What Benedict Could Teach the USCCB About Muslim Dialogue

I write frequently about the danger of Islamization in the U.S.—the incremental spread of Islamic law and culture that culminates in Islamic dominance. Many people, no doubt, consider that to be an unrealistic fear—about as likely as a takeover by shape-shifting aliens. After all, Muslims make up a relatively small proportion of the population. Besides, one might argue, if such a thing as Islamization were in progress, it would be easy to spot and easy to put a stop to it.

But would it? Let’s consider an analogy that may bring some perspective to the matter. If Islamization seems improbable, consider that only a few years ago, the dismantling of sex-segregated bathrooms and locker rooms seemed equally unlikely. Sure, the sexual revolutionaries had broken many barriers, but they wouldn’t force themselves into the women’s changing room at your local public pool. Would they?

We know now that they would and could. And not because the LGBT community has any kind of numerical advantage. Given their numbers, the sexual radicals should have very little clout. Nevertheless, they tend to get what they want, whether it’s same-sex “marriage,” gender-blind bathrooms, or the prosecution of Christian bakers, florists, and photographers.

Of course, they wouldn’t be so successful without the backing of big government, big business, and big media/entertainment—not to mention big sports and big education. Let’s call them the “Big Five.” It’s become increasingly difficult to disentangle the Big Five from one another because, increasingly, they act in unison. For example, big education can usually be relied on to go along with whatever big government wants for fear of losing federal funds. But it’s generally not a problem for them because, having attended the same schools and imbibed the same ideology, educational administrators and government officials tend to think alike. So do the textbook publishers. They are part big business, part big education, and part big media. They also have to please big government if they want to stay in business. Meanwhile, big sports are so tangled up with other interests that they can usually be relied on to do the politically correct thing—whatever that may happen to be at the moment. So when you try to resist the gender agenda, you’re in a David and Goliath situation, and the Big Five has requisitioned all available slings and stones.

This is so even if the “David” in question is itself a big outfit. When the state of North Carolina passed a bill limiting transgender individuals to the restroom that matches their birth certificates, it found itself up against not only the U.S Department of Justice, but also ESPN, the NBA, the state of California, PayPal, Bruce Springsteen and Ringo Starr. There were also international repercussions. The UK issued an advisory to LGBT travelers to avoid the “hate” state.

Strange as it may seem, those who resist the Islamization of America will find themselves in a similar David vs. Goliath match-up. The stealth jihad organizations such as CAIR, ISNA, and ICNA represent only a tiny fraction of Americans. But as they push forward their aggressive agenda, they can count on the support of the same powerful forces that are currently attacking North Carolina for its opposition to the gender jihad.

Needless to say, the Big Five don’t look upon the stealth jihadists as stealth jihadists. Depending on their slightly differing perspectives, they look upon them as a special interest group, a potential customer, an audience, or a minority to be served. And they look upon stealth jihadist demands as opportunities to display their multicultural bona fides. They understand, moreover, that if they don’t get with the program, they open themselves to charges of bigotry, Islamophobia, and whatnot. And that would be bad for business.

So resisting stealth jihad will be no easy task. It will be just as difficult as resisting those who are intent on subjecting America to a nationwide sex-change operation. Moreover, Islamic activists will have one big advantage over LGBT activists. In addition to the Big Five, they will also enjoy the support of the one major institution that isn’t on board with same-sex “marriage” and gender-neutral bathrooms—namely, the Catholic Church.

The Church in America vigorously opposes the assaults on marriage, family, and modesty, but seems to see no problem with Islam. Indeed, it has in effect positioned itself as an ally of Islam. Church representatives can be relied on to emphasize the Church’s common ground with Islam, to decry “Islamophobia,” and to call for solidarity with Islam. Likewise, some prominent Catholic laymen look upon Muslims as our “natural allies,” and others have called for an “ecumenical jihad” together with Islam against the forces of secularism.

And it’s not just moral support that is being offered. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is one of the primary re-settlers of Muslim refugees in America. In addition, it has lobbied for Obama’s nuclear deal with the fanatical government of Iran (a deal which we now know was built on lies). Moreover, it boasts as its main dialogue partners two Muslim Brotherhood-linked groups that many experts consider to be stealth jihad organizations. In 2008, a U.S. court named the Islamic Society of North America and the Islamic Circle of North America as unindicted co-conspirators in a massive terrorist funding scheme. One would think that such a finding would occasion second thoughts for the bishops, perhaps reminding them that Islam is a political religion with a long history of political and cultural conquest. Does it occur to the bishops that their dialogue partners are representatives of political activist organizations? That in Islam, the theological and the political are inseparable? That their Muslim partners may be using the dialogue to seek political advantage? Apparently not. Indeed, it’s difficult to avoid the impression that the Catholic participants are more interested in the personal side of dialogue than in the political or even the theological side. As Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski recently put it (in an echo of previous USCCB statements), “the [dialogue] members have established lasting ties of friendship and a deep sense of trust.” Reading this and similar statements, one might conclude that the purpose of dialogue is to help the participants feel good about themselves.

