We might be close to the end times; the end times of common sense, of common decency, of self-respect and of self-esteem. I have been pondering on the Christmas Eve editorial in The Australian – you know the right-wing rag. God knows what’s in the SMH or The Age or the Guardian, let alone in the Green Left Weekly.
Under the heading of “The Christmas message of hope in challenging times,” the editor reports on a Mass held in St Catherine’s church in Bethlehem for victims of terrorist attacks. It was presided over by the Catholic auxiliary bishop of Jerusalem and attended by Jews, Christians and Muslims. “The event was permeated with peace and goodwill,” apparently. But wait on; no other than Mahmoud Abbas (above) reportedly instigated this kumbaya event.
Pardon me for being discordant at Christmas time, but isn’t this the same Abbas who in September announced that Jews had no right to defile Al Asqua mosque with their “filthy feet” and who claimed Muslim ownership of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre? Will some Catholics and Jews invite anyone home to share supper these days?
Here is a man who celebrates the lives of terrorists who randomly kill Israeli citizens, yet he is feted by his putative victims. And, the only mainstream Australian newspaper of any worth can’t spot the bitter irony. Incredibly, The Australian contrasts the faux bonhomie in Bethlehem with the crass words of Islamic activist Zaky Mallah of Q&A infamy. It got me thinking the way The Australian evidently thinks. If only Zaky were more like Mahmoud what a wonderful world this would be. Whoever wrote this editorial evidently comes straight from la-la land.
Sticking to its theme of misleading the gullible, British rabbi Jonathan Sacks is seemingly fitted up. He is quoted – from The Wall Street Journal - as pointing out that interpretative traditions within Christianly, Judaism and Islam have in the past led to violence. Well and good. But the lead-in to his quoted remarks credit him with saying that passages in the scriptures of each of the Abrahamic faiths, interpreted literally, could lead to hated, cruelty and war. I haven’t read Sacks’ article but I somehow doubt he said that. In any event, it simply isn’t true. Only a literal interpretation of Islamic scripture has nags of any pedigree and staying power in that particular race to Hell.
By the way, it is about time we dismissed this business of Islam being an Abrahamic religion. Judaism is the Abrahamic religion. Christianity builds on it through Jesus, who was a product of Judaism. Islam is a cobbled-together, parasitical artefact which attempts to hijack Abraham and Jesus for its own as, for example, it did the Hindu numbering system and the Temple Mount.
There is more maudlin stuff in the editorial leaning on the remarks of the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney – “to find room in the inns of our hearts” – about welcoming 12,000 Syrian refugees. Where can we find Christian leaders willing to stand up for Christians, who will never be confident of finding religious freedom and peace in the Middle East?
The 12,000 should all be Christians. What’s hard about that? What’s hard about saying it? They form the most persecuted minority and they are likely to make the most productive contribution to Australia. And none of them or the children or their children’s children will turn out to be terrorists or require anti-radicalisation counselling. It is a no-brainer unless you happen to be filled with limp-wristed cant that Jesus would want us to be door mats for followers of a false prophet or, alternatively, if you are a green-left creep and believe that we should voluntarily commit cultural suicide to atone for past Western sins.
We have to stop being defensive and get on the offence. This doesn’t mean being disrespectful to Muslims who are here. It means reasserting and standing up for our values. You don’t do that by getting all schmalzy when an Islamic despot pretends to be chummy with those who he actively despises.
Nor do you do it by having an immigration policy which is blind to the importation of clashing values.