Monday, September 14, 2009

Poverty Breeds Violence

Yahoo News reports:

VATICAN CITY – The Vatican has invited Muslims to work together to end poverty and the violence and extremism that are often its result.

The Vatican office in charge of interreligious dialogue issued a message to Muslims Friday to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

In the note, Cardinal Jean Louis Tauran said poverty has the power to humiliate people and is a source of isolation, anger and revenge. Since extremism and violence are also the result, he said it is important to tackle poverty at its root.

The Vatican has sought to mend relations with Muslims that were strained after Pope Benedict XVI in 2006 quoted a medieval text depicting Islam's Prophet Muhammad as violent. Benedict apologized and said the text didn't reflect his views.

I find it curious that Yahoo reports this as trying to mend relations with Muslims. I would think the real motive is to help people in horrible living conditions and to stem the flow of violence created by extremists who prey on the poor in order to bolster their ranks of terrorists and suicide bombers.

But in all honesty, Muslims and Christians need to mend relations. The two largest faiths in the world who, at the non-extremist level, have very similar ideals and goals (monotheism, alms-giving, prayer, resisting moral secularization). It's just a tough sell when most Muslim nations are militant theocracies that destroy religious freedom (as well as freedom in general). And it's this general freedom that leads to economic freedom which leads to economic prosperity which leads to fewer poor and extremists and terrorists. Of course, religious freedom will help the Church protect those who are persecuted by these regimes which will in turn help the Church grow and spread within these regions. So it's a win-win!

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