President Obama spoke at the annual National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday and gave a perfectly reasonable speech (with one disagreement, which I’ll get to later) about the fact that religion can and does lead people to show extraordinary kindness and appalling barbarism. Here’s the relevant text:
[P]art of what I want to touch on today is the degree to which we’ve seen professions of faith used both as an instrument of great good, but also twisted and misused in the name of evil.
As we speak, around the world, we see faith inspiring people to lift up one another — to feed the hungry and care for the poor, and comfort the afflicted and make peace where there is strife….
But we also see faith being twisted and distorted, used as a wedge — or, worse, sometimes used as a weapon. From a school in Pakistan to the streets of Paris, we have seen violence and terror perpetrated by those who profess to stand up for faith, their faith, professed to stand up for Islam, but, in fact, are betraying it. We see ISIL, a brutal, vicious death cult that, in the name of religion, carries out unspeakable acts of barbarism — terrorizing religious minorities like the Yezidis, subjecting women to rape as a weapon of war, and claiming the mantle of religious authority for such actions.
We see sectarian war in Syria, the murder of Muslims and Christians in Nigeria, religious war in the Central African Republic, a rising tide of anti-Semitism and hate crimes in Europe, so often perpetrated in the name of religion.
So how do we, as people of faith, reconcile these realities — the profound good, the strength, the tenacity, the compassion and love that can flow from all of our faiths, operating alongside those who seek to hijack religious for their own murderous ends?
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 Gandhiji, the person who helped to liberate that nation.
My one disagreement with this is to say that it simply isn’t true that those who act barbarically are “distorting” those religions. There is plenty of support for such behavior to be round in all the great religions, just as there is plenty of support for being kind and generous and decent. Neither one is a distortion, people are just picking and choosing which parts of their religion they want to follow.Naturally, Fox News reported on this and their viewers immediately started saying exactly the kinds of things we’ve come to expect from them:
Tony Stalcup · Top Commenter · Wktct/UK
This Nigga aint got a clue & He don’t CARE what Americans want…. This has been all about HIM & HIS AGENDA from the git-n go.. His ultimate goal is to RULE.
Tony Stalcup · Top Commenter · Wktct/UK
My Question is WHY do we allow a terrorist to reside in our White House…..?
Karen Deckert · Top Commenter · Schenck High School
Obama at Prayer Breakfast: ‘Terrible Deeds Also Committed in Name of Christ’
Scott Douglas · Top Commenter
I am so sick of this lying, ignorant, islam loving, American hating idiot cockroach of a president. His grasp of history is as weak as his understanding of the Constitution.
Karen Diering Clark · Top Commenter
What the hell??? Just who the hell does he think he is??? This muslim needs to go!!
Paul Leslie · Top Commenter
How pathetic can Dear Leader be. Evidently, there’s no bottom to that. As he tried to make himself look better by trashing Bush, now he tries to make muslim brutality look better by trashing Christianity. And, to make matters worse, he doesn’t use the reality of Christians experiences, but he uses the leftist and muslim revisionist portrayals. The only time Dear Leader (and all leftists) engages in “morality” is to make illegitimate moral equivalencies in order to validate their bogus, bankrupt ideology.
Johnston Nubbin · CEO and head cashier at Bank of Dad
Ha!!! Sorry dude, this is the 21st century and Goat humpers (Muslim Terrorist) are doing the dastardly deeds!
Matthew Ball · Follow · Top Commenter · Keeper at My 4 Dogs
THIS NEGRO HAS TO GO………
And it goes on and on like that.