Not feeling the hysteria…

Not feeling the hysteria… February 6, 2015

…over Obama’s Prayer Breakfast remarks. It’s just today’s Panic du Jour from the Noise Machine. Here’s what he actually said:

“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…

“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. And in this mission, I believe there are a few principles that can guide us, particularly those of us who profess to believe.

“And, first, we should start with some basic humility. I believe that the starting point of faith is some doubt — not being so full of yourself and so confident that you are right and that God speaks only to us, and doesn’t speak to others, that God only cares about us and doesn’t care about others, that somehow we alone are in possession of the truth.” (source)

This seems, not merely reasonable, but rather pedestrian.

"Before Abraham was, I AM.Another jaw dropper from the Gospel of John ( 90–110 CE). ..."

Some Reflections on the Crucifixion for ..."
"The earliest Christian text we know, 1 Thessalonians, addresses the anxiety of Paul's converts about ..."

Some Reflections on the Crucifixion for ..."
"That is not at all what people mean by the "reliability" of the New Testament ..."

Some Reflections on the Crucifixion for ..."
"One possible answer here is that Mark is a Catholic Christian, and not a Fundamental ..."

Some Reflections on the Crucifixion for ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


TRENDING AT PATHEOS Catholic
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • HornOrSilk

    Just need to remember, our saintly John Paul II made an apology over the Crusades for a reason. A lot of evil was done in them. It’s amazing how anyone goes about justifying the sacking of Constantinople — not just the attack on the city, but the violation of the church as well, including desecration of the eucharist….

    • Cypressclimber

      “…justifying the sacking of Constantinople — not just the attack on the city, but the violation of the church as well, including desecration of the eucharist…”

      Indeed; and just who is justifying those things?

      • HornOrSilk

        People attacking Obama’s speech.

        • Cypressclimber

          Really? Which ones? I attacked Obama’s speech. When did I justify the sacking of Constantinople and the desecration of the Eucharist?

          • HornOrSilk

            What a pathetic response. When I pointed out I saw people doing it, why do you then have to include yourself in the comment? I saw the discussion, which indeed went into the issue of the sacking of Constantinople, and I saw all kinds of justification for it by people upset at Obama’s speech. Saying I saw people give the discussion means I included you? Seriously?

            • Cypressclimber

              Thanks for the insult.

              It was not clear from the comment to which I responded that you were speaking of a specific group of people. The comment to which I was responding was posted about an hour ago. At that point, you did not specify who was defending the looting of Constantinople. That came much later — in fact, almost simultaneous with my last comment.

              So attacking me for not catching something you said to someone else — is really classy. Thanks for that.

              • HornOrSilk

                The insult? You claimed I attacked you and claimed you did something. Now you say thanks for the insult when I pointed out you more or less put words in my mouth? Seriously it is an insult to say your response was pathetic when it did just that? Ponder before you write. Not everything is about you.

                • Cypressclimber

                  You’re full of it — and yourself.

                  You posted a comment about 1 hour ago that complained generally about “people attacking Obama’s speech” — saying that this undefined set had all defended the sacking of Constantinople.

                  In a much later comment — directed to someone else — and as it happens, posted almost simultaneous to my question — provides the much needed clarification which you didn’t bother to provide earlier.

                  Attacking me because I couldn’t read your mind is “pathetic.” Having nothing but insults to offer when you are caught being sloppy and glib is “pathetic.”

                  And, yes, my attempting a conversation with you was a big mistake on my part. I won’t make that mistake again.

                  • HornOrSilk

                    In a comment DIRECTED AT ME. You wrote the comment. AT ME. And then you say it is directed at someone else. And then you put words in my mouth and tell me I am full of it and myself? Seriously? Please.

                    • Cypressclimber

                      Dude, can you not read the entire thread? Take note of the time-stamp of the comments you made, and mine, and the clarifications from you.

                      You are faulting me for not seeing a clarification that you offered AFTER I asked you about the earlier comment.

                      Expecting me to read your mind is…to quote you… “pathetic.”

                    • HornOrSilk

                      Look to the comment — your original comment was directed at me. Your inability to even admit that says enough. Good day.

                • Cypressclimber

                  “When I pointed out I saw people doing it, why do you then have to include yourself in the comment?”

                  This is misleading on your part. You did not say these things in the comments to which I responded; and had not said them when challenged you.

                  Trying to clean up your sloppy statement after the fact is — to quote you — “pathetic.”

                  • HornOrSilk

                    You added yourself into my words, which did not say you were included. It was not sloppy. Your reasoning is. You claim I wrote a reply to something not even addressed to me. WRONG. You wrote directly to me and I replied. Seriously!

                    • Steve P

                      Cypress & Horn – WTH??
                      Just lay off the computer for the weekend. Two days in a row I come to Mark’s blog looking for some discussion and a break from some crazy work stuff, and I’m treated to ridiculous bickering between long-time commenters who I normally respect and like to hear from. It was someone else yesterday.
                      Please, for the sake of our shared Christian faith… knock it off & play nice! You’re better than this!

                • Cypressclimber

                  Actually I asked a question, based on a comment you made that was an unqualified attack on everyone who attacked Obama’s speech. You clarified it later, which is great, but you hadn’t then. But you can’t even manage to answer a question without being insulting. “Pathetic.”

                • Cypressclimber

                  I didn’t put words in your mouth. That particular statement is false. You don’t want to acknowledge that the original comment to which I responded was an unqualified statement about everyone who was critical of Obama’s speech. It’s great you clarified it much later, but expecting me to have known that beforehand is ridiculous.

    • UAWildcatx2

      Also need to remember that St. Pope John Paul II didn’t apologize for the Crusades in and of themselves; rather, he apologizes for those actions committed contrary to the Gospels. He never made comments on the Crusades themselves. His apology was regarding the sacking of Constantinople, which Innocent III apologized for at the time.

      • HornOrSilk

        Not just the sacking of Constantinople. There was a LOT of evil done with the Crusades: remember the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

        • antigon

          ‘remember the road to hell is paved with good intentions.’
          *
          Nonsense. As Chesterton pointed out: Good intentions are the one thing the road to hell could not be paved with. Only a Calvinist would think that, he added.

          • HornOrSilk

            Well, since ends do not justify the means, we know the road to hell (means) is paved with good intentions (ends)

            • UAWildcatx2

              Ends do not justify the means. I agree with you. However, according to your logic:

              Good intentions do not justify the road to Hell.

              This argument doesn’t make any logical sense. Please explain how you worked this out.

              • HornOrSilk

                It makes perfect sense. We all have all kinds of good intentions which we use to justify evil. Indeed, as Augustine pointed out, ALL evil is done under the guise of some good (for we aim for a lesser good than we should when we do evil). So the road to hell is paved with good intentions points out all the evil we do is under the guise of some good. It’s a basic truth of sin.

                • antigon

                  Solidarity with dreaming canines who won’t let go of bones even when they don’t exist is – characteristic of you my dear Horno, but GKC was right & you’re just being silly.
                  *
                  Yet dreams aside – & as you know – the wicked roads get cemented only by means that betray the intentions, not the intentions themselves; since desire for the good in itself can only come from God, & thus only pave the road to Heaven.

        • asmondius

          If killing others is essentially evil, than every human conflict meets the same criteria.

    • Alma Peregrina

      Why would anyone justify the sacking of Constantinople? It was done by excommunicated soldiers disobeying the will of the pope.

      • HornOrSilk

        Sadly, I saw people discussing Obama’s speech, one person mentioned the sacking of Constantinople, and the response was the Greeks deserved it…

        • Alma Peregrina

          For some right-wingers, the Greeks are always deserving it.

          Bah-dum-tsh!

          PS: I guess that joke is understood by europeans only … ;-(

    • Ye Olde Statistician

      It is also useful to examine the actual actions of the players involved. The starving army was not acting on a whim, but a sense that they were being played by the Byzantines in their power struggles, and were being stiffed on their fee for helping one of the princes to re-take the throne. History is always local and particular, but commboxers tend toward the global and generic.

