Pope Francis: Islam's Friend, Christianity's Foe?

The man known as the pope and the vicar of Christ – but who in light of what follows is probably best referred to by his real name, Jorge Mario Bergoglio – recently gave an interview demonstrating why "so many people think he is the anti-Christ."

The more salient features follow:

Christ as Warmonger

In classic relativistic fashion, Jorge claims:

It is true that the idea of conquest is inherent in the soul of Islam. However, it is also possible to interpret the objective in Matthew's Gospel, where Jesus sends his disciples to all nations, in terms of the same idea of conquest.

Only someone who is ignorant of or hostile to Christianity can make such a claim.  To state the obvious: yes, both Christianity and Islam seek to win converts.  However, Jesus's call to his disciples to "go forth and make disciples of all nations" in Matthew's Gospel was understood and practiced peacefully.  Disciples preached; people converted.  No violence, no coercion.  In fact, it was Christians – chief among them disciples and evangelists – who were persecuted and killed simply for preaching Christ, first by the pagan Roman empire and later (and still) by Islam.

Conversely, Muhammad said, "I have been sent with the sword between my hands to ensure that no one but Allah is worshipped – Allah who put my livelihood under the shadow of my spear and who inflicts humiliation and scorn on those who disobey my commandments (The Al Qaeda Reader, p.12)."  The Koran is replete with commands to do violence on those who refuse to submit to Islam – and yes, in ways that far transcend comparison with Old Testament violence.

Unlike the spread of Christianity, Islam spread through the sword.  This is a simple, historic fact, acknowledged by more sober European leaders: the overwhelming majority of territory that today constitutes the "Muslim world" was seized from non-Muslims by great violence and bloodshed.  Two thirds of Christendom – the Mideast and North Africa – was to be swallowed up by Islam a century after Islam's founding.  Even Rome was sacked and the Vatican defiled in the name of Islam in the year 846.

The making of martyrs is the only similarity that Christianity and Islam share when it comes to how they spread: while Christians were martyred for their faith, Muslims martyred whoever refused their faith. 

Dislike for "Christian Roots" of Europe (or Dislike for Truth)

According to Jorge, "when I hear talk of the Christian roots of Europe, I sometimes dread the tone, which can seem triumphalist or even vengeful. It then takes on colonialist overtones."

One expects such ahistorical multicultural drivel from a clueless atheist – not the pope.  A quick education for Jorge: the "Christian roots of Europe" are a fact.  For centuries, after the aforementioned Islamic conquests of the Middle East, the original heartland of Christianity, Europe became the heart and standard-bearer of the Christian faith.  That's why it was called "Christendom."  How can the supposed vicar, or representative, of Christ "dread" this fact, denouncing it as "triumphalist or even vengeful"?

Christianity as a Welcome Doormat

Apparently for Jorge, Europeans may express their Christian roots and faith – but only by being "welcome" doormats:

Yes, Europe has Christian roots and it is Christianity's responsibility to water those roots. But this must be done in a spirit of service as in the washing of the feet. Christianity's duty to Europe is one of service. ... Christianity's contribution to a culture is that of Christ in the washing of the feet.

So according to the head of the Catholic Church, the entire purpose and message of Christianity is the "washing of feet" – or, in this context, taking in millions of Muslim migrants, many of whom are openly hostile to Christianity. 

Yes, Christ served and washed his disciples' feet and preached mercy and compassion – but that was hardly the sole or even primary purpose of his mission.  He offered an entire worldview founded on profound theological assertions.  When people erred by profaning the temple, he didn't "turn the other cheek" (let alone wash their feet).  He whipped them.  He didn't preach naivety – open your doors to those who have a long history of subjugating and still seek to subjugate you – but rather taught his followers to be "wise as serpents."  He spoke of everlasting hell and torments – indeed, more so than anyone else in the entire Bible.  That's why all Christian denominations have traditionally held that being Christian far transcends "the washing of feet."

But for Jorge, the only aspects of Christianity worth expressing are those that benefit Muslim migrants, some of whom hate and persecute Christians in Europe.

The Muslim World's Problems: Our Fault and Responsibility

When asked if Europe has the capacity to continue accepting so many migrants, Jorge said: "[T]he deeper question is why there are so many migrants now."  Like a true apologist for Islam, he went on to cite anything and everything – arms manufacturers; hunger; and, parroting the Obama administration, unemployment – as causes for upheavals in the Middle East, while ignoring the elephant in the room: Islamic culture, which engenders dysfunctional, intolerant, violent, authoritarian, and tribal societies.  Simply look to the birthplace of Islam, where Islamic law is strictly upheld: Saudi Arabia is wealthier than most Western nations and has none of the problems cited by Jorge, yet it too is barbaric, corrupt, backwards, and hostile to all who do not profess Islam.  Why?

In the same Gospel of Matthew that Jorge cited to conflate the mission of Jesus's disciples with the mission of Muhammad's jihadis, Christ declares, "Beware of false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them."

If ever there was a person whom this admonition seems to pertain to – a man who holds the authoritative office of "representative of Christ," but who empowers the historic (and ongoing) enemy of Christianity, while urging Europeans to suppress their Christian heritage and express their faith exclusively by the "washing of feet," or by lying down before Muslims – surely Jorge Mario Bergoglio fits the bill.   

Raymond Ibrahim, author of Crucified Again, holds fellowships at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and the Middle East Forum.

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