dignity - the state or quality of being worthy of honor or respect
Dignity is one of the first explorations of what I have come to refer to as ‘hybrid’ art forms. Hybrid in this instance can be understood as an intersection of the virtual and material to create a unique variation on a theme. The immediacy and impermanence of these objects are directly related to the creation of mandalas.
When creating the piece I was working with three elements to visually express the idea of dignity. The visual component is based on an iris and more specifically a purple bearded iris, which is my favorite flower. The structure is a figure encased in an ever revolving cage; a restlessness of ever evolving but ultimately unchanging oppression.
It seems to me that the core of dignity is actually anger at injustice, whether that be on a personal, community or global level. There is an old teaching that says anger is like picking up a hot coal to hurl at someone else knowing full well the only person who will feel pain is yourself. When looking at an iris one day it occurred to me that this rage when not denied but observed and softened becomes a strength instead of a weakness, like the beard of the iris that glows golden in the sunlight. Transforming rage into dignity is the ultimate form of self-respect.
The music composed for this piece was written in June of 2017.
This essay originally appeared on the Unfiltered News Network (UNN) -2006
Should we really be surprised that the so-called 'leader of the free world' cannot define the word dignity? Is it truly an affront to our 'future-shocked' sensibilities that our ruling class is no longer willing to embrace the spirit of human dignity?
In the blur of delusion that saturates and defines our lives it is difficult if not impossible to separate and catalog the forces that have brought us to this cultural sociopathy. There have been, however, a few signposts worth mentioning.
Ironically, the first is a group called "Dignity", a collective of Catholic gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered persons. Dignity was evicted with great elation from all Catholic properties just as AIDS was sweeping through the gay community. This expulsion began after the October 1986 "Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons", which defined homosexuality as "an objective disorder" and "an intrinsic moral evil".
"Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder. Therefore special concern and pastoral attention should be directed toward those who have this condition, lest they be led to believe that the living out of this orientation in homosexual activity is a morally acceptable option. It is not."
The Holy See
CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH
LETTER TO THE BISHOPS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
ON THE PASTORAL CARE OF HOMOSEXUAL PERSONS
1. The issue of homosexuality and the moral evaluation of homosexual acts have increasingly become a matter of public debate, even in Catholic circles. Since this debate often advances arguments and makes assertions inconsistent with the teaching of the Catholic Church, it is quite rightly a cause for concern to all engaged in the pastoral ministry, and this Congregation has judged it to be of sufficiently grave and widespread importance to address to the Bishops of the Catholic Church this Letter on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons.
2. Naturally, an exhaustive treatment of this complex issue cannot be attempted here, but we will focus our reflection within the distinctive context of the Catholic moral perspective. It is a perspective which finds support in the more secure findings of the natural sciences, which have their own legitimate and proper methodology and field of inquiry.
However, the Catholic moral viewpoint is founded on human reason illumined by faith and is consciously motivated by the desire to do the will of God our Father. The Church is thus in a position to learn from scientific discovery but also to transcend the horizons of science and to be confident that her more global vision does greater justice to the rich reality of the human person in his spiritual and physical dimensions, created by God and heir, by grace, to eternal life.
It is within this context, then, that it can be clearly seen that the phenomenon of homosexuality, complex as it is, and with its many consequences for society and ecclesial life, is a proper focus for the Church's pastoral care. It thus requires of her ministers attentive study, active concern and honest, theologically well-balanced counsel.
3. Explicit treatment of the problem was given in this Congregation's "Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics" of December 29, 1975. That document stressed the duty of trying to understand the homosexual condition and noted that culpability for homosexual acts should only be judged with prudence. At the same time the Congregation took note of the distinction commonly drawn between the homosexual condition or tendency and individual homosexual actions. These were described as deprived of their essential and indispensable finality, as being "intrinsically disordered", and able in no case to be approved of (cf. n. 8, $4).
In the discussion which followed the publication of the Declaration, however, an overly benign interpretation was given to the homosexual condition itself, some going so far as to call it neutral, or even good. Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.
Therefore special concern and pastoral attention should be directed toward those who have this condition, lest they be led to believe that the living out of this orientation in homosexual activity is a morally acceptable option. It is not.
