the government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion…” That treaty was initiated by Washington and completed by John Adams.

    You are such a hypocrite. “But there have always been restrictions on freedom of speech/expression, as there ought to have been.” Yeah, like an organization that considers other cultures “threats” or that people not like them owe America the abandonment of their history ought to not be sanctioned by a university. You’ll hold up the banner of free speech when it’s you on the defensive.

    I’ll leave you with this: “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

    Micah 6:8. Walk a little more humbly.

    1. Good job. Too many bills like this are poorly tohught out and create unforeseen consequences. H.408 allows bicyclists who run red lights, causing accidents to still sue the unlucky drivers who hit them, for example. Lawyers get to collect 1/3 of awards for both victims and causers or accidents! Likewise, mandatory use of child car and booster seats has put more big SUVs on roads for ease of using these seats.Prisons are not the industry we want to grow here as in Texas. Its shameful that our free country has the most people in the world locked up, half for drug offenses. Alcohol prohibition didn’t work and created organized crime and other problems for social ills not solved by incarceration. A few bad judges happen, and the solution is to make getting rid of them easier and faster.

  17. My points stand strong as they are. Take them or leave them. Domenic, your points are basically laughable. Also, can we please stick to the topic of France and Islam? America is an entirely different case. But I will say that it is certainly ridiculous to say that the American Founding Fathers would have been content allowing a large number of Islamic immigrants to join them in their new nation, had they faced the issue in their heyday.

    But either way, I was talking about France, specifically.

    By the way, the term “leftist-Catholic” is an oxymoron.

    Oh–almost forgot. George Washington owned slaves. And he’s calling me a bigot? Trust me, the quotes you provided do not in the slightest degree prove that the American Founding Fathers would have liked the idea of a large number of Muslims living in their newly-birthed nation.

    Jews are actually a very interesting case study in the Western world. In the Middle Ages, St. Thomas Aquinas, in answering the question “Whether the rites of unbelievers ought to be tolerated?”, basically says that Jews ought to be tolerated, relatively definitely, but others ought to be tolerated only on a case-by-case basis:

    “Hence, though unbelievers sin in their rites, they may be tolerated, either on account of some good that ensues therefrom, or because of some evil avoided. Thus from the fact that the Jews observe their rites, which, of old, foreshadowed the truth of the faith which we hold, there follows this good–that our very enemies bear witness to our faith, and that our faith is represented in a figure, so to speak. FOR THIS REASON THEY ARE TOLERATED IN THE OBSERVANCE OF THEIR RITES.

    “On the other hand, the rites of other unbelievers, which are neither truthful nor profitable ARE BY NO MEANS TO BE TOLERATED, EXCEPT PERCHANCE IN ORDER TO AVOID AN EVIL, e.g. the scandal or disturbance that might ensue, or some hindrance to the salvation of those who if they were unmolested might gradually be converted to the faith. For this reason the Church, at times, has tolerated the rites even of heretics and pagans, when unbelievers were very numerous.” (emphasis mine)

    Basically, Domenic, Jews are a special case, and, according to one of the most influential Doctors of the Roman Catholic Church, ought to be tolerated. Muslims (also known as “heretics” to Catholics) ought to be tolerated on a case-by-case basis. IN FRANCE’S CASE, I would say that there is absolutely nothing to be gained from allowing Muslims to continue to migrate into France. I would also say that the French would be foolish not to check the influence that Islam is having on their nominally Catholic culture. You can disagree with my JUDGMENT on this, but don’t call yourself a Catholic if you disagree with my claim that France should remain Catholic.

    The bottom line is that it is in the Western Christian tradition to accept Jews.

  18. Good thing to remember! I only need to TOLERATE Jews out of historical obligation. Check! This whole time I’ve been valuing their way of life as one just as legitimate as mine. Oh God, I even have one as a roommate. What a waste of time!

    Tell Thomas Merton, Sister Helen Prejean, and Cesar Chavez that you can’t be a leftist-Catholic. Then again, they’re probably all closet Communists to you.

    You’re right, slavery and democracy ARE a contradiction! Great thing we learn from our mistakes, no? Isn’t it a great thing when America learns that it needs to make up for past injustices? That whole “more perfect union” thing?

