Skip to main content

What are you talking about??

The New York Times is certainly one of our nation's most-esteemed newspapers.  Although I don't read it on a regular basis, I assume that the men and women who write for the paper try their best to be good reporters:  fair and accurate, neutral and factual.

They got this one wrong.

On Friday, Feb. 4, the paper printed an article about the crisis in Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization which if front-and-center of the calls for reforms there and the ousting of President Mubarak.  The article gives a brief background on the Muslim Brotherhood:

The Muslim Brotherhood’s deep hostility to Israel — which reflects majority public opinion in Egypt — would pose difficulties for American policy. Its conservative views on the rights of women and intolerance of religious minorities are offensive by Western standards. But the group is far from monolithic, and is said to be divided between those who would never accept Israel’s right to exist and those who accepted a two-state solution in which Israel and Palestine exist side by side.



The organization was founded by an Egyptian schoolteacher and imam, Hassan al-Banna, as a grass-roots association whose goal was to promote the reform of Muslim society by a greater adherence to Islam, through preaching, outreach and the provision of social services.


But Mr. Banna did speak of jihad, too, as a struggle against colonialism and Zionism. Quotations from the Brotherhood’s founder have been highlighted in recent years by Western critics who portray the movement as a militant threat.

From what I know of Islamic history and the Brotherhood, this all seems accurate.  While the Brotherhood has often focused on charitable activity and political means to change unfair structures, it remains, at its core an organization of hatred, especially towards Jews.  It is also, at the very least, an organization that works to keep women and religious minorities (like Coptic Christians) out of positions of social and political power.

So what, you might ask?  Why do I care?  (That's a long list, by the way.) However, what struck me most about the article was this little gem, at the beginning of this "in-depth" article:

Its size and diversity, and the legal ban that has kept it from genuine political power in Egypt for decades, make it hard to characterize simply. As the Roman Catholic Church includes both those who practice leftist liberation theology and conservative anti-abortion advocates, so the Brotherhood includes both practical reformers and firebrand ideologues. (emphasis added)

What is this talking about??  Yes, the Church is a big Church, and there are a lot of ding-bats on both ends of the spectrum.  However, we are not a Church founded on principles of keeping certain groups out of power, against Jews, women, minorities or of promoting one type of governmental strucuture over another.  (If you think I'm wrong, show me where.  In Church documents.  Go ahead.  I dare you.)  This is an outrage comparison, both practically and journalistically. 

What are you talking about?  Read the article, and see if you think the Church deserves this back-handed comparison.










Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Trying to "end run" God

If you're a football fan, you know what an end run is. From Merriam-Webster:
a football play in which the ballcarrier attempts to run wide around the end of the line We try to "end run" God a lot. I do. I figure I know better. I've got this - no need to worry the Big Guy about such a trivial thing.

Of course, it never works.

Like the puppy above, when we try and evade the tough obstacle (even though we KNOW we will eventually have to do it), we end up - well, off in the bushes.

But oh! How I wished my way worked. I'd love to take a flying leap and land smoothly and gracefully. People would be in awe, as if watching Simone Biles nail a balance beam routine that no one else would even attempt. I would shyly look down and blush - just lightly - and acknowledge (But humbly! Oh so humbly!) my achievement.

But no: I am the one pulling myself out of the bushes, scratches all over my legs and twigs in my hair. I'd hear that gentle but loving voice of God saying, &quo…

Be Transfigured

From today's readings: 

Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother, John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the and his clothes became white as light.

...we possess the prophetic message that is altogether reliable. You will do well to be attentive to it as to a lamp shining in a dark place until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

Today we celebrate the Transfiguration. For whatever reason, Jesus brought three of His disciples to Mount Tabor to witness this miracle. They weren't sure what they were seeing, but they knew enough to throw themselves to the ground in the presence of Almighty God. St. Peter (who never did anything halfway) excitedly declares that he will erect tents on the mountain as a way of memorializing the event. But Jesus tells him and the others that they are not to tell people what they witnessed - at least not yet.

In the second reading, the requirement to be quiet has bee…

Be Brave

A few years ago, it came to my attention that a young family member was struggling with anxiety and depression. I was able to share with her a bit of my own struggles, and let her know she wasn't alone.

A few weeks after our talk, I saw the movie, "Brave." It struck me that the young protagonist, Merida, modeled a great quality. She was indeed brave.

Being brave is not about recklessness. It is not about confidence. It's not about being foolish, or looking for glory in the eyes of others.

Bravery is about doing what is right, even when you are a quivering mess. It's about knowing that things may not turn out the way you expected, but forging ahead anyway. Being brave is standing by the hospital bed while a loved one is dying, and all you really want to do is turn back time. Bravery is standing up to a bully, when your legs are screaming for you to run. Brave is doing what needs to be done even when you're scared and tired and feeling helpless and hopeless.

I …