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Saturday, February 7, 2015

In Obama’s Impulse To Absolve Islam, He Offers a Rebuke To Christianity

President Obama at the Prayer Breakfast
Rex Murphy
National Post

The President of the United States is an interesting theologian. He has taken to declaring that Islamic terrorists, who by their own emphatic insistence are Islamic, and who conduct their merciless operations in Nigeria, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq and fitfully in many countries around the world explicitly and defiantly under the banner of Islam, are not what or whom they say they are.

His purpose can  been seen as vaguely worthy — making the point that not all Muslims subscribe to the violent actions and tenets of the numerous radical factions, but saying “not all” does not erase a worryingly large “some.” Some, in these dreadful cases, is very, very many. But who really blames, or has been blaming, “all Muslims” ever? Western world leaders to a person have been insisting it is not all Muslims since the morning of the 9/11 attacks. This is a tired, and by now needless, rhetorical gambit.

But Mr. Obama treads travels much further on this dubious ground. On Thursday, two days after Jordanian pilot Muath Al-Kassasbeh was horrifically murdered by ISIS, Mr. Obama, speaking at a prayer breakfast, went through the usual theatre — these people are not Muslims, Islam is peace, etc., but then took a strange sideswipe at Christians.

He had this to say: “And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.”

My first qualification here would be to point the obvious, that in those times of the Crusades, Muslims were committing terrible deeds in the name of Allah. This was not a one-sided clash of blades and bludgeons. This is hardly a trivial point.

My second is that the burden of his remarks are so very odd. Is it a very strange turn of thought to have, the day after someone was burned to death in a cage by Islamist fanatics,  that Mr. Obama thinks Christians are about to mount their “high horse” and are making the claim that the barbarism of this week is “unique to one place.”

There is no high horse. Christians are not climbing on it
Hardly unique, Mr. President. Check Boko Haram for the last couple of months. Or the Taliban any month you choose.

There is no high horse. Christians are not climbing on it. And no one has claimed religious violence is unique. The whole line of thought is not so much a straw man as the logical equivalent of an entire thatched roof of those stuffed puppets.

He also called up slavery as being done, by some, in the name of Christ, as if the practice owed something very particular to Christian belief, ignoring that the ignominy of slave-trading has been practiced since ancient days by peoples of varying faiths, to the everlasting shame of them all.

The Americans, to their equally everlasting credit, fought a civil war and ended slavery, and it was the greatest of presidents, and the country’s greatest true moralist, who conducted that war. It was Lincoln who posed the searing observation in the Second Inaugural address that, “It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged.”
Abraham Lincoln

The key to that sentence lies in the word “dare.” In the most powerful line of that same address, this deeply religious President, gave his — may we call it Christian? — view of slavery. If the war should continue, said Lincoln “till all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s 250 years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword…” it could be seen as a judgment of God.

In sum, far from seeing a Christian warrant for slavery, Lincoln, in that profound address, pictured it as a deep woe upon the Republic, an “offence” against God, and the devastations of the Civil War as a providential unfolding.

He enfolds the most extreme acts of ISIS and other branches of radical Islam into a story of Christian hypocrisy. 

Oscar Wilde, if I may obtrude the playwright into so serious a subject, once wrote that listening to Chopin he felt “as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own.” That’s the same feeling one could get from listening from the tone and tenor of Mr. Obama’s prayer meeting remarks. In his impulse to absolve Islam, he offers a rebuke to Christianity. He enfolds the most extreme acts of ISIS and other branches of radical Islam into a story of Christian hypocrisy. He goes back a thousand years to indict, at least partially, Christianity, and ignores yesterday in order to maintain that all of Islam is peaceful.

There have been many sins committed by many faiths, and there are tragedies even now underway. But it is a very displaced analysis that seeks to offer corrections to Christianity during a period of Islamic turmoil, and seeks out forgotten sins to ignore those so very close to mind.

National Post

It seems to me that you defend what you really believe in and criticize what you don't. Obama's attempt to bring Christians down to the level of jihadi Muslims seems like a passive-aggressive attack on the church of Jesus Christ. And to do it when you are about to pray to that same Jesus, is just remarkable to me.