Sunday, July 16, 2006

Sfeir Discusses War, Same-Sex Marriage

I never thought I'd see this. In an article in the Boston Globe detailing Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Boutros (they Anglicized his name into Peter) Sfeir's visit in the United States, he found time to diverge from discussing the uimpending destruction of Lebanon to discuss same-sex marriage. What he said about the war:

"It seems to me that the chief religions are not responsible for that, because
the politicians are responsible," Patriarch Nasrallah Peter Cardinal Sfeir told
reporters at St. Anthony Maronite Catholic Church. "But we are condemning any
attacks, from whatever side it comes from."

What he said about gay marriage:

With the Catholic Church prominently opposed to same-sex marriage, Sfeir did not
dissent: "We have to return back to the beginning of creation. God created man
and woman, and this is making a family. Without that, there is no family. And
[gay marriage] is against the nature of the human being."

I have bigger fish to fry than this pointless article. But I can't believe that his is what he's talking about now. It's like in Bowling for Columbine when they show US President Bush reading a chidlren's book during September 11. Do they have any idea what's going on? Sfeir's statements could help change the future through his influence on Maronites and Catholics everywhere. I love the ending to the article, though:

Despite his confidence that America's talent for blurring ethnic distinctions won't erase Maronite traditions, Sfeir seemed to have picked up an American politician's talent for sidestepping tricky questions. Threading the needle of Middle Eastern politics, he disapproved of Hezbollah's kidnapping of Israeli soldiers while noting the group's claim that it acted in retaliation for Israel's holding of Arab prisoners.

A Lebanese broadcaster asked him, "If Hezbollah kidnaps Israeli soldiers to release Arab prisoners from Israel, should Lebanese kidnap Syrian solders to release Lebanese prisoners from Syria?"

Syria long kept troops in Lebanon and has been implicated in the 2005 assassination of its former prime minister, and the question drew applause from parishioners listening to the press conference.

Sfeir laughed and offered, "It is another question."

First, I love that he pointed out the downside of the melting pot. Not only does it erase ethnic distinctions within the country, but also outside it, too. Americans see Arabs as one big, unified block, and don't know Lebanon from Kuwait from Oman from Algeria. And I bet they think Iran is Arab, too. There would probably be more sympathy for Lebanon if people in America realized that Lebanon does not equal Hizbullah.

Nevertheless, the question is fantastic, and I can't believe I hadn't thought of it before. It shows how anti-Israeli forces in Lebanon compare to anti-Syrian ones. No matter how angry the anti-Syrian forces in Lebanon get, they would never attack their Arab neighbor - they don't want to see LEbanon involved in war. They're not even armed, and couldn't attack if they wanted to. Anti-Israeli forces don't even see Israel as a neighbor, and don't afford it any respect, even that of an adversary. They hate Israel so much that they are willing to destroy themselves because of this hatred. Unfortunately, they also don't care if they destroy everyone else. Hizbullah's like the ghost girl from The Ring - it never forgives, it never sleeps, and it destroys indescriminately.


Blogger mike davis said...

Very interesting remarks on Hizbullah. I am glad to read something from the middle east(code for Arab)that recognises the fact that when governments don't govern...all hell breaks loose.

The protection of Lebanon is the duty of the elected Lebanese government..they have an army. It is NOT the duty or right of any group of armed persons to do the job of the army...not in Lebanon or Australia or anywhere.

With all these different sets of hostages being held, it could be useful for Lebanon's government to try and get an International Conference to get them free...all of them, in all the countries of the middle east, Israel included. Wouldn't hurt to try.

Your remarks on American (and general Western) ignorance of the various different groups in Lebanon and the wider arab world is sadly correct. Not much can be done about it.

I would be interested in your views as to why the shiites (Hizbullah and Iran) are so hysterical about Israel. Is it just the leaders or do the ordinary shiites get involved with this hysteria? There are no Palestinian Shiites, but I have met Palestinians who are more calm and reflective about Israel and their own terrible history than the shiites appear to be. Why?

July 17, 2006 3:59 AM  

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