  • Dave

    Of course, there were terrible deeds done during the Crusades. But if there is a war in which no terrible deeds were committed, I am unaware of it. When you have thousands upon thousands of soldiers, some are going to commit terrible deeds, whether of a greater scale or a smaller. There were cases of terrible deeds committed by the Allies in WW II. The war itself was still a just one, of course.

    Similarly, the main point is that the Crusades were a defensive war. Islam by its nature has always been a militarized religion spreading by force, starting with Mohammed himself. For more than a thousand years, Christians have defended themselves from Muslim incursion and sometimes tried to regain lost lands that were forcibly taken by the Muslims. Lest we forget, at various times, the Muslims advanced as far as Northern France and Vienna. I, for one, don’t apologize for the Crusades, since I prefer not to be a Muslim (assuming I would even exist)

    Personally, I don’t really feel a need to apologize for the terrible deeds done by some of the Crusaders, any more than I feel a need to apologize when a fellow American does something awful overseas in Iraq. I’ve got more than enough of my own sins to apologize for without apologizing for every sinner who ever walked the Earth. Pope John Paul II, representing all Christians, can, I suppose, apologize for the sins of all Christians who ever walked the Earth.

    • Elmwood

      exactly, obama left out the giant fact that both the crusades and inquisition were largely a reaction to islamic invasions of europe.

      our wars in the middle east have killed many more innocents than the crusades or the inquisition combined. they were done because of a religion called Americanism.

      • Ye Olde Statistician

        The inquisition was not. Inquisitio was a Late Republican legal form in which the tasks of gathering evidence and prosecuting the offenders is a la the intro to Law and Order taken up by organs of the State. The alternative form, the accusatio put the onus on the plaintiff. (Can you imagine bringing a mafia don to trial if the whole thing was up to you to round up witnesses and compel the don to court?) The distinction survives today in our distinction between criminal and civil proceedings. An inquisitorial proceeding is more like a grand jury or a coroner’s inquest or a special prosecutor, however.

        The medieval inquisitions were ad hoc and summoned whenever there was cause. Secular courts were more severe and both the lords and the 99% would complain about “the habitual tender-heartedness of the clergy,” what with their reluctance to hand out capital sentences.

        In any case, it was not like the Tudors’ Star Chamber or the secret police of the modern scientific state.

    • Fr. Denis Lemieux

      No offense, but Northern France? I think you meant to write Southern France. I don’t think the Muslims ever made it to Normandy or Brittany!

      • Dave

        Look up the Battle in Tours. You could say North-Central France but it’s definitely not Southern France where the battle was fought.

  • Peggy

    I liked Bobby Jindal’s response:

    “It was nice of the President to give us a history lesson at the Prayer
    breakfast,” Jindal said. “Today, however, the issue right in front of
    his nose, in the here and now, is the terrorism of Radical Islam, the
    assassination of journalists, the beheading and burning alive of
    captives. We will be happy to keep an eye out for runaway Christians,
    but it would be nice if he would face the reality of the situation
    today. The Medieval Christian threat is under control, Mr. President.
    Please deal with the Radical Islamic threat today.”

    via NRO: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/398060/jindal-obama-medieval-christian-threat-under-control-eliana-johnson

    This was Obama’s obfuscation and denial of the threat of radical Islam.

    • Brett Powers

      Nope. I am not buying that. See below.

      • Peggy

        Unlike with Mohammed, there’s no gun to your head or sword to your neck. Take it up w/Jindal.

    • petey

      does sin not exist in the christian breast? this is NROs obfuscation of basic christian teaching and the threat of sin itself, which is the core of obama’s comment. how blind can people be?

      • Peggy

        This is Bobby Jindal, a Roman Catholic governor of Louisiana. He’s not discussing theology but the fact that radical Islam is the problem, not radical Christianity. Further, there may have been some atrocities during the Crusades, but the Crusades as others have said were defensive wars, a few hundred years ago at that. Inquisitions were govt run events with not as much death as claimed.

        O just keeps wanting to stick it in the eye of Christians and whites. He omits Islam’s past and present slavery and the complicity of Africans in selling their fellows into slavery in the New World.

        When hundreds or even a few dozen Christians band together to engage in wanton murder, rape and mayhem in the name of Christ the Lord, then O may have some concerns.

        I gotta tend to my dog. And my kid is asking the impossible driving me nuts at the moment. Crazy Friday. Adieu for now.

        • Sue Korlan

          Except he didn’t seem to have any when the Christian army attacking Uganda was doing its thing. It’s also interesting that no one here seems to be addressing Boko Haran. Perhaps despite our best attempts we’re still a basically racist country at heart.

          • Peggy

            Who didn’t have any what? I don’t understand.

            By all means, add Boko Haran to the discussion. It has not been out of the news necessarily. It’s just that BH wasn’t brought up by Obama. He doesn’t want to associate Islam of any kind with the terrorism of today.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            The Chadian army crossed the border into Nigeria and drove out “Books-are-Bad” from the border towns. Nigeria concurred in the action.

      • asmondius

        Not so blind as to think that the issue in the Middle East is Christian Crusaders.

  • Jean-Francois

    Have any of the Apostles or their successors said the same as the Caliph Omar who was a friend of Mohammed’s and one of his successors who formed one of the two main branches of Islam? Here is what he said, ““It behooves us to devour the Christians and our sons the bed of their descendants, so long as any of them remain on the earth.” From the Church in the Dark Ages by H. Daniel-Rops. That was around the year 634 BTW.

    • Dave

      Exactly – Islam has always been a militaristic religion spreading by force, starting with Mohammed himself. In Islam, this is the norm. In Christianity, it is the exception.

    • Alexander S Anderson

      Hey, look! Some people use religion to justify atrocities! This is exactly what Obama was pointing out, good to see someone agree with him.

      • Jean-Francois

        Again you are missing the point. First off the atrocities committed by Christians during the crusades or presently was not done “in the name of anything.” Give me one instance where a Christian has cried out the name of God just prior to committing his violent act. Contrast that with actions carried out by others. What did the terrorists in Paris say about their prophet being avenged? When did a “christian” cry out something similar?

        • Alexander S Anderson

          I can dig up plenty of cringe-worthy justifications from WWI, but I don’t see the point if you’re just going to try to weasel around them. Christianity is not clean and pure, it does not turn us all into angels. Expecting it to is going to get you in trouble.

          • Jean-Francois

            Don’t put words into my mouth. I never suggested any such thing about Christianity or that it makes people into angels.

            So lets see one “cringe-worthy justification” from WWI, or any other time when a Catholic or even a generic Christian has cried out an equivalent to Allah Akbar. Not a Christian who has done something atrocious but a Christian who has said he does evil “in the name of Christianity.” Dig one up and don’t make excuses why you won’t because you think I will “weasel around it.”

            • Sue Korlan

              See above.

            • Alexander S Anderson

              A German pastor wrote this during World War I:

              In thy merciful patience, forgive
              Each bullet and each blow
              That misses its mark.
              Lead us not into the temptation
              Of letting our wrath be too gentle
              In carrying out Thy divine judgment.
              Deliver us and our pledged ally
              From the Evil One and his servants on earth.
              Thine is the kingdom, The German land.
              May we, through Thy mailed hand
              Come to power and glory.

              I dunno about you, but I think that Allah Akbar (God is great) is rather tame comparatively.

              • Jean-Francois

                Apples and oranges.

                • Alexander S Anderson

                  I told you you would do that, and then you did! Sometimes when you put words in someone’s mouth, you aren’t wrong. But seriously, examine that ideology of yours. It’s making you unable to think.

                  • Jean-Francois

                    You want to compare a prayer made in time of war between two acknowledged enemies both sides which happened to be Christian with the prayer of someone who straps bombs to his chest and blows himself up in a market of innocent people? The prayer even though made by a Christian was not made to conquer the enemy in the name of Christianity but in the name of his country, Germany.

