It is this primal vigor that Kreeft finds admirable in Islam, and throughout the book he skillfully shows how it contrasts with the haughty, narcissicistic skepticism that prevails throughout the post-Christian West ... [a]nd that is the message Kreeft repeated at Thomas More College ...
There is much more, of course, in particular the distinction between Christianity and Islam that Zmirak is quick to point out. Still, I would not sell short what this sort of zeal has to teach us as Christians, and Catholics in particular.
By the time my son Paul entered the fifth grade in public school, he was to participate in a one-week "family life education" class, or whatever the hell they called the sex-ed program by the late 1990s. His mother had no problem with it (naturally) but I did. But more than that, I found it rather ironic, that a generation that was supposed to be so open and honest and devil-may-care about talking about sex, would shudder at the thought of discussing it with its very byproduct -- that would be their children, which were created by having ... okay, you're with me now? excellent! -- to the extent that they would simply hand the job over to the schools. Like damn near everything else.
I don't have a problem discussing sex with Paul. But he used to be so brainwashed by his upbringing that, for a long time, he was a little weirded out about it. But that was HIS punk-ass problem, and he eventually wised up and got past it.
Meanwhile, back to the story.
I was undeterred. Every year, starting with the fifth grade, I would go to the special presentation on the class, listen to some over-educated, over-priced twit who wouldn't know the first thing to do in front of a classroom, explain to us poor taxpaying slobs why this was the only class where parents were not permitted to sit in. Then I'd sit down and review every scrap of material on the subject.
Believe it or not, up through the eighth grade (by which time I was the only one showing up), I found nothing objectionable in the program. In fact, one teacher said up front: “We have people from umpteen countries around the world sending their kids to the county school system. That's a large diversity of cultures, and we have to accommodate the needs of all of them. So, the policy of the Fairfax County Public Schools, is to tell students they should reserve sexual activity for marriage.”
Yep, I heard that in a PUBLIC school. It wasn't hard to determine exactly which culture was bringing their influence to bear on the situation, and it wasn't the bourgeois suburban Catholics attending the care-bear parishes with churches that looked like lopsided barns.
Muslims in America know they're outside the mainstream. Whatever dirty little plots they may be conjuring up in the mosques when only people who know the secret handshake get in, out in the world, they're through apologizing for themselves. If you offend them, you'll be sure to hear about it. In many parts of the country, unfortunately, it has been decades since a Catholic parish would conduct a Corpus Christi procession down the main drag of their little towns, and not give a rat's patootie what the guys in funny hats at the Masonic Temple thought of it. Meanwhile, Amazon just pulled a self-help guide for pedophiles off its virtual shelves, after initially saying they wouldn't, before an onslaught of complaints forced them to reconsider their stupidity. The other day, some aging hippie d@#$%&bag on a Voice of the Faithless (VOTF) e-mail list was whining about the bishops not doing anything. Why weren't they speaking out? Well, I would tell him, you and the rest of your latte-sipping, New-York-Times-reading, Kumbyah-singing pals go around yammering about how "We are Church" and all that. Why aren't YOU speaking out,
That goes ditto for the rest of you. Quit your damn belly-aching and declare a Catholic jihad already. Just don't come crying to me!
Saddle up. Lock and load. Deo gratias!