Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Commenters at NCReporter Wring Hands Over Pope's "Dangerous Political Game" (i.e. Baptism of Prominent Muslim Convert)

The usual dhimmis accuse the Holy Father of "playing a very dangerous political game" with the Church's sacraments in baptizing a prominent Muslim convert to Catholicism.

Rich Leonardi has the details:
Over at the NCRCafe, Pope Benedict's baptism of Magdi Allam has prompted deans from the College of Faint Hearts to sniff their disapproval:
Does the Vatican have a PR person? In a time when some reconciliation is sought with Muslims, Benedict pulls this stunt. If Allam wants to convert, fine; but why be baptized in St. Peter's square by the gilded pontiff?
But have no fear; Dale Price is on the case:
"Stunt?" And what possible reason would Muslims have to object to the free decision of a Muslim to become a Christian? Yes, that is rhetorical, but it happens--publicly--at every Easter liturgy. Your studied outrage would be better directed at the mistreatment of Muslim converts to Christianity throughout the Muslim world.
Follow Rich's link to National Catholic Reporter to read the anti-Benedict reactions and Dale's priceless (no pun intended) response in full.

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At 3/25/2008 2:06 PM, Blogger Christopher said...


I certainly don't object to the Pope's decision to baptize and am delighted by Allam's embrace of the truth faith -- nonetheless, as I stated on my own blog, I have to wonder:

There seems to be some disjuncture between the common emphasis on Allam as "Italy's leading Muslim writer" and the subsequent AP article's description of the convert as: "An Egyptian-born, non-practicing Muslim who is married to a Catholic."

According to another article, Allam himself "says he has never been a practicing Muslim."

Were the inverse true: -- were a non-practicing Catholic married to a Muslim to embrace Islam -- would it be proper to describe him as "a prominent Catholic"?

This leads me to wonder if the press is deliberately playing up this aspect of the story, so as to foster Islamic-Christian tensions -- along the same lines as their shoddy reporting of Benedict's Regensburg address (ignoring practically everything else in his address, save that which they saw as newsworthy and potentially inflammatory).

It is possible to perceive Benedict's agreement to baptize Allam as signifying his wish to emphasize religious freedom (particularly for Christians residing in nations with an Islamic majority).

Nonetheless I think it would be improper for Christians to treat this conversion in triumphalistic "tit for tat" fashion, as seems to be the case on some other conservative blogs I've read. (Jihadwatch.com, for instance, is playing up Allam's Muslim identity and condemnation of Islam as inherently [irrevocably] violent -- as I've discussed before, I do not think this reflects Benedict's perception of Islam and the capacity of Muslims as a whole.

At 3/25/2008 4:52 PM, Blogger Dale P. said...

Aw, shucks. Thanks!

BTW, the last couple of paragraphs were from a separate response to another commenter that got smushed together by the moderator. That's why there's a disjunction at the "bin Laden" paragraph.


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