Catholic Pope Has Few Options In the Middle East

By Abraham H. Miller, Originally published in The Christian Post

There has been no shortage of outrage directed at the pope for calling the phantom president (serving the 11th year of a four year term) of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, an angel of peace. Coming on the heels of the Vatican recognizing the equally fictitious state of Palestine, whose boundaries are a matter of conjecture, supporters of Israel have felt this was an additional act of betrayal.

But rather than unduly criticize the pope, we might wish to consider the tortured desperation confronting the leader of the Catholic Church as he watches daily reports of the wanton slaughter of Christians by an Islamic fundamentalism that is sweeping across the Middle East.

There is a reformation sweeping the Islamic world, but rather than being directed toward the greater advancement of liberty and tolerance, it has turned toward emulating the most violent and bloodthirsty aspects of Islam’s beginnings. Like many revival movements, it requires “the other” (some group to be different) for its own definition of self.

Jews were thrown out of most of the Islamic Middle East over half a century ago, leaving Christians as the primary, but not the exclusive, source of a people apart.

Having long given up on religion, we, as secularists, cannot comprehend the attraction of a religious revival that combines the spiritual with the physical risks of Holy War.

Not only are we incapable of understanding the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, the leader of the free world also seems committed to leading from behind when it comes to stopping it.

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