For most politicians, truth is a commodity – twisted and manipulated for personal benefit. However, it shouldn’t be this way for a Christian. A recent Papal Proclamation brings this to mind:
- "Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium of the Holy Father Francis to the Bishops, Clergy, Consecrated Persons and the Lay Faithful On the Proclamation of the Gospel In Today's World," from Vatican.va, November 24:
- 253. In order to sustain dialogue with Islam, suitable training is essential for all involved, not only so that they can be solidly and joyfully grounded in their own identity, but so that they can also acknowledge the values of others, appreciate the concerns underlying their demands and shed light on shared beliefs. We Christians should embrace with affection and respect Muslim immigrants to our countries in the same way that we hope and ask to be received and respected in countries of Islamic tradition. I ask and I humbly entreat those countries to grant Christians freedom to worship and to practice their faith, in light of the freedom which followers of Islam enjoy in Western countries! Faced with disconcerting episodes of violent fundamentalism, our respect for true followers of Islam should lead us to avoid hateful generalisations, for authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence.
While there isn’t anything controversial about extending Christian love to those who hate us, it is another thing to claim that “for authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence” and that those who deny this are spreading “hateful generalizations.”
This is blatantly untrue. Here are just a few Koranic verses that should easily dispel this claim:
- Then kill the Mushrikun [Polytheists and Trinitarians] wherever you find them, and capture them and besiege them, and prepare for then each and every ambush. But if they repent and offer prayers perfectly and give Zakat, then leave their way free. (9:5)
- Fight against those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the Last Day, nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth (Islam) among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued (9:29)
- They desire that you should disbelieve as they have disbelieved, so that you might be (all) alike; therefore take not from among them friends until they fly (their homes) in Allah's way; but if they turn back [from Islam], then seize them and kill them wherever you find them, and take not from among them a friend or a helper. (4.89)
And here’s what Muslims say about the Koranic teachings:
- "If we follow the rules of interpretation developed from the classical “science of Koranic interpretation, it is not possible to condemn terrorism in religious terms. It remains completely true to the classical rules in its evolution of sanctity for its own justification. This is where the secret of its theological strength lies." -- Egyptian scholar Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd
- "Many thanks to God, for his kind gesture, and choosing us to perform the act of Jihad for his cause and to defend Islam and Muslims. Therefore, killing you and fighting you, destroying you and terrorizing you, responding back to your attacks, are all considered to be great legitimate duty in our religion." -- Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his fellow 9/11 defendants
- "Allah on 480 occasions in the Holy Koran extols Muslims to wage jihad. We only fulfil God's orders. Only jihad can bring peace to the world." -- Taliban terrorist Baitullah Mehsud
- "Jihad, holy fighting in Allah's course, with full force of numbers and weaponry, is given the utmost importance in Islam....By jihad, Islam is established....By abandoning jihad, may Allah protect us from that, Islam is destroyed, and Muslims go into inferior position, their honor is lost, their lands are stolen, their rule and authority vanish. Jihad is an obligation and duty in Islam on every Muslim." -- Times Square car bomb terrorist Faisal Shahzad
Evidently, Pope Francis feels that he is justified in making such a blatantly incorrect statement in hope that he can secure better treatment for Catholics from their Muslim persecutors. It is almost like telling a rape victim not to scream out, lest her rapist might treat her even worse. It is like Pope Pius XII, who refused to speak out against the Holocaust. In both cases, a naïve, baseless hope was substituted for the needful - exposing the evil, enforcing justice, and direct intervention.
However, even if by some chance the Pope’s over-the-top flattery does offer some immediate relief for persecuted Catholics, is flattery at all justified before God? Not according the Bible:
- Whoever rebukes a person will in the end gain favor rather than one who has a flattering tongue. (Proverbs 28:23)
- A lying tongue hates those it hurts, and a flattering mouth works ruin. (Proverbs 26:28)
“A flattering mouth works ruin” to the many millions who have lived under Islamic oppression for centuries and also the Muslims who hope for reform with the help of the Western powers, which might highlight this oppression. Besides, this is a question of justice – something central to God’s heart:
- Whoever says to the guilty, “You are innocent,” will be cursed by peoples and denounced by nations. (Proverbs 24:24)
· Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body…Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Eph. 4:25, 29)
One might argue that this passage doesn’t apply, since Pope Francis is merely talking to Islam. However, his words are heard by the entire Christian world! Instead of alerting people to the very obvious dangers of Islam, even for Muslims, he has made a monumental contribution to the conspiracy of silence. Rather, the Christian must be entirely committed to truth:
· Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. (2 Cor. 4:2)
If a Christian leader distorts the truth in one circumstance, how can he be trusted to not distort it in other circumstances? Paul understood that if they resorted to deception in one instance, they could not “commend [themselves] to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.” When trust is broken, so too is influence! Even the Muslim can see through the Pope’s pitiful ruse. In their eyes, he has become just another politician, however likeable.
We are not free to convert truth into a tool. It is central to our lives of worship and to the heart of our God. Jesus explained what is central to His Father in a conversation with a Samaritan woman:
- “True worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23-24)
What we do with our mouths is also worship and is of over-riding concern to God. When Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Apostles, Peter insisted that they had also lied to God (Acts 5:4, 9). Our lies are not merely private or even interpersonal matters. They are transacted before God Himself.
Instead, now is time to cry out against Islam and to expose the genocide that they are conducting against Christians in so many of their countries. Scholar and writer, Raymond Ibrahim, is helping to expose the extent of this carnage:
- From one end of the Muslim world to another, Christians are suffering under the return of Sharia…Whenever Muslims are in power or getting more power, churches are outlawed, burned or bombed, while Bibles and crucifixes are confiscated and destroyed. Freedom of speech – to speak positively of Christianity or critically of Islam – is denied, often on pain of death…Christian women and children are routinely abducted, raped, and forced to convert to Islam. (Crucified Again, 8)
Now is the time for all of us to cry out, not only in prayer, but also in words and deeds. It is a time for our leaders to prick the conscience of the world for their complicity, through silence, to the genocide. It is a time to shame Islam in the United Nations, in the media and in the universities by exposing their deeds, refusing them a voice at the table until they address the atrocities of their nations. It is a time for people of conscience to speak up and to not enable the horrors that the persecuted are silently enduring.
The Pope is the most influential voice in all Christendom. If he refuses to strenuously raise his voice for the persecuted, why then should any Catholic! If instead, his judgment prevails – that those who do speak up are making “hateful generalizations” – then what hope do we have of any change? And what hope do the persecuted have under this mantel of denial? The same hope that the Jews had after the silence of Pius XII!