On Thursday, at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., President Obama blithely informed his audience that Christians ought not get on their “high horse” about the problem of radical Islam:
Unless we get on our high horse and think that this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and 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. So it is not unique to one group or one religion. There is a tendency in us, a simple tendency that can pervert and distort our faith.
This is historically and philosophically illiterate. Historically speaking, the Crusades were a response to Islamic aggression in Europe and the Middle East; the Inquisition, as Jonah Goldberg points out while quoting historian Thomas Madden, director of the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Saint Louis University, was designed to regularize executions rather than leaving them to the will of the masses. Christians undoubtedly pursued horrible brutalities against people, including innocent Jews. However, as Goldberg points out, “Christianity, even in its most terrible days, even under the most corrupt popes, even during the most unjustifiable wars, was indisputably a force for the improvement of man.”
Nowhere is that clearer than in Obama’s second example, slavery. Virtually all of the most ardent abolitionists were deeply religious Christians. Hundreds of thousands of American men marched to their deaths singing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”: “In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea / With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me / As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free / While God is marching on.” That was 150 years ago. It’s not exactly the modern Islamic slogan, “Death to the Jews.” Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., was, as his name suggests, a reverend. He quoted old black Christian spirituals and the Biblical story of the exodus from Egypt. Christians obliterated slavery. Christians obliterated Jim Crow. Modern slavery is largely perpetrated by Muslims. Modern Jim Crow is certainly perpetrated by Muslims under shariah law.
There is a larger point, here, too: President Obama’s foolish argument suggests that because Christians were brutal a millennium ago, they should shut up about brutalities today. This is somewhat like saying that because someone’s great-great-grandfather held slaves in rural Alabama, that person should shut up about human trafficking in 2015. It’s asinine.
But Obama has a history of insulting Christianity and Judaism while upholding Islam. In 2006, Obama bashed the Bible and religious Christians and Jews in particular:
Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is ok and that eating shellfish is abomination? How about Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount – a passage that is so radical that it’s doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application? So before we get carried away, let’s read our bibles. Folks haven’t been reading their bibles.
He then concluded that religious leaders should not speak out against publicly-funded contraception or gay marriage.
We can get into President Obama’s pathetic Biblical commentary here – his interpretation of Leviticus on slavery is incorrect, Jews still avoid shellfish, the Talmud explains that no child has ever been stoned for rebelliousness, and the Sermon on the Mount is not a pacifist document. Obama’s not Biblically literate – he’s the same fellow who says, “I think the good book says don’t throw stones in glass houses.”
He said in The Audacity of Hope that he would define Biblical values however he chose, stating that he is not willing “to accept a reading of the Bible that considers an obscure line in Romans to be more defining of Christianity than the Sermon on the Mount.” Both are, in fact, parts of the Bible. Citing the Sermon on the Mount to justify civil unions for homosexuals, as Obama has done, is not in fact Biblical.
But more importantly, Obama’s scorn for the old-fashioned Bible is obvious. That became more obvious in 2008, when Obama told some of his buddies in San Francisco that unemployed idiots “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”
The Obama administration has routinely attacked religious organizations and people who violate Obama’s personal political predilections. They’ve attacked all trappings of Christianity as well. Whether they’re using Obamacare to force religious individuals to pay for others’ contraception or toning down the National Day of Prayer instead of holding a public ceremony, whether they’re covering a monogram of Jesus at Georgetown University during a presidential speech or objecting to adding FDR’s D-Day prayer to the WWII memorial, the Obama administration clearly isn’t fond of Christianity.
This contrasts strongly with President Obama’s romantic vision of Islam. He famously called the Muslim call to prayer “the sweetest sound I know.” He said in his first presidential interview, with Al-Arabiya, that his job was “to communicate to the American people that the Muslim world is filled with extraordinary people who simply want to live their lives and see their children live better lives.” Weeks later, he said in Turkey, “We will convey our deep appreciation for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over the centuries to shape the world — including in my own country.” A few months later, in a speech in Cairo to which he invited the Muslim Brotherhood, Obama said:
I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed. That experience guides my conviction that partnership between America and Islam must be based on what Islam is, not what it isn’t. And I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.
He added that Islam has a “proud tradition of tolerance,” explained, ‘Islam is not part of the problem in combating violent extremism – it is an important part of promoting peace,” and said, “America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles of justice and progress, tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.” He said in his Ramadan message in 2009 that Islam has played a key “role in advancing justice, progress, tolerance, and the dignity of all human beings.”
ISIS, Obama has said over and over again, is not Islamic. His administration maintains that America is not at war with radical Islam. He stated before the United Nations in 2012, just weeks after the murder of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya at the hands of Muslim terrorists, “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.” Hillary Clinton allegedly promised Charles Woods, father of one of the slain in Benghazi, that the administration would achieve the arrest of the YouTube filmmaker behind The Innocence of Muslims. The State Department issued taxpayer-funded commercials denouncing that YouTube video. President Obama variously called the video “crude and disgusting” and stated that “its message must be rejected by all who respect our common humanity.” At the UN in 2014, Obama lauded a Muslim cleric who backs Hamas. And, of course, Obama uses Islamic theology to promote his vision of world peace:
All of us have a responsibility to work for the day when the mothers of Israelis and Palestinians can see their children grow up without fear; when the Holy Land of the three great faiths is the place of peace that God intended it to be; when Jerusalem is a secure and lasting home for Jews and Christians and Muslims, and a place for all of the children of Abraham to mingle peacefully together as in the story of Isra, when Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed, peace be upon them, joined in prayer.
All three religions do have access to holy sites now, in Jewish-run Jerusalem. They did not when Muslims ruled Jerusalem. But facts have no bearing in the fantasy world of the president.
Perhaps one final contrast tells the tale. In 2012, according to the Washington Post. “U.S. troops tried to burn about 500 copies of the Koran as part of a badly bungled security sweep at an Afghan prison in February.” Two American soldiers were shot in the aftermath. This prompted President Obama to apologize profusely to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, writing him a letter stating, “We will take the appropriate steps to avoid any recurrence, including holding accountable those responsible.”
Three years earlier, members of the military burned Bibles printed in Pashto and Dari. CNN reported that they had been discarded “amid concern they would be used to try to convert Afghans.” The Bibles were burned rather than sent back to their source organization because the military worried they might be re-sent to another outlet in Afghanistan. There was no apology to the church that printed the Bibles, or to Christians more broadly.
Sure, radical Muslims around the world, supported by millions of their compatriots and friendly governments, are murdering innocents. But it’s Christian aggression that forces Muslims to burn other Muslims alive in Muslim countries.
Ben Shapiro is Senior Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the new book, The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against The Obama Administration (Threshold Editions, June 10, 2014). He is also Editor-in-Chief of TruthRevolt.org. Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.