4. An essential dimension of authentic pastoral care is the identification of causes of confusion regarding the Church's teaching. One is a new exegesis of Sacred Scripture which claims variously that Scripture has nothing to say on the subject of homosexuality, or that it somehow tacitly approves of it, or that all of its moral injunctions are so culture-bound that they are no longer applicable to contemporary life. These views are gravely erroneous and call for particular attention here.
5. It is quite true that the Biblical literature owes to the different epochs in which it was written a good deal of its varied patterns of thought and expression (Dei Verbum 12). The Church today addresses the Gospel to a world which differs in many ways from ancient days. But the world in which the New Testament was written was already quite diverse from the situation in which the Sacred Scriptures of the Hebrew People had been written or compiled, for example.
What should be noticed is that, in the presence of such remarkable diversity, there is nevertheless a clear consistency within the Scriptures themselves on the moral issue of homosexual behaviour. The Church's doctrine regarding this issue is thus based, not on isolated phrases for facile theological argument, but on the solid foundation of a constant Biblical testimony. The community of faith today, in unbroken continuity with the Jewish and Christian communities within which the ancient Scriptures were written, continues to be nourished by those same Scriptures and by the Spirit of Truth whose Word they are. It is likewise essential to recognize that the Scriptures are not properly understood when they are interpreted in a way which contradicts the Church's living Tradition. To be correct, the interpretation of Scripture must be in substantial accord with that Tradition.
The Vatican Council II in Dei Verbum 10, put it this way: "It is clear, therefore, that in the supremely wise arrangement of God, sacred Tradition, sacred Scripture, and the Magisterium of the Church are so connected and associated that one of them cannot stand without the others. Working together, each in its own way under the action of the one Holy Spirit, they all contribute effectively to the salvation of souls". In that spirit we wish to outline briefly the Biblical teaching here.
6. Providing a basic plan for understanding this entire discussion of homosexuality is the theology of creation we find in Genesis. God, in his infinite wisdom and love, brings into existence all of reality as a reflection of his goodness. He fashions mankind, male and female, in his own image and likeness. Human beings, therefore, are nothing less than the work of God himself; and in the complementarity of the sexes, they are called to reflect the inner unity of the Creator. They do this in a striking way in their cooperation with him in the transmission of life by a mutual donation of the self to the other.
In Genesis 3, we find that this truth about persons being an image of God has been obscured by original sin. There inevitably follows a loss of awareness of the covenantal character of the union these persons had with God and with each other. The human body retains its "spousal significance" but this is now clouded by sin. Thus, in Genesis 19:1-11, the deterioration due to sin continues in the story of the men of Sodom. There can be no doubt of the moral judgement made there against homosexual relations. In Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, in the course of describing the conditions necessary for belonging to the Chosen People, the author excludes from the People of God those who behave in a homosexual fashion.
Against the background of this exposition of theocratic law, an eschatological perspective is developed by St. Paul when, in I Cor 6:9, he proposes the same doctrine and lists those who behave in a homosexual fashion among those who shall not enter the Kingdom of God.
In Romans 1:18-32, still building on the moral traditions of his forebears, but in the new context of the confrontation between Christianity and the pagan society of his day, Paul uses homosexual behaviour as an example of the blindness which has overcome humankind. Instead of the original harmony between Creator and creatures, the acute distortion of idolatry has led to all kinds of moral excess. Paul is at a loss to find a clearer example of this disharmony than homosexual relations. Finally, 1 Tim. 1, in full continuity with the Biblical position, singles out those who spread wrong doctrine and in v. 10 explicitly names as sinners those who engage in homosexual acts.
7. The Church, obedient to the Lord who founded her and gave to her the sacramental life, celebrates the divine plan of the loving and live-giving union of men and women in the sacrament of marriage. It is only in the marital relationship that the use of the sexual faculty can be morally good. A person engaging in homosexual behaviour therefore acts immorally.
To chose someone of the same sex for one's sexual activity is to annul the rich symbolism and meaning, not to mention the goals, of the Creator's sexual design. Homosexual activity is not a complementary union, able to transmit life; and so it thwarts the call to a life of that form of self-giving which the Gospel says is the essence of Christian living. This does not mean that homosexual persons are not often generous and giving of themselves; but when they engage in homosexual activity they confirm within themselves a disordered sexual inclination which is essentially self-indulgent.
