The reaction of many on the Arab street to Pope Benedict XVI's quotation of a medieval text, which was critical of Islam for its history of violence, has raised new doubts about the compatibility of Islam and democracy. Outraged by the perceived slight, angry Muslims have called for the Pope's execution, burned him in effigy, bombed Christian churches, andthe evidence suggestsshot a Catholic nun in Somalia (whose dying words were "I forgive, I forgive"). Such a response undermines the characterization of Islam as a "religion of peace" and reinforces the notion that it is a religion that spreads at the point of a sword or the barrel of a gun.
Following a month-long recess, members of Congress returned to Washington last week to begin the legislative sprint toward November's midterm elections. With so many political pundits predicting doom and gloom for the GOP this November, it appears that Congressional Republicans plan to spend the next few weeks concentrating on the issue that has been their silver bullet in past electionsnational security. While no one can doubt the importance of national security legislation, Congress needs to show the American people that it can walk and chew gum at the same time.
If it is true that "children are our future," then we in the West have reason to be concerned about our future. In recent decades the fertility rate in Western nations has plummeted; men and women are having fewer children, and if the current trend continues, Western civilization will commit a slow suicide.