Nearly 1400 years ago, in 638 A.D. a large Islamic military force sacked the city of Jerusalem over the course of three days. In the process of doing so, they destroyed more than 300 churches and monasteries and put many Christians and Jews to death or into enforced servitude. Over the following four centuries, as the religion founded by the Islamic prophet Mohammed grew, so did the conquest of other Christian lands in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and indeed as far west as Moorish Spain. Those people living under the rule of their new Muslim conquerors were constantly persecuted if they refused to convert to Islam.
In 1095 A.D., after putting up with over four and a half centuries of continued unprovoked Muslim aggression and oppression of Christian lands and people, Pope Urban II preached for men from all of Christendom to march to liberate Jerusalem. Those Christian men, women, and children who were forced to live under Muslim rule in those lands were to be set free. Thus was the start of the first crusade. Other crusades followed over the next several centuries.
Today, no thanks to revisionist history and Hollywood license, the crusades are synonymous with the evils of the Christian faith. Indeed, there were certainly atrocities committed during the Crusades by Christian Knights and warriors, just as there are in any war. That said, the overall stated purpose of the Crusades as preached by Pope Urban II was a noble cause.
Nearly a millennia later, President Barack Hussein Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast last Thursday pointed to these supposed “evils” of the Christian Crusades in a seemingly school yard attempt at saying, “See! They did it too!”
“Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history. And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ. Michelle and I returned from India -- an incredible, beautiful country, full of magnificent diversity -- but a place where, in past years, religious faiths of all types have, on occasion, been targeted by other peoples of faith, simply due to their heritage and their beliefs -- acts of intolerance that would have shocked Gandhi, the person who helped to liberate that nation.
So this is not unique to one group or one religion. There is a tendency in us, a sinful tendency that can pervert and distort our faith. In today's world, when hate groups have their own Twitter accounts and bigotry can fester in hidden places in cyberspace, it can be even harder to counteract such intolerance. But God compels us to try."
~ President Barack Hussein Obama 2/5/2015
Yes, we as fallen and flawed men and women of faith - of ALL faiths - will always fall far short of the lofty ideals and tenets of doctrine espoused by our various religions.
But, there is indeed a profound difference.
Christian “extremism” is largely something that was last commonly found centuries ago in the Middle Ages. Islamic extremism is something found occurring this week. Christian “extremism” is something largely relegated to the history books. Muslim extremism is a clear and present danger today and is a very real threat to all of Western civilization.
So, what was the point of President Obama bringing up real or imagined evils of Christianity at the prayer breakfast when such have not been a threat to America’s way of life in anyone’s lifetime today? It would seem that he invoked those “evils” as a way of trying to mitigate the recent actions of Islamic extremists.
President Obama further gets it wrong in pointing out the evils within our own United States history. Indeed it was Christians following the true dictates of the faith that were abolitionists and were largely responsible for the precipitation of our bloody civil war to right the wrongs of slavery. God created us to be free men and women and we are charged with the moral and ethical duty to “love thy neighbor” accordingly. Nowhere else in history has a nation fought amongst itself to champion such a Christian ideal. It was indeed true Christianity that ended American slavery; it was not the justification for keeping such an evil institution in place. Indeed, slavery still exists in the world today, and is largely practiced by adherents of extremist Islam.
Despite President Obama’s tale of seeming moral equivalence, and the implied statement that “people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones” rhetoric, there is a profound difference between Christian extremism and Muslim Extremism.
The Christian faith teaches us to “love our neighbor” and to “do unto others as we would have them do unto us.” Unfortunately, for millions of extremist Muslims throughout the world, the new crusade of hate that al Qaida, ISIS, the Muslim Brotherhood, Boko Haram, and other such groups are waging is one they see as being commanded by their god and countenanced by his holy book. It is a war, not unlike the one waged 1400 years ago against Jerusalem, where the Islamic extremists wish to kill or enslave all those who refuse to convert to their perverted brand of Islam. Even Muslims that do not hate enough are subject to the extremists’ persecution.
The Islamic faith is waxing ever stronger across the world today, while Christianity throughout much of Europe and indeed the entire world seems to be waning. With the growth of mainstream Islam, so too will the number of extremist Islamic adherents increase. And, with that growth in Islamic extremism, the battle will continue to be brought ever closer to our own doorstep yet again.
America, as a Christian nation, is very tolerant of those having differing faiths and cultures, and this is indeed a very good thing. That said, we must not kowtow to political correctness. It is not racism, intolerance, or bigotry to point out evil wherever it might be found. The ability to fight evil is greatly weakened when we refuse to call it what it is. Sadly and most dangerously, President Obama seems to fail to acknowledge that extremist Islam is even the enemy. Instead he equivocates and says “we all do it”.
How do we fight, let alone prevail, against an enemy that we refuse to even name?
How is it that we have turned our backs time and time again on this existential danger after seeing first-hand the convictions of Islamic extremist hatred for us as evidenced in Beirut, Mogadishu, the U.S.S Cole, Khobar towers, the embassy bombings in Tanzania and Kenya, the World Trade Center on two different occasions, the Pentagon, and myriads (more than two) of other such terrorist events.
No, Mr. President; the sins of extremist Islam and extremist Christianity are nowhere near in moral equivalency. In fact, if we are to survive as a nation, I would submit that robust Christianity and a willingness to protect and fight for all that is good and holy as predicated by this faith founded in God’s love, is indeed going to be our last and perhaps only hope. Extremist Islam is the enemy and the problem. It is only through true Christianity that we may find the solution to this problem, Mr. President.