The Catholic Church in America deserves credit for holding the line against the marriage deconstructionists and the sexual revolutionaries, but it seems scarcely aware of the other culture war—the one being waged by, among others, the very same Islamist groups that they naively lend legitimacy to. Those of us of a suspicious nature think that, from the Islamic point of view, the real purpose of the dialogue is to enhance the credibility and respectability of Islamist groups, thus giving them a certain immunity from criticism as they go about their business of dismantling the culture.

Is it a good idea to develop a deep sense of trust with people who, when they are not wearing their dialogue hat, are trying to deep six America’s national security apparatus? Was it a good idea for the bishops to display a deep sense of trust in the Iran nuclear deal, going so far as to warn Congress not to undermine the deal? Have Islamic political organizations taken advantage of the bishops’ trust in order to manipulate them?

“Lasting ties of friendship and a deep sense of trust?” That’s one way to look at the matter. Here’s another:

Islam is at war with us, and considers us its enemy. So Muslims infiltrated us and studied us, learning how we think. They attacked us at our weak points, using our own foolish intellectual and cultural fads against us—political correctness, fairness, equality, “racism,” you name it…They managed to do all this without our understanding them to be the enemy, or even understanding that a war was on.

That’s the assessment of Ned May, who writes for Gates of Vienna under the pen name “Baron Bodissey.” He continues:

And now they are among us, placed at the strategic political and cultural nodes of our societies…Theirs is a major accomplishment, one of the greatest victories ever achieved by one civilization against another. And they did it all without open warfare, without their enemy’s awareness that there was a war on.

Culture wars are not easy to detect—especially in their early stages. It took a long time for Christians in America to understand that a culture war was being waged against them by leftists and sexual revolutionaries. Many still don’t get it. They don’t understand the tyrannical nature of the enemy or the type of total warfare he is waging. As John Horvat II observed in a recent article, “those who thought the war was over with their surrender to same-sex ‘marriage’ will come to see that it is only the beginning.”

Likewise, those who think that political Islam will be appeased by Islam-friendly school curriculums, or by open immigration policies, or by participation in high office (London recently elected a Muslim mayor) will someday realize that no number of concessions will be sufficient. True to its name, Islam seeks total submission.

Will they realize it in time? Perhaps the main reason that Christians are losing the culture war against the sexual revolutionaries is that they failed to realize what kind of a struggle they were engaged in until very late in the game. We can’t afford to make the same mistake in regard to the culture war with stealth jihadists. The penalty for waking up late will be harsher than most can imagine.

It’s not enough simply to wake up to the stealth jihadists’ long march through the culture. It’s also necessary to understand the role played by their enablers in key institutions. In regard to the culture war, it now seems obvious that Americans have placed far too much trust in government, media, business, education, and professional sports. That trust has been betrayed. Does it make sense to assume that these same institutions will resist the stealth jihad campaign—a campaign that employs the same successful tactics used by leftist radicals?

There may be hope from one quarter, however. Although the Catholic leadership has recently served as an enabler of Islam, there are reasons to believe that this will not always be the case. Catholics who were grounded in natural law and in the realism of Thomistic philosophy understood the radical nature of the revolution in values better than most, and they have constituted some of the strongest resistance to it (one thinks, for instance, of the late justice Antonin Scalia). It’s not too late to bring some of that realism to bear on the new culture war that is suddenly upon us. Church leaders should think more deeply about what Pope Benedict had to say about the “dictatorship of relativism,” and realize that it applies not only to the false idea that all values are equal, but also to the false idea that all religions and cultures are equally beneficial, and therefore deserving of support and approbation.

As Benedict has pointed out in various essays, all religions are not equal. Indeed, some forms of religion are “sick and distorted,” “pathological,” and “destructive.” And he warned that Islam is “not simply a denomination that can be included in the free realm of a pluralistic society,” because “Islam has a total organization of life that is completely different from ours.”

Pope Benedict believed that relativism should be resisted in all its incarnations—even in its multicultural form. American bishops should heed his advice. That would mean, among other things, taking a second look at their relationship with stealth jihad organizations. The doctrine of original sin would seem to suggest that very few human institutions merit a “deep sense of trust.” And Church history should reinforce that doubt. The Church has a long history of protecting the West against the incursions of armed jihadists. That experience may yet prove of value in resisting the advance of cultural jihad.

(Photo credit: Pope Benedict in Amman, Jordan, February 2013; Pier Paolo Cito / AP)

William Kilpatrick

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William Kilpatrick taught for many years at Boston College. He is the author of several books about cultural and religious issues, including Why Johnny Can’t Tell Right From Wrong; and Christianity, Islam and Atheism: The Struggle for the Soul of the West and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Jihad. His articles have appeared in numerous publications, including Catholic World Report, National Catholic Register, Aleteia, Saint Austin Review, Investor’s Business Daily, and First Things. His work is supported in part by the Shillman Foundation. For more on his work and writings, visit his website, turningpointproject.com

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