                    • Alexander S Anderson

                      They are doing similar things whether or not one action is more acceptable than the other. The other quotes aren’t prayers, what do you think of them?

            • Alexander S Anderson

              And, well, these:

              “It’s not a saint or a bishop, it’s Our Lady herself, it’s the Mother of God-made-Man for us, who endures the violence and the fire. She’s the one we saw burning at the center of our lines, like the virgin of Rouen once upon a time, She’s the one they’re trying to slaughter, the old Mother, the one who gives us her body as a rampart. At the center of our lines, she’s the one who stands as the rampart and the flag against Black Luther’s dark hordes.” —Paul Claudel, La Nuit de Noël de 1914

              “Kill Germans—do kill them; not for the sake of killing, but to save the world, to kill the good as well as the bad, to kill the young as well as the old, to kill those who have shown kindness to our wounded as well as those fiends. . . . As I have said a thousand times, I look upon it as a war for purity, I look upon everyone who died in it as a martyr.” —Rt. Rev. Arthur Winnington-Ingram, Bishop of London

              “It is God who has summoned us to this war. It is his war we are fighting. . . . This conflict is indeed a crusade. The greatest in history—the holiest. It is in the profoundest and truest sense a Holy War. . . . Yes, it is Christ, the King of Righteousness, who calls us to grapple in deadly strife with this unholy and blasphemous power.” —Rev. Randolph McKim, Rector of Church of the Epiphany, Washington, DC

              “There is not an opportunity to deal death to the enemy that [Jesus] would shirk from or delay in seizing! He would take bayonet and grenade and bomb and rifle.” —Albert Dieffenbach, American Unitarian pastor (of German heritage!)

              • asmondius

                This is your proof – reflections of several individuals?

                • Alexander S Anderson

                  I shouldn’t even need that much.

                  • asmondius

                    Of course not – fiction needs no verification.

                • Alexander S Anderson

                  Fiction needs verification all the time! Yours appears to be lacking.

                  • asmondius

                    Ah, once the personal insult arises we know your cause has been lost.

                    • Alexander S Anderson

                      If you think being told that you’re wrong is a personal insult, you aren’t going to last very long in discussion.

                    • asmondius

                      Whiff!

        • Sue Korlan

          Check out the massacres of the Cathars by what called itself a crusade. Even Warren Carroll condemns what happened there, and he tends to be an apologist for Catholicism.

  • Brett Powers

    Having read all the sound and fury from the RWNM commentariat on FB posts from both Mark and Greydanus, I will add my two bits:

    Obama’s overall point was just fine. It is, in fact, excellent. His examples could probably have been chosen with better care, but they in no way invalidate his overall point.

    And for the record, I view him as a hopeless incompetent. Maybe it’s the blind pig thesis at work, or maybe he actually can do some things right at times, but the hysteria over this is absurdly wrong.

    ABSURDLY wrong.

  • Alma Peregrina

    Hum… Maybe because Obama’s remarks are the typical collection of clichés that modernist hedonist left-wingers use to silence catholics, conservatives and everyone that doesn’t agree with them.

    Namely:
    “Crusades and Inquisition”, “intolerance” and “not being so confident that you are right” or “that somehow we alone are in possession of the truth”

    Also, maybe we should be weary of whom he’s talking about when he mentions “hate groups” and “bigotry” that he wants to “counteract”.

    That speech contains some truths according to catholic faith, some reasonable parts. But they are not as innocuous as they seem.

    Following Obama’s own advice: ” I believe that the starting point (…) is some doubt”

    • zebbart

      Yeah that’s the thing, he’s dog whistling anti-Catholicism in the same way conservatives who use words like “thug” and “inner-city crime” are dog whistling racism. On it’s face the statement is innocent if vacuous, but the subtext is more problematic.

      • Alma Peregrina

        Yep… I’m amazed at how many people are missing this, either from the “that’s a reasonable speech” part of the spectrum, to the “Islam is not equivalent to Christianity” part of the spectrum.

        Obama is being passive-agressive with Christianity here, and that should be the main focus of the “hysteria”, not Islam.

        • IRVCath

          Precisely. I don’t begrudge him about his attempt to build bridges with Muslims, many of whom are our allies against ISIS, and remember that if they marched into Cairo, the first people they would probably string up is the chancellor of al-Azhar.

          What does get my goat is his coded anti-Catholicism. And I thought this sort of thing was dead. And it’s self-defeating. Even when he seeks peace, he drives wedges. Understandable in a municipal political boss. Unacceptable in this context.

      • asmondius

        er, who commits most inner-city crime?

        • zebbart

          To list them would take more time than I am willing to give. But why do you ask?

          • asmondius

            Statistics are not racist, they are simply numbers.

            • zebbart

              There are uncountable identifiers one could use to partially circumscribe the set of people who commit crimes in cities. Choosing to call out “inner city crime”, as opposed to other crime or other social problems, is usually a way to trigger racist inclinations because most voters will read “black people” out of “inner-city crime” rather than reading “men” or “15-25 year olds” or “people with IQs below 120” or any other objectively true but practically irrelevant partial description of the set of inner-city criminals. I’d also argue that statistics can indeed be racist anyway. Behind the statistics are a lot of non-scientific decisions. Who is “black”? That is not an empirical category. What is “inner-city crime?” That’s not a empirical category. I doubt, for example, that crimes committed by investment bankers are included in statistics on inner-city crime though such crimes are committed in the middle of cities.

              • asmondius

                You’re not going to address racism through rhetoric, politically correct speech, or pretending that statistics do not point to some real issues.

                • zebbart

                  That’s debatable but it’s beside the point. The fact is, people of all political and cultural persuasions are liable to use code words to signal bias to each other, and “inner-city crime” is a frequently used code word to signal allegiance against black people. That’s not to say it can’t also be used legitimately, but one would need to explicitly clarify what he means by the phrase and why he is using it in order to nullify that dog-whistle affect.

                  • asmondius

                    Seems to me you are the one connecting it exclusively to black people.

                    • zebbart

                      Oh shoot, maybe I am the real racist and no conservative politician has has ever tried to gain the white vote by resorting to calling on racial prejudice and fears while maintaining plausible deniability. That would be embarrassing for me.

                    • asmondius

                      Example?

                    • zebbart

                      Just google dog whistle politics.

                    • asmondius

                      That’s a non-answer – if you can’t be bothered to look up your own material, why should I?

                    • zebbart

                      Just if you are curious. I am not your educational concierge.

                    • asmondius

                      You can only do what you are equipped to do – I fully understand.

  • Mark S. (not for Shea)

    I have no problems with the President’s remarks. Yes, the Crusades and Inquisition are very often misunderstood and over-simplified, but what he said wasn’t wrong. Just keep in mind it was a speech at a prayer breakfast, not a history lecture. Don’t get your undies in a scrunch over this.

    • Jean-Francois

      Since it was a prayer breakfast it was not really the place for a “history lesson” was it?

  • petey

    “There is a tendency in us, a sinful tendency that can pervert and distort our faith.”

    sounds 100% orthodox.
    but some people *koff* don’t like hearing it.

    • Dave

      I doubt that is the part people are objecting to.

      • HornOrSilk

        No, what people are objecting to is Obama. They have a knee-jerk reaction against Obama. Anything Obama says, if they can twist to say “see, Obama is evil,” they will.

        What Obama said is not something to be upset about. Indeed, it’s something the Church consistently points out. And we, as Christians, should be pondering our history. Not just the Crusades or the Inquisition. We can look at all the abuse done to Native Americans, the pogroms against the Jews, all kinds of evil which, until recently, was still done in the name of Christ. Since we have the Gospel, it is a far greater evil when we do it. And we have done it. But we just want to ignore it was done (and still is being done) in Christ’s name (look to Africa if you will). All the while the Church has consistently told us not to turn Muslims into enemies, not to engage the polemics and false representation of the past which is purely negative — we still find the so-called “faithful” are ignoring the Church (and why they were so strong in our preemptive wars! — showing that they are merely projecting their own ideology onto Muslims as a scapegoat).

