The Regensburg speech and the Paris attack
In light of the horrific attack on Charlie Hebdo many are quoting Benedict XVI’s lecture against violence committed in the name of the faith. But they forget that the speech was a critique of modern reason - which dismisses religion as a subculture - from withinandrea tornielli vatican city
The terrifying attack in Paris, the massacre carried out at the offices of satirical French weekly, Charlie Hebdo, by three Islamic terrorists who had “trained” with jihadist militia, reminded many of the condemnations made by Italian journalist and writer Oriana Fallaci. It also brought to mind the famous speech Benedict XVI gave in Regensburg in September 2006 on a visit to his old university.
That Benedict XVI condemned the use of violence and fanaticism that makes wrongful use of God’s name in this and in other speeches he gave and as his predecessor had done before him, is without question. It is also known that in his Christmas address to the Roman Curia just a few months after the Regensburg speech, Benedict XVI said: “In a dialogue to be intensified with Islam, we must bear in mind the fact that the Muslim world today is finding itself faced with an urgent task. This task is very similar to the one that has been imposed upon Christians since the Enlightenment, and to which the Second Vatican Council, as the fruit of long and difficult research, found real solutions for the Catholic Church.”
It is also worth remembering, however, that the Regensburg speech was not about the violence of religious fanaticism, rather, it was a criticism of a certain way in which reason was understood in the West. In that famous speech, Ratzinger said: “This attempt, painted with broad strokes, at a critique of modern reason from within has nothing to do with putting the clock back to the time before the Enlightenment and rejecting the insights of the modern age. The positive aspects of modernity are to be acknowledged unreservedly: we are all grateful for the marvelous possibilities that it has opened up for mankind and for the progress in humanity that has been granted to us.”
“In the Western world,” he went on to say in his speech, “it is widely held that only positivistic reason and the forms of philosophy based on it are universally valid. Yet the world's profoundly religious cultures see this exclusion of the divine from the universality of reason as an attack on their most profound convictions. A reason which is deaf to the divine and which relegates religion into the realm of subcultures is incapable of entering into the dialogue of cultures.
As he looked back on the year that was about to pass in his traditional Christmas address to the Roman Curia in December 2006, Benedict XVI added that “in Regensburg the dialogue between the religions was only marginally touched on and in a twofold perspective. Secularized reason is unable to enter into a true dialogue with the religions. It remains closed to the question of God, and this will end by leading to the clash of cultures.”
Today, everyone simply sees it as a call to Islam. Instead, it was also a call to a West that tends to “relegate religion into the realm of subcultures”.
And then actual reporting on Pope Benedict's speech by CNN in 2006:
Pope's Islam comments condemned
POSTED: 9:54 p.m. EDT, September 15, 2006
A growing chorus of Muslim leaders have called on the pope to apologize for the remarks he made in a speech in Germany on Tuesday when he used the terms "jihad" and "holy war."
Friday, Muslim protesters shouted slogans against the pontiff at a rally in Jammu, India. (Watch other Muslims burn the pope in effigy -- 1:41)
A Vatican statement said Benedict was not trying offend Muslims with his remarks.
"It was certainly not the intention of the Holy Father to ... offend the sensibilities of Muslim faithful," said Federico Lombardi, the Vatican press officer.
In response to the pope's speech, Pakistan's National Assembly -- parliament's lower house -- unanimously passed a resolution on Friday condemning his remarks.
The Vatican's ambassador was also summoned to Pakistan's Foreign Office to hear directly the government's displeasure.
"It was underlined that at a time when there was an acute need for promoting inter-faith harmony such remarks, regardless of the context, were very unfortunate," said a statement from Pakistan's Foreign Affairs Ministry.
The ambassador promised to convey Pakistan's sentiments to the pope, the statement said.
In Cairo Friday, about 100 demonstrators gathered in an anti-Vatican protest outside the capital's al-Azhar mosque.
Meanwhile, a youth center run by the Greek Orthodox church in the Gaza Strip was slightly damaged by a small explosion on Friday, witnesses told Reuters.
It was unclear if the blast was connected to the pope's comments.
During his address at the University of Regensburg on Tuesday, Benedict quoted 14th-century Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus.