    You made the discussion more broad, YOU made it all about all of the West. My point is the West is not just Christianity, that those aren’t interchangeable terms. Neither are religion and culture. That’s what you don’t seem to get. But then again, I was raised with a plurality of religion, race, and culture in my life, so maybe that’s easier for me to accept.

    Some aspects of Islam never left western culture. The hijab was worn by Portuguese women for a very long time after reconquest. In Spanish, you still say “ojalá que” to express hopefulness. For some reason, you and others like you want to pretend the only role Islam has played in the history of the west is one of opposition. Pope John Paul II knew that wasn’t true. In 2001, when then Pope John Paul II removed his shoes and entered the Umayyad Mosque in Jordan, he prayed silently and then said “It is my ardent hope that Muslim and Christian religious leaders and teachers will present our two great religious communities as communities in respectful dialogue, never more as communities in conflict.” It’s hard to respect and understand when you are too busy trying to ward off a “threat.” If the Pope can pray in a mosque that is the tomb of John the Baptist, can French Catholics not live among French Muslims?

    France has a cultural agenda. Sarkozy has been vocal about dialogue with the Muslim community, and France as a whole is no stranger to Islam (Algeria, Tunisia?). The way I’ve heard it put more often is “developing an Islam that is French” rather than being at war with it. And what we’re seeing now is that with that agenda, France may end up sacrificing civil liberties. Like Chris said in the original posting, “You cannot preserve a culture by building a fence of laws around it which abrogate personal liberty.”

  19. “We have Islam to thank for preserving much of the West’s history, and contributing incredibly to art, science, and literature. ”

    Domenic,

    Considering that Muslims are a part of Eastern culture, and the Eastern world, I fail to see how they saved or contributed much to the Western world. While I am sure that they contributed to certain aspects of it, to say that they played a minor role from a cultural aspect, is simply laughable. And, as a supposedly “Catholic” history major, you of all people should know that science, literature, and art were preserved by the Catholic Church. Illuminated manuscripts ring any bells? If it hadn’t been for Catholic monks and scribes, we wouldn’t have the wealth of historical documents pertaining to Western tradition.

    You yourself say that America is not a Christian country, and I completely agree. Please explain to me how America’s founding fathers could find a decidedly non-Christian nation, and at the same time have a more “inclusive concept” of Western Civilization. If anything, they rejected Western ideals. Once again, as a history major, and a “Catholic”, you should know that Catholicism was an integral part of Western Civilization.

    Chris,

    Here’s the problem with your “arguments”. You’ve completely and totally missed the point behind the French President’s actions. It has NOTHING to do with womens’ rights, the debasement of women, and a restriction of freedom of speech. France, through its President is sending a very clear message to Muslims in France. Here’s what it says: “You are not welcome here.” That’s it. That’s the point behind this ban.

    You are free to argue whether this message is correct, or not, but it does not matter. Democracy doesn’t care whether the 51% are correct or not. All that matters is that the majority rules. There is no monarch to say whether something is right or wrong. There is no authority outside of the 51% rule. Unfortunately, you can’t have your cake and eat it too. You either have to live with democracy and its fruits, or you reject it in favor of something else. This, and your past post, I believe, have been complaints not against the issue, but rather against the fruits of democracy. And, seeing as you will not stand against democracy as a government, you really don’t have a reason to complain.

  20. Oh wow, Domenic. Sure thing. I’ll tell Thomas Merton, Sister Helen Prejean, and Cesar Chavez that they can’t be leftist and Catholic at the same time, because they aren’t Catholic in any way except nominally. Actions speak louder than words, and their actions speak VOLUMES about just how “Catholic” they were. You know, if you are going to claim to be a Catholic, at least know Catholic Teaching and history.

    Those are some simply amazing examples with regards to how Islam influenced Western Civilization. The hijab, and saying “ojalá que” to express hopefulness are the FIRST two things that I think of when I asked to consider Western Civilization. How silly of us to assume that most people don’t think that way.

    Here’s why you can’t be Catholic and “leftist” at the same time, Domenic. True Catholics believe that the Catholic Faith is the One and Only True Faith. We “tolerate” other religions, in as much as we try to convert them to the true religion. You, however, obviously don’t believe that. A “plurality” of religions? What the hell does that mean? I was raised as a Catholic, and I studied other religions so that I would understand WHY they were wrong. God knows why you study them.