        • Dave

          “No, what people are objecting to is Obama” For some people, yes. What I find objectionable is the equivalence being made between Christianity and Islam. No such equivalance exists. Yes, Christians have done terrible things in the name of Christ, while acting nothing like Christ or what He taught. Meanwhile, Muslims have done terrible things in the name of Mohammed, while acting just like Mohammed and what he counseled.

          • HornOrSilk

            On the other hand, we have the OT and Moses, which is often the foundation for how Christians acted.

            • Dave

              It’s kind of a basic Christian tenet that God revealed Himself progressively. I do not think it a reasonable excuse for a Christian to act like Moses instead of Christ. Besides, the Bible never condones Moses’ act of murder in the first place, just reports it.

              • HornOrSilk

                You forgot Moses’ war which was, in Scripture, commanded by God.

                • Dave

                  Yes, I did forget that. But my first two sentences above still stand.

                  • HornOrSilk

                    And as I have said before, Christians give themselves leeway with interpreting the Bible (which I think is just)… but they should then allow people of other faiths to do so with theirs (which many Muslims do). When you allow yourself a “way out” for Scripture (which is just), you must allow others can find and do similar with theirs. As they do. Heck, the Gita is “pro-war” when read without spiritualization, and yet is central to Gandhi’s spirituality of peace!

                    • Dave

                      I can give anyone leeway for interpreting any written document. Without an interpreting authority, there is no way to say decisively which interpretation is the right one. But some Muslims look back to Mohammed himself and his early followers (as we would look back to the Church Fathers for clarification) and therein lies the problem.

                    • HornOrSilk

                      But their interpretation is NOT your interpretation. Many Muslims look at Muhammad for his peace making (which is often ignored).

                    • Dave

                      Wait, what? Since he only massacred people some of the time, one is free to take either the peaceful side or the massacre side? I guess I’m not following you.

                    • HornOrSilk

                      You should study the Muslims who promote him as a man of peace and read how they do so, if you want to see a different form of Islam.

                    • Dave

                      Yes….that would be interesting to see!

                    • HornOrSilk

                      Start with Badshah Khan. Really a good source.

                    • asmondius

                      For non-Muslim liberals, that is.

            • asmondius

              Yes, all of those horrible Christian ‘Moses Cults’!

          • FrogLeg

            There is no equivalence given. You read an equivalence into the statement because it is coming from Obama. So for you, it is also “what people are objecting to is Obama.”

            • Dave

              I think there is definitely an equivalence implied…”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.”

              It’s clearly implied there that the faiths are both really swell, but it’s the sinful tendency in us to pervert and distort it that causes the problem. In fact, Muslims who kill, rape, etc. in the name of Mohammed are doing exactly what he and his early followers told them to do (and did themselves.)

            • asmondius

              Ah, a mind reader.

              What’s in my pocket?

        • Jean-Francois

          Speaking of “knee jerk reactions” why is it that whenever people have a criticism of Obama that people have to rush in with a knee jerk reaction that the reason for the criticism of Obama is some kind of personal dislike of him.

          • HornOrSilk

            When the criticism is unfounded, as this one is… there is a reason for it.

            • Jean-Francois

              Its your opinion that it is unfounded.

            • virago

              Who says the criticism is unfounded,…you?

        • Jean-Francois

          There is a difference between individuals acting “in the name of something” which by the way is usually done in the name of Christianity by those who have rejected the teachings of the Catholic Church. They can find no justification for their actions in the teachings of the Church even if they try and proclaim their actions have any connection to Christianity. That is profoundly different from those who are carrying out deeds as their religion teaches them.

        • virago

          People do that with all politicians, it goes with the job. And Christians aren’t the ones currently mistreating Muslims, it’s Muslims.

          What I heard in SOME parts of President Obama ‘s speech was Jeremiah Wriight.

        • asmondius

          After almost seven years of a sophomoric Presidency, I can assure you that no one is ‘knee-jerking’ any more.

  • Andrew

    I don’t think hysteria is called for but it’s moral equivalency. The reality is yeah, Christians do bad things. First, enough about the crusades. 800 years ago. Second, yes, today Christians do bad things such as the pervert priest scandal or anyone of us here for that matter. The difference is right here, right now, the problem is Islam. Particularly the particularly awful variant seen with Al Queda or ISIS. Of course, Obama blaming Islam serves no real purpose. But throwing one’s hands up and saying, “Meh, we’re all human.” negates the serious risk to world peace and heinous acts we witness today, right now, with the fanaticism of these groups/sects.

    • HornOrSilk

      Look to Africa. Look to preemptive wars. We keep forgetting it is Christians glorifying violence even today.

      • Jean-Francois

        Which “christians” are glorifying violence?

        • Heather

          There are atrocities happening on both sides in the various conflicts between Muslims and Christians in Africa. It’s not just the Muslims.

          • Jean-Francois

            Which Catholics in Africa are “glorifying violence.”

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            Test by substitution:
            There are atrocities happening on both sides in the various conflicts between Nazis and Allies in Normandy. It’s not just the Nazis.
            Hmm. Something does not seem quite right, independently of the truth-value of the statement.

            • Heather

              What exactly does not seem quite right there? It’s a matter of historical record that there were atrocities on both sides of WWII as well.

              • Ye Olde Statistician

                What seems not right is that under the circumstances it would come across as making excuses for the Nazis and undercutting the Allied war effort. It sets up a false moral equivalence between two groups. “Your criticism of the Nazis rings hollow. The Allies also committed atrocities!”

                • Heather

                  Your criticism might have validity if the original comment wasn’t specifically answering a question about Christians committing violence in the name of religion. And if the question had been about, for example, “oh yeah, well when did the British ever bomb civilians?” then mentioning that well, yes, actually they did, doesn’t mean I’m a Nazi sympathizer.

                  • asmondius

                    Well, it seems likely that Only a Nazi sympathizer would spin a tenuous moral equivalency between the Nazis and the Allies.

                    • Heather

                      Oh for crying out loud. There is a difference between claiming a moral equivalency and correcting a mistaken assertion. If someone says that the Allies never deliberately bombed civilian populations during WWII, it doesn’t matter that the Allies were without a doubt on the right side of the war, it’s an incorrect statement. That’s not Nazi sympathizing, that’s a matter of documented historical fact.

                      Similarly, when someone makes a claim that in this day and age it is Muslims and only Muslims initiating violence and atrocities in the name of religion or at least dressing it up in religious language, this is also an incorrect assertion, and it’s not claiming moral equivalency to point out that it is incorrect. If someone claims there are no modern day Christians engaging in religiously motivated violence, they are incorrect. Just because they are in the minority does not mean that they don’t exist, and I don’t have to be a Nazi sympathizer, er I mean Muslim sympathizer, to point this out.

                      You’d think I was blindly repeating the Black Legend instead of responding to a very specific point.

                    • asmondius

                      Well, you are switching up on me. I understood you to say that the Allies were no different than the Nazis in committing atrocities.
                      .
                      That is a false statement. By and large the Allies never engaged in bloodletting for its own sake or to promote some insane policy of genetic supremacy or to conquer new territories for themselves.
                      .
                      Islam has been at war with Christianity for many centuries now, this is simply another phase.

                    • Heather

                      Of course I didn’t say they were no different. I said that it is a matter of historical record that atrocities were committed by both sides, not that both sides committed the same number or kind of atrocities.

                      That said, saying the Allies “never” went into bloodletting for the sake of conquering new territories may be technically true in that they didn’t do so as “the Allies” but that’s more because they got their wars of conquest out of their system the previous century when such things were still in fashion.

                    • asmondius

                      Once again, name an atrocity committed by the allies that was equivalent to the Rape of Nanking or the Nazi death camps.

                    • Heather

                      Once again, you gloss over the fact that I have never claimed that both sides committed the same number or kind of atrocities and have in fact firmly denied that I hold such an opinion.

                      Do you instead wish to argue that the deliberate targeting of civilian populations, for instance in the bombing of Dresden, was not an atrocity? Does it not count because the other side did similar and worse things?

                    • asmondius

                      You equate the bombing of Dresden with the attempted extermination of the European Jews?

                    • Heather

                      Of course I don’t. Let me quote myself: “Does it not count because the other side did similar and worse things?”

                    • asmondius

                      similar = like
                      .
                      You are engaged in presenting a moral equivalency between the USA and Nazi Germany but are just afraid to come out and state that plainly.

                    • Heather

                      Similar. As in the Allies bombed Dresden and other cities. The Nazis bombed London and other cities. These are similar atrocities.

                      But by all means, keep on telling me what a Nazi sympathizer I am, because a random stranger on the internet knows what I’m REALLY thinking better than I myself do.

                    • asmondius

                      Let’s get some definition into the conversation – please just tell me exactly what you would consider as an ‘atrocity’ during wartime. Then we won’t have to go around and around with many examples.

                    • antigon

                      “what would you consider as an ‘atrocity’ during wartime.”
                      *
                      Any monstrosity committed by the side I like are but ‘atrocities,’ unlike those committed by the side I oppose, which are actual atrocities to be condemned with indignation pure.

                    • asmondius

                      That’s rhetoric, not a definition. Answer my question honestly.

                    • antigon

                      Answer your dishonest question honestly?
                      *
                      My dear Asmon, you go too far.

                    • asmondius

                      What an Artful Dodger you are.

                    • antigon

                      Why As, what an atrocious thing to say. Or is that ‘atrocious?’
                      *
                      You tell me, inartfully or dodgily as you prefer.

                    • Heather

                      No. If you won’t accept at face value that mass murder in the form of deliberate and systematic bombing of civilian residential populations counts as an atrocity, then we’re done here. I’m not playing definition games, and I’m definitely not engaging in a discussion that is inevitably heading towards “Hiroshima was morally justified.”

                    • asmondius

                      There you go again throwing around examples again. Please explain to me what, in your philosophy, denotes an ‘atrocity’. If you don’t have a method of judgement, your examples are meaningless.

                    • Heather

                      Catholic moral teaching, which says that deliberate mass murder is an atrocity, even in wartime. If that’s not good enough for you, which it apparently isn’t, we’re done here.

                    • asmondius

                      If my country kills 1000 of the enemy’s troops, is that ‘mass murder’?

                    • Heather

                      It depends. If they’re actually doing their jobs as soldiers and it’s a kill or be killed situation, then no, that’s not murder, that’s a battle. On the other hand, if they are casualties in a hospital, or prisoners who have already laid down their arms and surrendered, then yes, it’s mass murder.

                    • asmondius

                      Do you think the dead care about such subtle differences?

                    • Heather

                      You seriously don’t see a moral difference between killing someone who is armed and trying to kill you back, and killing someone who has already been taken out of the fight and is no longer posing a threat to you?

                    • asmondius

                      Answer my question.

                    • 90Lew90

                      Your question is daft. Of course they don’t. But up until the point where they’re dead they’re likely to care very much, which is more to the point, don’t you think?

                    • asmondius

                      It seems daft because the discussion is over your head.

                    • 90Lew90

                      It doesn’t “seem” daft, it just is.

                    • asmondius

                      As I said. Stick to premises that are within your scope, such as ‘God is a murderer’ or ’embryos are just a clump of cells’ or ‘Jesus is a myth’ or ‘there are too many people in the world’……

                    • 90Lew90

                      I’ll stick with whatever gets my attention thanks.

                    • chezami

                      Love the use of the unborn as human shields for torture and murder. A classic tactic of the anti-abortion-but-not-prolife semi-Catholic Movement Conservative.

                    • asmondius

                      I’d say ‘torture and murder’ is being pulled apart piece by piece in your own mother’s womb. And that happens approximately one million times per year in the United States alone. But you go ahead and love on the terrorists of the world.

                    • chezami

                      Yes. The use of the unborn as human shields for your SM fetish is repellent.

                    • asmondius

                      That’s what Ug said when he saw Og furiously rubbing two sticks together.

                    • 90Lew90

                      And Og said to Ug, “This actually makes fire, and you’re still going on about that guy you never met who lived 2,000 years age, rising from the dead. Make yourself useful for a change.”

                    • asmondius

                      The Missing Link?

                    • Heather

                      If you really don’t see a difference which is in fact not at all “subtle” nothing I can say is likely to matter. But if you insist, the soldier killed in combat has presumably come to as much acceptance as possible of the fact that his life was in danger, whereas the prisoner or hospitalized casualty (or civilian) rightly expects not to be considered a legitimate target. So the answer is yes, presuming an afterlife.

                    • asmondius

                      Then we can agree that there is no justice in this world for the dead,

                    • chezami

                      I presume you are referring to the innocent man murdered by hypothermia while in CIA custody?

                    • asmondius

                      I am not your soapbox – if you wish to be an apologist for Islamic terrorists, post your own statement.

                    • Heather

                      Yeah, Mark. That guy was clearly guilty of something. Loitering in a country we don’t like. Or being related to someone we think was a bad guy. Or at least looking like them. Looking foreign and talkin funny at any rate. Because that’s a crime punishable by death by torture without trial. If you don’t agree then take your freedom hating crypto-muslim screeds elsewhere. Why do you hate freedom, Mark?

                    • chezami

                      I just do, okay?

                    • asmondius

                      I’d like to believe your sincerity, but frankly I don’t recall you posting any similar objections on Muslin sites recently when the heads of two Americans were sawed off.

                    • Heather

                      I don’t know why sites devoted to a particular type of textile would have discussions about murder.

                      But never mind. All that matters is that The Good Guys (TM) should never be questioned when they do things like disappear people to secret locations and torture them to death. Because they’re The Good Guys (TM) and therefore anything they do cannot possibly be a bad guy thing!

                      Don’t forget, since Stalin was a Bad Guy he doesn’t really count as one of the Allies. Ignore your history lessons, it was a glorious Anglo-American initiative that finally took Berlin!

                      And since apparently the moral distinction between killing an armed soldier on the battlefield and torturing a prisoner to death doesn’t matter since the dead are equally dead and there is no justice for them anyway, then we should make a policy to always torture prisoners to death! And by prisoners, I mean anyone who looks like a terrorist, by which I mean a forrin-lookin brown dude who looks like he might be wearing muslin. I mean might be Muslim. Heck, let’s just nuke them all from orbit, it’s the only way to be sure.

                    • asmondius

                      ‘I don’t know why sites devoted to a particular type of textile would have discussions about murder.’
                      .
                      This unfortunate quip tells me a lot about you as a person. I’ll leave you to your family and acquaintances, who no doubt have no choice but to bask in the brilliance of your moral relativism.

                    • Heather

                      Moral relativism? I’m not the one saying that calling out the immorality of government-sanctioned murder by torture means you are an apologist for terrorists, meaning that the moral character of an action depends on who is doing it and not the nature of the action itself.

                      But by all means, if saying that evil is evil, even if it’s being done by people I like to think of as the good guys, is moral relativism, please enlighten me as to why.

                    • chezami

                      I wish to be an apologist for Catholic teaching, which says that murder of innocents is evil. We murdered an innocent. Even Cheney acknowledges it. But he says it was worth it. You should stop being an apologist for murder.

                    • asmondius

                      Here, take my hanky.

                    • chezami

                      Here. Take my boot in your ass. Bye!

                    • Heather

                      That is such a bizarre non sequitur I don’t even know where to go with that.

                    • asmondius

                      It only seems bizarre if you don’t ponder the entire issue before forming an opinion on it.

                    • antigon

                      Of course not. Murdering tens of thousands of innocent civilians, great numbers of them women & children, hardly compares to murdering millions of innocent civilians, great numbers of them women & children.
                      *
                      What possible equation could anybody see in these two types of mass murder? The latter was clearly evil & unquestionably justifies the former, which former is hardly worth mentioning anyway.

