Letters to the editor

Misquotes create news stories, stir outrage

Dear Editor,

Why should the Pope apologize for his comments? The Pope quoted a historical figure and was then misquoted by almost every news agency in the world. This has now led to the infuriation of the Muslim world yet again, at the hands of Christians.

Personally, I find it more offensive that media outlets, to include the Daily Kent Stater, perpetuate the hatred between groups by misquoting what was actually said. On Monday the Stater ran the article from the Associated Press highlighting the Pope’s comments. The article said the pope “cited the words of a Byzantine emperor who characterized some of the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, Islam’s founder, as ‘evil and inhuman.'” This unfortunately is not the whole quote, but it is the part that most of the world heard. The entire quote by the pope, which I found on CNN.com, was:

“The (Byzantine) emperor comes to speak about the issue of jihad, holy war,” the pope said. “He said, I quote, ‘Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.'”

Spreading the faith by the sword was a practice of Islam throughout history and is what radicals now use to justify their calls for jihad against the west.

The hypocritical part of all this is that in the same issue of the Stater, the editorial board wrote an article titled “Journalists should cover, not create news.” Printing only part of the pope’s quote, no matter what the source, in effect is creating the news. This is the same thing the editorial staff was, for lack of a better term, crusading against.

Apparently, an entire editorial staff can allow racial ignorance and violence to be perpetuated by misquoting.

Doug Schmidt

Senior history major

The pope’s intentions were reasonable

Dear Editor,

The Sept. 19 editorial, “Pope reminds us of age-old problems,” grossly and inaccurately misinterprets Pope Benedict XVI’s statement, and calls for meaningless measures to restore cultural discourse.

Just as important as it is to examine the reference to Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Paleologus’ quote, so too must the broader lecture itself be accurately interpreted. Benedict XVI is most concerned with calling for developmental perspectives concerning faith and reason. The pope pays special attention to the Gospel of John in his lecture, where God is to exist of reason with faith as opposed to authority over reason itself.

Contrary to popular knowledge, the pontiff’s words were actually more geared for the introspection of Christians. Benedict XVI claimed in this infamous speech “inner rapprochement between Biblical faith and Greek philosophical inquiry.created Europe.” The pontiff lists the history of such introspection as the very foundation of Christian theological studies. Hence, the pope continues “Only thus do we become capable of that genuine dialogue of cultures and religions so urgently needed today.” Yet this dialogue the pope urges is the very concept the pope is criticized for ignoring!

Pope Benedict XVI clearly states “spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable.” Meaningful discourse will not arise out of anger from baseless rumors of holy books being flushed down toilets, critical cartoons from small European countries or over-sensitivity from theological counterpoints. For the sake of debate, it is time Muslims stop inciting virulent anger concerning criticisms derived from the West and begin their introspection of faith through reason, which the West challenges others, and especially itself, to commit to. The reactions in the Middle East are a clear testament for the need for Muslim introspection to begin.

Stephen Ontko

Sophomore pre-economics major