"God," the emperor, as the pope quoted, said, "is not pleased by blood -- and not acting reasonably is contrary to God's nature." (Full story)
A transcript of the pope's remarks obtained by The Associated Press television network reads: "In the seventh (sura, or chapter of the Quran), the emperor comes to speak about jihad, holy war.
"The emperor certainly knew that Sura 2, 256, reads: 'No force in matters of faith'. It is one of the early suras, from a time -- as experts say -- in which Mohammed himself was still powerless and threatened.
"However, the emperor of course also knew the requirements about the holy war that were later formulated in the Quran. Without going into details like the handling of the owners of the scriptures, or non-believers, he (the emperor) turned to his interlocutors -- in a surprisingly brusque way -- with the central question after the relationship between religion and violence.
"He said, I quote, 'Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.'"
The Organization of the Islamic Conference, in a statement released Thursday, said it "regrets the quotations cited by the pope on the Life of the Honorable Prophet Mohammed, and what he referred to as 'spreading' Islam 'by the sword.'"
"The attribution of the spread of Islam around the world to the shedding of blood and violence, which is 'incompatible with the nature of God' is a complete distortion of the facts, which shows deep ignorance of Islam and Islamic history."
Muslim Brotherhood Chairman Mohammed Mahdi Akef also expressed anger over the pope's academic speech.
"The pope's statements come to add fuel to fire and trigger anger within the Muslim world and show that the West with its politicians and clerics are hostile to Islam."
Condemnation also came from Turkey where Benedict is scheduled to visit in November.
"His words are extremely regrettable, worrying and unfortunate in terms of the Christian world and common peace of humanity," the Anatolian state news agency quoted Ali Bardakoglu, the head of Ankara's Directorate General for Religious Affairs, as saying.
"I do not see any use in somebody visiting the Islamic world who thinks in this way about the holy prophet of Islam."
In Syria, the grand mufti, the country's top Sunni Muslim religious authority, sent a letter to the pope saying he feared the pontiff's comments on Islam would worsen interfaith relations, AP reported.
In Gaza City, Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya issued a condemnation, saying Benedict's remarks "are not true and defamed the essence of this holy religion and it defamed the history of the Islam."
"We say to the pope to re-examine these comments and to stop defaming the Islam religion that more than 1 and half billion Muslims believe in," said Haniya, who made the remarks after Friday prayers.
Later, thousands of Palestinians marched in Gaza, demanding an apology.
In Lebanon, the country's most senior Shiite Muslim cleric demanded the pope personally apologize for insulting Islam.
"We do not accept the apology through Vatican channels ... and ask him (Benedict) to offer a personal apology -- not through his officials -- to Muslims for this false reading (of Islam)," Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah told worshippers.
But the Vatican statement said Benedict's discussion on Tuesday was quite to the contrary.
"The Holy Father's desire (is) to cultivate an attitude of respect and dialogue towards other religions and cultures, including, of course, Islam."
According to Lombardi, Benedict's speech was "a warning, addressed to Western culture, to avoid 'the contempt for God and the cynicism that considers mockery of the sacred to be an exercise of freedom.'"
would someone care to share with me what exactly was so amazing about the "enlightenment" in European society?
Spare me the a-historic claim that the American Revolution was an "enlightenment" project: it was no such thing. The vast majority of the founding fathers were active Christians not deists. They were inspired by both the classic Roman and Greek Republics as well as Medieval Catholic democratic mechanisms (like secret ballots, constitutions which every Catholic order had, and universally valid human rights).
It was only in the 1820s that Masons began to claim that the previous generation was all Deists and enlightenment figures, much as the current crop of black leaders claim to stand in solidarity with MLK when in fact they belong to the violent faction which superseded the pacific, Christian based original civil rights coalition.
The "enlightenment" claimed that science could not advance (and with it social "progress") with Christianity in charge of the intellectual and social high ground. They associated 'progress' with de-Christianization.
As though technological advances were not being made across the Medieval centuries, as though the university systems didn't prove Catholicism to be happy to promote advances in every field of learning...
