Simple Facts Upset the Wingnuts

President Obama said something entirely accurate and factual during his speech at the National Prayer Breakfast last week, so naturally the right wing exploded in howls of outrage. Facts to them are like garlic to a vampire or taxes to a billionaire. This simple statement of fact:

“Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history,” he told the group, speaking of the tension between the compassionate and murderous acts religion can inspire. “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.”

Cue the vastly overblown and melodramatic reaction:

Some Republicans were outraged. “The president’s comments this morning at the prayer breakfast are the most offensive I’ve ever heard a president make in my lifetime,” said former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore (R). “He has offended every believing Christian in the United States. This goes further to the point that Mr. Obama does not believe in America or the values we all share.”

If offends believing Christians to point out the undeniable fact that some horribly egregious and barbaric actions were justified on the grounds of Christianity? Well then maybe they need to grow the fuck up. Ta-Nehisi Coates, as usual, is spot on:

And enslavement was not made possible through Robert’s Rules of Order, but through a 250-year reign of mass torture, industrialized murder, and normalized rape—tactics which ISIS would find familiar. Its moral justification was not “because I said so,” it was “Providence,” “the curse against Canaan,” “the Creator,” “and Christianization.” In just five years, 750,000 Americans died because of this peculiar mission of “Christianization.” Many more died before, and many more died after. In his “Segregation Now” speech, George Wallace invokes God 27 times and calls the federal government opposing him “a system that is the very opposite of Christ.”…

That this relatively mild, and correct, point cannot be made without the comments being dubbed, “the most offensive I’ve ever heard a president make in my lifetime,” by a former Virginia governor gives you some sense of the limited tolerance for any honest conversation around racism in our politics. And it gives you something much more. My colleague Jim Fallows recently wrote about the need to, at once, infantilize and deify our military. Perhaps related to that is the need to infantilize and deify our history. Pointing out that Americans have done, on their own soil, in the name of their own God, something similar to what ISIS is doing now does not make ISIS any less barbaric, or any more correct. That is unless you view the entire discussion as a kind of religious one-upmanship, in which the goal is to prove that Christianity is “the awesomest.”

I would suggest that their real goal is to bury the horrors done in the name of Christianity and pretend they don’t exist, just as they do with the barbarism found in the Bible itself. They have no way to justify those things, so they respond with absolute fury when they are brought up. Obama’s “sin” is in telling the truth — and in the words of Col. Jessup, they can’t handle the truth.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • U Frood

    They console themselves by saying the people committing those atrocities weren’t following the “true” meaning of Christianity. The true meaning, of course, being whatever they believe.

  • dugglebogey

    Tucker Carlson went on TV outraged by Obama and said that christians are responsible for ending slavery.

    Mark my words, christians will take credit for legalizing gay marriage someday. I guarantee it.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    TYPICAL OBAMA!!! HE TAKES AN IMPORTANT SUBJECT LIKE MUSLINS COMING HERE TO KILL US ALL AND MAKES IT ALL ABOUT RACE AND HIS HATRED OF AMERICA!!!

  • wreck

    Why is there such a thing as a National Prayer Breakfast to begin with? So wingnuts can try to out-jeebus each other? Besides, any breakfast worth eating comes with a side of very unbiblical bacon or sausage.

  • U Frood

    This is America! How dare he use Muslin for anything. In America we believe in petroleum. Real Americas wear all polyester and nylon.

  • colnago80

    Re U Frood @ #5

    Actually cotton has made a huge comeback and one would be hard put to find things like underwear or pajamas made of manufactured products. Cotton is as American as apple pie.

  • D. C. Sessions

    OK, never mind the Crusades and slavery. How about the Spanish Inquisition? The Salem Witch Trials? All of those Baptists condemned and some executed back in Colonial days by pious Christians [1]? Pogroms in Tsarist Russia?

    [1] Yeah, No True Scotch Whiskey. Except that those Massachusetts colonists that did the atrocities were the same ones our modern Christianists claim as their proof of a Christian Nation. Pick one.

  • robertfaber

    I think the most ironic post I’ve seen was by my dad. He’s joining the yelling about Christians doing bad things 1000 years ago and America isn’t responsible for that. He’s a Mormon, and apparently hasn’t read much about his church’s founding and anti-Mormon violence–all of it from other Christians.

  • Larry

    Actually cotton has made a huge comeback and one would be hard put to find things like underwear or pajamas made of manufactured products.

    You sound like George Costanza when he convinced the Yankees to put their players into cotton uniforms that then proceeded to shrink, leaving the team running around like penguins.