As in every moral disorder, homosexual activity prevents one's own fulfillment and happiness by acting contrary to the creative wisdom of God. The Church, in rejecting erroneous opinions regarding homosexuality, does not limit but rather defends personal freedom and dignity realistically and authentically understood.
8. Thus, the Church's teaching today is in organic continuity with the Scriptural perspective and with her own constant Tradition. Though today's world is in many ways quite new, the Christian community senses the profound and lasting bonds which join us to those generations who have gone before us, "marked with the sign of faith".
Nevertheless, increasing numbers of people today, even within the Church, are bringing enormous pressure to bear on the Church to accept the homosexual condition as though it were not disordered and to condone homosexual activity. Those within the Church who argue in this fashion often have close ties with those with similar views outside it. These latter groups are guided by a vision opposed to the truth about the human person, which is fully disclosed in the mystery of Christ. They reflect, even if not entirely consciously, a materialistic ideology which denies the transcendent nature of the human person as well as the supernatural vocation of every individual.
The Church's ministers must ensure that homosexual persons in their care will not be misled by this point of view, so profoundly opposed to the teaching of the Church. But the risk is great and there are many who seek to create confusion regarding the Church's position, and then to use that confusion to their own advantage.
9. The movement within the Church, which takes the form of pressure groups of various names and sizes, attempts to give the impression that it represents all homosexual persons who are Catholics. As a matter of fact, its membership is by and large restricted to those who either ignore the teaching of the Church or seek somehow to undermine it. It brings together under the aegis of Catholicism homosexual persons who have no intention of abandoning their homosexual behaviour. One tactic used is to protest that any and all criticism of or reservations about homosexual people, their activity and lifestyle, are simply diverse forms of unjust discrimination.
There is an effort in some countries to manipulate the Church by gaining the often well-intentioned support of her pastors with a view to changing civil-statutes and laws. This is done in order to conform to these pressure groups' concept that homosexuality is at least a completely harmless, if not an entirely good, thing. Even when the practice of homosexuality may seriously threaten the lives and well-being of a large number of people, its advocates remain undeterred and refuse to consider the magnitude of the risks involved.
The Church can never be so callous. It is true that her clear position cannot be revised by pressure from civil legislation or the trend of the moment. But she is really concerned about the many who are not represented by the pro-homosexual movement and about those who may have been tempted to believe its deceitful propaganda. She is also aware that the view that homosexual activity is equivalent to, or as acceptable as, the sexual expression of conjugal love has a direct impact on society's understanding of the nature and rights of the family and puts them in jeopardy.
10. It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church's pastors wherever it occurs. It reveals a kind of disregard for others which endangers the most fundamental principles of a healthy society. The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law.
But the proper reaction to crimes committed against homosexual persons should not be to claim that the homosexual condition is not disordered. When such a claim is made and when homosexual activity is consequently condoned, or when civil legislation is introduced to protect behavior to which no one has any conceivable right, neither the Church nor society at large should be surprised when other distorted notions and practices gain ground, and irrational and violent reactions increase.
11. It has been argued that the homosexual orientation in certain cases is not the result of deliberate choice; and so the homosexual person would then have no choice but to behave in a homosexual fashion. Lacking freedom, such a person, even if engaged in homosexual activity, would not be culpable.
Here, the Church's wise moral tradition is necessary since it warns against generalizations in judging individual cases. In fact, circumstances may exist, or may have existed in the past, which would reduce or remove the culpability of the individual in a given instance; or other circumstances may increase it. What is at all costs to be avoided is the unfounded and demeaning assumption that the sexual behaviour of homosexual persons is always and totally compulsive and therefore inculpable. What is essential is that the fundamental liberty which characterizes the human person and gives him his dignity be recognized as belonging to the homosexual person as well. As in every conversion from evil, the abandonment of homosexual activity will require a profound collaboration of the individual with God's liberating grace.
12. What, then, are homosexual persons to do who seek to follow the Lord? Fundamentally, they are called to enact the will of God in their life by joining whatever sufferings and difficulties they experience in virtue of their condition to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross. That Cross, for the believer, is a fruitful sacrifice since from that death come life and redemption. While any call to carry the cross or to understand a Christian's suffering in this way will predictably be met with bitter ridicule by some, it should be remembered that this is the way to eternal life for all who follow Christ.
