Thursday, September 21, 2006

ASK ROSCOE: Is the pope Muslim?

Dear Roscoe:

I’m disappointed with you, my friend. First, on Monday you’re telling us what a great leader Pope Benedict is. Then on Wednesday you’re making fun of him and saying he should convert to Islam. So, which is it? Inquiring minds want to know.

--G. Sarducci

Dear G.:

Oh, we wuz jus’ funnin’ about Il Papa converting to Islam and all that. In fact, the official Roscoe position on this is that Pope Benedict should respond in the style of former President Truman. You know—“Give ’em hell, Harry.” Benedict should get up on his hind legs and say something like:

Any sane, civilized homo sapiens should be able to tell the difference between one man’s opinion and his quoting of another man’s differing opinion. And so, most people do understand that the remarks I made at the University of Regensburg (which some have considered insulting to Islam) were actually my quoting of another man’s differing opinion—and that of a medieval emperor, for crying out loud.

The fact that so many radical Muslims either can’t or won’t see this distinction is a statement in itself. Moreover, the irrationality and violence of their reaction tends to prove the point of some that Islam is not a religion of peace. And let’s not buy into any of this deception that Allah is the same as Jehovah God of the Bible. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Bible says "by their fruits you shall know them," and these fruits should get a life. Be it so decreed, Dominoes Nabisco.

Or words to that effect. But he won’t do that. No way. And that’s the problem. See, G., Benedict is a great culture warrior, just like John Paul II, and conservative evangelicals are in total agreement with most of his public policy agenda. But on this—the issue of Islam—the Catholic Church is horribly compromised and, we believe, deceived.

Once again, the great Southern Baptist scholar Al Mohler has nailed it. He cites Pope Paul VI’s approval of Muslims’ practice of prayer and fasting and their revering of Jesus and Mary as evidence of a common faith. Then quoting from the Second Vatican Council:

But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator. In the first place amongst these there are the Mohamedans, who, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God, who on the last day will judge mankind.

“In other words,” writes Mohler, “the Catholic church teaches that Muslims are included in the economy of salvation by virtue of the fact that they worship the one true God. This is simply unsustainable on any number of fronts. Most importantly, the Christian doctrine of God is irreducibly Trinitarian. We know no other God than the God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Islam explicitly denies that Jesus is God's Son. Muslims acknowledge no God who is the Father of Jesus Christ. Christians know no God who is not the Father of Jesus Christ. We do not claim or worship the same God.”

And that, G., is a huge problem. So, don’t look to Benedict for moral leadership on this one. We’d love to be proven wrong. But that skeleton in his closet is facing Mecca.



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