                    • 90Lew90

                      Atrocity being atrocity, I wouldn’t want to get into grading it, but I’d say Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Dresden qualify as atrocities. Also what the Russians ended up having to do to win the war for the Allies was an atrocity.

                    • asmondius

                      What was the intent of these three instances?

                    • 90Lew90

                      Terror.

                    • antigon

                      Lots of Soviet atrocities comparable in spirit, & does anyone doubt ally Uncle Joe would have outdone Nanking with Ukrainian-like numbers had it been possible & to his advantage? And then there’s that Gulag thing, not to say the tens of thousands knowingly fed to it by Usa & Gb.
                      *
                      To acknowledge the grave monstrosities committed by the allies does not defend the monstrosities or goals of the axis any more than acknowledging the latter defends the goals of Stalin or his allies’ crimes.
                      *
                      It does acknowledge realities, however, which will prove uncomfortable to those tempted by Manichaeism, & arguably helpful to those more interested in reality.

                    • asmondius

                      I am speaking of actual fact, not ‘what if’. Yes, it is true that Russia (technically an ally, but not really as history would later reveal) committed many atrocities – executing Polish military officers en masse, etc.. But nothing on the scale of Banking. In fact their worst atrocities were committed against their own people after the war.

                      However the Allies as a group counted many nations among them.

                    • antigon

                      ‘But nothing on the scale of Banking.’
                      *
                      Better edit that Mr. Dius. Heather got accused of Nazi sympathies for much less, indeed for simply observing a fact (as did someone of racism below).

              • asmondius

                Concerning WWII:
                Name a situation where Americans beheaded Japanese prisoners and then ritually cannibalized their bodies. Name an American occupation that could be considered a parallel to the Rape of Nanking. Name a country that America permanently conquered and absorbed. Etc., etc., etc.

          • antigon

            ‘It’s not just the Muslims.’
            *
            Glorious Heather:
            *
            Just overwhelmingly so.

            • Heather

              Never said it wasn’t. Mr. Jean-Francois asked for an example, that’s all. But apparently providing one means I’m a Nazi sympathizer, as the resulting tangential descent into absurdity illustrates.

        • HornOrSilk

          Well, we see many on Mark’s blog defending torture, or defending unjust wars, those glorifying the “American Sniper,” and the like.

    • jroberts548

      The bulk of the forces fighting ISIS are Muslim. The problem isn’t “Islam.” Islam, like Christianity, isn’t a single thing, and just like treating Mormonism, Catholicism, and 7th day Adventism as the same religion does no good, neither does treating Wahhabi and Kurdish Sunni Islam as the same help.

      You know who wants us to treat ISIS as representatives of Islam and Islam’s war against the West? ISIS.

  • FrogLeg

    The core of the attacks on Obama’s speech is wounded pride. People like to get on their high horse about how Christianity is intrinsically better than other religions, and they get defensive when shown otherwise. But the starting point of their argument is still the mother of all sins, pride.

    • Jean-Francois

      Well Catholicism is intrinsically better since it is the only Church founded by God Himself.

      • FrogLeg

        It would be nice if that implied that Christians acted better than non-Christians, but the evidence there is lacking….

        • Jean-Francois

          Yes that would be nice. But in this case the actions of Christians is contrary to the teachings of Christ and His Church. Show me a Catholic quote equivalent to the quote I posted from the Caliph Omar who was a disciple of the prophet.

          • HornOrSilk

            You should also give that out to the Muslims who think Islam is about peace, and those who are doing barbarous actions are acting against the teachings of Allah. You might want to read about Badshah Khan, for example.

          • FrogLeg

            Early Christians were not in the military position to make these statements, while early adherents to Islam were. It’s hard to say what would have happened in different circumstances.

          • Willard

            Will St. Thomas Aquinas suffice?

            From the Summa:

            “I answer that, With regard to heretics two points must be observed: one, on their own side; the other, on the side of the Church. On their own side there is the sin, whereby they deserve not only to be separated from the Church by excommunication, but also to be severed from the world by death.

            • asmondius

              Was Saint Thomas Aquinas a leader of the Catholic Church?

              • antigon

                Of course not. No more than Voltaire or Rousseau were leaders of the French Revolution.
                *
                Unless…
                *
                …Mr. Dius is just being silly.

        • asmondius

          Jesus wasn’t here because humans are perfect…..

  • Willard

    Actually the President was being nice. He could have, in fact, pointed out that it was the official policy of the Catholic Church to turn heretics over to the secular power to be burned to death. In fact, Pope Leo X condemned Luther’s proposition that “it is against the will of the Holy Spirit that heretics be burned.”

    What Islam really needs is its own Vatican II.

    • HornOrSilk

      It’s also why Catholics continue to need Vatican II and to remember what it told us of Muslims, so we can work with Muslims to help foster the good within.

    • David Charlton

      What most offends me about the President’s remarks is the way it furthers the Black Legend, which makes it seem that the Catholic Church has a uniquely bloody history. The truth is that the Protestant countries had their own inquisitions that were equally bloody, but by invoking “The Inquisition” we further the myth that it is a Catholic thing. It’s time for us Protestants to start confessing our own sins, rather than those of the Catholics.

      • Adolfo

        Except that it’s impossible to take away from his statement that the Catholic Church has a uniquely bloody history” since he notes several examples throughout history, including non-Catholic ones.

        • David Charlton

          No, the Black Legend is what perpetuates that myth. Invoking that legend is still wrong, even if one mentions examples of wrongs from Protestant history. Pr. Obama and I belong to denominations that are in full-communion, so I feel free to criticize a fellow Protestant Christian. Invoking anti-Catholic tropes to fight intolerance is not the way to go.

    • asmondius

      And what century was that….?

  • Gunnar Thalweg

    It’s just wearying how every time a Muslim does something awful we Christians get a lecture on how Christians have done bad stuff, too.

    • HornOrSilk

      When Christians are using some Muslim’s wrongdoing as a justification for Christians doing something evil, it is necessary to remind Christians: the Muslim in question does not represent all of Islam just as bad Christians do not represent all of Christianity.

      • Gunnar Thalweg

        Islam’s founder was a warlord who killed other people, and within a few generations his followers had conquered by force a big chunk of Christendom.

        Christianity’s founder was a crucified rabbi who died for the sins of the world, and his followers were a bunch of fishermen sent out as sheeps before wolves.

        Go ahead. Lecture me some more.

        • HornOrSilk

          Christians also have Moses in their Bible, who can be seen as a “warlord who killed other people, and within a few generations his followers had conquered by force…” and indeed, we revere him as a saint. Now, if we read the OT in the way of Origen, we could look at Moses differently and not read the text literally — but if we can do that with our Scripture, then Muslims also can with their history and Scripture. And many do.

          I will follow the Catholic Church’s teaching on Islam:

          The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all- powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth,who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God. Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a prophet. They also honor Mary, His virgin Mother; at times they even call on her with devotion. In addition, they await the day of judgment when God will render their deserts to all those who have been raised up from the dead. Finally, they value the moral life and worship God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting.

          Since in the course of centuries not a few quarrels and hostilities have arisen between Christians and Moslems, this sacred synod urges all to forget the past and to work sincerely for mutual understanding and to preserve as well as to promote together for the benefit of all mankind social justice and moral welfare, as well as peace and freedom.

          • Gunnar Thalweg

            And lecture your fellow Christians incessantly, apparently.

          • Jean-Francois

            That is not the “teaching” of the Catholic Church on Islam.

            • HornOrSilk

              Yes, it is. Nostra Aetate. Ecumenical Council. Official Catholic teaching. Now we will see if you are truly Catholic or someone who rejects the most recent Ecumenical Council.