It is, in effect, none other than the teaching of Paul the Apostle to the Galatians when he says that the Spirit produces in the lives of the faithful "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control" (5:22) and further (v. 24), "You cannot belong to Christ unless you crucify all self-indulgent passions and desires."
It is easily misunderstood, however, if it is merely seen as a pointless effort at self-denial. The Cross is a denial of self, but in service to the will of God himself who makes life come from death and empowers those who trust in him to practise virtue in place of vice.
To celebrate the Paschal Mystery, it is necessary to let that Mystery become imprinted in the fabric of daily life. To refuse to sacrifice one's own will in obedience to the will of the Lord is effectively to prevent salvation. Just as the Cross was central to the expression of God's redemptive love for us in Jesus, so the conformity of the self-denial of homosexual men and women with the sacrifice of the Lord will constitute for them a source of self-giving which will save them from a way of life which constantly threatens to destroy them.
Christians who are homosexual are called, as all of us are, to a chaste life. As they dedicate their lives to understanding the nature of God's personal call to them, they will be able to celebrate the Sacrament of Penance more faithfully and receive the Lord's grace so freely offered there in order to convert their lives more fully to his Way.
13. We recognize, of course, that in great measure the clear and successful communication of the Church's teaching to all the faithful, and to society at large, depends on the correct instruction and fidelity of her pastoral ministers. The Bishops have the particularly grave responsibility to see to it that their assistants in the ministry, above all the priests, are rightly informed and personally disposed to bring the teaching of the Church in its integrity to everyone.
The characteristic concern and good will exhibited by many clergy and religious in their pastoral care for homosexual persons is admirable, and, we hope, will not diminish. Such devoted ministers should have the confidence that they are faithfully following the will of the Lord by encouraging the homosexual person to lead a chaste life and by affirming that person's God-given dignity and worth.
14. With this in mind, this Congregation wishes to ask the Bishops to be especially cautious of any programmes which may seek to pressure the Church to change her teaching, even while claiming not to do so. A careful examination of their public statements and the activities they promote reveals a studied ambiguity by which they attempt to mislead the pastors and the faithful. For example, they may present the teaching of the Magisterium, but only as if it were an optional source for the formation of one's conscience. Its specific authority is not recognized. Some of these groups will use the word "Catholic" to describe either the organization or its intended members, yet they do not defend and promote the teaching of the Magisterium; indeed, they even openly attack it. While their members may claim a desire to conform their lives to the teaching of Jesus, in fact they abandon the teaching of his Church. This contradictory action should not have the support of the Bishops in any way.
15. We encourage the Bishops, then, to provide pastoral care in full accord with the teaching of the Church for homosexual persons of their dioceses. No authentic pastoral programme will include organizations in which homosexual persons associate with each other without clearly stating that homosexual activity is immoral. A truly pastoral approach will appreciate the need for homosexual persons to avoid the near occasions of sin.
We would heartily encourage programmes where these dangers are avoided. But we wish to make it clear that departure from the Church's teaching, or silence about it, in an effort to provide pastoral care is neither caring nor pastoral. Only what is true can ultimately be pastoral. The neglect of the Church's position prevents homosexual men and women from receiving the care they need and deserve.
An authentic pastoral programme will assist homosexual persons at all levels of the spiritual life: through the sacraments, and in particular through the frequent and sincere use of the sacrament of Reconciliation, through prayer, witness, counsel and individual care. In such a way, the entire Christian community can come to recognize its own call to assist its brothers and sisters, without deluding them or isolating them.
16. From this multi-faceted approach there are numerous advantages to be gained, not the least of which is the realization that a homosexual person, as every human being, deeply needs to be nourished at many different levels simultaneously.
The human person, made in the image and likeness of God, can hardly be adequately described by a reductionist reference to his or her sexual orientation. Every one living on the face of the earth has personal problems and difficulties, but challenges to growth, strengths, talents and gifts as well. Today, the Church provides a badly needed context for the care of the human person when she refuses to consider the person as a "heterosexual" or a "homosexual" and insists that every person has a fundamental Identity: the creature of God, and by grace, his child and heir to eternal life.
