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The pope, the president and politics of faith

Original post made by samuel, Stanford, on Jun 16, 2008

Acting on faith in politics means exactly what it does in personal life: to do what is right even when it is dangerous to do so, when received opinion howls against it, and when the ultimate consequence of such actions cannot be foreseen.
After Pope Benedict XVI showed unprecedented courtesy to visiting American President George W Bush last week, much has been written about the Christian faith that binds the pope and the president. Web Link
A religious leader must say, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," while a head of state must follow the maxim, "Do unto others before they do unto you."
What divides the president and the pope is not so much their conflicting positions, but rather a difference in the existential vantage point from which each must respond to the great events of the world.

Muslims are in dialogue with a pope who evidently does not merely want to exchange pleasantries about coexistence, but to convert them.
This no doubt will offend Muslim sensibilities, but Muslim leaders are well-advised to remain on good terms with Benedict XVI.
Worse things await them.
There are 100 million new Chinese Christians, and some of them speak of marching to Jerusalem - from the East. A website entitled Back to Jerusalem proclaims, "From the Great Wall of China through Central Asia along the silk roads, the Chinese house churches are called to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ all the way back to Jerusalem."

Islam is in danger for the first time since its founding. The evangelical Christianity to which George W Bush adheres and the emerging Asian church are competitors with whom it never had to reckon in the past.

Comments (5)

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Posted by julie
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 16, 2008 at 12:17 pm

This Pope, and this President know that war is a terrible thing, but it is not the most terrible thing, and sometimes it is the only thing that works.

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Posted by steve
a resident of Ohlone School
on Jun 16, 2008 at 12:30 pm

If terrorists get nuclear weapons then the nonproliferation regime will collapse completely and universally.
No country will be able to tolerate the idea that a deranged individual can destroy its capital.
Therefore if nonproliferation collapses everyone will arm, or make such arrangements as to ensure it can effectively, unilaterally and subsidiarily retaliate.
Can radical Islam or other extremisms exist in such a world? That's a big question.

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Posted by ng
a resident of Hoover School
on Jun 16, 2008 at 12:36 pm

The optimal situation would be the preservation of nonproliferation -- what Barack Obama calls "a world without nuclear weapons".

Unfortunately a nonproliferation regime in practice means a nuclear monopoly by a select few and the disarmament of the rest.

Think about it.
The two models of law and order are either to concentrate force in the police and disarm everyone else; or allow a universally armed society like the Wild West where the peace is preserved because because even granny's packing.

Barack Obama's idea is that creating a world without nuclear weapons should begin with an American disarmament, which is a little bit like arguing that a neighborhood without guns starts with the police disarming themselves. Ha, ha ha.

So what Barack Obama's policy will probably result in is an acceleration of the collapse in nonproliferation which is already under way.
AQ Khan did his damage a long time ago.

So through technological diffusion and policy idiocy, the odds are that nonproliferation will collapse sooner or later.
Then what will we have then?
I claim that once nonproliferation implodes everyone will want to get a nuke and won't be shy about using it.

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Posted by jd
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 16, 2008 at 12:44 pm

The clot thickens---

A draft report released by a former U.N. weapons inspector found that the international smuggling ring that supplied nuclear designs to Iran, Libya, and North Korea also obtained the blueprints for an advanced nuclear warhead, The Washington Post reported Sunday.

David Albright, a well-known nuclear weapons expert, said that designs for a nuclear device small enough to fit on a ballistic missile were found on computers belonging to the now-defunct smuggling ring of rogue Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan.

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Posted by Mike
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 17, 2008 at 1:15 pm

Pope Benedict has reaffirmed the supremacy of the Catholic church over competing Christian sects. They have not toed his line so far, and they probably won't. Christians will be too busy fighting each other to care about Muslims or anybody else.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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