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Worshipping at the Altar of Pluralism

by Christopher A. Ferrara

In The New York Times the other day I saw a photograph of President George Bush in the White House reading a book about Ramadan to some Muslim children. A nominally Christian President, who professes the belief that Christ is God, took it upon himself to help inculcate children with the teachings of a religion invented by a mere man who denied the divinity of Christ.

What is wrong with this picture? Well, consider this: Is it even remotely conceivable that the head of any Islamic republic - even a "moderate" one like Egypt - would allow himself to be photographed reading a Christmas story to a group of Catholic children? The question answers itself.

Why the difference? Quite simply, the heads of Islamic republics live according to the principle that the teachings of their man-made religion are absolutely true and sacrosanct, and that to promote any other religion is blasphemy. By comparison, the American President behaves as if the divine revelation that Christ is God can coexist happily with the denial of that truth, and that two religions which fundamentally contradict each other are both good. That is, the American President follows a dogma that he (at least implicitly) regards as higher than any dogma of the Christian faith: the dogma of pluralism.

Likewise, in Britain, Zenit news (December 19, 2001) reports that "Prime Minister Tony Blair has created the first ‘faith czar’ to watch over the religiously minded among his flock." This "faith czar" will have the job of "personal envoy among the Christian denominations and faith groups in Britain," according to the London Telegraph. According to Zenit, "The new faith czar is now visiting mosques, synagogues, temples and churches in an effort to ease tensions between faiths and the outside world." As the faith czar, a Mr. Battle, put it himself: "The question I ask is, are we making space for faith traditions or is the culture shutting them down?" he asked.

So, the new faith czar has the job of "making space" for the religion of Islam, whose avowed purpose is to convert the world to itself and make every nation an Islamic republic, in a perverse analog of Our Lord’s divine command to make disciples of all nations. Am I suggesting that Muslims should be made the subject of political repression? Not in the least, for the Catholic Church has always counseled civil tolerance of non-Catholic religions in order to avoid a greater evil. But what I am saying is that it is time for a radical critique of the whole notion that the nation states of former Christendom must not only tolerate but also approve of and even promote the teachings of religions and ideologies that seek to destroy the very regimes which shelter them. Is it really beyond question that England, for example, must allow itself to become a Muslim republic the moment Muslims achieve sufficient numbers to vote for the necessary political changes - as indeed they vow to do in every nation? What is wrong with the use of immigration and other laws to secure the national identity? Does anyone criticize the state of Israel for enacting various laws to do precisely that?

The ancient Greeks used the Trojan Horse to overcome the City of Troy, thereby winning the Trojan war. But today’s pluralistic regimes can be overthrown without any such subterfuge, for they willingly "make a place" for error in their midst, and even celebrate it as good. And when these same regimes suffer the ruinous consequences of their indifference to the truth, their leaders only increase their resolve to burn incense at the altar of pluralism - becoming, as Professor John Rao has said, mindless cheerleaders for what destroys them.