I have just returned from a trip to Portugal and Spain where I have tried, among many other things, to find – in the rich history of these countries – the events that may help understand better the current political battles in the USA. Some of my findings, which are mostly from private conversations, are presented below.
On Jewish-Christian relationships
It is well known Spain and Portugal expelled the Jews about five centuries ago. Before expelling the Jews, the Christians lived in a relative peace with the Jews. The Portugal/Spanish Christian Crusaders were concerned with expelling the Muslims from Jerusalem – not the Jews who had been already expelled from Jerusalem in the 2nd century by the Romans.
It is less known both countries now believe the expulsion of the Jew was a grave mistake that led to economic and spiritual decline. The lack of Jewish money, inventiveness and entrepreneurship led to a long-lasting economic decline, and the spiritual disconnection of Jews and Christians led to radicalization of Christian Church. These days the Portuguese and Spaniards are eager to put back on the map everything that demonstrates the glorious Jewish past in their countries; in essence, that is a revival of Judeo-Christian spiritual realm. The Portuguese and Spaniards are not alone.
The Pope Francis on his recent trip to the USA made a surprise change to his schedule on the final day of his U.S. tour to convey his own message of respect for the Jewish people. In an unannounced event, the pontiff stopped to bless a sculpture commissioned by the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia that repudiates a centuries-old anti-Semitic image. The sculpture displays a Jew with the Old Testament (the Torah) and a Christian with the New Testament; both are peacefully comparing their scriptures. This Judeo-Christian image can be seen at http://forward.com/news/321629/pope-francis-makes-surprise-stop-to-bless-sculpture-symbolizing-catholic-an/#ixzz3oTWO2Syr
Those who are advocating the separation of Judeo-Christian spirituality/morality from the government and social life should study the history and learn from the history that they are advocating the spiritual destruction of their own country.
On Muslim-Christian relationships
It is well known the Moors had created an advanced culture in some parts of Spain and Portugal, mostly in Spanish Andalusia – with beautiful arts, sciences and social arrangements, which were much better of what the Christians were capable to achieve at that time. At the times of the Moors, many (Muslims, Christians and Jews) lived in a relatively tolerant multi-culture community.
It is less known that a part of the Moors, who were mostly Arab Muslims, began the process of Islamization of these mostly Christian (rather in spirit) lands. And the Reconquista began that expelled the Muslims from Spain and Portugal and restored the Christian spiritual realm. However, nowadays nobody is trying to revive an Islamo-Christian realm, as it is the case with the Judeo-Christian realm, since Islamic and Christian traditions are not compatible as the majority of Portuguese and Spaniards believes. That is why they now resist the new Muslim immigration to their lands even if this immigration is promoted as a humanitarian project. It looks like two of the current Republican presidential candidates know the history well and therefore are on the side of Portuguese and Spaniards. They are Donald Trump and Ben Carson.
Donald Trump: Has German Chancellor Angela Merkel lost her mind? Her decision to accept upwards of 1 million refugees from Syria, Afghanistan and other jihadist hotbeds, shows the German leader is definitely ‘insane’.
Ben Carson: I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.
They know not only the lessons of European history on Islamic-Christian relations. They know as well the contemporary Islamic military/terrorist actions against the Judeo-Christian civilization, which are based on the Quranic obligation to fight the infidels who are the Jews and Christians. Of course, there are many good Muslim individuals; however, they are not in power to influence the Islamic world in any “anti-Quranic” way.