I for one don't buy Pope Benedict's claim that the Church needs to adapt to the post-Christian West's world view. That's not what Vatican II is about. It's about converting the world to Jesus with the power of the Holy Spirit.
We are to convert them, not surrender to them and then beg for respect and some sort of status of forces agreement.
I suspect we are dealing with not so much theology as psychology. Europeans have been so traumatized by war and state led persecution of the Church that they consider a 'live and let live" status as a victory. I consider it a defeat.
Let me clarify: Benedict's complaint about modern western, secular man is that it is cutting itself off from 'dialogue' with religion and different cultures.
But since when did he think post-Christian, secular westerners CARE about religions and foreign cultures?
The last 200 years of European history has been one of post-Christian/anti-Christian elites striving to divorce their governments and culture from Christianity, the church, the past, and other cultures out of a conviction that "progress" comes automatically from rejecting the past in toto.
They don't want anything to do with Christianity or other cultures. They genuinely believe themselves self-sufficient, intellectually and morally superior to any other group or belief system (despite all the evidence to the contrary).
Far from dialogue, the anti-Christian west desires to absorb and assimilate Christianity into the "Borg" where the culture is utterly locked down under a socialist oligarchy and the masses are drug and sex addicted drones who will do what they're told: consume, buy, shop, work, from womb to tomb like permanent guests at Disney world rather than citizens of their own nations.
Thus 1 million Parisians can march for marriage and it doesn't matter. The elite have decided that the sexual revolution is irrevocable so no amount of democracy will dissuade them from advancing any form of sexual chaos.
This is not some equal we ought to establish a dialogue with, it's an objectively INFERIOR parasite which we must convert and defeat on all fronts for their own good and the good of untold number of those not yet born.
And that wasn't the only speech, lest we forget the one in Berlin too.
The dis-enlightenment (as I prefer to call that period of history) was as Jusadbellum mentions was perhaps the acceleration of man trying to distance itself from God.
It seems to me there's a two-fold situation...in the first in dealing with Islam, the religion can't stand on reason the logic of Islam and the divorce from reason is why acts of terror are done in the name of Islam.
In the latter dealing with a secular state that doesn't care about the Church, in order for the Church to establish herself, she has to begin from somewhere (since many countries ditched the Catholic state)...I'm pretty sure Pope Benedict XVI knows quite well that the state doesn't care about us. Dialogue has always been a means towards an end, not an end of itself.
As the old saying goes, one can't dialogue with one who wishes to kill you.
The French republic - an officially secular state - has utterly failed its people on every QUANTIFIABLE level:
economically, socially, politically (as in representing the will of the people vs. the elites), and even physically with security.
It was in the name of progress for the poor that the Church was overthrown in France and yet the Revolution and subsequent Napoleonic wars killed off far more poor Frenchmen and created far more dependent orphans and widows than hundreds of years of Catholicism ever came close to doing.
So they reject God and then lose what they sought in place of God. They rejected the King, the Kingdom and all the rest of goods they thought would come from the exclusion of Christ and Church.
Secular French women are not having enough babies to even maintain their current population (which is why they've welcomed in Muslims to fill the void created by the sexual revolution!)
Far from needing to apologize for our presence, we need to start evangelizing and showing the secularists - in really simple terms because they're not particularly bright - how their ideologies are dead ends. How the true 'wave of the future' lies not in the sexual revolution but in Christianity.
People are slaughtered for blasphemy against Islam... or sued/silenced/fired for any speech deemed blasphemous to our politically correct superiors and what happens?
The sheep bleat, burn candles, and then shuffle back to anonymous lives hoping that will do the trick.
Hashtag diplomacy. "bring back our girls" as though Boko Haram even reads tweets and would have shame and repent like good Christians!
Hashtag solidarity - whereby instead of actually solving the problem, we opine about it to one another, tut, tuting our way to the next distraction of bread and circuses.
Gene has the right idea: if you would have peace, si vis pacem para bellum. And let the savages know you are loaded for bear (as it's only gentlemanly).
Consider the usual bumper sticker sound byte: "terrorists don't represent Islam, not all Muslims are terrorists".
Now, compare this trite qualification for how the PC police handle their enemies? All Pro-lifers are branded as potential terrorists which is why they got 'buffer zones' around clinics.
