I assume that the nearly 200 Christian clerical and lay leaders (plus a smattering of Jews and Zoroastrians) from the United States who dined with Mohammed Ahmdinejad the other night at the United Nations had a spiritually rewarding experience. Certainly, they now understand the depth of A'jad's grievance against the West and why he wants Israel destroyed. Maybe, since these men and woman are so alert to the pain of others, they may also grasp how their guest, the president of Iran, says again and again that the Jewish catastrophe (1939-1945) never happened. This, by the way, despite the fact that 1000 Jewish refugee children, mostly orphans from the Nazi occupation of Poland, passed through Tehran on their way to Palestine in 1943. History calls these boys and girls "The Tehran Children." Presumably, the Iranian leader does not.

Friday was Al-Quds Day in the Arab sector of the Muslim World...and also in Iran. There the Basiji militia, captained years back by A'jad himself, as was reported in a definitive article by Matthias Kunzel in TNR, held a rally at which even under-teenage children said they would never forget Jerusalem. A newly published book denying the Holocaust was also distributed. It featured a cartoon depicting hook-nosed Jews with beards "leaving and re-entering a gas chamber with a counter that reads the number 5,999,999." Very funny. A good time was had by all. What do the president's hosts make of this? Ah, yes, they are responding to the humiliation of the Persians by...who? Jews?

Did anyone at the dinner ask A'jad to explain his views on the Holocaust? I doubt it. These saccharine Christians never confront their Third World friends other than with deference. And if, by slim chance they did, perhaps they should tell others what was said.

We are all by now prepped up to disdain and dispel Evangelical Christians and Fundamentalist Christians and other sorts of believing Christians. Frankly, however, I am more frightened by the World Council Of Churches Christians, those who believe Jesus Christ is at most a metaphor and whose respect for literal belief is limited to that of the Muslims. How condescending are these "mainstream" Christians, despite the fact that their numbers are falling along with the extent and depth of their religious belief.