Dismal News from Libya

It is sadly ironic that the horrible news out of Libya, where the ambassador and three consular employees were killed after mob violence engulfed the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, comes this morning as I travel to Washington for two days of conferences on the contemporary challenges to international religious liberty. The killing of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens seems an especially tragic and enormous loss, to his family obviously, but also to the Libyan people, even to those responsible for his death. Fluent in Arabic and French and a career diplomat who went from the Peace Corps into public service, Stevens had been a true friend to the people of Libya and his influence directly contributed to their liberation from Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.

The senseless murder dramatically punctuates the urgency of efforts to improve inter-religious understanding and tolerance that might have given pause to irresponsible voices within U.S. borders and mob passions overseas. It is hard to believe this level of violence could be inspired by such a moronic exercise as the YouTube release at the center of this turmoil and it is likewise hard to understand people who insist on such useless provocation when they know fully well what might result and that others will likely pay the price for their self-indulgence. There is no excusing the violence that led to the ambassador's death, but neither does the plain right of free speech liberate individuals from the obligation of using it responsibly, especially in such tension-filled times.


There is also somewhat better news on the larger issue as in Pakistan a 14-year old Christian girl (her age is in dispute) Rimsha Masih has been released after being held for weeks under Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws and in Iran Yousef Nadarkhani, a Church of Iran pastor sentenced to death for apostasy, has likewise been released from prison and is at home with his family. Faint glimmers of hope on what is an otherwise dismal day for religious pluralism and tolerance.

UPDATE: The Obama administration is investigating whether the assault on the U.S. consulate in Libya was a planned terrorist strike to mark the anniversary of 9/11 and not a spontaneous mob action.


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David Pasinski
6 years 4 months ago
As you write, it is especially tragic and senseless.

 Whilewe must denounce anyone's ridicule of religious figures, this reflexive violence in radical Islam continues to be a source of great concern to all who believe in dialogue and in the repect for all religious traditions - AND the Western notion of free speech which seemingly has little support in many parts of the world yet.

Again, this does not excuse such videos, but this reaction leaves many in the so called tolerant or secularized West scratching their heads about how to deal with these primal emotions apparently inflamed by such ridicule.

And, according to other reports, one cannot discount that many of the mob may have been Qaddafi sympathizers wating for a cause to espouse to seek this vengeance.

Complicated and requiring ever greater understanding...
Chris Sullivan
6 years 4 months ago

Vatican City, 12 September 2012 (VIS) - Given below is the text of a declaration made by Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi following episodes of violence in the Libyan city of Benghazi yesterday.
''Profound respect for the beliefs, texts, outstanding figures and symbols of the various religions is an essential precondition for the peaceful coexistence of peoples. The serious consequences of unjustified offence and provocations against the sensibilities of Muslim believers are once again evident in these days, as we see the reactions they arouse, sometimes with tragic results, which in their turn nourish tension and hatred, unleashing unacceptable violence.
''The message of dialogue and respect for all believers of different religions, which the Holy Father is preparing to carry with him on his forthcoming trip to Lebanon, indicate the path that everyone should follow in order to construct shared and peaceful coexistence among religions and peoples''.

It is little surprise, given United States interventions in the Middle East, and apparantly increasing U.S. domestic hostility to Islam, that the U.S. is not popular on the Muslim street.

The solution to this is in the hands of United States, who need to learn to treat the rest of the world with dignity, respect and compassion instead of lording it over them as imperial opressors and military and economic exploiters.

God Bless
ed gleason
6 years 4 months ago
Dave P truly  says 'complicated and requiring ever greater understanding' ' ... not to Romney ..who blamed Obama before Romney even knew the name a rank of those killed. A Despicable lightweight. 
Imagine listening to advice from someone who didn't have the brains or courage to ask the 82 year old loose cannon [Eastwood] to have  vetting on his ramble. The up-coming debates will be like "Laugh-in' 
Jim McCrea
6 years 4 months ago
" - the Western notion of free speech which seemingly has little support in many parts of the world yet. "

To wish - and act as if - it did is foolish at best. 

It is worth your time to read this:   http://www.religiondispatches.org/dispatches/sarahposner/6377/who_is_%E2%80%9Csam_bacile%E2%80%9D/

The reaction to this ill-advised "freedom of speech" is as much on the shoulders of those wrapping themselves in the American flag of self-righteousness as it is on the shoulders of one who cries "fire" in a crowded theatre and then gets so terribly upset because he was run over by people trying to escape.

