Tom Hoopes is Vice President of College Relations and writer in residence at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. He has written for the Register for more than 20 years and was its executive editor for 10. His writing has appeared in First Things’ First Thoughts, National Review Online, Crisis, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside Catholic and Columbia. He has served as press secretary for the Chairman of the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee. He and his wife, April, were editorial co-directors of Faith & Family magazine for 5 years. They have nine children.
Obama told his Muslim audience: “[W]e must say openly to each other the things we hold in our hearts and that too often are said only behind closed doors.”
Hmmm … here are three things he didn’t seem to want to say openly in Cairo:
He didn’t praise doubt, or promote LGBT, or read the Koran’s other verses.
1. He didn’t praise doubt.
Specifically, he didn’t say this (I’ve added changes to his Notre Dame speech in boldface):
“But remember too that the ultimate irony of faith in Islam is that it necessarily admits doubt in Mohammed the prophet, peace be on him (or maybe not?). It is the belief in things not seen. It is beyond our capacity as human beings to know with certainty what God has planned for us or what He asks of us through the prophet Mohammed, peace be on him (or maybe not?), and those of us who believe must trust that His wisdom is greater than our own.
This doubt should not push Muslims away from their faith. But it should humble Muslims. It should temper Muslims’ passions, and cause Muslims to be wary of self-righteousness. It should compel Muslims to remain open, and curious, and eager to continue the moral and spiritual debate that began for so many of you within the walls of Al-Azhar. And within our vast Western-dominated world, this doubt in Islam should remind us to persuade through reason, through an appeal whenever we can to universal rather than parochial principles ...”
2. He didn’t promote LGBT—“Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender”—lifestyles.
Specifically, he didn’t say this (I’ve added changes to his June LGBT proclamation in boldface):
“In Muslim communities, I continue to support measures to bring the full spectrum of equal rights to LGBT Muslims. These measures include enhancing hate crimes laws in opposition to Sharia, supporting civil unions and Middle Eastern rights for LGBT Muslim couples, outlawing discrimination in the Arab workplace, ensuring adoption rights of Muslim babies by transgendered parents, and ending the existing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy for American military prison guards in the Muslim countries where we have operations. …
“These issues affect not only the LGBT community, but also Muslim communities. As long as the promise of equality for all remains unfulfilled, all Muslims are affected. … During LGBT Pride Month, I call upon Muslim communities and the LGBT community to work together to promote equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.”
3. He didn’t read the scarier verses in the Koran.
In reference to 9/11, Obama said “The Holy Koran teaches that whoever kills an innocent is as — it is as if he has killed all mankind. And the Holy Koran also says whoever saves a person, it is as if he has saved all mankind.”
But another verse in the Koran says:
“The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion. Or the cutting off the hands and feet from opposite sides. Or exile from the land: That is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter.”
Now, I’m well aware that our own Psalm 18 includes these verses:
God “trained my hands for war, my arms to bend even a bow of bronze. ...
I pursued my enemies and overtook them; I did not turn back till I destroyed them.
I struck them down; they could not rise; they fell dead at my feet.
You girded me with strength for war, subdued adversaries at my feet.
My foes you put to flight before me; those who hated me I destroyed.
They cried for help, but no one saved them; cried to the LORD but got no answer.”
There’s a certain way to understand that and not to understand it. That is no doubt true of the Koran, also.
But, then, if someone cited the Psalms as proof that the Old Testament opposed violence, that would be silly, too.