At the National Prayer Breakfast this past week, President Obama made a comparison between ISIL aggressions and the Christian Crusades. These comments drew ire from Christian conservatives, claiming the president is ignoring present issues by drawing connections to the past.
Talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh said he insulted “the whole gamut of Christians,” and Jim Gilmore, the former GOP governor of Virginia, called the comments “the most offensive I’ve ever heard a president make in my lifetime,” according to the New York Times.
As a Christian, I found these statements from Obama to be both accurate and helpful. The analogies between the Christian Crusades and ISIL’s attempt to establish a caliphate are numerous, although slaughter in the name of religion is the only analogy that needs to be addressed. They are in no way different, land and power grabs dressed up with religion.
Obama’s statements, as I received them, were put forth to draw attention that Islam does not have a monopoly on violence, and the most popular religion in his country certainly is not exempt from this behavior in it’s history. Therefore, please, please, please don’t start murdering the Muslims in this country. Of, course that’s a paraphrase. Religious xenophobia certainly did balloon in this country following 9/11. I hope the rest of this country were able to understand the intent of the president’s words regardless if they support the man or not.
And thus I clothe my naked villainy
With old odd ends, stol’n forth of holy writ;
And seem a saint, when most I play the devil.
-William Shakespeare, in Richard III 1.3.336-38