Obama versus the Facts Regarding His Prayer Breakfast Statements


This cartoon linked from Investors Business Daily and Michael Ramirez.

So much for hoping that Obama might change his support of radical Islam.

Obama’s Prayer Breakfast Statement

On the morning of 5 February 2015, President Obama stood before the attendees of the National Prayer Breakfast to once again defend Islam. At the 6:07 mark on the video below (linked from the White House YouTube channel), he stated:

“We see faith driving us to do right. But we also see faith being twisted and distorted, used as a wedge — or, worse, sometimes used as a weapon. From a school in Pakistan to the streets of Paris, we have seen violence and terror perpetrated by those who profess to stand up for faith, their faith, professed to stand up for Islam, but, in fact, are betraying it. We see ISIL, a brutal, vicious death cult that, in the name of religion, carries out unspeakable acts of barbarism — terrorizing religious minorities like the Yezidis, subjecting women to rape as a weapon of war, and claiming the mantle of religious authority for such actions.

We see sectarian war in Syria, the murder of Muslims and Christians in Nigeria, religious war in the Central African Republic, a rising tide of anti-Semitism and hate crimes in Europe, so often perpetrated in the name of religion.

So how do we, as people of faith, reconcile these realities — the profound good, the strength, the tenacity, the compassion and love that can flow from all of our faiths, operating alongside those who seek to hijack religious for their own murderous ends?

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. Michelle and I returned from India — an incredible, beautiful country, full of magnificent diversity — but a place where, in past years, religious faiths of all types have, on occasion, been targeted by other peoples of faith, simply due to their heritage and their beliefs — acts of intolerance that would have shocked Gandhiji, the person who helped to liberate that nation.”

The Facts

Short-Term Facts on the Future

In the short-term, Obama’s statements will be used by the technically savvy Islamic State for recruitment. 

Historical Facts from Recent History

Obama’s Micro-Partial List of Muslim Atrocities Leading to His Accusations Against Christians

From a school in Pakistan to the streets of Paris, we have seen violence and terror perpetrated by those who profess to stand up for faith, their faith, professed to stand up for Islam, but, in fact, are betraying it. We see ISIL, a brutal, vicious death cult that, in the name of religion, carries out unspeakable acts of barbarism — terrorizing religious minorities like the Yezidis, subjecting women to rape as a weapon of war, and claiming the mantle of religious authority for such actions.
 
We see sectarian war in Syria, the murder of Muslims and Christians in Nigeria, religious war in the Central African Republic, a rising tide of anti-Semitism and hate crimes in Europe, so often perpetrated in the name of religion.

So how do we, as people of faith, reconcile these realities — the profound good, the strength, the tenacity, the compassion and love that can flow from all of our faiths, operating alongside those who seek to hijack religious for their own murderous ends?

Historical Facts from Medieval Europe

During the Crusades,  … people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ

On the Catholic League web site (since the Catholic church is the primary branch of Christianity that reaches back 1,000 years to the Crusades and might ):

“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.’

According to St. Louis University and Crusade scholar Thomas Madden, ‘All the Crusades met the criteria of just wars.’ How many ISIS atrocities, Mr. President, have met the criteria of just wars? The ones where they buried people alive, stoned children, raped women, and crucified men? Moreover, according to Henry Kamen, the leading authority on the Inquisition, a total of 1,394 people were killed during the Inquisition. Today, Muslim madmen kill more than that in a few months.”

Ronnie Floyd, President of the Southern Baptist Convention, said

“His flawed comparison to atrocities that happened hundreds of years ago minimizes the severity of ISIS and other groups that are brutalizing and killing innocent people.  Instead of focusing on the past, America needs heroic leadership in the present — leadership that champions religious liberty for all people,”

Russell Moore of the SBC Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission said

“President Obama is right that many wicked things were done in the name of Christ. This is an unfair and unfortunate moral comparison, though, in light of the threat of ISIS. …

“All of the sinful acts he mentioned were countered by those who did so also in the name of Christ. The dissenters from these non-Christian deeds prevailed, precisely because a Christian moral ethic was on their side.”

Additionally, Moore responded in a Washington Post article:

“The evil actions that [Obama] mentioned were clearly outside the moral parameters of Christianity itself and were met with overwhelming moral opposition from Christians”

Although the President seems to require briefings to remain informed, certainly he can remember the 2,000+ murdered by January 2015 by Boko Haram or the 1,000 Christians murdered in November by Boko Haram.

During the … Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ

In response, the Catholic League replies:

“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.”