    Pope John Paul II was a disaster for the Catholic Church. It is not my right to judge his actions, but don’t use him as a justification for a plurality of religion. Placing a Buddha statue on an altar is decidedly against Catholic teaching, as is treating the Koran with the same amount of respect as one should treat the Holy Scriptures. Yet, John Paul II did those things, and yes, he was mistaken. That doesn’t mean that Catholicism is about accepting Muslim as a “brother”. You’re a history major. GO study some Catholic history, as you’ve obviously neglected that particular part of history.

  21. Wow. I’m amazed. A monk and a nun are “nominal” Catholics. I’ll tell everyone I know to confess to you instead of bothering a nominal Catholic priest.

    When I referenced the hijab and “ojalá que,” I was doing so to indicate cultural contact and intimacy. I wasn’t saying they are the most salient. Want a better one? How about algebra, trigonometry, and all the other improvements in mathematics Islamic mathematicians made while Europe was still a backwater of the Near East? Arabs as well preserved an incredible amount of knowledge and literature, and to pretend that they didn’t is a bigoted denial of history.

    You can’t just separate the world into “West” and “East” and say that they had nothing to do with one another. There isn’t some impenetrable barrier that neither culture can cross. I guess Greece never had anything to do with Persia–wait, they got conq–that’s right. See, you all are so quick to say what ISN’T Western Civilization, but what IS?

    Right. This has nothing to do with the debasement of women. That’s why Sarkozy said “In our country, we cannot accept that women be prisoners behind a screen, cut off from all social life, deprived of all identity…The burqa is not a religious sign, it’s a sign of subservience, a sign of debasement.” Yeah, nothing to do with debasement. Except, yeah. Woops.

    I can’t even take y’all seriously, not that I did much to begin with. By the way, I haven’t been keeping up with Epstein’s trial. Any more news? He karate-chopped anyone else lately?

  22. “Good thing to remember! I only need to TOLERATE Jews out of historical obligation. Check!”

    Look, Domenic, I never said that you only need to tolerate Jews out of historical obligation. You need to tolerate them out of religious obligation. I, too, have Jewish friends. Aquinas was talking about tolerating their religious rites, which are (by real Catholic standards) false.

    “This whole time I’ve been valuing their way of life as one just as legitimate as mine.”

    What more do I need to say to prove that you aren’t a real Catholic? You view Judaism as a religion “just as legitimate” as Catholicism. While what you’re saying is the “noble” politically correct thing to say, it’s not at all a part of Catholic Church teaching. Look, Domenic, if you don’t agree with the Catholic Church, why do you stay in it?

    “Tell Thomas Merton, Sister Helen Prejean, and Cesar Chavez that you can’t be a leftist-Catholic. Then again, they’re probably all closet Communists to you.”

    If they’re leftists, they’re not good Catholics. Thomas Merton wasn’t exactly the poster boy monk, shall we say, and Sister Helen Prejean is a joke for a nun. Cesar Chavez is also a joke for a Catholic.

    “My point is the West is not just Christianity, that those aren’t interchangeable terms. Neither are religion and culture. That’s what you don’t seem to get. But then again, I was raised with a plurality of religion, race, and culture in my life, so maybe that’s easier for me to accept.”

    I never said that the West is “just Christianity.” I never said that “Christianity” and “Western Civilization” are interchangeable terms. I never said that religion and culture are the same thing, nor did I say that “religion” and “culture” are interchangeable terms. Learn to read (and comprehend what you read). I said that the West, as we’ve known it for the past 1500-2000, years is not imaginable without Christianity. I also said that Christianity has benefitted much from the faithfulness and talent of men in the West. I, having grown up in America, was also raised with a plurality of religion, race, and culture in my life (isn’t it funny how leftists always have to inject race into a discussion?), and yet I have a different view from yours. Your “experience” is no more valuable than mine. Indeed, maybe my experience is more valuable than yours, since I obviously know the Catholic Faith better than you know it. Perhaps you haven’t seen religion divide people. Perhaps the friends you had growing up put their politically correct, feel-good notion of “tolerance” in front of their religious beliefs, and therefore never experienced any real division. Of course, you would argue that that’s a good thing. But I would argue that your religious beliefs and your convictions should come before anything else.

