Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Personal Asides: Tom Dart to Guest Lecture at Roosevelt U Becky Carroll Rescheduled Marty Marty and the Crusades.
Democrat Tom Dart who is just about as certain to be elected Cook county sheriff next November as anyone can reasonably expect, will guest lecture at my Roosevelt University class. Smart and personable, Tom was an assistant states attorney and a superb state legislator. He got the Democratic nomination for state treasurer but Judy-Judy-Judy cut a deal with Rep. Bobby Rush among others and Rod Blagojevich, supposedly close to Tom, pulled a disappearing act on the race with the result that Tom lost to Topinka. Tom should have been made state commissioner of corrections but was not by his one-time friend Blagojevich, unaccountably. However, he went on to become chief of staff to Sheriff Mike Sheahan. There he has supplied great acumen and ability to the point where the sheriff endorsed him as his successor when he determined not to run for reelection. Tom will speak on November 9 at 7 p.m.
Becky Carroll, spokesperson for the Governors Office of Management and Budget who is one of the most adept and adroit expositors of state government in the Blagojevich administration, has been re-scheduled for a lecture at my Roosevelt class on October 12 at 7 p.m.
Reverend Martin Marty, a professor emeritus of religion at the University of Chicago, is one of those guys who was born to sit on a dais. He has received 64 honorary doctorates and has written well over forty books which have been well-reviewed in contemporary liberal journals. A Lutheran former senior editor of the Christian Century, one of the nations oldest trendy left Christian publications, he and his magazine especially under the Rev. Jim Wall, Marty Martys friend, have taken a decidedly Arabist point of view concerning the Middle East. Wall and Marty Marty who look somewhat alike are always dissatisfied that Israel has not made more commitments, Marty is not known particularly for the religious ideas he espouses but for his political stance.
Marty Martys son, John, has followed him in this and has been even more activistmoving to the Roseville suburb of St. Paul and becoming the most liberal State Senator in the state. Following his father in theatrics, John when he was a DFL candidate for governor, voted in defense of flag-burning and was rather tempered when a group of VFW veterans in uniform demanded to see him on the issue. They really didnt get far in trying to see John as he is not known in Minnesota as being interested in confrontation with angry war veterans. John is a thinker not a fighter. He lost the election, of course.
Nor is the man known as Marty Marty known to be a particularly heavy fighter or thinkerjust a pop campus religious figure not unlike the late William Sloane Coffin. Like Coffin, Marty Marty has always been in the forefront of opposition to any military campaign in Americas interest: from the earliest days of the Cold War to today. It would be instructive to imagine where we would be if the nation had listened to Marty Marty down through the years, from Truman to Reagan. We would not have won it; although Marty Marty still does not recognize that we won it.
Yesterday, appropriately, the newspaper that has not yet figured out what it believes so on most matters it splits the difference, the Chicago Tribune published Marty Martys Op Ed on the controversy between Pope Benedict XVI and the Muslims. You would expect that Marty Marty would take the side of the Muslims in this controversy, would you not? No, he eschews beheadings but he said they have a point concerning the terrible atrocities the Christiansthen Catholicscommitted in the Crusades. Appropriately, Marty Marty picked a book, different from many others, which is tough on the Crusades and Crusadersbut that is not surprising, is it? A good number of books have justified the Crusades but Marty Marty is banking that most Op Ed readers wouldnt know them. Like The Sword of the Prophet and Hatred Kingdom.
Recognizing that carnage and killing happens in all wars, the same question can be asked about Martys position anent the Crusades as Martys position regarding the Cold Warand that is, what kind of world would we be living in if the Crusades had never happened? The Crusades bought Europe time i.e. if Godfrey of Bouillon, Richard the Lionhearted and others hadnt waged their fight, the jihadists would certainly have swept across Europe easier and sooner. Crusader armies occupied them fighting for Antioch and Ascalon rather than Vienna. None other than Edward Gibbons saw the possibility of the Koran being taught in the schools of Oxford.
While the Crusades didnt accomplish what they set out to do but supplied the steel for the West to overcome the jihadist advance. The Muslims were turned away from Malta in the 16th century and failed in their siege of Vienna in 1529; they won against the Poles in 1672 but lost what they gained ten years later. They tried to rape Vienna again but were turned back by Polands King Jan III Sobieski on a fateful day that marked the crest of Muslim expansion in EuropeSeptember 11, 1683.
Not that all this means a thing to Marty Marty who lives with equivalence in foreign policy even if, in this Op Ed, he denies it. The wars meant something to Gibbon just as they mean nothing to Marty Marty. When I say the Crusades made the full flowering of European civilization possible, Marty Marty always looking for a good sound byte would say: full flowering of European civilization but wasnt there too much suffering and carnage at a time when so many underprivileged were not treated as equals? You see what I mean? You can never make a point with Marty Marty because his view turned as it is against all history is nihilistic. He should be designed for a statue in Madam Tussauds Wax Museum. Not the big one in London; the little one in Vegas will do. His figure in dramatic pose with hand upraised to make a point will illustrate the truism that its possible to be educated beyond ones intelligence.