I wasn’t aware that some Catholics think we should be allied with Islam in fighting cultural secularization—an idea I find bizarre and the only allies Catholics need are within the Catholic world and that is what needs strengthening—but apparently it is so, as this article from Crisis Magazine explains.
Conservative Catholics have been faring badly in the fight against militant secularism, so it’s understandable that they would be looking for allies to stand alongside them in the culture wars.
Some Catholic intellectuals seem to think that Muslims are our natural allies in this struggle because they supposedly share similar values and because, like Catholics, they are opposed to adultery, pornography, and homosexual behavior.
Catholic philosopher Peter Kreeft, for example, has championed what he calls an “ecumenical jihad” against secularism, while Catholics as diverse as Dinesh D’Souza, E. Michael Jones, and Timothy Cardinal Dolan have emphasized the common moral ground shared by Catholics and Muslims.
The most recent addition to the list is Princeton professor Robert George. In a piece for First Things entitled “Muslims, Our Natural Allies,” he argues that Muslims are our natural confederates because most of them believe in “modesty, chastity, and piety.”
The particular occasion for the piece was the celebration of World Hijab Day on February 1 and, in fact, the article is accompanied by a short video in which an attractive, articulate and, shall we say, “with it” young woman in a hijab makes the case for wearing the hijab as an expression of freedom and modesty. For example, “Does it bother you that I have control over what I choose to show and withhold from the world?” (A customer alert may be in order here. One of the reasons that the young lady is so adept at promoting the hijab is that selling hijabs is her business. She is the founder and owner of Pearl-Daisy, an online hijab and clothing store in the UK.)
Even if they agree with him on the “allies” issue, regular readers of Professor George may be disappointed in this piece. In contrast to his usual lucid and cogent analysis of social and constitutional issues, this piece relies largely on subjective arguments. For example, much of the piece is taken up with praising George’s many close Muslim friends, all of whom seem to be model citizens:
I have met hundreds of religiously observant Muslims over the past several years and many are now my close friends…They are among the finest people I know … they work, as we do, to inculcate in their children the virtues of honesty, integrity, self-respect, and respect for others, hard work, courage, modesty, chastity, and self-control…. They thank God for the freedom they enjoy in the United States….
This tells us a lot about the quality of the company he keeps, but it doesn’t tell us much about the Muslim faith. We are left, however, with the impression that only a fine belief system could produce such fine people. But, of course, it’s not always wise to judge a belief system according to the character of those who believe in it. Sometimes, people manage to rise above whatever belief system they embrace or have been born into. For example, when I was growing up, one of our family friends was a member of the Communist Party U.S.A. (until he left it to join a still more radical communist organization). Yet he was the soul of kindness and gentleness. I doubt very much that he would ever have raised a hand against a fellow human being. But, for all that, he devoutly believed in an ideology that was responsible for the oppression of millions.
Retrieved February 20, 2014 from http://www.crisismagazine.com/2014/are-muslims-our-natural-allies