    To any tolerant/charitable person, it should be clear that I’m not saying that we haven’t gained anything from other cultures, including the cultures of Islam. Clearly, we have. But that doesn’t mean that we aren’t different from one another. Again, it would be one thing if France were experiencing a natural cultural shift. But she’s not. She’s experiencing a radical cultural shift, or, as I like to call it, a conquest.

    If the Islamic cultures should come up with a valuable scientific advance, then I’d be more than happy to incorporate it into the Western World. Then, it would become a part of Western Civilization, even if it didn’t originate in the West. For that matter, if a Muslim cleric comes up with an idea that helps Christians know and understand an extant Christian doctrine, then I’ll take that, too. But when it comes to taking Islamic culture and transplanting it onto Catholic territory, I will never support that.

    Take Japan. The Japanese have gained an incalculable lot from the West, yet they remain culturally distinct from the West, as they have every right to do. We invented cars, they, in the opinion of some, made them better. Although the Occident and the Orient bounce ideas off each other incessantly, we still remain separate and distinct.

    Sorry, Domenic. Your arguments betray a huge amount of prejudice (and, no, not prejudice against a Muslim, but prejudice against a fellow Catholic, a guy who’s supposed to be your brother). And by the way, bringing up Marcus Epstein is a cowardly red herring.

    “I can’t even take y’all seriously, not that I did much to begin with.”

    Maybe that’s your problem. You had decided against us before you even engaged in this discussion. How enlightened of you.

    Also, Domenic, I really can’t believe your lack of honesty and your bitterness. If you honestly can’t take us seriously, and if you honestly never took us seriously to begin with, then why on Earth did you ever take the time to converse with us? I’ll tell you why. You DID take us seriously, but then you ended up not being able to defend your arguments very well, so you brought up Marcus Epstein and the claim that we’re basically not worth your time anyway. Am I right?

  23. Have you actually read anything written by Thomas Merton? Just because someone becomes a nun or a monk doesn’t mean that they are good Catholics. Have you ever even met a monk? Or even been to a monastery? I doubt it. Simply because you take vows doesn’t mean that you’re a shining example to Catholicism. Luther was a priest, yet no one would ever call him a good Catholic, now would they?

    Ahhh, the old math of Islam. Yep, you’re right. They were more advanced in terms of math. Too bad that while those mathematical discoveries were being made, Islam was rife with civil tension and war. And here’s the thing. They closed themselves up, as I’m sure you know. They didn’t let anything and hardly let anything out. So, while they made those discoveries, they didn’t share them with the rest of the world until West had basically caught up.

    And yes you can separate the two. That’s why we refer to them as the East and the West. Obviously there is no “wall”, but you attribute an excessive amount of influence to the East. There’s a difference between contributing to, say, science or math, and influencing Western culture. I haven’t denied anything with regards to Islam’s advancements in math. I have, however, denied your claim that Islam heavily influenced Western culture. A claim, I might add, that you have yet to prove, beyond citing clothing an the presence of an expression of hope.

    Domenic,

    Do you always take every word said by a politician word for word? Because politicians ALWAYS mean exactly what they say. I guess politicians are just popular lecturers to you. Reading between the lines isn’t one of your strong points, obviously.

    Also, do you have the ability to argue without using a red herring? Your teachers must HATE your papers if your arguing style is any indication of your writing style. They’re called logical fallacies, in case you didn’t know, and about 99% of the time indicate that the person making the argument doesn’t have a response. It’s always interesting that leftist are so quick to just “give up” because we’re so “crazy”. Johnny is basically an anarchist, and I still address his arguments, although he is obviously beyond help. As a Catholic who more than likely has had social justice crammed down your throat for years, you should be trying to “teach” the “ignorant”. Oh wait. The “ignorant”, in this case, know far more about the Catholic Faith than you ever will.

  24. Logical fallacies? Want to talk about ad hominem logical fallacies? That’s all you’ve got. The weakness of your ideas is obvious to everyone but you.