  • Larry

    and apparently hasn’t read much about his church’s founding and anti-Mormon violence–all of it from other Christians.

    Nor about Mormon violence inflicted on xtian settlers: Mountain Meadow Massacre, anyone?

  • eric

    I would suggest that their real goal is to bury the horrors done in the name of Christianity and pretend they don’t exist

    Well, if they are saying that Obama does not share the traditional American value of “sweep bad stuff we’ve done under the rug,” then they’re partially right. He doesn’t share it for old crimes, but he does for new ones [cough *torture* cough].

  • caseloweraz

    A few years back, they blasted him for not attending the National Prayer Breakfast. Of course, he might attend but not say anything. I have no doubt that they’d be equally offended by that.

  • raven

    Xianity is soaked in blood and murder starting from the beginning and continuing till today.

    The first persecution of Jews by xians was when they could, in the late Roman empire 4th century after Constantine put them in power.

    Two of the Crusades were directed against other xians. The Albigensian genocide killed 1 million people and was 100% successful. They got every one of them. The last one was the sack of Constantinople, when Catholics attacked Eastern Orthodox. Some say that weakened the Byzantium empire enough that the Moslems could take it over.

    And don’t forget the Reformation Wars which killed tens of millions, went on for 450 years, and ended a whole 15 years ago in Northern Ireland.

  • Alverant

    Then you hear the cries of “It happened 5 centuries ago” followed by a reference to someone who supposedly lived 4 times longer ago .

  • laurentweppe

    Tucker Carlson went on TV outraged by Obama and said that christians are responsible for ending slavery.

    Well, that’s true: Christians established the american slave system, and other Christians kicked these Christians asses and abolished slavery.

  • http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com tommykey

    For President Obama, I suspect there is a more personal motivation for his comments. As the son of a mixed race couple, it was in his lifetime that the Supreme Court struck down a ban on interracial marriages in the Loving case.

    The trial judge for the case wrote in his decision in 1958 citing a religious justification for anti-miscegenation laws:

    “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races showed that he did not intend for the races to mix.”

  • Pierce R. Butler

    colnago80 @ # 6: Cotton is as American as apple pie.

    And with a history much more fraught with Christianist racism.

  • Lady Mondegreen

    @laurentweppe

    Christians established the american slave system, and other Christians kicked these Christians asses and abolished slavery.

    And quite a few freethinkers were involved in that struggle as well.

  • http://mostlyrational.net tacitus

    And don’t forget the Reformation Wars which killed tens of millions, went on for 450 years, and ended a whole 15 years ago in Northern Ireland.

    I wouldn’t consider the Troubles in Northern Ireland a religious conflict. It was sectarian and political, between two sides who happened to be of different religious traditions which no doubt helped fuel tribal loyalties, but religion was never the main cause or driving force of the conflict. Its origins lie in the political partition of Ireland, and it is best defined as a conflict between Republicans and Unionists, not between Catholics and Protestants, even if they happened to line up that way.

  • raven

    I wouldn’t consider the Troubles in Northern Ireland a religious conflict.

    The Protestants and Catholics of Northern Ireland would disagree.

    I see your mistake. It’s a bog common one.

    You can’t always separate religion from culture and politics. Sometimes they are so mixed together it’s just impossible and it is useless to even try. And they are all part of tribalism.

    I doubt if those two tribes would even exist without the religious difference. The Irish Celts and Scottish Celts are basically the same people and from an outsider’s point of view, closer to the same than most. Without a religious difference, by now they would have probably intermixed and no one would know or care.

    This happens a lot. My Protestant ancestors fought the Catholics during the Reformation Wars. Some of those Catholics were my…other ancestors. The family is mixed Protestants and Catholics and these days, no one cares.

  • http://www.themindisaterriblething.com shripathikamath

    One should always refer them to the secessionist constitutions.

    Here, from the Great Confederate State of Tejas

    That in this free government all white men are and of right ought to be entitled to equal civil and political rights; that the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations; while the destruction of the existing relations between the two races, as advocated by our sectional enemies, would bring inevitable calamities upon both and desolation upon the fifteen slave-holding states.

    Oh, the emphasis is in the original.

  • abb3w

    @-1, Ta-Nehisi Coates

    In his “Segregation Now” speech, George Wallace invokes God 27 times

    Cue “…but Wallace was a Democrat.”

  • laurentweppe

    quite a few freethinkers were involved in that struggle as well.

    Because the abolitionist Christians weren’t freethinkers, perhaps?

  • DLC

    So, tell me again why there is a National Prayer Breakfast in a supposedly secular country ?