Jewish World Review August 5, 2002 / 27 Menachem-Av, 5762

Bill O'Reilly

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Heaven only knows | One of the most catastrophic religious upheavals in history has just happened, and few in the media have even recognized it. Two of the most influential faiths in the world, Roman Catholicism and Islam, have seen their images battered -- perhaps beyond repair in some places.

First, Islam. The telling event here is that faced with a violent faction using the name of Allah to kill civilians, Muslims the world over did little. There were no mass demonstrations against terrorism, no peace vigils and no organized condemnation of the al Qaeda criminals. In fact, many Muslim countries actually condoned the attacks on Sept. 11 or blamed them on "the Jews."

Third World resentment against the United States aside, it would have been inconceivable one year ago to think that psychopathic killers would soon hijack the Islamic religion. But that is exactly what has happened, and the damage done to the image of Islam in the Western world is incalculable.

Likewise, it would have been unthinkable one year ago to consider that Catholicism would be besmirched by clerical perverts. But again, that has happened. The Catholic Church in North America has lost its moral authority because high-ranking cardinals and bishops covered up acts of priest-pedophilia and the Vatican has refused to discipline the guilty parties.

Many Catholics were stunned last week when the Pope visited Canada and declined to meet with some of the victims of clerical abuse. The Vatican said the Pope could not fit the meeting into his schedule. How sad. The Pontiff knew he was coming to North America months ago, and he had to understand the immense damage the church had sustained because of the scandal. But he couldn't find the time to reach out to those that have suffered at the hands of his priests?

Ironically, Pope John Paul built his schedule around a huge "youth rally." One wonders how many of the abused youths are rallying these days.

The Pope is supposed to be the Christian Savior's representative here on earth. Does anyone really believe Jesus would have turned down a meeting with the victims of priest-pedophilia? Based upon Scripture, that scenario is unthinkable.

Although some disagree, I believe organized religion has been a great source of good on this earth. The tenets put forth in the Bible and the Koran urge human beings to charity and love. However, theological passages are easily misinterpreted and distorted, and it is up to the people who actually run the religions to clarify complicated issues and set exemplary spiritual examples. Where are the Imams on terrorism? Where is the Pope on the suffering of abuse victims?

And it is not enough to give lip service to these problems. Until there are massive anti-terrorism demonstrations headed by Islamic clerics, the world is right to be suspect of that religion. And until the Pope dismisses the American clerics who have disgraced the Catholic Church, and until John Paul becomes proactive in protecting children, Catholicism has no credibility in preaching about moral imperatives.

I clearly understand there is a difference between the theology of Islam and Catholicism and the men who run those religions. And G-d knows I am not abandoning my Catholic faith. But I cannot defend Pope John Paul and his minions in Rome. They have failed miserably to right serious wrongs. The same thing can be said for those Muslim leaders who have not taken to the streets in protest of murder in the name of Allah.

Right is right, and wrong is wrong. You can look it up in the Bible or the Koran.

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JWR contributor Bill O'Reilly is host of the Fox News show, "The O'Reilly Factor," and author of the new book, "The No-Spin Zone: Confrontations with the Powerful and Famous in America" Comments by clicking here.


07/29/02: Blood money
07/22/02: Suffer the children
07/15/02: Reaching critical mass
07/08/02: Believe it or not
07/01/02: Charity begins at home
06/24/02: Spinning a tale and the case for "Stupid White Men"
06/17/02: Blank those Europeans!
06/10/02: What does Bono want from us?
06/03/02: On fighting evil
05/28/02: A Tale of Two Churches
05/20/02: Crimes against humanity
05/13/02: Silence of the lambs
05/06/02: Hide the children
04/29/02: 'Paul, Paul, Paul!'
04/22/02: Barbarians in the Church
04/15/02: Pray for peace, polish the weapons
03/11/02: Do no harm? Time to spank "Dr. Phil"
03/04/02: Promoting the general welfare
02/25/02: Who's responsible?
02/19/02: Lay it on them
02/11/02: Buy dope, fund terror
02/04/02: Back room deals
01/28/02: From boom to bust
01/21/02: The Fairness Doctrine
01/14/02: Hey, Paula, take it to the bank and hush up
01/07/02: And justice for none
12/31/01: All that's left
12/24/01: Santa is appalled
12/17/01: Fight the power
12/10/01: The black challenge
12/03/01: How things have changed
11/26/01: Waiting in the Bushes
11/19/01: The sign of the Cross
11/09/01: Hollyweird strikes back
11/06/01: The fear factor
10/26/01: Show me the money
10/22/01: See no evil
10/15/01: Peace, but no quiet
10/08/01: The air war
10/01/01: I don't understand
09/24/01: We are all soldiers, and we have a job to do
09/14/01: Evil on display
09/11/01: Family matters!
09/04/01: End of summer blues
08/27/01: Summertime -- and the livin' ain't easy
08/20/01: The rap on rap
08/13/01: The truth hurts
08/06/01: Amnesty for illegals: Bush's political investment
07/30/01: The big picture on Condit-Levy
07/24/01: Silence of the Shams
07/16/01: Condit, Kennedy and cable news
07/09/01: Heather needs a childhood: The unnecessary loss of innocence
07/02/01: What would have happened if Steven Spielberg had recut "Schindler's List" for German audiences so they wouldn't be confronted with "emotional issues"?
06/25/01: Freak dancing
06/18/01: Work or die
06/11/01: Soundbite nation
06/04/01: Paying through the nose
05/29/01: Graduation Day 2001
05/21/01: Accepting the unacceptable
05/14/01: The Clinton legacy
05/07/01: Kerrey's ordeal
04/27/01: Is the party over?
04/20/01: Racism in public education
04/16/01: The fleecing of America
04/10/01: People who need perspective
04/03/01: Dubya's bottom line --- and ours
03/27/01: Don't tell, don't ask
03/20/01: Greenspan with envy
03/13/01: Clinton and Jackson
03/07/01: All that's left in America
02/27/01: The Letterman experience
02/20/01: Bread and circuses
02/06/01: How the Clintons do it
01/30/01: The Bush dilemma
01/24/01: I have been investigating Jackson's finances for the past two years
01/17/01: Sifting Ashcroft's record

© 2001 Creators Syndicate