17. In bringing this entire matter to the Bishops' attention, this Congregation wishes to support their efforts to assure that the teaching of the Lord and his Church on this important question be communicated fully to all the faithful.
In light of the points made above, they should decide for their own dioceses the extent to which an intervention on their part is indicated. In addition, should they consider it helpful, further coordinated action at the level of their National Bishops' Conference may be envisioned.
In a particular way, we would ask the Bishops to support, with the means at their disposal, the development of appropriate forms of pastoral care for homosexual persons. These would include the assistance of the psychological, sociological and medical sciences, in full accord with the teaching of the Church.
They are encouraged to call on the assistance of all Catholic theologians who, by teaching what the Church teaches, and by deepening their reflections on the true meaning of human sexuality and Christian marriage with the virtues it engenders, will make an important contribution in this particular area of pastoral care.
The Bishops are asked to exercise special care in the selection of pastoral ministers so that by their own high degree of spiritual and personal maturity and by their fidelity to the Magisterium, they may be of real service to homosexual persons, promoting their health and well-being in the fullest sense. Such ministers will reject theological opinions which dissent from the teaching of the Church and which, therefore, cannot be used as guidelines for pastoral care.
We encourage the Bishops to promote appropriate catechetical programmes based on the truth about human sexuality in its relationship to the family as taught by the Church. Such programmes should provide a good context within which to deal with the question of homosexuality.
This catechesis would also assist those families of homosexual persons to deal with this problem which affects them so deeply.
All support should be withdrawn from any organizations which seek to undermine the teaching of the Church, which are ambiguous about it, or which neglect it entirely. Such support, or even the semblance of such support, can be gravely misinterpreted. Special attention should be given to the practice of scheduling religious services and to the use of Church buildings by these groups, including the facilities of Catholic schools and colleges. To some, such permission to use Church property may seem only just and charitable; but in reality it is contradictory to the purpose for which these institutions were founded, it is misleading and often scandalous.
In assessing proposed legislation, the Bishops should keep as their uppermost concern the responsibility to defend and promote family life.
18. The Lord Jesus promised, "You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free" (Jn. 8:32). Scripture bids us speak the truth in love (cf. Eph. 4:15). The God who is at once truth and love calls the Church to minister to every man, woman and child with the pastoral solicitude of our compassionate Lord. It is in this spirit that we have addressed this Letter to the Bishops of the Church, with the hope that it will be of some help as they care for those whose suffering can only be intensified by error and lightened by truth.
(During an audience granted to the undersigned Prefect, His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, approved this Letter, adopted in an ordinary session of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and ordered it to be published.)
Given at Rome, 1 October 1986.
JOSEPH CARDINAL RATZINGER
Titular Archbishop of Caesarea in Numidia
Now, it should be understood that in the United States this document was in no way considered cutting-edge, but rather, a validation of the hate speech coming from the Baptist churches since the 1970's. The effects of this were devastating and created a defined 'second class' of people on whom was heaped a multitude of sins; a modern scapegoat. Politics and popular culture jumped on the band wagon and the dignity of the second class was removed from the mind of the public at large.
The following years saw a wave of hatred and violence in such stunning examples as Pat Robertson's speech at the 1992 GOP Convention:
"The agenda Clinton & Clinton would impose on America — abortion on demand, a litmus test for the Supreme Court, homosexual rights, discrimination against religious schools, women in combat — that's change, all right. But it is not the kind of change America wants. It is not the kind of change America needs. And it is not the kind of change we can tolerate in a nation that we still call God's country."
In that same year "the Disposable Heroes of Hip-Hoprisy record "Language of Violence," the first anti-gay-bashing rap." This would be the first of many anti-gay videos promoting violence against gay men from men like Eminem, Tupac and many others. Arguments on the validity and influence of these men aside, there is one vital aspect of this that remains stark:
GLBT persons, and gay men in particular,
are not only UNworthy of honor and respect,
but also DESERVING OF VIOLENCE.
Which, of course, is what happened with horrendous acts of torture and murder that are still occurring today, not just in America but all over the world.
This is extremely important in understanding how we, as a people, came to accept and even celebrate the torture and murder of other human beings. Because of these influences in the mind of our society at large we now are desensitized to human suffering the point that the definition of dignity must be stratified to fit to our new world-view.
