Friday, February 06, 2015

Our Religious Violence is Better than Your Religious Violence

Yesterday President Obama spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast and within no time various political sites/blogs were already condemning his words, or should I say about 50 of his words.  Here are the “inflammatory” words for which he has been criticized:

“Lest we get on our high horse and think that this (religious violence) is unique to some other place, remember that during the crusades and the inquisitions people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ… In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow was all too often justified in the name of Christ.”

All day I have seen one anti-Obama post after another on Facebook about how the violence perpetrated by Christians in the Crusades was not nearly as bad as what Muslims did, and that Christian violence during the Crusades was at least justified.  In other words, “our religious violence is better than your religious violence.”

But the truth is that Christians did commit some horrible acts of violence during the Crusades and the inquisitions not to mention what “Christians” have done in this country towards Native Americans and African slaves among others.  Have Muslims done horrible things in the name of their religion?  Yes, and certain extremists are committing horrible atrocities to this day.  Religious violence, no matter what brand, is wrong!

I watched the controversial clip of President Obama from the prayer breakfast and honestly couldn’t find anything in that clip with which I remotely disagreed.  So I decided to watch the entire speech from the prayer breakfast for context thinking that I must have missed something.  To my surprise President Obama spent most of his speech condemning religious acts of violence and calling for humility in how we live out our faith.  His closing words  were a call to practice the teaching of Jesus from Matthew 7:12 “Do unto others what you would have them do to you.” 

I did not vote for Obama nor do I support many of his policies, but these latest attacks on him for condemning religious violence and calling for humility are truly disheartening.  I highly recommend that folks watch the entire speech from the prayer breakfast instead of getting a 30 second sound byte spun by political blogs/news sites, and see if you really think his speech was as crazy as it is being made out to be.

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