EVERYONE boarding a plane is deemed potentially guilty of terrorism rather than the 100% of cases which were men ages 20-60 of Arab or far-eastern ethnicity and Muslim religion.
Everyone who buys a gun is assumed a criminal until NICS proves otherwise.
Now, was EVERY Klan member guilty of lynching? No. Not by a long shot. But don't we currently consider Klan membership by anyone to instantly brand that person outside civil society? Yes, yes we do.
You can be a Black Panther, a Hispanic member of "La Raza" or Mecha or Atzlan, and it's a-OK. But being a white supremacist is instantly branded as a potential domestic terrorist.
I personally think anyone who finds pride in skin color to be slightly brain damaged but I note the double standard and wonder why some racists are a-OK in our culture while others are instantly condemned.
Was EVERY MEMBER of the Nazis or Communist parties guilty of crimes against humanity? No, not at all, not by a long shot.... but neither were the average Nazi, Communist Party member or Klansman very eager to risk the violence of their aggressive and hostile peers in toning down their assaults on non-members.
By not lumping all Muslims together with the terrorists, we are decidedly NOT following the typical zero-tolerance tactic reserved for virtually every OTHER non-PC group in the country or anti-Christian west so it tells me that for the secular elites, who rush to lump every pro-lifer or Tea Partier in with any random nut case, that they consider Muslims very much part of their ruling class and so grant them the same treatment that is reserved for the 'in' crowd.
Because if a Hollywood or Goldman Sachs or big Media personality is caught breaking the law or hurting people there are no dots connected, no general broad brush condemnations of their zip code. They're instantly branded lone wolves, one-offs, isolated cases that we don't need to worry about.
This ought to tell us something about the red/green/black coalition's make up.
It's when the hegemonic majority lumps everyone together with social pariahs, that the targeted population rushes to extirpate and excise the hot heads from their midst. This is why Pro-lifers rushed to condemn the clinic bombers and police themselves to make sure no one gets that idea again. It's why the Tea Party was hyper-vigilant from the start against 5th columns and agents, planted racists etc.
So as 'unjust' as it sounds when used against PC minorities, the effect lumping the guilty with the innocent in un-PC minorities makes me think that the West does know how to peacefully solve this but chooses not to. Terrorism invariably creates the crisis by which government amasses more power.
Now you can see why the 4% of the population who are Muslim aren't treated as the 10% who are pro-life.
The Founding Fathers did rely on the thinking of Kant, Rousseau, Locke, Montesquieu and other Enlightenment writers as they shaped our Republic.
Rousseau developed the idea of the “social contract” – the idea that a society is a pact among all its members and that no one rules by divine right.
Kant’s thinking is the source of our ideas of personal (individual) freedom, the non-establishment of religion, freedom of speech, among others.
Montesquieu was among the first to suggest the separation of powers and its corollary checks and balances.
Locke wrote that the duty of a government is to protect the natural rights of the people. As he wrote, these are life, liberty, and property.
The political systems of the Greeks and Romans may have had embodied one of two of these notions, but they were, for the most part, oligarchies. Their political systems allowed for only the wealthy, the well-connected, or the hereditary leaders to have control. In both of those systems, women were included.
Whether or not the Founders were active Christians or Deists is really of little consequence. That they believed in God as the source of natural rights is clear, but the practicalities of self-governance came from the Enlightenment, not from their faith.
It's interesting—the idea that we have 'natural' rights is likely not to survive a generation. Many of the people my age or younger truly and sincerely believe the government gives us our rights, not that they're natural.
It's also interesting that Rousseau's ideas hold little practical merit—case in point: the founders of the Confederacy believed the social contract had been broken, and thus resolved to 'correct' the situation; however, according to some people, such an action was wrong—which would indicate that the idea of 'contract' is a rather subjective one.
In relation to my first point, I'll be interested to see how the idea of 'natural rights' develops in a secular and atheistic age, because, regardless of what secular humanists think, nihilism will become the victor in the humanism/nihilism debate, which will invariably demolish any notion of 'natural rights'.
