Are You Catholic, Or Nah?

Seriously, I’m getting into way too many Facebook fights lately.
While that’s laughable (a bunch of keyboard warriors engaging in what appears to be a ceaseless back-and-forth dispute, my most recent one was very enlightening.
I identify generally as Christian and specifically as Catholic. No, I do not worship saints. No, I do not believe that Pope Francis, while I love the man dearly, is Christ on Earth. I believe in God, in Jesus Christ, and in the honorable examples that Christ has left. That’s what Christianity, at its core, is all about. So, a fan-page called “Catholic and Proud” is not where I’d expect to wage a fight.
On Monday, September 22, 2014, I was in my apartment, perusing my Facebook new feed, when I saw that “Catholic and Proud” made a post titled “Endless Jihad: The Truth about Islam and Violence.” I’ll admit, I did not read the article or watch the video, whatever form of media this message is. I did not and still do not need to. The title alone is worn, abasing, and going against one of the main points of Christianity, and, if I’m not mistaken, our monotheistic brethren as well: judgement.

“Jihad” is a religious holy war, many believe. Fundamentally, it comes from the Arabic word for “struggle,” and perhaps even “self-struggle,” à la “mien kampf.” Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, and ISIS/ISL/whatever name they’re using now, are all jihadist groups. They, ISIS especially, hope for utopian world: one in which sharia law reigns supreme.
To see the jihadists, or “mujahideen,” as they’re known in Arabic, as representative of the entire Muslim faith is to say that all Christian figureheads—pastors, deacons, priests, the whole lot–are pedophiles because some priests were. All Christians then must be as mean-spirited as the Westboro Baptist Church. I struck a nerve there, didn’t I? Good, because I intended to.

This is real life, not a passage from some Roman or Greek epic poem. Synecdoches have no place here. Seeing the mujahideen as representative of everyone who identifies as Muslim is ignorance. SO, I let the people at “Catholic and Proud” know. I commented the following:

” We can’t judge an entire religion based off some of its adherents.
Does the word ‘Crusades’ ring a bell for anyone? How about the
Spanish Inquisition? I’m Catholic, but I don’t agree with this post.
I have a Muslim friend who is as sweet as pie. Doesn’t mean that all
Muslims are like this, or that they’re all bad. You can’t judge the
whole based off a few. Recall the Gospel: you who are without sin may
cast the first stone.”
To that, some girl responded:

“Yes Jessica as the article clearly states not every Muslim is violent!
But a 15 to 25% of these Muslims jihadists would happily cut your head
off for being a Christian. Islam is a huge threat to the western world.”

SO, this girl went from saying that 15% to 25% of these Muslim jihadists (which is somewhat redundant, no? Jihadists are Radical Muslims) would happily cut off my head, and thereby pose a threat, to saying that Islam itself is a threat to the Western world. We went from 25 to 100 “real quick,” as Drake would say. I do not agree with any jihadist, especially since the Quran itself, the Holy Book of Islam, decries coercion as having no place in it. Secondly, no religion that worships a peace-loving God, who is heralded as the ultimate judge, has any right to sentence anyone to death. However, this girl needs to realize that 15% to 25% of the population is not the same as the whole. Sorry, synecdoche, but

Let’s be clear: Islam is not a threat to the Western world. Jihad is a threat to all the world!
ISIS, on its mission of jihad, has slaughtered numerous Christians, Yazidis, and even Muslims who don’t follow Islam as they see fit. Do the deaths of the aforementioned casualties have no validity because of their location in the East? Of course not.

I decry the mujahideen, not the peace-loving Muslims who live their lives hurting no one. I proudly identify as Catholic, but I would hate to have someone assume that I’m going to force my Christianity on him because that’s what the Crusades were al about. Just because some men, under the guise of clerical authority, abused some children does not mean that I am a pedophile ( I like full-grown men at least three years older than I, thank you very much).

I have my faults, but I consider myself a good person, a good Catholic. I am kind and loving. I stand up to injustice in the manners possible to me. I don’t agree with ISIS, but I won’t think that Mesut Ozil, for example, is bad just because he is Muslim. That is stupid. Again, this isn’t an epic poem; synecdoches can get you in trouble. I am proud of myself as a Catholic, especially because I do not judge. Perhaps, this is a lesson. Over the summer, I had encountered a Muslim woman who informed me that I, a Catholic, would go to hell for not being Muslim. Following that incident, I tried to avoid Muslim people at all costs. One of my elementary-school friends converted to Islam a while back, and it pained me deeply to shun her. To this day, I am ashamed of myself for that. I am an American, but I am not like the Unabomber. Synecdoches: uggh, I detested them in A.P. Latin, and I detest them more in actual life.


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