Obama's flawed comparison of today's radical Islam with long-ago Christianity should be recognized, even by his most ardent supports, as apples and oranges. Obama made this strange comparison during a speech Thursday at the National Prayer Breakfast.
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.
What is Obama trying to say? That Christians today are just as guilty as radical Islamists? That we shouldn't fight Islamic terrorism because of something that happened 900 years ago? That Crusaders acted in the name of a religion by ISIS isn't?
We gladly take his point that a lot of bad stuff has been done in the history of the world in the name of religion. But I don't see any Christians today beheading apostates or burning their enemies alive. The clear and present danger is from ISIS. How many Christians or Jews today are defending slavery? How many would like to see auto de feys resumed to punish heretics? And if we're going to bring up the Crusades, why not also mention that back then conversion by sword also was practiced by Muslims. But no one is saying that centuries-old practices justifies attacking ISIS (as if defending innocents against brutality is an "attack.")
I don't intend to get caught up in the semantic debates about whether ISIS is Islamic extremism or just your ordinary terrorism. No one I know of is arguing that all of Islam is responsible for ISIS. But I would remind Obama that ISIS is the name its adherents have given to their own Islamic State of Iraq and the Syria.
I would also point out that the atrocities are being committed in regions dominated by Islamic culture, where the stoning of women (but not men) for adultery is formulaic punishment. But I'll also gladly note that Abu Mohammed al-Maqdesi, considered a spiritual mentor for many al Qaeda militants, today said the that incinerating the Jordanian pilot, is "not acceptable in any religion."
Here's the irony: Obama cites the Crusades as an example of how bad things are done in the name of a religion. But he doesn't apply the same logic to folks who do bad things in the name of Islam.
Maybe Abu Mohammed al-Maqdes should explain it to Obama.
Here are other opposing views: