The news item read, A Berlin opera company cancelled a Mozart production over security fears because it features the severed heads of the Prophet Muhammad and Jesus.
Not that the Christians were the problem:
Deutsche Oper said “incalculable” security risks would be posed by staging Idomeneo.
“We know the consequences of the conflict over the (Muhammad) caricatures,” the opera company said in a statement.
“We believe that needs to be taken very seriously and hope for your support.”
The decision not to perform “Idomeneo” is, finally, a decision not to differentiate between enlightened and extremist, between intellectual and dogmatic, between culturally interested and narrow- minded people of any origin or religion. The refusal to let this image be seen is precisely the fear that the violent elements of the Muslim world want us to have.
In the current article Vallely doesn’t understand the concept of Papal infallibility,
The Vatican moved into withdrawal mode, with the Pope’s spokesman, then the Pope himself, on two separate public occasions, saying he did not endorse the emperor’s words, and that he was “very sorry” for the misunderstanding.
Such corrections were damaging to the Pope’s image among Catholics of infallibility.
Maybe only in Vallely’s mind. In fact, the Pope is considered infallible only on proclamations of issues of dogma, when speaking ex cathedra, and in any case, the point of what Pope Benedict was saying is that
Not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God’s nature.
I speculate that Vallely didn’t bother reading the Pope’s speech. And, by the way, it was a speech, not a sermon.
Vallely may or may not be correct in pointing out that
This is not so much a clash of civilisations as one between religious and secular fundamentalists.
Too bad Vallely essentially says we should stay silent:
in many places there is a growing realisation that freedom of expression is not absolute but needs to be governed by a sense of social responsibility. To elevate one right above all others is the hallmark of the single-issue fanatic. Sometimes it is wise to choose not to exercise a right.
Forgive my snarkiness, Paul, but rights are a matter of “use it or lose it”.
While on a religous matters, Michael Medved ponders Religion, madness and secular paranoia
Why, then, the blatant loathing of Christian believers in so many books and columns and manifestos from non-believers on the left? None of the volumes decrying Christian influence suggest that religious families engage in violence more frequently than atheists, or unravel the fabric of society through criminality, selfishness or greed. When I’ve interviewed the authors on my radio show, they freely admit that they’d be pleased to live next door to an Evangelical, or even a Fundamentalist household, because such people are likely to be law-abiding, hard-working, neighborly, stable and considerate. This contradiction demonstrates the irrational essence of the hatred and fear of a group of citizens who do more than their share at feeing the hungry, housing the homeless, keeping families together, educating their children, serving in the military, giving to charity, maintaining their homes, nursing the sick, promoting adoption and building vibrant communities. What, exactly, do conservative Christians do that in any way harms or damages their non-Christian neighbors?
But back to the opera: Germany opens major Islam summit
The German government has met Muslim community leaders in Berlin amid a row over the cancellation of a Mozart opera deemed offensive to Muslims.
The Islam conference was a landmark initiative to improve the integration of Germany’s three million Muslims.
It was overshadowed by the row over the opera Idomeneo. In one scene it was to show the severed heads of the Prophet Muhammad, Jesus Christ and Buddha.
Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned “self-censorship out of fear”.
“We must take care that we do not retreat out of a fear of potentially violent radicals,” she said.
She was speaking after the Deutsche Oper in Berlin decided to call off November’s production of Idomeneo, citing “incalculable” security risks.
Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble also attacked the opera company’s decision as “crazy”.
He hosted the conference on Wednesday – the start of a two-year campaign for improved integration of Muslims in Germany, most of whom are of Turkish origin.
After the meeting, Mr Schaeuble said he and his guests all wanted the opera staged and would go together to see it, to send a signal.
Let’s hope they do.