    The only way you have been able to defend yourself is to reference your faith, and deem everyone else un-Catholic or un-Christian who doesn’t agree with you. You’ve done it on this blog before, and I don’t see how you can act like you go on engaging in some sort of respectful dialogue calling everyone un-Christian. How much someone agrees with you is no measure of how Catholic they are, and a Catholic not having the same politics as you doesn’t make them a bad Catholic. You can say how un-Catholic I am as much as you want, it doesn’t make your viewpoint any more certain.

    Being your brother doesn’t mean I have to agree with you, and what a shame it is for you to call me un-Catholic simply for not. How is Sister Helen a bad Catholic for being an anti-death penalty activist when that is the VATICAN’S position? But as you’ve already indicated, even the Pope knew less about Catholicism than you do. Pope Matheson. Who is njr? Your personal Amen corner?

    I like bringing up Epstein because it’s funny, I can’t imagine the headache it must cause YWC nationally. Hm. Sucks.

  25. Domenic, that’s a really nice way to avoid addressing any of my arguments entirely. All you have is mockery, which is typical of leftists.

    “The only way you have been able to defend yourself is to reference your faith, and deem everyone else un-Catholic or un-Christian who doesn’t agree with you.”

    Hmm, Domenic. If I recall correctly, a discussion of Christianity/Catholicism is quite essential to this discussion. The last discussion I was involved in was the one about Liberty University, if I recall correctly. I think it’s pretty impossible to have that discussion without talking about Christianity. And it is my firm conviction that Christianity is essential to Western Civilization as we have traditionally known it. I’m sorry if this makes you uncomfortable, but it’s my position.

    “You’ve done it on this blog before, and I don’t see how you can act like you go on engaging in some sort of respectful dialogue calling everyone un-Christian.”

    I call it as I see it. As I said, Domenic, if you don’t like the Catholic Faith, then just leave it. I have concrete arguments for my positions. All you have are accusations that I’m a mean guy because I actually provide substantive arguments that you can’t refute. Typical of 97% of UNC students (and that’s being charitable).

    “How much someone agrees with you is no measure of how Catholic they are, and a Catholic not having the same politics as you doesn’t make them a bad Catholic.”

    If I’m right about the Catholic Faith, then agreement with me would be a measure of how good a given Catholic is, now wouldn’t it? I’m sorry, Domenic, that your experience of the Catholic Faith is so limited. Good Catholics are always admonishing one another. Ever heard of “admonishing the sinner?” Look it up.

    “You can say how un-Catholic I am as much as you want, it doesn’t make your viewpoint any more certain.”

    Again, Domenic, I’m going based on what you’ve written on this forum. I don’t know you otherwise. You’ve suggested that France ought not to remain necessarily a Catholic nation, despite her rich Catholic history, heritage, tradition, and culture, and despite the lengthy quote from St. Thomas Aquinas I provided suggesting that you’re wrong. I, therefore, don’t consider your opinion Catholic. You’ve said that Judaism is “just as legitimate” as Roman Catholicism. To support your case that leftists can be good Catholics, you offer highly questionable individuals as examples of good Catholics, presumably because you can’t provide an example of a true-blue leftist who’s also a good Catholic.

    “I like bringing up Epstein because it’s funny, I can’t imagine the headache it must cause YWC nationally. Hm. Sucks.”

    Yeah, funny to someone like you. I can assure you that I don’t consider this a laughing matter. But, go ahead. Revel in your glee. It doesn’t change the fact that you are intellectually dishonest for bringing it up.

    Also, I suggest you take a look at some previous discussions I’ve had on this forum. Granted, I haven’t participated in many. But I did have a debate with Chris Jones (in which I was a bit of an ass, admittedly) in which we both stayed almost entirely off the topic of religion. When I was defending myself for dear life against the attacks of leftists during my time at UNC, I never referenced my religion, except for when I was asked about it directly–and even then I didn’t make serious or lengthy arguments based on Catholicism to support my views on America’s immigration problem. So don’t try to dismiss my arguments as nothing more than my “referencing my faith.”

    I’m sorry that njr agrees with me. I’m sorry that I have ONE supporter. So who are you? Johnny Q’s Amen corner? Lay off your ad hominem attacks–it’s only proving to me further how weak your arguments are. To hear that from a leftist after how they (the leftists) treated Barack Obama is almost unbearable. YOU ALL were in the Amen corner of Obama. I’ll tell you one thing, Domenic, you are an exercise in patience.

  26. So, I’m the one making ad hominem attacks? I’ve looked back at my past posts, and I fail to see the ad hominem attacks. Quotes, please? If they are SO numerous, then provide an example. OBVIOUSLY, it’s the only thing that I do.

    I’ve deemed people as “un-Christian”? No, Domenic, I’ve only accused you of being a non Catholic, and I’m still convinced of that fact. Also, the fact that are not a Catholic doesn’t reflect on your ability and right to comment on Islam’s influence. I’d just suggest actually studying Catholic teachings before claiming to be a Catholic.

    I reference my faith in order to win arguments? Give me a break. Oh, and quotes for that matter, as well.

    I don’t compare people to myself when faced with the question of whether someone is Catholic, or not. I base it on Catholic teaching. If you hold ideas that are contrary to Catholic teaching, then you are not Catholic. It’s pretty simple. This isn’t a matter of my interpretation versus yours. This is a matter of you disagreeing with Church teaching.

    Sister Helen disagrees with both Aquinas and Augustine, with regards to the death penalty. Canon law stated that capital punishment was reserved for the state, but didn’t condemn it. The Church doesn’t have an official teaching on the death penalty. However, the Catholic Church has always officially supported the state’s right to defend and uphold the common good with capital punishment. Sister Helen is also a supporter of “liberation theology” a teaching that has been condemned by numerous popes in a variety of encyclicals. So, yes, I do question how much of a Catholic Prejean is.

    I’m Riley’s what? I guess agreeing with someone is a crime these days.

    “Pope Matheson. Who is njr? Your personal Amen corner?”

    So, now that you can’t argue against either Riley’s points, or mine regarding Islam, you make an ad hominem attack. Wait. Didn’t you just accuse me of the same thing? Oh yeah, you didn’t provide evidence or quotes, while I did. Man, Domenic, you are certainly building your case. Red herrings, ad hominem attacks, ignoring our main points. You’re just doing a bang up job of arguing your point.

    I think it’s about time for the typical leftist retreat. “You guys are just SO wrong that there isn’t even a point in disproving all your errors. You’re just crazy. I’m done with you.” Does that sound familiar to anyone here?

  27. Again, Catholicism is only important to the initial discussion because you are using Catholicism and culture interchangeably. You go on to assert that preserving religious or cultural homogeneity is more important than individual liberty. Sounds pretty Statist to me.

    I guess you just can’t have a discussion about Christianity without calling someone who disagrees with you un-Christian.

    “…if you don’t like the Catholic Faith, then just leave it.”

    Hey, I’m not the one who thinks I know the faith better than the Pope, a nun, and a monk. That’s your cheering section.

    “You’ve suggested that France ought not to remain necessarily a Catholic nation, despite her rich Catholic history, heritage, tradition, and culture…”

    No, I haven’t. What I’ve done is echo the viewpoint of the original posting, which was “You cannot preserve a culture by building a fence of laws around it which abrogate personal liberty. ” I think that’s a fair hypothesis.

    “If I’m right about the Catholic Faith, then agreement with me would be a measure of how good a given Catholic is, now wouldn’t it?”

    Problem is, you aren’t. You just assume you are.

    Yeah, I do think Jews and Muslims have just as much of a right to practice their faith openly as I or anyone else does. You are the one who wants to ban them.

    “To support your case that leftists can be good Catholics, you offer highly questionable individuals as examples of good Catholics, presumably because you can’t provide an example of a true-blue leftist who’s also a good Catholic.”

    No one I’m going to bring up is going to meet that mark to you. Apparently the Pope wasn’t good enough for your friend.

    MY ad hominem attacks? Where have I tried to debase your argument by attacking YOU? That’s an ad hominem. E.G. “Ralph said the car was green, but Ralph is a fucking idiot.” If it’s “but Ralph is colorblind”, that’s another story. Since you can’t prove you know anything more than I do on a forum, you can’t possibly be doing anything except the former.

