In matchless prose that has all the forcefulness, and twice the pathos, of a sick kitten, David Klinghoffer announces that Pope Ratzinger is just what the doctor ordered for world Jewry.
Hark to his cold inexorable logic: Ratzinger's against moral relativism, and since "Jewish leadership" has come down on the side of moral relativism, mainstream Jews should admire Ratzinger, because - like all popes - he believes that Catholicism is the One True Faith, which gives Jews carte blanche to assert that Judaism is the One True Faith, which will lead - obviously! - to a new era of intransigent religious conservatism and the downfall of moral relativism.
The great question of our time, you see, is whether there is no truth anywhere - an ironically absolutist stance flirted with by a tiny group of confused postmodernist undergrads - or some truth somewhere, as pretty much everyone else on earth believes. What Klinghoffer - in his disingenuity or invincible ignorance - calls "moral relativism" is actually tolerance and pluralism: the notion that while there may be only one truth about deity, there is also a moral responsibility to respect freedom of conscience and freedom of religion and the integrity of the individual. Which is, of course, a perfectly firm and reasonable ethical stance that has nothing to do with moral relativism, but a great deal to do with the founding of this country.
Klinghoffer does, at least, demonstrate that if you start out with hopelessly flawed premises, you can end up with a grotesquely stupid conclusion:
Pope Benedict XVI has his truth. Jews who believe in Judaism, as opposed to relativism, have ours. The pope and the Jews can't both be right — but that fact, that there can only be one truth, is a singularly important truth in itself, arguably more important than any of the doctrinal points on which Jews, Catholics, and other Christians differ.Look here, friend: If there's One True Faith - one narrow path to salvation - then any faith that contradicts it is false. A false faith prevents knowledge of God's truth, and without knowledge of God's truth, there's no salvation. And anything that stands in the way of salvation is evil, for all intents and purposes. If "the pope and the Jews can't both be right," then one of them is not merely wrong, but catastrophically evil.
It's not that goddamn complicated. In fact, the drab, plodding, lunatic simplicity of these notions is precisely their attraction to faux-spiritual vulgarians like Klinghoffer, which makes it all the more droll that he's pretending that these absolute values impose no intersubjective moral obligations (conversion at sword's point, for instance). Gee, that almost sounds like moral relativism!
(Link via Alicublog.)