President Obama has done his best to restore his standing in the polls back 20 or 30 points in reverse by comparing the Christian Crusades with the quest of the Islamic State of Levant. What the heck is he thinking?
A president who spent part of his life growing up under the tutelage of his Muslim father may harbor sentiment for his roots.
All religions have had their unblessed moments when members felt strongly that their ideology was supreme and should conquer all others. Religious organizations like other clubs and secret societies prefer to tout their associations as being unique in value and belief.
“The first of the Crusades began in 1095, when armies of Christians from Western Europe responded to Pope Urban II’s plea to go to war against Muslim forces in the Holy Land. After the First Crusade achieved its goal with the capture of Jerusalem in 1099, the invading Christians set up several Latin Christian states, even as Muslims in the region vowed to wage holy war (jihad) to regain control over the region. Deteriorating relations between the Crusaders and their Christian allies in the Byzantine Empire culminated in the sack of Constantinople in 1204 during the Third Crusade. Near the end of the 13th century, the rising Mamluk dynasty in Egypt provided the final reckoning for the Crusaders, toppling the coastal stronghold of Acre and driving the European invaders out of Palestine and Syria in 1291.”
“The remainder of the 13th century saw a variety of Crusades aimed not so much at toppling Muslim forces in the Holy Land as at combating any and all of those seen as enemies of the Christian faith.”
It didn’t work out for Christians in the end and here is a simple explanation about why this is so.
In the land of the birth of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam witness a spectrum of historic ideological evolution. Judaism begets Christianity, and Christianity begets Islam. These inventions by humanity were coping mechanisms to govern society with rules that imposed morality. Judaism introduced the notion that a savior might come. Christianity fulfilled the dream, however, some local people felt disenfranchised. Some Arab people didn’t join the first group, nor did they join the second. Everyone wanted a “land of their own” in the name of people like themselves. Thus, Muhammad invented Islam.
Parallelling the transformation from Judaism to Christianity, some Muslims sought a new and improved version of their faith thus we have Sunni and Shiite Muslims. If people could only see the forest for the trees.
Today’s problem is fairly straightforward, poor and disenfranchised people in the Middle East seek affinity with something for them in which their kind have shared values. They want to be free to join and defend their faith as they want. Being a little paranoid, they want to combat anyone that gets in the way. Jihad is in their faith as their rules direct them to combat enemies with vengeance.
Trying not to stir up the Islamic hornets nest, Obama has clumsily tried to impose some empathy for the plight of Muslims. He has sought to acknowledge the peaceful members of the community to focus on extremists as being a lawless order of criminals that are outside if the Muslim faith.
Looking at the Quran and history many times, it is hard to be blind by the fact that many Muslims live by the old rules and have not declared which are obsolete. Most Christians have moved on from historical strife as they embrace pluralism, accepting people of diverse beliefs.
Muslims may not appear so flexible and adaptive, and therein lies a problem. The President may have stirred some dormant souls in the Christian right as he mistakenly made historical comparisons.
“Critics Seize On Obama’s ISIS Remarks at Prayer Breakfast
By JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVISFEB. 5, 2015
WASHINGTON — President Obama may have thought he was giving a straightforward history lesson at the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday when he compared the atrocities of the Islamic State to the bloodshed committed in the name of Christianity in centuries past.
But that is not how many of his longtime critics saw it.
“The president’s comments this morning at the prayer breakfast are the most offensive I’ve ever heard a president make in my lifetime,” said Jim Gilmore, the former Republican governor of Virginia. “He has offended every believing Christian in the United States.”
Rush Limbaugh devoted a segment of his show to what he said were the president’s insults to the “whole gamut of Christians” and Twitter’s right wing piled on. Guests on Megyn Kelly’s Fox News show spent 15 minutes airing objections to the president’s comments.
“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,” Mr. Obama said. “In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.””