Christianity and Slavery

In the Old Testament, slavery is regulated (Exodus 21, Leviticus 25, and Deuteronomy 15). Also in the Old Testament, several methods were available for one to leave slavery. Freedom could be purchased (Leviticus 25:48-55). The Hebrew slave was to be released in the Sabbatical and Jubilee year cycles (Exodus 21:2-4; Leviticus 25:40-43). Inhumane treatment by masters was grounds for release (Exodus 21:7-11; Exodus 21:26-27; Deuteronomy 21:14). Some were released by the direct command of God (Jeremiah 34:8-10). The Old Testament used slavery as a picture of the believer’s relationship with God (Jeremiah 2:14).

Although the New Testament admonishes us to treat others as we would have them treat us (Matthew 7:12) and us to put the needs of others before our own (Philippians 2:3-4), it also speaks to us where we are (even if we find ourselves slaves to someone). Therefore, it talks to the duties of slaves to their masters and masters to their slaves (Ephesians 6:5-9). Just as Christ was a servant (Mark 10:45; Luke 22:27), we are to be slaves to God (Romans 1:1; Philipians 1:1; 2 Timothy 2:24; Titus 1:1; James 1:1; 1 Peter 2:16; and 2 Peter 1:1) and to fellow believers (2 Corinthians 4:5). However, it is also recognized that we often find ourselves captive to our old nature (Romans 6:20).

Jim Crow and Slavery

For a summary of the American experience in slavery and Jim Crow, President Obama might do well to consult:

Christians who Fought Slavery

If Obama does not know about those who organized the abolition movement, he should look up Granville Sharp, John Wesley, Benjamin Rush, and William Wilberforce. One source of information on the abolition movement (Jubilee Centre) provides the following:

Once the British Abolition Committee was established in 1787, abolitionism quickly became a mass movement. In 1788–92, there was a media blitz and petitioning campaign timed to coincide with Wilberforce’s Parliamentary bills. Thomas Clarkson had worked tirelessly to assemble damning evidence against the trade, and the abolitionists pioneered many of the tactics of modern pressure groups: logos, petitions, rallies, book tours, posters, letters to MPs, a national organisation with local chapters, and the mass mobilisation of grass roots agitation. There were even boycotts of consumer goods, as up to 400,000 Britons stopped buying the rum and sugar that came from slave plantations in the Caribbean. In a sermon to his fellow Methodists, Samuel Bradburn urged them to join the boycott, and recalled that hundreds of Manchester Methodists had signed a petition against the slave trade ‘in the Chapel at the Communion Table, on the Lord’s Day’.

In just one generation, there had been a sea-change in Christian attitudes on both sides of the Atlantic. ‘Thirty years ago’, wrote the American Jonathan Edwards Jr., ‘scarcely a man in this country thought either the slave trade or the slavery of Negroes to be wrong’. His own father, the famous theologian and revivalist, Jonathan Edwards Sr., had owned slaves. But the practice could no longer be excused. ‘Our pious fathers’, wrote the younger Edwards, ‘lived in a time of ignorance which God winked at; but now he commandeth all men everywhere to repent of this wickedness’.”

Current Purveyors of Slavery – The Kafala System Obama will not Mention

In 16 November 2014 Arab News article Qatar promises to change ‘kafala’ labor law, Agence France Presse says

“Human rights groups and FIFPro, the global union representing footballers, have urged Qatar to abolish the kafala system, which enables employers to prevent foreign workers from leaving the country or changing jobs and has been likened to modern-day slavery.”

In Saudi Arabia and Qatar: Kingdoms of Slave Larbor, Human Rights Abuses on News Junkie Post, Gilbert Mercier says

Domestically, Qatar imports almost all of its workforce from poorer Arab countries like Algeria, for white-collar jobs, while it recruits low-skilled labor from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. A recent report from The Guardian has shined an international spotlight on Qatar’s practices. In this exclusive report, Pete Pattison revealed how Qatar is using slave labor for its 2022 World Cup mega construction projects. According to Nepal’s embassy in Doha (Qatar), at least 44 Nepalese workers have died between June 4 and August 18, 2013. The report also reveals evidence of forced labor: workers whose passports are confiscated, who are not paid for months, with money withheld so that they don’t run away, and who are denied access to free drinking water.

In this blog, details of the kidnapping of Christians from Sudan and Eritrea by Muslims has been detailed.

Response from Franklin Graham, Founder of Samaritan’s Purse

Franklin Graham founder of Samaritan’s Purse (whose operations include the following areas with Islamic insurgencies or Islamic majorities: Philippines, South Sudan, Uganda, North Korea, Niger, Kurdistan, Kenya) observed the parallels between the majority of Christians following Christ and Muslims following Muhammad:

“Today at the National Prayer Breakfast, the President implied that what ISIS is doing is equivalent to what happened over 1000 years ago during the Crusades and the Inquisition. 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. Mohammad on the contrary was a warrior and killed many innocent people. True followers of Christ emulate Christ—true followers of Mohammed emulate Mohammed.”

Facebook post by Franklin Graham

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