NOBODY GETS TO RIDE THEIR HIGH HORSE
WHEN RELIGION-RELATED VIOLENCE OCCURS
Irony abounds in the juxtaposition of two recent events.
First is President Obama’s remark at the recent National Prayer Breakfast in which he demonstrated how a statement can be true and yet profoundly misleading…
“Unless we get on our high horse and think [extreme violence] is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.”
Second is the murder of three Muslim students at the University of North Carolina by a 46-year-old man named Craig Stephen Hicks who (according to the UK’s Independent)…
“described himself as an atheist on Facebook and posted regular images and text condemning all religions.”
As to the first situation: On the face of the President’s statement, he was entirely right. Who can deny that evil has been perpetrated in the name of Christ?
Indeed, you could go well beyond the Crusades and the Inquisition (both of which began as reactions to Muslim aggression and have been wildly distorted in popular history).
You could also cite the inhuman behavior of Christians during the religious wars of the 16th Century and the conquest of native cultures in Central and South America. Those events involved not only the shedding of blood in Christ’s name but forceful attempts by official Church bodies and their authorized agents to impose particular versions of Christian belief on targeted peoples and geographic areas.
If Obama’s words had come from a leader widely recognized as an active and pious Christian, his comment could have been seen as a candid (even admirable) admission of human failing by people whose spiritual and historical mandate is to love but who have often fallen far short.
However, there’s a cloud over the President’s religious commitment because of questions surrounding his background, his seemingly tireless pursuit of social transformations that are in deep conflict with traditional Christian moral values, and a good deal of hedging about his personal understanding of faith.
And so people have taken offense at what looked very much like an effort to impugn Christianity. Their reaction was justified. Both in tone (the “high horse” reference) and in content, Obama was drawing a moral equivalence between Christians and the most vicious exponents of Radical Islam today, the terrorists/fighters of the Islamic State.
His implication plays directly into the hands of people who wish to dismiss all religions as essentially the same, and faith in general as a negative force that stirs hatred and dangerous aggressiveness.
That is…people like Craig Stephen Hicks, who murdered Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, his wife, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
And there is the irony.
This act — which bears its own moral equivalence to ISIS barbarism — will undoubtedly be played in the media as anti-Muslim violence. And, of course, violence against three young Muslims is exactly what it was.
How unfortunate that it wasn’t Christian anti-Muslim violence. This messes up the tidy narrative of “terrible deeds in the name of Christ” that’s so close to the heart of President Obama and his media enablers.
The old reliable canard that all religions are alike and harmful is what I have called “the devil’s lie writ large” (see my essay in the July 27 issue of American Thinker). It’s a handy device used constantly to slander as odious bigots all who object on faith grounds to abortion, euthanasia, same-sex marriage, and other dubious expressions of social “progress.”
I can’t avoid concluding that this was precisely what Obama had in mind.
Sure, he was “reaching out” once more to Muslims — demonstrating that he’s mindful of Christian hypocrisy, free of Western myopia, a true citizen of the world.
But he was also preaching to a Leftist choir ever ready to burst forth in song about the evils of religion.
That’s their favorite hymn, isn’t it? All together everybody…
“Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try”
But what to do now?
An avowed and apparently rather highly motivated atheist has committed a horrible act of violence. Are we to conclude from this that all those who lack religious faith are inherently violent?
My, my…there’s a conundrum.
I have the growing sense that we’re moving rapidly toward a great moment of choosing. Religious freedom is under assault — not least from a President whose own hostility to faith is increasingly apparent.
All too many non-believers have delighted in the weakening of religiosity as a determinate of our national character. They’ve thrilled at the growing count of “nones” in surveys of denominational affiliation. They’ve cheered the speech codes designed to curtail religion-based moral expression, rejoiced at the mockery of church leaders and faith-identified public figures.
The religion-breeds-violence line has been music to their ears.
Damn you, Craig Stephen Hicks! You’re wrecking everything.
I have pointed out before that the right to believe is the same as the right not to believe.
At some point non-believers are going to realize that they have a stake in this freedom fight. And they just might find themselves choosing to stand side-by-side with believers before everybody’s freedom starts to collapse.
Now there’s irony for you.
If you haven’t seen President Obama make his remark about “terrible deeds” done in the name of Christ, Breitbart has the clip here…
The President’s remark stirred plenty of criticism…
Speaking on Fox News, commentator Charles Krauthammer called Obama’s words both “banal and offensive…”
…while on NBC’s “Meet the Press” David Brooks of The New York Times thought it reflected a “gospel of humility.” Fellow panelist Andrea Mitchell of NBC objected, countering that the President’s remark was inappropriate in the immediate aftermath of the burning death of the captured Jordanian pilot…
“And the week after a pilot is burned alive, in a video shown, you don’t lean over backwards to be philosophical about the sins of the fathers. You have to deal with the issue that’s in front of you or don’t deal with it at all.”…
In a New York Times essay headlined, “Obama the Theologian,” Ross Douthat observed…
“The first problem is that presidents are not historians or theologians, and in political rhetoric it’s hard to escape from oversimplication.”…
Interviewed by Tucker Carlson on “Fox & Friends,” likely presidential contender Dr. Ben Carson wondered if…
“Perhaps we don’t have a leader who feels the same about things as most of us do.”…
And the indomitable Fox News host, Judge Jeanine Pirro excoriated the President in her ever-colorful way, asserting that his words at the National Prayer Breakfast make it clear that Barack Obama is “comfortable with extremism.”…
Finally, writing on PJ Media, national security and terrorism specialist Patrick Poole, notes that alleged killer Craig Stephen Hicks is not only an atheist but an avid supporter many leftist groups, causes and public figures…
“A review of the Facebook page of the man charged in these murders, Craig Hicks, shows a consistent theme of anti-religion and progressive causes. Included in his many Facebook ‘likes’ are the Huffington Post, Rachel Maddow, the Southern Poverty Law Center, Freedom from Religion Foundation, Bill Nye ‘The Science Guy,’ Neil deGrasse Tyson, gay marriage groups, and a host of anti-conservative/Tea Party pages.”
Will this cause any discomfort among our “Progressive” friends? Don’t count on it. At some point we’ll be hearing that Hicks was really a closet Republican…
(NOTE: After working with the format change that permits linking to articles by clicking on their logos, I’m reverting to my earlier practice of including the URLs. It makes things clearer, especially when I post multiple links to the same source (e.g. Fox News above). Thanks for your patience with these small format adjustments.