Islamic vs Christian terrorism Controversy
From a collection of comments last week; this basically deserved its own article.
What they quote him as saying:
“Unless 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,” Obama told those in attendance. “In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”
The first article says “He also blamed Jim Crow segregation and American slavery on people acting in the name of Jesus Christ” as if that really wasn’t so, while “He also said the Islamic State was actually betraying Islam by committing atrocities.” (the actual quote this is attributed to says: “We see ISIL, a brutal vicious death cult that in the name of religion carries out unspeakable acts of barbarism”. Unless he actually said more than that, that’s not saying it betrayed Islam.
“For starters, the Crusades, slavery and Jim Crow aren’t currently a problem for the civilized world. So his attempt to draw a moral equivalency — aside from being intellectually dishonest — is likely to do more harm by emboldening Islamic terrorists.”
The point is, what the second article further quotes him:
“So it’s not unique to one group or one religion. There is a tendency in us — a sinful tendency — that can pervert and distort our faith.”
It’s that people are using ISIS (And Al Qaeda and others) to paint the entire religion of Islam, everywhere and for all time. If that can be done to them, it can also be done to Christianity, and if we acknowledge it’s inaccurate for us, then it’s inaccurate for others as well. (Again, we see the “we’re all good, they’re ALL bad” mindset used on every other political movement they are opposed to).
But conservatives, including the Christian ones who should know better than all, are in total ignorance of the universality of this “sinful tendency” even though it’s the entire basis of the Gospel plan; why Christ came in the first place. They think because they were born in this country, usually under the banner of “Christianity”; that automatically eliminates their sinful tendencies. They tie it to concepts such as “regeneration” or “the changed life” (which are totally misconstrued into a near behavioral perfection).
So it’s only others (such as Muslims) plagued with sin and evil.
But it should be mentioned, regarding comparing the religions of Christianity and Islam, that a “religion” called “Christianity” is not even a biblical term. It’s what grew out of the postapostolic period, and did become wrapped up in worldly power and conquest, often using the sword, just like people are condemning Islam for.
Getting hung up more and more on the Crusades example in particular, people are objecting basically, “the Muslims started it all” (with their conquests; so the Crusades were “defensive“), but even if so, the institutional Church by that time was already wrapped up in a mindset of power anyway, and had been so, ever since Constantine [at least]; way before Islam arose. Plus, great evidence it wasn’t always purely defensive is that in the fourth Crusade, the Western crusaders ended up conquering Eastern Christian lands; (furthering the split with the Eastern Church, and a key turning point in the decline of the empire and of Christianity in the Near East —[which allowed guess which religion, to take hold in its place?]).
So you simply had two corrupt religions vying for control over as much as they could conquer, and using each other’s evil as the justification for their own.
This was yet again the main point of Obama’s comparison.
Here’s something showing just how much like ISIS we have been in the past:
Now, they seem to be protesting that all of this was only centuries ago, but all they did was change the means of control, largely by force of others or other factors (like the North forcing slavery to end, or the Holy Roman Empire falling, and the Church losing power along with it).
So you once killed, and now stopped; you still have those same “sinful tendencies”. Do you really think you can hold up your supposed “good works” an that cancels out everything else? (And what about those, especially favoring stockpiling guns and looking to fight the government and “take back the country” someday?)
As far as Obama, critics seems to be alluding to the belief that Obama especially sympathizes with Islam (and perhaps is a Muslim). That is people’s conjecture, based on their dislike of the man. It’s this resentment of him as “not us”, so they hear everything he says as anti-Christian (and anti-white) and pro-everything we dislike. People claim they “know” what Obama is about, but this is filtered through these ridiculous presuppositions about him favoring Islam over Christianity; with these sites’ interpretations of his latest statements being a prime example. So they interpret earlier stuff he said and did this same way, and then use that to “prove” that’s what he means now; that’s a cyclical line of reasoning.
In reality, it seems that way because the nation is primarily Christian (in name and “culture” at least, with a lot of true Christians here as well), and we are at war with people who identify as Muslims, and people are condemning all Muslims for it. So a restoration of balance (since people are all essentially the same, as scripture even teaches), will look like it favors Muslims at the expense of Christians.
Here’s a great response to this:
Here’s some other good responses to this
Mike Huckabee Distorts Obama’s Comments On Religion
Christian Soldiers: The Lynching of Blacks in the Jim Crow South Were Considered Acts of Christian Duty
The lynching and torture of blacks in the Jim Crow South weren’t just acts of racism. They were religious rituals.
“Religion permeated communal lynching because the act occurred within the context of a sacred order designed to sustain holiness.”
“No person who is familiar with the Bible-beating, acrobatic, fanatical preachers of hell-fire in the South, and who has seen the orgies of emotion created by them, can doubt for a moment that dangerous passions are released which contribute to emotional instability and play a part in lynching.”
“The only Southern Christianity united in its opposition to lynching was that of black Americans, who tried to recontextualize the onslaught as a kind of crucifixion and its victims as martyrs, flipping the script and making blacks the true inheritors of Christian salvation and redemption. It’s that last point which should highlight how none of this was intrinsic to Christianity: It was a question of power, and of the need of the powerful to sanctify their actions.
People today again, protest that that was centuries ago, while the Islamists are still doing it today. But:
“Which is all to say that President Obama was right. The vastly different environments of pre–civil rights America and the modern-day Middle East belies the substantive similarities between the fairly recent religious violence of our white supremacist forebears and that of our contemporary enemies.”
In a discussion in response to:
where people expressed bewilderment at this sentiment, I added:
What I realized over the past few years of seeing these people’s hatred of Obama and simultaneous defensiveness against “the race card”, is that their whole hangup is this notion of “exceptionalism” (both Christian and American), so while they can clearly and loudly point at others’ evil, they cannot admit ANY evil of anything they identify with (and a psychological definition of “identity”, is “that which you think you are nothing without”. That perfectly sums up how they are about America, “the West”, and Christianity, even though many are more culturally Christian than actually practicing, and those who are more theologically committed should know better than to “identify” [so strongly] with something other than Christ).
So they turn the tables, and put themselves out as “victims” (even while loudly mocking others for “victimhood”) and endlessly accuse Obama or whoever of “attacking” them, trying to “destroy” the country, and being on the side of their “enemies”.
So this whole issue is like a double strike. Pointing out the evil of their forbears, and telling them to stop hating people they see as part of the “enemy”. Hence, they react this way.
The Slate article concludes:
“This isn’t relativism as much as it’s a clear-eyed view of our common vulnerability, of the truth that the seeds of violence and autocracy can sprout anywhere, and of the fact that our present position on the moral high ground isn’t evidence of some intrinsic superiority.”
Another interesting article on this:
Does Obama’s ‘God Talk’ Stand A Chance In A Polarized America?