Naturally, I'm sceptical about the idea that 'no one rules by divine right', as the implication behind the statement is that governments rule by popular mandate,which is patently false, in my opinion. It is my opinion that governments derive their authority solely from force, or from the threat thereof. I say this because I have severe doubts whether many, if not most, people would continue to follow the law if the state were impotent to punish lawbreakers. At least, I wouldn't (follow the law, that is).
Now, in an unrelated point, I think it's very amusing Ignotus says it's unnecessary to capitalise 'mass', but capitalises 'republic', as though the phrase 'our republic' were somehow ambiguous.
JusadBellum and Father Kavanaugh:
Why is it necessary to choose between the Judeo-Christian and medieval influences on the one hand and Enlightenment influences on the other? Didn’t both streams flow into the Founding River?
Regarding: “The political systems of the Greeks and Romans may have had embodied one of two of these notions, but they were, for the most part, oligarchies. Their political systems allowed for only the wealthy, the well-connected, or the hereditary leaders to have control.”
Although ahead of its time in the perspective of history, wasn’t much the same true of the American Republic in its Founding, at least seen from the perspective of all those who were excluded from political participation (landless white males, free and enslaved blacks, American Indians, certain religious minorities, women)? More to the point, perhaps, isn’t it still largely true of the Republic, despite democratic advances during the intervening two centuries or so and the resulting current democratic costume?
P.S. I should amend my first sentence to add “classical” as follows:
Why is it necessary to choose between the Judeo-Christian, classical, and medieval influences on the one hand and Enlightenment influences on the other? Didn’t both streams flow into the Founding River?
Hobbes is a far better political thinker than Rousseau, and Hobbes has influenced modern political philosophy to a far deeper extent than Rousseau.
Speaking of Rousseau…he was probably paranoid schiz. He was arrested for exposing himself to women on a couple of occasions. He became so destitute and paranoid that when Hume took him to England and got him a flat complete with mistress, he thought Hume was plotting against him. If he were alive today, he would doubtless work for CNN if he wasn't huddled up over a grate somewhere with a bottle of Ripple.
His "noble savage" idea (junk philosophy) has, unfortunately, continued to live in the dark little hearts of liberals…first it was the primitives in Africa or early Europe, then it was American Indians, now it is Blacks and Muslims. All sweet, innocent, harmless creatures living in a pristine wilderness nature paradise until "modern" man with his nasty old civilization corrupted them. Of course, the more we study and experience these groups, the more we learn that there is absolutely nothing "noble" about them but "savage" fits them very well.
Lest anyone think otherwise (I was exhausted when I posted that): I don't think anyone rules by divine right (mostly...); rather, I'm sceptical about the idea implicated by 'no one rules by divine right', not that statement itself.
Flavius (and others), You may appreciate this: "It is the political philosophy of Thomas Hobbes that is, in effect, standard for the whole of the 18th century. His Leviathan states that the ultimate reality to be reckoned with in man is his instinct to preserve himself and enjoy his life accordingly. He follows this instinct in everything he does and is perfectly right to do so. Nature has in actual fact given to all men the same claim to all things, the only restraining factor being that to bring this instinct into play indiscriminately would benefit no one, as its necessary consequence would be universal war. Reason, therefore, backed by fear of death and the desire for rest, will counsel man to adopt self-imposed restrictions. Thus subjective right in itself seeks an objective kind of right which is created by way of transference of law…each one of the parties transfers a part of his rights to the State. Hobbes train of thought leads like a corridor to bourgeois absolutism, to the arrogation of God-like powers in politics by the individual or by the community…to the omnipotent monarchy or the omnipotent republic."
(From: "Protestant Thought from Rousseau to Ritschl," by Karl Barth Simon & Schuster, NY 1959).
This is a marvelous, if difficult, book that I would recommend highly to any student of philosophy or to anyone wanting to understand the theological implications of the so-called Enlightenment.
The Founding Fathers were more influenced by the 'Glorious Revolution' of 1688/9 than they were by French political and social scientists. Their attitude to governance was based on pragmatic English principles, and their idea of liberty was derived not from any abstract theory, but from an inherited birthright founded in English Common Law. The American Revolution was a conservative one; just as their forebears had overthrown the 'tyrannical' James II and recovered their ancient liberties, they would emancipate themselves from the 'tyrannical' rule of George III and his ministers.
This is why many Whigs in England took the part of the Americans. It also explains why the American republic has endured and adapted without departing from the principles on which it was founded. Meanwhile post-1789 France has experienced three monarchies, a revolutionary Terror which massacred thousands in the name of the goddess Reason, two empires and no fewer than five republics.
One last note regarding the Enlightenment…Hegel is the culmination of all Enlightenment thought. His belief in a linear, progressive movement of Reason through history led to the inevitable merging of theology and philosophy. Hegel stated that "the history of philosophy is the history of religion." Revelation became subsumed in human self-awareness…it became a process of self-discovery, through rationalism, of man's high place in history and creation…that we can know God through reason inescapably implies that we can command and influence him. From this it is a short step to God as man, human history and progress, writ large.
Now, in the struggle and dialogue between Calvinism and Catholicism, Calvinism's most compelling argument is that Catholicism, via Thomas Aquinas, lies too close to this merger of reason and revelation. Hence Calvin's still cherished and instructive warning (to protestants and we Catholics alike) embodied in his belief in Total Depravity…which has less to do with concupiscence than with man's continued desire to elevate reason to a level, if not with Revelation, then just below it. As a former Calvinist ( and possibly a Jansenist now), I consider Calvinism and Catholicism as mutual correctives to one another…Calvin warning about the pride and arrogance of reason and Catholicism's elevation of man, and Catholicism warning protestantism about denigrating the good Creation and trashing the Image of God in man. The dialogue continues in theological circles and in the personal struggles of others like me, who see the ultimate failure of protestantism but fear the all too evident drift in the neo-protestant direction on the part of the Church. Barth believed that theology is a form of prayer…let us pray that our efforts will be heard and blessed as such by God.
The French and American Revolutions have been described, respectively, as "Catholicism gone to seed" and "Calvinism gone to seed."
Anon 2 - No, it is not necessary to distinguish one source of ideas from another - when they coincide.
Vox Temporis Vox Deus, and all that...
The Founding Fathers were thoroughly imbued with Enlightenment philosophy and political thought. Though they might have disliked the idea, the Enlightenment philosophers stood on the shoulders of earlier political theorists, including, to some limited degree, the Greeks who "invented" democracy.
As to the question you raise about the origins of our nation, we did struggle (and are struggling) to eliminate the vestiges of aristocracy for decades. Here in our beloved South, the wealthy wanted to establish a similar stratified society with wealthy, white landowners on top, as, of course, God, had commanded.
Now it is the financial oligarchs who seek to rule. And, since money is power, they succeed pretty regularly.
Kavanaugh, you have an anthologist's understanding of history and philosophy.
I think I may have cancelled my post by accident so here it is again (please excuse any duplication):
If you have not read it, I highly recommend Russell Kirk’s “Roots of American Order” (1974; 4th. ed., 2003). The book is somewhat limited (focusing as it does on the contributions of a now somewhat dated canon) but is still most enlightening. I have used it with some success in my own teaching:
As I have indicated before on this Blog, Kirk has significantly influenced my own intellectual development. I wish he were better known and respected today. He is a founding father of modern American conservatism and a marker for how far so-called contemporary conservatism has moved form its own roots, as the following 2005 comment from one of the linked Amazon reviews indicates:
“Russell Kirk was perhaps the most distinguished American conservative writer of the twentieth century. . . .Russell Kirk is an important thinker who has certainly not been given his due, particularly by the contemporary conservative movement. Too much interested in the permanent things, Kirk's genteel writings are out of place in the "take no prisoners" world of contemporary conservative journalism. However, there are some signs of a revival of interest in Kirk's thought, most recently by Wes McDonald's recent study. A more basic statement of his creed can be found in his work THE AMERICAN CAUSE.”
Another recently published book that looks to be of considerable interest and that I have on order is Geoffrey Hazard and Douglas Pinto’s “Moral Foundations of American Law: Faith, Virtue, and Mores” (2013):
“I consider Calvinism and Catholicism as mutual correctives to one another…Calvin warning about the pride and arrogance of reason and Catholicism's elevation of man, and Catholicism warning protestantism about denigrating the good Creation and trashing the Image of God in man. The dialogue continues in theological circles and in the personal struggles of others like me, who see the ultimate failure of protestantism but fear the all too evident drift in the neo-protestant direction on the part of the Church. Barth believed that theology is a form of prayer…let us pray that our efforts will be heard and blessed as such by God.”
Gene: These are the sorts of thought-provoking and insightful comments from you that I really appreciate.
Thank you, Anon 2. Sometimes I try to get distance from my academic background and the weakness I have for philosophical/theological discussion because I am disgusted with academia in all its forms...but the damned blog sometimes draws me back in. However, I believe that theology has a direct bearing on our lives and that serious theology both encompasses and transcends Catholicism and protestantism…it is, indeed, a form of prayer.
"Lassana Bathily, a Muslim employee at Paris Kosher grocery store Hyper Cacher, saved several people by hiding them in a walk-in freezer when a gunman laid siege to his workplace on Friday.
Amedy Coulibaly burst into the market and opened fire, killing 4 people. He took several shoppers hostage and threatened to kill them if police stormed the printing shop where Cherif and Said Kouachi, who killed 12 people in an attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo earlier in the week, were holed up in a village to the north.
Bathily, identified by French media as a "Malian Muslim," helped several customers to safety as the chaos unfolded. "I went down to the freezer, I opened the door, there were several people who went in with me. I turned off the light and the freezer," Bathily, 24, told French network BFMTV. "I brought them inside and I told them to stay calm here, I'm going to go out. When they got out, they thanked me."
One thought on your response at 5:17 p.m.:
Just because one considers that the reality of practice in academia (or in anything else for that matter) falls short of its ideals is no reason to give up on the practice or its ideals themselves or indeed argument about what those ideals are or should be. Indeed it may offer even more reason to remain engaged.
Supplementing post at 3:28 p.m. yesterday -- Here is another book I have just learned about that needs to go on the list: Angela Kamrath’s “Miracle of America” (2013):
Has anyone read it?
FWIIW I should perhaps add that when I was researching the relative influence of Lockean liberalism and classical republicanism in the early American Republic in connection with a writing project on the legal profession and legal education during that era I discovered considerable disagreement among historians on the point (as on most things nowadays I suppose =)).
Anon 2, with regard to Locke vs classical republicanism…isn't it both/and? It would be really hard to dissect just which had more influence and what, really, would be the point?
With regard to a point Jusadbellum made earlier about Christian values influencing the early Republic as against Enlightenment political philosophy, I have to disagree with him because the Declaration and the Constitution are clearly Enlightenment documents (and so is, much more concisely, Lincoln's loved Gettysburg Address which, even as a Southerner, I have to marvel at). However, I believe he is right in that the average Joe of the day living in the new republic knew little of 18th century rationalism and viewed the principles of the documents to be "Christian" principles and had no idea that "inalienable rights" is not a Biblical concept and that "self-evident" truths is reason and not Revelation. So, Joe Minuteman and Suzy Patriot viewed duty, loyalty, individual freedom, and moral behavior as Biblically derived…and there is a great deal of overlap between Enlightenment ethics and Christian ethics.
I agree about the influence of both streams. Even granting an influence to both streams, however, there are still the questions of their relative influence and how the tensions between them were resolved in practical arrangements. The point, for me in the project I referenced, was twofold:
(1) To explore Anthony Kronman’s claim (see “The Lost lawyer: Failing Ideals of the Legal Profession,” 1993) that the prevailing “professional ideal” for lawyers in the early Republic (both in their roles as private practitioners and in their roles as citizen-leaders in public life) was that of the “lawyer-statesman,” stressing the twin character virtues of practical wisdom and civic mindedness (or commitment to the common good), and to examine how early legal education may have taught towards that ideal; and
(2) To test, in this way, normative support in the tradition of the practice for the ideal of the “lawyer-statesman” as a worthy one for lawyers and legal education today, which means, for me, that lawyers should be liberally educated – a notion that is coming under increasing pressure in the current climate of “commercialism’ and “careerism” (exacerbated by responses to the deep economic recession of the last few years) which tends to emphasize instead the stunted and demeaning notion of a selfish “homo economicus” over (to my mind) more elevated notions of human being that emphasize breadth of mind and virtue.
