After Mass this Sunday, one of my parishioners came up to me and revealed that she was quite upset by my homily. She said that she felt that I was "preaching hatred and divisiveness". I said that I was sorry she felt that way, and that I said nothing about hating anyone.
She said, "but you can't say things like that!".
"Like what?" I asked.
"You can't lump all Muslims together like that," she said. "They don't all support forcible conversion."
"I'm sure they don't", I replied. "But it is a matter of fact that the Islamic religion teaches that conversion at swordpoint is OK. It's in the Koran. It happened to those journalists just a few weeks ago. And the holy father's point was that Islam has a problem with committing violence in the name of God."
"Well, yes, and I don't support that", she said. "But that's where they're at. [I was puzzled by what that meant, but was destined to discover the meaning later.] And besides, look at all the horrible things Christians have done down through the ages, like the Crusades. There are just as many nuts among Christians."
"Wait a minute", I answered. "The Crusades happened 700 years ago. Those journalists were kidnapped and forced to convert 3 weeks ago." [Now, if I had really been quick on my feet, I would have pointed out that the Crusades were not wars of conquest, but were intended to rescue the Holy Land from Muslim aggression and keep it safe for access by Christian pilgrims. But I didn't think to say that at the moment.] The Church has repudiated the evils done in the course of the Crusades. Islam hasn't rejected violence in its name."
"Yes," she said. "That's where they're at. [There it was again.] But you know, we have kids here listening to this, and you're dividing us and telling people to hate Muslims."
"I never said a word about hating anyone", I replied. "It's not Christians who are going around burning effigies of Muslim leaders. I don't recall any incidents within modern history of Christians going around forcing people to convert at gunpoint."
"Yes, that's true," she acknowledged. "But we have to respect their differences."
I said, "We have to respect them as persons, but these aren't merely questions of "differences". These are questions of good and evil, of right and wrong. And converting someone at gunpoint is evil."
"That's what we would say," she replied. "But that's not what they think. The Muslims haven't evolved as far as we have. They're 600 years behind us."
"And we have to point out that what those Muslims think is wrong and is unworthy of God," I said. "It's not OK that they're '600 years behind us.' The civilized world has a right to criticize Islam."
"But you can't do that," she said.
"You're saying that we can't criticize Islam?" I asked.
"No," she answered.
That's where we left the conversation. And afterwards I realized what she was getting at when she kept saying "that's where they're at" regarding Islam. What she meant was "that's where there at," and that's OK. We mustn't on any account critique their beliefs. If Muslims say that Islam is immune from criticism, we simply have to accept that, whatever the barbarous consequences.
It's the suicidal consequence of modern relativism.
I imagine she'd find these fellows in agreement with her: