Christian evangelist Franklin Graham on Thursday reminded President Obama, who discusses during one televised interview his “Muslim faith” but otherwise has stated being a Christian, that Jesus Christ came to earth to die for the guilty, while Islam’s Muhammad killed the “innocent.”
The comment came in reaction to Obama’s speech during the National Prayer Breakfast, when he linked Christians to violence, by claiming that atrocities such as the Inquisition and the Crusades were done “in the name of Christ.”
Obama said, “Unless 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. And in our home country, slavery, and Jim Crow, all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”
He condemned jihadists who are “betraying” Islam with their slaughter of innocent people.
And he called out members of the Islamic State, who have “carried out unspeakable acts of barbarism.”
“This is not unique to one group or one religion,” Obama claimed. “There is a tendency in us, a sinful tendency, that can pervert and distort our faith. And in today’s world when hate groups have their own Twitter accounts and bigotry can fester in hidden places in cyberspace, it can be even harder to combat such intolerance. But God compels us to try.”
While one Catholic leader called for Obama to apologize, pointedly noting that the Inquisition was political, and the Crusades were a defensive effort, and a Fox commentator blasted the president for having to go back “1,000 years” to find some way to link Christians to violence, others noted that it actually was a largely Christian influence that drove slavery out of America and reduced Jim Crow laws to relics.
“Today at the National Prayer Breakfast, the president implied that what ISIS is doing is equivalent to what happened over 1,000 years ago during the Crusades and the Inquisition,” he wrote. “Mr. President – -Many people in history have used the name of Jesus Christ to accomplish evil things for their own desires. But Jesus taught peace, love and forgiveness. He came to give His life for the sins of mankind, not to take life.
“Muhammad on the contrary was a warrior and killed many innocent people. True followers of Christ emulate Christ – true followers of Muhammad emulate Muhammad,” he wrote.
Bill Donohue of the Catholic League called for Obama to apologize.
“In an attempt to deflect guilt from Muslim madmen, President Obama said, ‘Unless 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.’ Obama’s ignorance is astounding and his comparison is pernicious,” he said.
“The Crusades were a defensive Christian reaction against Muslim madmen of the Middle Ages. Here is how Princeton scholar and Islamic expert Bernard Lewis puts it: ‘At the present time, the Crusades are often depicted as an early expansionist imperialism – a prefigurement of the modern European countries. To people of the time, both Muslim and Christian, they were no such thing.’ So what were they? ‘The Crusade was a delayed response to the jihad, the holy war for Islam, and its purpose was to recover by war what had been lost by war – to free the holy places of Christendom and open them once again, without impediment, to Christian pilgrimage.'”
He continued, “Regarding the other fable, the Inquisition, the Catholic Church had almost nothing to do with it. The church saw heretics as lost sheep who needed to be brought back into the fold. By contrast, secular authorities saw heresy as treason; anyone who questioned royal authority, or who challenged the idea that kingship was God-given, was guilty of a capital offense. It was they – not the church – who burned the heretics. Indeed, secular authorities blasted the church for its weak role in the Inquisition.”
“I have a question, ladies and gentlemen. You go to the National Prayer Breakfast, and you’re president of the United States. You go to the National Prayer Breakfast, today – the National Prayer Breakfast! There are, in attendance, thousands of Christians of one denomination or another. Fundamentalists, evangelicals, Protestants, Catholics, the whole gamut. Why would you insult them? Why would you attempt to downplay militant Islam?
“Why would you attempt to downplay Islamist extremism? Why would you attempt to put in perspective the actions being taken today by al-Qaida and ISIS and Boko Haram and the Khorasan Group and all of the rest of them by claiming that just as many atrocities have taken place in the name of Christ? Why in the world would you make that point? Why in the world would you even be thinking that way?
“Why in the world, when you are going to the National Prayer Breakfast, would your number one focus point be to insult the attendees? What in the world must have gone through Obama’s head?”
Limbaugh continued, “Now, look, folks, Christianity is not the problem today. Jim Crow’s not around today. A thousand years ago, yeah. But not today. Shariah law is the present day threat to individual and civil liberties all over the world. Shariah is not a narrow cult. Shariah law is Islam. The problem today is not Christianity. The problem today is that people are being killed, captured, conquered to advance and impose Shariah law. The Christians are doing no such thing, and haven’t I don’t know if ever, on this scale, and for how long.
“I don’t know of a single Christian leader today who takes the past and uses it as an excuse to blast Christians today. Why in the world would that even be on your mind. And not just that, why would that be among the top of the things on your mind? What is this business about ‘lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place’? High horse? Who among us is running around here on our high horse, if not for the president of the United States?”
Limbaugh said of Obama, “We have a guy, we have a man who really has a problem with this country. He has a problem with this nation’s founding. He has a deep-seated problem with this nation’s existence. He doesn’t like the fact that we’re a superpower, thinks it’s not been honestly earned. We’re cheaters and we’re thieves. We are rich beyond the rest of the world’s comprehension, not because we’ve had a unique way of creating wealth and prosperity. No, no, no, no! We’ve run around the world and we’ve stolen things from other people. We’ve stolen cultural things; we’ve stolen resources; we’ve stolen money.”
“I don’t know of a Christian leader today who takes the past and uses it as an excuse to blast Christians or Jews or Muslims or Hindus, you name it. But this guy does,” he said.
“ISIS chops off heads, incinerates hostages, kills gays, enslaves girls. Obama: Blame the Crusades,” she wrote on Twitter.
“So Obama’s not interested in fighting radical Islam today because of stuff Christians did in the 11th century,” conservative media watchdog Matt Philbin tweeted.
Greg Gutfeld of Fox News’ The Five wondered that Obama had to go back 1,000 years to find something about Christianity to blast, when Islamics were burning a man alive two days ago.
“He needs to leave the White House and go back to a sit-in,” he said. “It’s embarrassing.”