What you say about the influence of Enlightenment and Christian principles in the early Republic makes a lot of sense to me, with the influence of classical republicanism (on the leadership elite) added to the mix.
Anon 2, My daughter is an attorney (UGA '04), and has little nice to say about the majority of her classmates…all mercenary. She started out as an ADA but is now a defense attorney. We have interesting conversations, many of which find her saying to me, "Dad, there is this thing called the US Constitution…"
She enjoyed academic law, specialized in Constitutional Law, and would like to teach one day. You two would probably get along, although she is a Republican…but, she daily curses the Republican Party. She has said before that we have lost the understanding of the lawyer as a true advocate, not just of the client but of the Constitution and the very concept of law. She disdains what she calls "car crash lawyers." She once referred to another lawyer as "the kind of guy you call to co-counsel and he says, 'I'll be there Monday and I'll have the witnesses with me."
Anon 2, RE: statesman Another lost concept. We have very few true statesmen anymore. We have had very few true statesmen as President or Cabinet members…I think of Roosevelt, Kennedy, Reagan, maybe G. Bush 1, poor ill-fated Richard Nixon. Adalai Stevenson comes to mind and, of course, Henry Kissinger. Churchill and Thatcher, Hammerskjold, and maybe a few others. There are not any people with vision around much anymore. We are increasingly given over to political hacks on both the Right and Left. I vote Republican but run home and quickly poor scotch after leaving the booth. We are just not in an age of leadership or great men.
Thank you for sharing all that. There is much that we agree upon.
I hope that I will get to meet your daughter one day (as I hope I will get to meet you too, as I have indicated before). Indeed, I am sure that we would get along. Does she live here in Macon? Even though I am “independent” or “non-partisan” politically, some of my best friends are Republicans. =)
If I may, let me suggest some books that your daughter may enjoy reading, although she may already be familiar with them. Perhaps you may enjoy reading them too:
(1) Mary Ann Glendon, “A Nation under Lawyers: How the Crisis in the Legal Profession is Transforming American Society” (1996);
(2) Carl Horn III, “Lawyer Life: Balancing Life and a Career in Law” (2003)
(3) Nancy Levit & Douglas Linder, “The Happy Lawyer: Making a Good Life in the Law” (2010)
(4) Nancy Levit & Douglas Linder, “The Good lawyer: Seeking Quality in the Practice of Law” (2014)
(5) Here also is a link for Anthony Kronman, “The Lost Lawyer: Failing Ideals of the Legal Profession” (1993), mentioned in my earlier post (Kronman’s treatment is very scholarly and philosophical; the others are much more accessible to the general reader):
(6) More recently Kronman has devoted himself to defending the Western canon of Great Books. See Anthony Kronman, “Education’s End: Why Our Colleges and Universities Have Given up on the Meaning of Life” (2008) (By the way not all of us have – we haven’t at Mercer, for example):
I have read all of these books except for “The Good Lawyer” (which I am ordering) and can recommend all of them.
Anon 2, I am going to give my daughter that list of books and cite you as a reference.She will be more inclined to read them if she knows a law prof recommended them. She practices in Jackson/Forsyth. She is learning to balance the lawyer/mom/wife/PTO bit. She got offered a place in a firm in Savannah with her good friend from law school but turned it down. She actually likes trial law and defense law. Go figure. I'll brag…she was a law clerk for a few years. A judge told her that in the several years she worked for him he had never had a case that she handled overturned on appeal. One of the current judges that is a friend of mine said, "If I am ever charged with anything, I want your daughter defending me." I asked her once what she did as a law clerk. She said, "I listen to the case and tell the judge how to rule." LOL!
According to Lombardi, Benedict's speech was "a warning, addressed to Western culture, to avoid 'the contempt for God and the cynicism that considers mockery of the sacred to be an exercise of freedom.'"
That it was.
Those who heaped on about Islam in the exclusive didn't recognize themselves in that speech or didn't read it.
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