It is not news that Republicans exist and thrive on fear, likely because they are perpetually terrified human beings and want all Americans to live as they do wallowing in cowardice. The most pressing Republican fright du jour is the Islamic faith and its adherents, and it is too bad the cowards cannot take a lesson from the Catholic Pope because then perhaps they could control their own fear and dial back their lurch toward Nazism.
Although it was generally ignored in America’s Islamophobic media, news outlets around the world reported that Pope Francis has taken the biggest security risk of his papacy. This Pope, in contrast to Republican-type hateful Christians, chose to make an official visit to a mosque in Bangui, the capital of Central African Republic (CAR). Unlike Republicans, instead of demonstrating abject fright or calling for internment, surveillance, registration, or military action against Muslims, Pope Francis delivered a Jesus Christ-like message of peace and reconciliation in a show of solidarity with other worshippers of the Muslim and Judeo-Christian Abrahamic god.
When the Pope visits anywhere he is surrounded by security, but this trip to a besieged Islamic enclave in a foreign land required extraordinarily heavy UN and Vatican protection. Why? Because like Jesus Christ he represents, Pope Francis traveled in his open “popemobile” right into the heart of PK5, where 15,000 Muslims are completely surrounded by heavily-armed and violent Christian militiamen. Less than a year ago there were about 122,000 Muslims living in the capital, but with bloodthirsty onward Christian soldiers on a crusade, the Muslim population has nearly been virtually vanquished.
The current conflict in CAR is generally regarded as like an Inquisition-era sectarian war between the Christian majority and Muslim minority. Thousands of innocent people have been killed, about 1 million innocent people have been displaced, and their property looted and destroyed in proper Old Testament fashion. Of course there are myriad human rights violations that include extrajudicial killings, disappearances, torture, endemic rape and sexual violence, but because it is not ISIS doing the damage, it is not newsworthy in America.
Obviously, with war-weary Muslims who flocked and cheered to see the Pontiff, including Muslims wearing tee-shirts with the Pontiff’s image, it necessitated no less than 12,000 UN peacekeepers, alongside the Vatican security guards to protect the Pope and his Muslim admirers from the Christian militias. The Pope’s 26-hour visit was the first time he has visited an active war zone and it is prescient that he fearlessly modeled Christ-like behavior the neo-Christian Republican hate group would avoid like plague and flee like terrified animals if put in the same circumstances.
Pope Francis met with the chief imam of the Koudoukou mosque after removing his shoes and bowing towards the holy Muslim city of Mecca. Francis assured several hundred Muslim men inside the mosque that
“Christians and Muslims are brothers and sisters. Together, we must say no to hatred, to revenge and to violence, particularly that violence which is perpetrated in the name of a religion or of God himself. God is peace. Salaam.” The pontiff also said that his visit to CAR “would not be complete if it did not include this encounter with the Muslim community” which earned heartfelt thanks from the mosque’s chief imam, Tidiani Moussa Naibi, who said Francis’ visit was “a symbol which we all understand“.
While celebrating mass on Sunday, the Pope addressed thousands of Muslims and Christians and urged the fighting factions to lay down their weapons and instead do as Jesus Christ preached; “Arm yourselves with justice, love, mercy and authentic peace,” and called on young people to choose a “path of resistance to war, hate and division.” In what could have been a stern rebuke to evangelical Republicans bent on conflict against Muslims, the Pope said that
“To flee from challenges (of peace) is never a solution. Resistance is needed. To have the courage of resistance and of fighting for good. One who escapes doesn’t have the courage to give life. Peace is not a document that is signed and then put up some place. Peace is made each day. Peace is a craft, a handiwork.” In religious Republican circles, peace is an abomination; not only in the Middle East, but in America where they have spent an inordinate amount of time inciting hostility toward American citizens based on their religion simply because it is not Americanized neo-Christianity.
Regardless what one thinks about religion, or about the Vatican in particular, it is impossible to ignore that this Pope is setting an example that American neo-Christians and their Republican facilitators would willingly follow if they were if they were even marginal “followers of Christ.” But they are not and their vicious hatred and hostility towards Muslims, particularly Muslims that are American citizens, puts them nearly on par with non-Christ-like Christian militias in CAR inflicting a siege on a mosque to purge the country of Muslims. Perhaps that is why the main stream media has been relatively silent on the Pope’s courageous visit to a violent war-zone in CAR, and a mosque under siege from Christians.
It is not out of the realm of possibility that the media may not want to give Islamophobic Republicans or their Christian militias any ideas about how Christians in Central Africa deal with Muslims. It is bad enough that Republicans want Muslims surveilled, forced to carry religious identification, or put in internment camps; there is no doubt that learning that onward Christian soldiers in CAR have eliminated the majority of Muslims would incite Republicans to seriously regulate American Muslims and incite America’s Christian militias to do their bidding solely because they are nothing whatsoever like Pope Francis; the man looking more and more like what one imagines a true “follower of Christ” acts like.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.