    It’s great to goad you about Epstein, because his little episode shows what lies behind the viewpoints your organization espouses. The dark underbelly is up for everyone to see, and you can’t stand it. The youth movement you hope to create will never be remembered as anything more than a Nativist backlash because of his drunken stupor. Ha, ha, ha. How’s the adviser search? Charles Martel had his hammer, but Epstein could only manage a stein.

  28. “Again, Catholicism is only important to the initial discussion because you are using Catholicism and culture interchangeably.”

    No, Catholicism is important to this discussion because I am arguing that France ought to remain a Catholic nation. Also, you are the one who mentioned that you were a “leftist-Catholic,” so it was really you who brought up the personal element of this “discussion,” if that’s what you want to call it at this point. I’m looking back at my posts before you joined, and I left my personal religious beliefs out of it. It wasn’t until you stupidly called yourself a “leftist-Catholic” that I started giving legitimate, concrete arguments which have pretty much demolished your “Catholic” perspective and shown you to be the kind of person that you are.

    And for God’s sake, Domenic, are you still accusing me of using the terms “Catholicism” and “culture” interchangeably? You know, if you’re not even going to read what I write, then we might as well stop right here.

    “Hey, I’m not the one who thinks I know the faith better than the Pope, a nun, and a monk. That’s your cheering section.”

    I find it hilarious that you are hiding behind the clergy. I always thought that the Medievals were supposed to be the only people didn’t dare question what a reigning pope did or said, or what an individual monk or nun had to say. The difference between me and you, Domenic, is that I provide substantive arguments based on logical deduction based on information that I research. You, on the other hand, don’t know anything, and so you rely on one monk and one nun. And for as many problems as PJPII may have had, I can tell you that he’d agree with me a lot more often than he’d agree with you.

    “ ‘You’ve suggested that France ought not to remain necessarily a Catholic nation, despite her rich Catholic history, heritage, tradition, and culture…’

    “No, I haven’t. What I’ve done is echo the viewpoint of the original posting, which was “You cannot preserve a culture by building a fence of laws around it which abrogate personal liberty. ” I think that’s a fair hypothesis.”

    Okay, Domenic. I’ll grant you that one. The problem is that you go on to say:

    “Yeah, I do think Jews and Muslims have just as much of a right to practice their faith openly as I or anyone else does. You are the one who wants to ban them.”

    There are several problems with this statement. First, that’s not what you originally said. You originally said:

    “This whole time I’ve been valuing their way of life as one just as legitimate as mine.”

    This is a blatantly un-Catholic idea. To consider a false religion “just as legitimate” as Roman Catholicism is tantamount to saying that Catholicism is no more true than any other religion, which is a HERESY. Even the Second Vatican Council would have considered that a heresy. THUS, if you really believe that, then you are NOT CATHOLIC. Again, if you don’t like that, then leave.

    ” ‘If I’m right about the Catholic Faith, then agreement with me would be a measure of how good a given Catholic is, now wouldn’t it?’

    “Problem is, you aren’t. You just assume you are.”

    I assume?!! njr and I are the only ones who have actually provided any substantive arguments!! I provided a very compelling quote from none other than one of the most influential Doctors of the Church, if not the most influential. You’ve provided an extremely vague example of a monk and a nun. If you want to argue the Catholic religion with me, you’d better come prepared.

    “MY ad hominem attacks? Where have I tried to debase your argument by attacking YOU?”

    Here’s one:

    “Pope Matheson. Who is njr? Your personal Amen corner?”

    This is blatant mockery.

    “I can’t even take y’all seriously, not that I did much to begin with.”

    This is debasement.

    “I’ll tell everyone I know to confess to you instead of bothering a nominal Catholic priest.”

    More mockery.

    But here’s the thing, Domenic. I don’t hate you despite your vindictiveness. My only fear is that I’ve led you astray. Now, mind you, I don’t think I’ve led you astray with any of my expressed opinions. My fear stems from the fact that I am such a despised figure on UNC’s campus, and therefore no UNC bleeding heart will probably want to be associated with me or agree with me on anything. My hope originally was that more people would come to agree with me after they heard what I had to say, but my realization is that this is probably a vain hope.

  29. “Hey, I’m not the one who thinks I know the faith better than the Pope, a nun, and a monk. That’s your cheering section.”