Remember what your mother told you:  you actions have consequences whether you like it or not.  And remember - they were YOUR actions.
William Lindsey
6 years 4 months ago
To second what Jim says: I would imagine those producing the anti-Islamic videos that are inflaming the situation in north Africa and the Middle East see themsselves as fully exercising free speech-and also as exercising religious freedom.

I wonder if it's possible to make something of an idol of free speech and of religious freedom.

And as much as I deplore the horrendous violence sometimes perpetrated by people of Islamic faith (but hardly by all Muslims), as a Christian, I find it impossible to forget that we Christians have been capable of horrendous violence, too.

It would be nice to wrap everything up neatly in little idolatrous packages: religious freedom and free speech as unmitigated goods (because WE, after all, believe in these); Muslims as evil and violence.

Somehow I don't think the real world falls into such neat binary categories.  And I suspect that the need for metanoia falls every bit as much across our paths as American Christians as it falls across the paths of people in other areas of the world. 
J Cosgrove
6 years 4 months ago
Apparently the White House and the State Department agree with that despicable lightweight, Mitt Romney.  But since it was their personnel who made the statement that Romeny objected to, they should accept responsibility.  But for that commendable heavyweight, the buck stops here, we have for a president, it is always someone's else's fault so why start now.

Our commendable heavyweight buck stopper can discuss his foreign policy successes at his fundraiser tonight in Las Vegas. 

james belna
6 years 4 months ago
In the immediately preceding post on this blog, ''Forty Days of Funny'', Fr James Martin posted a youtube video of himself tellng an interfaith joke with Catholics bearing the burden of the punchline. The joke was so innoccuous that it would be impossible for even the most uptight Catholic to be offended by it. Similarly, no Jews or Protestants would care, much less complain, if their religions had been the butt of the joke.

It s sobering to reflect on the fact that if Fr Martin had told the same trite joke on youtube at the expense of the ''Religion of Peace'', and some Imam in the Middle East decided to publicly condemn it, there is a distinct possibility that embassies would burn and innocent people would be killed. We are kidding ourselves if we think that some pastor in Florida is the problem. The real problem is a militant Islamic culture that will seize on any pretext to further its aims, which do not include peaceful coexistence with western civilzation. We should defend the fundamental principles of human dignity, freedom of religion, and free speech for everyone, especially when they are threatened by violent, intolerant thugs.
Stanley Kopacz
6 years 4 months ago
Freedom of speech is freedom of speech.  Everything goes here and that's the way it is.  Unfortunately, freedom of speech didn't apply to the Occupy Wall Street protesters, as the coordinated national crackdown has shown.
Gabriel Marcella
6 years 4 months ago
The attack in Libya is pure terrorism, which is defined as "premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents usually intended to influence an audience." There is no justification whatsoever for terrorism; causation is not justification. Killing innocent noncombatants for whatever reason is murder. Thre are no winners. The losers are all of us, including the Muslim world, who uphold principles of international oder and decency. 
Jim McCrea
6 years 4 months ago
What the US has sanctified as freedom of speech, a large portion of the rest of the world views as immature, obnoxious, uncalled for and intolerable.  And I'm not talking just about countries with a large Islamic presence, either.

Many parents think that their loudmouthed loutish kids are cute; most of the rest of us do not.
J Cosgrove
6 years 4 months ago
A couple comments,

'' a large portion of the rest of the world views as immature, obnoxious, uncalled for and intolerable'' 

You would be upset if people here claimed that your comments fit this description and I would be upset if they thought my comments fit the description. 

There are news reports that the killing of the ambassador was a targeted assassination by Al Qaeda and has been in the works for weeks and all these uprisings have nothing to do with the so called bad movie.  It was timed to coincide with 9/11 and the movie just happened to be a little extra kindling for the fire.
William Lindsey
6 years 4 months ago
Mr. Cosgrove, you say, "There are news reports that the killing of the ambassador was a targeted assassination by Al Qaeda and has been in the works for weeks and all these uprisings have nothing to do with the so called bad movie.  It was timed to coincide with 9/11 and the movie just happened to be a little extra kindling for the fire."

In my experience, lighting most fires absolutely requires kindling.  The kindling may appear insubstantial, and may appear to have a minor role in the fire-lighting process.

But without kindling, most fires won't take off.

It's inconsistent to say that what's happening in north Africa and the Middle East has "nothing to do with the so called (!) bad movie," and then to say that the movie "just happened to be a little extra kindling for the fire."

Those who produced the execrable film and then uploaded it to YouTube knew precisely the conflagration they'd set off when they did so.  Setting off a conflagration was their intent in doing so.

I'm sorry that as the fire blazes away, your presidential candidate has proven himself to be incapable of the kind of level-headed leadership many of us seek in a president.  I'm glad, however, that we've had a chance to take his measure now, through this crisis.