.. and I've seen it before
.. and I'll see it again
.. yes I've seen it before
.. just little bits of history repeating
And that brings us to the raising of the tin-god by way of the ritual human sacrifice that was 9/11.
Since that time we have heard, again, from the Baptist Churches the siren call - the same call we heard against homosexuals in the 1970's - only now against those with brown skin. They might be Muslim or they might be Mexican, it really does not matter. What matters is that they are 'evil' and threaten our 'way of life'. Further down the road paved by accepted violence toward the second class comes the unbearable truth that is Abu Ghraib. Shocked, but not moved to any real action, life goes on and the rhetoric and hate continues to escalate.
And like a snake eating its own tail history has come round again:
"The pope began his lecture at the University of Regensburg by quoting from a 14th century dialogue between the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologos and a Persian scholar... "Show me just what Muhammad 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," Benedict quoted the emperor as saying.
Fury among Muslims over pope's remarks -- apology demanded
Anthony Shadid, Washington Post
4200 am PDT, Saturday, September 16, 2006
2006-09-16 04>00>00 PDT Beirut -- A medieval reference in an academic lecture by Pope Benedict XVI unleashed a wave of denunciations, outrage and frustration across the Muslim world Friday, with officials in Turkey and Pakistan condemning the pontiff, Islamic activist groups organizing protests and a leading religious figure in Lebanon demanding that he personally apologize.
The reaction to Tuesday's speech in Germany was a reminder of the precarious, suspicious state of affairs between a West that often views Islam as a faith in need of reform and a Muslim world that feels besieged in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks. Some of the criticism evoked the Crusades; others accused the Vatican of joining a Western-led war on Islam.
"We ask him to offer a personal apology -- not through his officials -- to Muslims for this false reading" of Islam, said Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, one of the world's leading Shiite Muslim clerics, who lives in Beirut.
The pope began his lecture at the University of Regensburg by quoting from a 14th century dialogue between the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologos and a Persian scholar. In a passage on the concept of holy war, Benedict
recited a passage of what he called "startling brusqueness," in which Manuel questioned the teachings of Islam's prophet, Muhammad.
"Show me just what Muhammad 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," Benedict quoted the emperor as saying.
The pope neither explicitly endorsed nor denounced the emperor's words, but rather used them as a preface to a discussion of faith and reason. The Vatican said the pope did not intend the remarks to be offensive to Muslims.
"It was certainly not the intention of the Holy Father to undertake a comprehensive study of the jihad and of Muslim ideas on the subject, still less to offend the sensibilities of Muslim faithful," Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi told Vatican Radio.
But the reaction was quick, bringing to mind the storm of protests, sometimes deadly, that erupted in most Muslim countries after a Danish newspaper published a series of cartoons a year ago that lampooned Muhammad. In some ways, the denunciations of the pope seemed even more pronounced, given his stature and authority over the world's 1 billion Roman Catholics.
Pakistan's parliament adopted a resolution Friday condemning the pope for what it called derogatory comments and seeking an apology.
In Turkey, which Benedict plans to visit in November in his first trip as pope to a Muslim country, the deputy leader of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Islamic-inspired party called Benedict's remarks the result of ignorance or a provocation.
"He has a dark mentality that comes from the darkness of the Middle Ages. He is a poor thing that has not benefited from the spirit of reform in the Christian world," Salih Kapusuz told state media. "It looks like an effort to revive the mentality of the Crusades. He is going down in history in the same category as leaders such as Hitler and Mussolini."
Even the country's secularist opposition party demanded that the pope apologize before his visit to Turkey, which has long been one of the least ostensibly religious of Muslim countries. News agencies reported that about 50 people placed a black wreath outside the Vatican's diplomatic mission in the capital, Ankara.
The criticism of the pope's remarks was often twofold: at the reference of the prophet Muhammad's legacy as "evil and inhuman," and at the idea that Islam was spread by the sword. Much of the conversion that followed the prophet's life in the seventh century was a gradual, centuries-long process that left a remarkable degree of diversity -- albeit faded -- in parts of the Muslim world.