    Yeah, you just think that you know more than Aquinas, Augustine and the teaching authority of the Magisterium.

    When did accusing someone of an ad hominem attack become an ad hominem attack? Once again, I’ll ask for a quote, or some evidence as to my apparent “ad hominem attack”

    “Since you can’t prove you know anything more than I do on a forum, you can’t possibly be doing anything except the former.”

    You choose to ignore and reject basic Catholic teachings. Either that is a willful denial on your part, or you simply do not know that you are in conflict with Catholic teaching. You are the one who refused to address our main points.

    We haven’t used Catholicism and culture interchangeably. That’s your interpretation of what we’ve said, but we’ve also denied that the two terms are synonymous.

    ““If I’m right about the Catholic Faith, then agreement with me would be a measure of how good a given Catholic is, now wouldn’t it?”

    Problem is, you aren’t. You just assume you are.”

    Domenic,

    We provide sources, and authorities on the faith to back up our beliefs. You source being raised in a plurality of religion, which, by definition, denies one of the Four marks of the Catholic Church. Namely “One” of One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic. Just with that, you cannot be Catholic. Unless, of course, plurality of religion has changed since my high school “religion” class.

    “No one I’m going to bring up is going to meet that mark to you. Apparently the Pope wasn’t good enough for your friend.”

    You’re right. Because being a leftist and believing in the teachings of the Catholic Church is impossible. The two cannot be reconciled. Ever read the Syllabus of Errors? Leftist/modernist beliefs are basically listed there, and are condemned.

  30. I’ll quote the relevant part of The Syllabus of Errors Condemned by Pius IX:

    “X. ERRORS HAVING REFERENCE TO MODERN LIBERALISM

    “77. In the present day it is no longer expedient that the Catholic religion should be held as the only religion of the State, to the exclusion of all other forms of worship. — Allocution “Nemo vestrum,” July 26, 1855.

    “78. Hence it has been wisely decided by law, in some Catholic countries, that persons coming to reside therein shall enjoy the public exercise of their own peculiar worship. — Allocution “Acerbissimum,” Sept. 27, 1852.

    “79. Moreover, it is false that the civil liberty of every form of worship, and the full power, given to all, of overtly and publicly manifesting any opinions whatsoever and thoughts, conduce more easily to corrupt the morals and minds of the people, and to propagate the pest of indifferentism. — Allocution “Nunquam fore,” Dec. 15, 1856.

    “80. The Roman Pontiff can, and ought to, reconcile himself, and come to terms with progress, liberalism and modern civilization.- -Allocution “Jamdudum cernimus,” March 18, 1861.”

    Now remember, this is a syllabus of errors, so these statements are actually being unequivocally CONDEMNED, even though, at first glance, they may appear to be supported.

    Source: http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius09/p9syll.htm

    So, Domenic, do you have any LEGITIMATE sources that can contradict this?

  31. Since I see, Domenic, that you don’t seem to have much of a sarcastic, degrading wisecrack, let me, a more knowledgeable Catholic than you, give you my final verdict. By your current leftist standards, you belong to a demonstrably “intolerant” Church. You claim to profess Roman Catholicism, but it’s clear that you are just one of many nominal Catholics who don’t know their faith at all, but who arrogantly think they do. In fact, you are basically a heretic.

    At this point, you need to make a decision. You need to leave the Church for good (a path that I am NOT recommending) or you need to swallow your pride and admit that you were wrong. It’s very, very clear that njr and I are right on this issue of the Catholic Faith, and it’s also clear that you are propagating heretical opinions.

    You can pretend like we are just wrong. If you like, you can so delude yourself. But ultimately, you are clearly wrong. The bottom line is that not just any view can be acceptable to any given organization, and the Catholic Church is no different. I can accurately call you un-Catholic based on the views you’ve expressed, because you have expressed views that run counter to the teachings of the Church. It’s really that simple.

    I’ve never been able to understand why leftists insist on remaining “in” the Catholic Church. I mean, they must realize at some point that they don’t agree with the Church on crucial issues. Maybe it’s because being a Catholic is part of the Irish-American/Irish-Catholic identity which has been so romanticized in Hollywood. All I know, though, is that Catholics really need to start learning their Faith and not simply going through life as an atheist would.

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