I prefer in the White House someone who doesn't bring gallons of gasoline to the already blazing fire. 
Mike Brooks
6 years 4 months ago
Blaming the makers of the film is like blaming a rape victim for wearing suggestive clothing.

Free speech was once tempered by morality; but the anarchists have insisted on pushing the limits, such that the law gives license to immorality, be it a pornographic film (and the known harm that it causes to women) or a film shoing Mohammed having sex.

William Lindsey
6 years 4 months ago
Thanks for your reply, Mr. Brooks-if you are, indeed, replying to me.  I assume you may be doing so since your comment follows mine and seems to address themes in my comment.

I have to say that I find what you say her incoherent, though.  And I have no idea how to respond to it as a result.
J Cosgrove
6 years 4 months ago
Mr Lindsey,

Coming home last night from a birthday celebration for a relative, I turned on the John Batchelor show, which is probably the most eclectic source of news on the planet.  Batchelor led off with what he said was hard news, namely that the death of Stevens had been planned for weeks and he was actually lured to Benghazi for the attack.  The assassination was in retribution for the killing of a Libyan Al Qaeda leader by a drone attack a few months ago.

I then found a couple new articles which said pretty much the same thing.  It had nothing to do with the movie though that is certainly something to get people riled up even more.  So even if the movie trailer had not been on youtube, the assassination would have gone off as planned.

We will have to wait and see how this plays out and maybe these news reports are wrong.  Also what did the state department know before hand as there are several reports that many in our government knew there were going to be some attacks on 9/11.  Also for the first time in memory the State Department refused to meet with the intelligence communities to discuss just what they knew.  Apparently CIA and others met but not the State Department. 
Jim McCrea
6 years 4 months ago
Dear Mrs. Stevens:
We are sorry for your loss.  However, please rest assured knowing that your husband, Chris, and his three fellow workers in Benghazi, give their lives because some blithering idiot posted a disgusting video that insulted Mohammed.  But, then, these deaths are a small price to pay for the American sacred cow entitled “Freedom of Speech.”  We pride ourselves that it is virtually unlimited and unbridled.  We realize that, with the advent of YouTube, anything that is crafted here under the guise of free speech goes viral virtually instantly.  It’s irrelevant that a large portion of the world does not place the same value on unbridled, immature, disgusting, degrading and deliberately provocative speech that Exceptional America does!  Their thoughts, religious beliefs and sensibilities don’t mean a hill of beans when compared with our idiots’ right to spew idiocy.  We are Numbah One and they had better not forget it, either!
We realize that some other constitutionally guaranteed freedoms (religion, assembly, etc.) are not without limitations.  You have to be practical, y’know.  However … and this is a big “however” … our Supreme Court recently ruled that money is speech!  There is nothing in this country that carries more weight than money (we are the Paragon of Capitalism, remember?).  So, if money is speech, then speech is one of those freedoms that really can’t be limited.  You can’t limit money in a capitalistic democracy, fer cryin’ out loud!!!  Besides, Big Money controls virtually all of our avenues of speech and they don’t want their income penalized.  No siree bob.  Not in THIS country.
Someone quoted this at me:  “What is permissible is not always honorable.”   (Marcus Tullius Cicero)  But I ask you:  what does a dead Roman know about Our Rights here in Exceptional America?
Here’s something for you to think about:  there will most likely be more American ambassadorial and consular staff that will lose their lives because of disgusting things that a few sad, sick people feel a need to spew to the rest of the world.  That means that your husband and his co-workers will be part of a larger Band of Brothers (yeah, and I guess a few Sisters, too).  Won’t that make you and your children feel so very speshul each September 11th when you recall the untimely death of Christopher?
I guess I had better not sign this off with iconic US complimentary closings:  Have a nice day – and God Bless Amurika, OK?
Mike Brooks
6 years 4 months ago
Mr. Lindley -

Thanks for the backhanded ad hominem.  How silly of you to think that just because my comment followed yours that it was in reply to it (my comment was actually spurred by Mr. McCrea at #4).  But I will explain my comment for you since you are unable to comprehend it as written: 

Some here and elsewhere have suggested that the blame for the terrorist acts lies with the filmmaker because he knew or should have known that it (especially the part wherein Mohammed apparently has sex) would incite violence.  This is analogous to the argument made by some that a woman who wears suggestive clothing and subsequently gets raped is to blame for the violence committed against her.  That is, the argument goes, the filmmaker should not have made the film if he knew it was likely to incite violence in the same way that a woman should not wear suggestive clothing since she knows it is likely to incite violence. Or as Mr. McCrea put it, "Remember what your mother told you:  you actions have consequences whether you like it or not.  And remember - they were YOUR actions."

