Conservatives and Evangelicals nearly lost their minds when, on February 5 at the National Prayer Breakfast, Barack Obama drew a moral equivalency between the ISIS beheadings and burnings of those ISIS captures with the Crusades, Inquisition, Jim Crow laws, etc. Hmmm. On the same day we had a response to our blog Is ISIS Islamic? which opined:
Is your site always full of mindless drivel or just on days that end in “y”? The problem isn’t JUST Islam. It’s all religion. But that’s ok—the world is realizing this quickly and ignoring you all more and more.
I always enjoy well thought out intelligently articulated challenges to our position:D I also received a question from one of our supporters pointing out the differences in the Qur’an between early Muhammad who was friendly to Christians and Jews (in hopes of being accepted as a prophet) and later Muhammad who was quite vitriolic and angry with Christians and Jews. This is where we find the texts of killing, slaying, cutting off hands and feet of non-Muslims, etc. His question was asking about how we should respond? He well pointed out, Jesus is quoted as having said to turn the other cheek but how does that work itself out in this situation he wondered? All of these really go together for me as a missionary to cults and New Religious Movements.
The comment to our Is ISIS Islamic? post is somewhat representative of a portion of culture, perhaps a larger portion than we care to admit, of uninformed emotionally driven reactions to ideas which challenge current cultural trends. Are our ideas really “mindless drivel” or fairly well thought out and articulate views with which one might agree or disagree? Is it true that the problem is all religion? We can see the results of the lack of religion in favor of the scientific consensus of Darwinian Evolution. There is Joseph Stalin’s Genocide (7,000,000), Adolph Hitler’s death camps (12,000,000), Pol Pot and the “Killing Fields” (1,700,000), Mao Ze-Dong is credited with between 49-78,000,000. In fact, if we look briefly at the list of The worst genocides of the 20th and 21st Centuries we discover that the problem is human nature with or without religion. The Bible asserts this is the case in fact, that we are all sinners in need of salvation. Scriptures assert that salvation is found solely by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone at which time we have a relationship with God directly with or without “religion” per se. So, the commenter’s assertion lacks any actual factual basis.
That is also the problem with Barack Obama’s comments. I have to wonder if Obama is illiterate with regard to history, dishonest with history or blinded to the facts of history due to his long term involvement in the Cult of Black Liberation Theology (as we discuss in Barack and the Borg. I am not certain. His assertion that slavery was due to Christianity does not square with history. Slavery in the 17th-19th Century was based primarily on the accepted science of “The Great Chain of Being” in which white Europeans were regarded as the highest form of human in the “Chain” and Africans the lowest, a mixture of Orang outang and humans. The online PowerPoint from New Jersey City University on Jean-Jacques Rousseau titled, of “The Discourse on the Origin and Foundations of Inequality Among Men” which gives the charts of the Great Chain of Being and on slide 48 we read:
1688 Olfert Dapper claimed that the orangs of the Congo were so numerous and so nearly human in appearance that “it has entered the minds of some travelers that they may be the offspring of a woman and a monkey”
On slide 50 and 51 we read:
Slavery and African/Primate relations
Slavery is a uniquely human institution
Africans subjugate inferior African tribes
Orangs subjugate some Africans
“The great Orang Outang carries off boys and girls to make slaves of them, which not only shows him, in my apprehension to be a man, but proves that he lives in society, and must have made some progress in the arts of civil life; for we hear of no nations altogether barbarous who use slaves.”
On the other hand, in opposition to the scientific consensus of the Great Chain of Being, the The Abolitionist Movement was driven by Christians in an effort to eliminate slavery.
Obama cited the Jim Crow Laws which, as it happens, were enacted largely in the Democrat South and upheld by the 9 Democrat Supreme Court Justices. In other words, this was the product and practice of Barack Obama’s own party, not of Christianity.
His citation of the Crusades doesn’t prove his point either. The Crusades actuality refutes his claim and demonstrates that what we are seeing now is what was driving the Crusades a thousand years ago. As Historian Thomas F. Madden points out in The Real History of the Crusades:
So what is the truth about the Crusades? Scholars are still working some of that out. But much can already be said with certainty. For starters, the Crusades to the East were in every way defensive wars. They were a direct response to Muslim aggression—an attempt to turn back or defend against Muslim conquests of Christian lands.
From the safe distance of many centuries, it is easy enough to scowl in disgust at the Crusades. Religion, after all, is nothing to fight wars over.
Christians in the eleventh century were not paranoid fanatics. Muslims really were gunning for them.
James M. Arlandson’s “Islamic Crusades vs. Christian Crusades” notes:
Few Westerners know that the Muslims launched their own Crusades outside of Arabia two years after Muhammad’s death of a fever in AD 632. The first part of this article answers three questions about the early Muslim Crusades. In this article, the word Crusade (derived from the Latin word for “cross”) means a holy war or jihad. It is used as a counterweight to the constant Muslim accusation that only the Europeans launched a crusade. Muslims seem to forget that they had their own, for several centuries before the Europeans launched theirs as a defense against the Islamic expansion
But what of “turning the other cheek”? In Luke 6:27-35 Jesus Christ describe’s how to live life in a culture unfriendly to the faith. We are not to fight back tit-for-tat or strive to bring retribution on those who treat us badly. He is addressing our individual behavior as individual’s but, and this is an important but, He does not speak out against defending the defenseless. In fact, He in preparation instructed his disciples in Luke 22:36:
He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one.
The disciples said they had 2 and He responded, “It is enough.” They were to be used as defensive weapons, not offensive.
ISIS is simply reinstituting the practices of its prophet, Muhammad, and his followers at the end of his life and for several centuries afterward. As believers we need to be informed and equipped with answers. We should be praying for those lost in false religious movements, God does reach them. It is also the case that the innocent should be defended from those who would kill them in the name of their false God.