DETROIT (ChurchMiltant.com) - A prominent Islamic expert is comparing the bishops' silence on terrorism to sex abuse cover-up. Robert Spencer, an Islamic terror expert and author of 16 books on Islam, released an editorial Sunday excoriating the U.S. bishops' actions to punish clergy and schoolteachers who speak out against Islam, including Spencer himself.
"The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops moves actively and swiftly to silence and demonize voices that tell the truth about the Muslim persecution of Christians," Spencer noted, naming various bishops who've refused him, as well as other Muslim critics, a platform in their dioceses.
"You can reject every element of the Nicene Creed and everything the Church teaches, and still the U.S. Catholic Bishops will consider you a Catholic in good standing," he continued. "But if you believe that Islam is not a religion of peace, you have no place in the U.S. Catholic Church."
Church Militant spoke with Spencer on his thoughts regarding the reasons why the U.S. bishops are so reluctant to speak out against the evil of Islam.
CM: At what point do you think the bishops started to pander to a politically correct agenda?
RS: This is an outgrowth of the confusion that overtook the Church in the wake of Vatican II, and the popular but erroneous idea among liberal Catholics that the Church had discarded its tradition and dogmas and essentially embraced the leftist agenda. This idea took root in earnest in the 1960s, but began germinating long before that.
CM: Knowing the historical conflicts between Islam and Christianity, why would the bishops be so quick and severe toward those who are informing the laity? Why would they want the laity ignorant?
RS: This mystifies me, but my best assessment is that this is an outgrowth of the spirit of Vatican II, which called upon Muslims and Christians to set aside ancient antagonisms and find common ground. There is a general assumption among the bishops that just as Christianity has changed since the time of the Crusades, so also has Islam, and dialog will iron out any remaining differences.
In reality, this is an unfounded assumption, as Islamic teaching has not changed, and still contains an imperative to wage war against Christians and subjugate them under the rule of Islamic law. I would expect that most bishops, however, would dismiss the idea that Islamic teaching contains such an imperative as an "Orientalist" and "Islamophobic" false claim. They, however, are the ones who are ignorant.
CM: What do you think the bishops' problem is with your talks and position on Islam?
RS: I'm told that Bp. Nicholas Samra believes that I am "spreading hate," and since I was a member of his diocese, he himself told me that many bishops had approached him at the USCCB conference telling him that he had to "do something" about me. They apparently believe that I am harming the dialog they are conducting with Muslims, and they apparently also think that this dialog is producing results, even though Muslim persecution of Christians has increased exponentially since it began.
For my part, I reject the charge that I am spreading hate, and challenge Samra or any other bishop to quote a single hateful statement from my work. I am exposing facts that many would prefer to keep concealed; the "hate" charge is simply an attempt to make people of good will turn against my work.
CM: If the bishops do start to speak out against Islam, will it make Christian persecution worse or start an all-out war?
RS: In Islamic law, Christians must live in subservience and submission to Islamic law. If they speak out about their plight, it will get even worse for them, and their lives could be forfeit. Thus they generally adopt an attitude of publicly praising and siding with those who persecute them, so that it won't get even worse for them. This is the attitude that the bishops now appear to have adopted as well: Samra himself told me that I shouldn't speak out against Muslim persecution of Christians, as doing so would only make matters worse for Middle-Eastern Christians.
While I am aware of that possibility, at the same time to dissimulate about the nature and magnitude of that persecution only misleads Christians outside the Middle East into complacency. It also just validates and reinforces violent intimidation. It is incumbent upon the bishops as messengers of the truth to tell the whole truth about what is happening to the Christians of the Middle East, and to reject a submission to Islamic intimidation that would condemn our children and our children's children to slavery. To accept that intimidation and lie or remain silent because of it is only to encourage more such intimidation. They could speak out while working to ensure that the United States and other powers do everything they can to protect the remaining Christians in the Middle East from further persecution.
CM: What can the faithful do to influence the bishops or fight back against the liberal media?
RS: Call them to tell the truth. When they issue statements about Islam that are dishonest and misleading, challenge them. I have been severely criticized for criticizing bishops. Many Catholics seem to think that to do so is disloyal to the Church. On the contrary, I believe that not to call out bishops when they are sinful and wrong is even more disloyal to the Church. It is the kind of thinking that led to the pedophilia scandals.
Robert Spencer is raising awareness about the activities of the global jihadists through his website JihadWatch.org. He is also a Catholic and New York Times bestselling author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam. His newest book will be released in 2017 and is titled The Complete Infidel's Guide to Free Speech (and Its Enemies).