« NY Times coverage of peace talks parrots Palestinian agenda | Obama: Mr. Unpopular? - It's the People's Fault! »
September 3, 2010
A faulty comparison
Daniel Gordis has an article in Friday's Jerusalem Post entitled "The Ground Zero mosque - what US could learn from Israel. He makes some excellent points, and I heartily recommend everyone read the article. The lesson, that Gordis tells us Israelis have learned and that Americans would be wise to learn, is that "the first necessary step in defending yourself is acknowledging that someone is out to destroy you."
I must take issue, however, with the premise of one of his opening paragraphs:
The freedom-of-religion argument suggests that if Jews sought to build a synagogue at Ground Zero (or anywhere else, for that matter), they would be within their rights. That's the American way. The opposing view suggests that while not every Catholic was guilty in the Holocaust, and not every Muslim perpetrated the crimes of 9/11, sensitivities still matter. Pope John Paul II had the decency to force the Carmelite nuns out of Auschwitz, and Muslim leaders, too, ought to relocate their project.
This rather glibly presupposes Catholic guilt in the Holocaust. But the Holocaust wasn't perpetrated by Catholics, and the once-popular canard (propagated by, among others, Rolf Hochhuth's 1963 play, "The Deputy") that Pope Pius XII was complicit or silent has been exposed and repudiated; Pinchas Lapide, in his 1967 book "Three Popes and the Jews", says that his research indicates that the Catholic Church under Pius XII helped save some 860,000 Jews from the Nazi death camps.
In any event, plenty of Catholic voices were raised in condemnation of the Nazis, their policies and their actions. And let us not forget that, in addition to some six million Jews, some three million Catholics were murdered by the Nazis.
While "not every Muslim perpetrated the crimes of 9/11" (nor the beheadings of Daniel Pearl and Nick Berg, nor any of the countless other atrocities committed "in the name of Allah"), the condemnation from the "non-radical" Muslim world has been nothing short of a deafening silence. There has been no hue and cry from "moderate" Muslims, let alone from any Imam or other Islamic "leader", repudiating terrorism.
There is just no validity in Gordis's comparison here between Catholics and Muslims; such a comparison, unfortunately, tars Catholics and elevates Muslims.