First off, I am not one of those Christians with a visceral disliking of the President. I believe we can't "pray FOR rulers" and talk AGAINST them. That being said, when the President steps out of his office into commentary on faith at a prayer gathering he engages a different kind of conversation...and response.
ENTER the President at the National Prayer Breakfast yesterday. In case you missed it, after criticizing ISIS, the president 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."
HERE is where the President went off the rails but most people missed it.
For 6 years of his presidency, he has forcefully tried to separate Islam from what terrorists who claim that faith do, in the name of it.
YESTERDAY he associated these atrocities with Christian history, sighting the Crusades and Spanish Inquisition.
This is often thrown in the face of Christians, so lets clarify the matter.
As Bishop E.W. Jackson said last night on FOX NEWS in response to the President: “I would remind the president that the Crusades began in 1096 as a response to Islamic aggression, and the fact this they had conquered the Holy Land and they were oppressing eastern Christians. And there was a response to that, so if the president is even gonna cite that as an example, then he ought to get his history complete.”
Obama didn't stop with comparing today's jihadis to Christian sins of 800 to 1,000 years ago. He spoke about Jim Crow laws. True, there were Christians in the South fighting to defend the abominable institution of slavery and they resisted Lincoln's post war Reconstruction. But there were Christian abolitionists in the North who agitated the nation into war. And there was Christian Wilberforce who eradicated it in England. Christianity is histories most civilizing agent. Should THAT not be the point a Christian makes on an occasion such as this?
By reminding us of what happened 900 years ago or with Jim Crow the President is arguing that we should not “get on our high horse” (to use his language) and judge harshly the growing up process of Islam as it evolves. Because of that history, the president said, Christians especially should be humble in assuming they have all the answers or a direct line to divine revelation.
Man. Talk about edifying the brothers at a national prayer gathering. If you were a guest hearing this (as many world leaders were) would you be inspired by the Presidents take on the role of the Gospel in shaping the progress of mankind?
The WEEK had this to say: "Churchill, in summoning the British people during the existential threat of World War II, didn't dwell on their faults — in fact, he talked about defending "Christendom" and western civilization. As Joe Scarborough said today, Obama's comments are "the equivalent of FDR, when giving a speech against Nazi Germany, going, 'Now, of course, what we did to the Indians...really bad....so we really have no room to talk about what Hitler is doing."
So the President linked the misdeeds of Christianity past with the misdeeds of Islam today.
By linking the two faiths the President is undoing the White House argument that extremists are not Islamic at all, but a terror group using the name of Islam. They are in his opinion a great deal like Christians...and Christians because of their history should be the last to judge.
See the problem? Forget theology. Does this President see the militant threat for what it is? No. He sees Islam in transition.
He does not understand the issue.
The equating of radical Islam to Christianity growing up is an error.
This isn't a right wing / left wing editorial response. Its a moment of clarity into how this President sees the worlds single greatest threat in a nuclear age. Praying his successor is less Neville Chamberlin and more Churchillian.
To be fair to my President he did say this: "Our job is not to ask that God respond to OUR NOTION OF TRUTH -- our job is to be true to Him, His word, and His commandments.... And that means we have to speak up against those who would misuse His name to justify oppression, or violence, or hatred with that fierce certainty. No God condones terror. No grievance justifies the taking of innocent lives, or the oppression of those who are weaker or fewer in number."
Thats a good speech ending - but not entirely true. This president DOES act on his "notion of truth" and has advanced it in the Gay agenda and policy toward not arming Jordan, removing troops when they were needed in Iraq to keep ISIS from coming into existence and his attitude toward working with Israel right now. He manages our 18 trillion dollar deficit based on his notion of truth.
Its "his notion" that is problematic.
May God give him great wisdom as he sets the stage for the next act of American history, and may we find a leader who actually has a notion of what is on the mind of Christ.
- Lance Wallnau