06 November 2007
Why Didn't They Kill Each Other?
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia paid a visit to the Vatican today. During a cordial meeting, Pope Benedict reportedly lobbied for the rights of Filipino Catholic workers in the Muslim land. They are free to worship, the BBC reports, but not in public. That aside, the two theocrats seemed to get along and expressed hopes for collaboration in defense of family values. And why didn't they kill each other? They're old, for one thing, and not as spry as they might have been. Also, they're statesmen as well as fanatics, and thus have responsibilities. Furthermore, despite recent history, they're closer to brothers under the skin than their adherents would probably care to acknowledge. Rome and Riyadh have acted together as a "party of God," so to speak, to lobby for family values and against women's rights in international venues, often in collaboration with U.S. Republicans. All three of these powers know that their real long-term enemy is secular humanism, and in that case we humanists should probably thank blind providence that they so often fall to fighting among themselves, while regretting that we end up in the crossfire.