In the last 50 years or so, Liberal ideology has been pushing the limits on free speech, such that the only perceived limit on speech is yelling, "Fire," in a crowded movie theater.  If you want to show men sexually abusing women in film, it's protected as speech under the 1st Amendment.  No one complains about that, Heaven forbid.  But, now, all of a sudden we're supposed to be outraged because someone makes a film that depicts Mohammed having sex, because the filmmaker should have known it would incite violence?  Please.

Religious morality used to be the foundation of our laws.  But as our society has become more secularized and our respect for religious morality has been diluted, we now use the law as a means to rationalize our bad behavior.  So, e.g., instead of starting with the moral premise that it is wrong to kill an unborn child, we start with the premise that there should be a right to kill unborn babies.  Then we go to the Constitution and find a "penumbra" in the 1st Amendment that gives us that legal right.

My point is that we can't go on expanding the boundaries of free speech and using free speech to rationalize bad behavior, then complain when someone's speech ends up causing a foreseeable result that we do not like.  This is the society our liberal friends have demanded through our courts, in which young girls can go to school dressed like hookers, where women are portrayed as sexual objects in film, where babies are killed in the womb, and where Mohammed is shown having sex.  The time to complain has passed; now we have to tend to the victims.

ed gleason
6 years 4 months ago
Michael Brooks.. we await on pins and needles for your draft of the constitutional amendment. Your ally Cosgrove tells us not to blame the movie. Which of you did not get the memo?.
Stanley Kopacz
6 years 4 months ago
We're not closing the embassy in Libya.  We're supporting the growth of democracy and freedom in that country.  And there's all that oil.
Carlos Orozco
6 years 4 months ago
I'm surprised not of the actual events in Libya, but at how little time passed before the Islamist elements bit the hand that turned over political power to them. The terms of negotiation could not have been more cynical and immoral: religious radicals would receive reins of government, NATO "democracies" would take control of the high-quality Libyan oil. Liberty and democracy are not cheap, you know?

The euphoric "We came, we say, he died!" exclamation of Hillary Clinton on learning of the death of Col. Gaddafi, now gives way to silence and worry on the future of the investment made in the north african country. The push for a new war in order to topple Syrian dictator Assad will have to wait.

The mainstream media's explanation of how a stupid video has ignited the Middle East is childish and unimaginative propaganda. Count on the likes of Christiane Amanpour, Fouad Ajami and plagarist Fareed Zakaria to spin things in order to continue justifying imperial intervention.

And let's not forget the R2P propagandists. No way. Libya has been highlighted as a complete success of the mentioned globalist doctrine. Nothing is more far from reality. The R2P ideologues are not very different from the neocon psychos.
J Cosgrove
6 years 4 months ago
''Which of you did not get the memo?.''

I got the memo, the one that has the truth in it not the propaganda by the DNC and MSM.


A quote from this oped

''Forget the free-speech arguments. In this case, as Secretary Clinton and General Dempsey well know, the film has even less to do with anything than did the Danish cartoons or the schoolteacher’s teddy bear or any of the other innumerable grievances of Islam. The 400-strong assault force in Benghazi showed up with RPGs and mortars: That’s not a spontaneous movie protest; that’s an act of war, and better planned and executed than the dying superpower’s response to it. Secretary Clinton and General Dempsey are, to put it mildly, misleading the American people when they suggest otherwise.''

A cartoon that sums up our commendable heavyweight the buck doesn't stop here president and the MSM


A lot of the readers here must have gotten the Honey Boo Boo memo from the DNC.  Here is a discussion of it.


The sad thing for all the die hard defenders of the Prez is that the despicable lightweight Romney got it right and for that he must be admonished.  Does he not have any shame.  Providing the truth.  How dare he.

And by the way the Cairo mob had little if anything to do with the movie trailer, as they wanted the blind sheik released from US jail.  That was planned too before any movie appeared on the scene.
ed gleason
6 years 4 months ago
Sure you say, Romney had it 'right' That's why he will lose 4 more points next week.
Mike Brooks
6 years 4 months ago
'Which of you did not get the memo?.'

I got the memo, too; perhaps I wasn't clear.  I don't believe that the film incited the violence, but to the liberal Obama protectors who believe that it did, they're being hypocritical.  They're all for unlimited free "speech" until they want to use the "speech" as a scapegoat to protect the President's foreign policy.  What happened to the view that you can blame only the perpetrator for violent acts?  Now, apparently, you can blame the perpetrator unless there was a provocative film that "made him" commit the act.


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