              • Jean-Francois

                Yes that is an official document of the Church intended primarily to deal with Catholic Jewish relations and to a lesser degree with members of non Catholic religions. The meaning and understanding of the document is a much deeper discussion than can be exchanged in a blog post. It is neither a doctrinal nor dogmatic teaching on Islam but meant to find common ground for on-going dialogue. And while you may want to esteem Moslems for their acceptance of Jesus as a prophet you may want to see what He said about those who reject Him. The way to the Father is through the Son and those who reject the son reject the Father. He did not come to be revered as a prophet but to be recognized as the Son of God.

                • HornOrSilk

                  In other words, it’s official church teaching.

                  • Jean-Francois

                    An official declaration on dialogue to be interpreted in light of what previous councils also said. Unless of course you want to suggest that the most recent supersedes the previous in which case it is only relevant temporarily.

                    • HornOrSilk

                      A declaration which describes the church’s teaching in relation to the dialogue. You are trying to distance yourself from what it says.

                    • Jean-Francois

                      Declaration (declamatio): may be a simple statement of the law, which must be interpreted according to the existing law; or an authoritative declaration that is retroactive and does not require further promulgation; or an extensive declaration, which modifies the law, is not retroactive and must be promulgated according to the law.

                    • HornOrSilk

                      The previous are also to be interpreted in its light. You are just trying to find a way to reject the teaching, I get you. Good luck with that.

                    • Jean-Francois

                      Not exactly sure what it is trying to “teach” in regards to Moslems. Perhaps you could clarify.

                    • entonces_99

                      Sure. Glad to help. It’s trying to teach that Moslems “adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all- powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth,who has spoken to men.” It’s also trying to teach that Moslems “take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God.” Further, it’s tryiing to teach that, “[t]hough [Moslems] do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a prophet” and that “[t]hey also honor Mary, His virgin Mother” and “at times . . . even call on her with devotion.” In addition, it’s trying to teach that Moslems “await the day of judgment when God will render their deserts to all those who have been raised up from the dead.” Finally, it’s trying to teach that Moslems “value the moral life and worship God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting.”

                      Gosh, that was easy. Got any more questions?

              • asmondius

                Oh, boy – here’s another person who thinks they are the Pope.

            • Alma Peregrina

              Actually… it is…

            • Jessie

              it most definitely is, not always the most popular teaching, but it’s still a teaching.

          • asmondius

            Moses was a warlord who killed people……….

            • CJ

              Funny how the NT never says “Let this mind be in you, which was in Moses.”

        • HornOrSilk

          Oh, and you forgot to answer how and why Christians are using this as just cause for all kinds of evil treatment of Muslims should not be a concern of ours?

          • Gunnar Thalweg

            My point, to repeat, is that there is a constant refrain of the innocence of Muslims and the guilt of Christians comes up every time a Muslim does something awful or we discuss this. It does get a little fifth-column-ish.

          • asmondius

            ‘…Christians are using this as just cause for all kinds of evil treatment of Muslims..’

            Such as?

            • HornOrSilk

              Preemptive wars? Torture? Seriously, are you that dense? Good day! Not worth my time with someone who misrepresents what was said, and acts dumb.

              • asmondius

                I apologize for scaring the life out of your argument. Please make a good and hasty retreat and I will be happy to parole you.

                • antigon

                  Dear Mr. Dius:
                  *
                  Granted that even when he’s right Mr. Horno’s soul of an assistant principal makes one yearn to be wrong, any familiarity with Mr. Shea’s blog – for but one example, tho a vivid one – provides abundant evidence of folk who call themselves Christian while eager to support mortal sin when committed by their government against Moslems.
                  *
                  But of course you know all that, & your ‘such as?’ was but succumbing to the taunting temptation Mr. Horno has been known to provoke.

      • Alma Peregrina

        If christians do something evil, they should be denounced as such.

        But I can understand Gunnar’s frustration.

        Acording to the modern mindset, if christians do something evil, christians are to blame. But if someone else (muslims, etc…) does something evil a) christians are to blame or b) christians do evil too, so shut up!

        Sometimes the lecturing becomes unbearable indeed. Christians aren’t responsible for all the ills in the world. 🙁

        • HornOrSilk

          The problem is that the narrative under discussion is related to the US narrative for its ongoing preemptive war in the Middle East. It goes with the narrative promoting torture. It goes with the narrative behind the “American Sniper.” As Christians we should not be concerned about the evil of the other in such a way to justify our own evil. We should reform ourselves and live out Christ’s way, no matter what others are doing. But again, the real problem is people are ignoring the narrative in the US and what is being used for and why Christians have to oppose it.

          • Alma Peregrina

            I’m sorry. I’m not an american, so maybe I’m not filled in with all the details and context.

            • HornOrSilk

              It is a part of the conversation. If you have not look up the movie American Sniper, and see the response to it from Christians

              • wlinden

                Well, I thought I was a Christian, and you would have to pay me to see “American Sniper”, let alone “respond” to it.

              • asmondius

                What about it?

              • wlinden

                So there has only been one unanimous response from the hive mind of “Christians”? Funny how the people who talk about “Christians” this way are usually the same ones who sneer at us for being divided.

          • Jean-Francois

            Now you are conflating U.S. government policy and actions with Christian teaching?

      • asmondius

        ‘When Christians are using some Muslim’s wrongdoing as a justification for Christians doing something evil…’

        Freudian slip – if it’s a Muslim it’s simply ‘wrongdoing’. If it’s a Christian, it’s ‘evil’.

        • HornOrSilk

          No. Wrongdoing=evil. Stop trying to grasp at straws and misrepresent what was said.

          • asmondius

            Hmmm – when a child slips a piece of candy off of the store shelf into her pocket it is a wrongdoing. Thus it is also an evil act? Do people receive traffic tickets because they are evil?

      • Catholic pilgrim

        Basic Islam explicitly rejects Christ Jesus of Nazareth dying on the Cross (even while most of Islamic sharia systems ironically support crucifixion as a legal method of execution). Basic Islam was founded by a false prophet who hated the Holy Trinity (which is Love) and forcefully rejects calling God/Allah our Father. Basic Islam rejects Christian Grace (undeserved forgiveness from God). Basic Islam (which was invented 630-ish years AFTER Christ Jesus of Nazareth) is EVIL. Quit defending evil, Mr. HornOrSilk.

        • chezami

          Jews also reject Jesus. They even reject him as a prophet, which Islam accepts. So, wanna tell the class that Jews are all EVIL? Think before you speak.

    • Newp Ort

      boo hoo

      • Dave G.

        Yeah, when will Gunnar learn that things are only wrong and bad if aimed at the wrong people. A key lesson for our time.

  • cececole

    Like most things, Obama’s comments need to be taken in context. The previous 4 paragraphs of his comments (read them for yourself at http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/02/05/remarks-president-national-prayer-breakfast ) set up his point. Remove them and you lose meaning. Using the phrase “high horse” and examples of the Crusades and Inquisition did serve him well either. Both the generalities of the Crusades/Inquistion are well-known but most of us are not well-versed in their history. I get Obama’s point, but I am not fully convinced that Islam is not a religion that at its root does incite “war on the infidels”. The only good news? From my newsfeed, even anti-Catholic Protestants Fundamentalists are taking umbrage that Obama slurred “Christians”. Hey, maybe they are getting the idea that Catholics are Christians too.

    • Alma Peregrina

      Maybe you could consider separating “yourself” from the rest of the link…
      😉

    • Rosemarie

      +J.M.J+

      When I was in Evangelicalism in the late 1980s, I often heard them say, “You can’t blame the Crusades and Inquisition on Christianity because the people who ran them weren’t Christians.” IOW, the Crusaders and Inquisitors (presumably) hadn’t “accepted Christ as their personal Lord and Savior” and so weren’t “true” Christians, according to Evangelical understanding. So I wonder whether the umbrage may come from that same mentality. I could be wrong, though; Evangelicalism appears to have changed massively since I left.

  • Elmwood

    i get so tired of liberals always bringing up the crusades and inquisition as an example of Christians being like Islamic terrorists.

