We live today not in the time of Christian Crusades and Inquisitions, but in a time when the pope is needed as a bridge-builder, a linkmaker. Having quoted claims seven centuries old that only "evil and inhuman" things were new in the program of the prophet and in the name of Islam, it will be harder for the pope to have dialogue with the Muslims who do good and human things. Some on the Muslim and American right seem to be craving a war of civilizations, a war about which we know only one thing: Both sides (or the many sides) would lose.Ratzinger's fails as bridge builder.
Rather than point to the "evil and inhuman" nature of Islam's, Judaism's, Christianity's, Hinduism's, Buddhism's and other holy wars, the pope will serve better if he can still find dialogue partners in search of the good and human.
All is not lost. Yet.
Yet Marty has not a word on the extremist Muslim clerics calling for Benedict's murder. They get a pass. The standards Marty uses to judge the Pope just don't apply to Muslims. The violent demonstrations, a murdered nun, the calls for the Pope's murder don't even qualify for Marty's criticism or suggest to Marty we may be up against a foe who's not going to be appeased.
A few weeks ago, two reporters forced at gun point to convert to Islam. Danny Perl never had an option to convert, but beheaded after saying I am Jew.
I wonder what Marty would do in similar situation. Or what his pastoral guidance would be to a Luthern soldier should they find themselves captured. Build a bridge to the terrorist holding the sword over ones head?
Liberal religious wonder why our Churches bleed members. It's because people listen to mumbo jumbo like this from Marty and tell themselves something has indeed been lost here. Evil has gone right over Marty's head. He ignores the rest of the world.
Marty doesn't take the hijacking of Islam by the likes of Assad, Nasrallah and Ahmadinejad seriously. Maybe he doesn't think it's worthy of him.