This is startlingly close to the previously mentioned document from the Vatican denouncing homosexuals as 'intrinsically evil' and as before comes after years of open hostility from the religious right. The similarity doesn't end there. You may have noticed the author of the document, "Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons", as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. You may also know him by his current title, Pope Benedict XVI.
So that brings us up to date. Although this is an abbreviated view of recent history I hope an illuminating one in regards to our current state of delusion in regards to respect for human life. So knowing this I ask again, "Should we really be surprised that the so-called 'leader of the free world' cannot define the word dignity?"
"This debate is occurring because of the Supreme Court's ruling that said that we must conduct ourselves under the Common Article 3 of the Geneva Convention. And that Common Article 3 says that, you know, There will be no outrages upon human dignity. It's like - it's very vague. What does that mean, outrages upon human dignity ? That's a statement that is wide open to interpretation."
- President Bush Pushes Torture Rules and Tribunals Plan
- Sep 15, 2006 6:10 PM EDT
- President Bush held a press conference Friday, which included a pitch for new detainee rules much tougher than several key Senate Republicans are willing to support.
- JIM LEHRER:
- The president's pitch for new detainee rules. He wants them to be tougher than several key Senate Republicans are willing to support. He spoke about the legislation he wants during a one-hour news conference this morning in the White House Rose Garden.
- GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States: We need the legislation because the Supreme Court recently ruled that military commissions must be explicitly authorized by Congress, so we're working with Congress.
- The Supreme Court said, "You must work with Congress." We are working with Congress to get a good piece of legislation out.
- The bill I have proposed will ensure that suspected terrorists will receive full and fair trials without revealing to them our nation's sensitive intelligence secrets. As soon as Congress acts on this bill, the men our intelligence agencies believed helped orchestrate the 9/11 attacks can face justice.
- What do you say to the argument that your proposal is basically seeking support for torture, coerced evidence, and secret hearings?
- GEORGE W. BUSH:
- This debate is occurring because of the Supreme Court's ruling that said that we must conduct ourselves under the Common Article 3 of the Geneva Convention. And that Common Article 3 says that, you know, there will be no outrages upon human dignity.
- It's like — it's very vague. What does that mean, "outrages upon human dignity"? That's a statement that is wide open to interpretation. And what I'm proposing is that there be clarity in the law so that our professionals will have no doubt that that which they're doing is legal. You know, it's a — and so the piece of legislation I sent up there provides our professionals that which is needed to go forward.
- The first question that we've got to ask is: Do we need the program? I believe we do need the program. And I detailed in a speech in the East Room what the program has yielded, in other words, the kind of information we get when we interrogate people within the law.
- You see, sometimes you can pick up information on the battlefield. Sometimes you can pick it up, you know, through letters, but sometimes you actually have to question the people who know the strategy and plans of the enemy.
- And in this case, we questioned people like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who we believe ordered the attacks on 9/11, or Ramzi Binalshibh or Abu Zubaydah, cold-blooded killers who were part of planning the attack that killed 3,000 people. And we need to be able to question them, because it helps yield information, information necessary for us to be able to do our job.
- Now, the court said that you've got to live under Article 3 of the Geneva Convention, and the standards are so vague that our professionals won't be able to carry forward the program, because they don't want to be tried as war criminals. They don't want to break the law.
- These are decent, honorable citizens who are on the front line of protecting the American people, and they expect our government to give them clarity about what is right and what is wrong in the law. And that's what we have asked to do.
- Now, this idea that somehow, you know, we've got to live under international treaties, you know — and that's fine. We do. But oftentimes the United States government passes law to clarify obligations under international treaty. And what I'm concerned about is, if we don't do that, that it's very conceivable our professionals could be held to account based upon court decisions in other countries. And I don't believe Americans want that.
- And the bottom line is simple: If Congress passes a law that does not clarify the rules, if they do not do that, the program's not going forward. Now, perhaps some in Congress don't think the program is important. That's fine; I don't know if they do or don't.
- I think it's vital, and I have the obligation to make sure that our professionals, who I would ask to go conduct interrogations to find out what might be happening or who might be coming to this country — I've got to give them the tools they need, and that is clear law.
The observant among us will realize that the legislation he is pounding the table for is only a ruse to prevent a vast number of Americans from facing war crimes tribunals. But for the public at large it is just another step on the road to holocaust.