The theocon Pope gets modernity totally wrong:
The troubling truth is that on the most pressing issue currently facing the democratic governments of the West - how they should respond to the formidable challenge posed by militant Islam at home and abroad - Pope Benedict gets things exactly backward. Abandoning liberalism in favor of the strictly orthodox Catholicism favored by the Pope is the last thing Europe needs today. Such a development would almost certainly lead the continent back to a world of religiously inspired social and political strife - a world from which it only recently managed to extricate itself - while diminishing the chances that pluralism could ever make significant inroads in the Muslim world.
That Europe's remarkable political and economic achievements over the past 60 years have been made possible in large part by its belated embrace of liberal ideals - including the ideal of public secularism - is something that Benedict seems not to appreciate or even comprehend. Luckily, his fellow Europeans appear to know better - to recognize that, far from being the source of our most intractable problems, liberalism remains our best hope for a solution.
And by liberalism, Damon Linker means freedom - of thought, conscience, speech and moral choices in private matters like heterosexual sex, first-trimester abortion, and the painful decisions families have to make about the end of life.
I go into hand-to-hand logical combat with the theocons on abortion, heterosexual sex and end-of-life theology in Chapter Three of "The Conservative Soul."
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