President Obama’s comments on the Crusades

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I feel sorry for President Obama. The man has experienced the brunt of the religious aftershock of his comments at a recent Prayer Breakfast.  Here’s the skinny on what happened.

Highlighting the atrocities being committed by Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIL), speaking of the tension between the compassionate and murderous acts that religion can inspire, he went on to say the following:

“Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history, 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.”

Nothing new here people.  His comments were by-and-large accurate.  Yes you read that correctly.  For example, in the Siege of Ma’arra, in late 1098AD, Muslim babies were impaled, cooked, then eaten by the Crusaders.  Jay Michaelson writes, “And this is all at a time in which the world population was approximately 300 million — less than 5 percent its current total. Muslim extremists would have to kill 34 million people (Muslim and non-Muslim alike) to equal that death toll today.”  Yes, the Crusaders committed heinous crimes.  The later Inquisition was probably even worse.

Why would 21st Century Christians want to try and defend them?  What has really shocked me is why some Christians are so averse to recognise that atrocities, unconscionable atrocities, have been committed by Christians in the name of Christ.  True, I am viewing this from outside of the American socio-political landscape, and am maybe very simplistic in my reasoning, but in my mind the fact that Christians have in the past committed these religious atrocities is the reason WHY Christians have a voice in this matter.  We have been there.  We have done that.  We have learnt. We have repented. We have moved on.  We have vowed never to repeat these heinous acts.  We must now stand for peace and goodwill for all men.

The vast majority of Muslims will say that the actions of ISIL are not representative of Islam.  Christians must be able to say that the actions of Medieval blood-thirsty knights are not representative of Jesus, the Prince of Peace.

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