    • john chill

      State-sanctioned butchers who hide behind Christianity to justify slaughtering the innocent are not, unfortunately, relics of the distant past. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Srebrenica_massacre

      • Jean-Francois

        What did that massacre have to do with Christianity?

        • john chill

          Mladic saw himself as a defender of Orthodox Christianity against Catholicism and especially Islam. The religious demographics of his victims aren’t a coincidence.

          • asmondius

            Even your own citation does not support that conclusion.

    • kirtking

      They forget it was Democrats who put a KKK member as the leader of the Senate a few years ago, who stood in the schoolhouse doors and promulgated Jim Crow to fight against the Republican-established freedoms for persons of color. The argument is continually “That’s not today’s Democratic Party,” but all these things occurred during MY lifetime, not 800 years ago. So maybe liberal progressives ought to inspect their own humility as they preach to the overall Christian community.

  • Dave G.

    Discussions like this are like listening to people argue over which toppings are best on pizza. Where one falls on the issue is based on personal opinions, biases, and various factors at play long before the topic at hand ever came up. Hysteria? I’ve not heard any. The usual political sniping. I’ve heard that sort of thing since I started following politics in the early 80s. It’s not unique to today. Nor is the cry ‘but it’s worse now!’ unique to today. As for the substance of the remarks, focusing on the sins of the Christian past when discussing the sins of the Islamic present, where one falls on what we should focus on, again, is typically predetermined by various things at play that have little to nothing to do with this topic. So order away, it’s mostly a clash of opinions, hold the anchovies.

  • virago

    This was a political speech and whenever pres. Obama is forced to criticize Islam he also has to do the same to Christianity. It’s what politicians do, especially liberals.

  • Joseph

    Well, will there be violence committed by Catholics in the future? I’d say that’s a pretty good bet. Could it be on the same scale of the Spanish Inquisition or the Crusades? I think we’d be stupid to assume that isn’t possible. But the question is this: Would that violence be fully supported by Catholic teaching? Never. The same can’t be said for violence committed in the name of Islam. When a Catholic commits these crimes, it’s on account of human failure and sin and is not supported by the teachings. When a Muslim commits these crimes, it’s not as cut and dry as some Muslim religious actually *believe* that they are strictly adhering to their religious tenents… and having one Muslim stand up and say that the person is not practicing Islam doesn’t wash because there is no Magisterium, no central interpretive authority of their book… which can be interpreted as a religion of murderous hell or a religion of peace depending on who is most charismatic.
    .
    IOW, there is no equivalence.

    • jroberts548

      This is a worthwhile point.

      But it’s worth remembering that you’re comparing Catholicism to Islam, rather than comparing Christianity to Islam. When a Methodist invades Iraq, uses at least token religious rhetoric while doing so, and such invasion results in the deaths of a million Muslims and counting, he certainly isn’t doing so with the support of Catholic social teaching. He’s still using religious rhetoric while killing Muslims.

      Really, talking about Islam as such in this context is almost completely useless, just like talking about some vague, non-denominational Christianity is useless. When ISIS burns a Jordanian Muslim alive, is that part of Islam’s war against Christianity? Or is this something that is largely (perhaps even mostly) a war certain sects of Islam are waging against other sects of Islam?

      • asmondius

        What ‘token religious rhetoric’ are you referring to exactly…?

        • jroberts548

          Ending every speech with “God bless America.”

          • asmondius

            Uh huh

            • jroberts548

              Do you disagree? Is that not token religious rhetoric?

              • asmondius

                No, it is not. Since Muslims also believe in God, I don’t see your point.

                • jroberts548

                  Was George W. Bush invoking God’s blessing in a non-religious sense? That seems odd to me.

                  Edited to add: But at any rate, you’re picking a very small fight for no reason. My point is that it’s not helpful or illuminating to lazily talk about Islam as such (which no more exists than Christianity as such) or to compare the mythical Islam as such to Catholicism.

                  • HornOrSilk

                    Asmondius is not honest in “debate” or “dialogue” (whatever you want to call what he is doing). Just look at how he mocks me as thinking I am the Pope for pointing out Nostra Aetate is official church teaching.Or how he thinks it is a “retreat” if someone doesn’t want to engage his dishonest practice. He’s just another comment box warrior who distorts others and calls it a win when they stop with his nonsense. Not worth your time.

                  • asmondius

                    He invoked God’s blessing for the country – as does President Obama. I am sure Muslim leaders do the same.

                    • jroberts548

                      Does that magically make it non-religious? And yes, I would also include Obama on the list of American presidents who include token religious rhetoric when they lead America into armed conflict.

                      But again, you’re making a stupid and absurd argument (that “God bless America” has no religious connotations at all) over an exceedingly small issue.

                    • asmondius

                      Hmmm – if it’s just a ‘token’ used as political rhetoric, then they do not really believe it and thus you should have no concern.

                    • 90Lew90

                      Not even catholics can be bothered with you. Interesting.

    • 90Lew90

      You think the Inquisitors didn’t *believe* they were acting in strict adherence to the *tenets* of their faith?

  • Pete the Greek

    “Not feeling the hysteria”
    – ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND!?!?!? How can you stay calm when he plainly stated, in front of God and everybody, that he prefers Cream of Wheat to grits???? That’s it, you’re dead to me!!!

  • Stephen

    He is the president and he is supposed to lead. Drawing a moral equivalence between Medieval Christians and modern muslims is absurd.

    Never mind that the Crusades were in response to Muslim conquest and that it was Christians who pushed for the absolution of slavery… People do not want the milk toast “everyone can be bad” discussion from someone who is supposed to lead. This leads to the always incorrect alternative..I am ok and you are ok, lets be ok together. And so no one stands up for anything.

    Jindal comments while snarky are spot on.

    ““It was nice of the President to give us a history lesson at the Prayer breakfast,” “Today, however, the issue right in front of his nose, in the here and now, is the terrorism of Radical Islam, the assassination of journalists, the beheading and burning alive of captives. We will be happy to keep an eye out for runaway Christians, but it would be nice if he would face the reality of the situation today. The Medieval Christian threat is under control, Mr. President. Please deal with the Radical Islamic threat today.”

  • Lev O’Steen

    Odd there is no mention of the more recent activities of Boko Haram in Nigeria. Just catching up for the crusades I guess.

  • entonces_99

    In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.

    But far more often was it attacked and fought in the name of Christ. Has Obama forgotten how most of the abolitionists were inspired by Christianity? How the civil rights movement drew its moral force from Christianity? For that matter, that no one, anywhere in the world, seriously propounded the idea that slavery was morally problematic until Christians challenged it, beginning in the 18th century? And how slavery was only abolished in the non-Christian world when the West (i.e., Christendom, or the successors of Christendom, living off the moral capital of Christianity) was powerful enough to inspire or force the rest of the world to live in accordance with its own moral principles regarding slavery? And how, when Moslems such as ISIS succeed in freeing themselves from the constraints of Western ideas, they bring back the slavery that was widely practiced in the Moslem world until the 20th century?

  • Did you miss the straw men President Obama was building?

    Who argues

    Sin only resides in the muslim soul?

    The Middle East is uniquely sinful?

    We are entirely without our own zealots?

    God does not care about others?

    These are moronic positions but does anybody of consequence actually make these arguments? If not, why is President Obama arguing against them?

    There is a fundamental political state change when we went to the modern Westphalian system. Christians generally stopped having broad based, long-lasting wars of religion with each other. The exceptions tend to prove the rule (N. Ireland). The very fact that we can have a National Prayer Breakfast on a regular basis is a profound cultural embedding of the values of Westphalian live and let live across international borders realpolitik. If Islam ever subscribed to Westphalianism as something it can theologically live with, it has not stuck in a way that is durable.

    President Obama was playing a political game to distract from the very real problem we face. He doesn’t get many chances to do this legitimately because the US Presidency is circumscribed in its ability to interfere in religious affairs. He used a major opportunity to do so to back foot christians. That was not well done.