It’s a sad commentary on our time that anyone, to say nothing of the President of the United States of America, would so much as think, much less publicly announce, that there is some sort of moral equivalence between the contemporary phenomenon of Islamic barbarity and such oft-cited examples of Western and American injustices as the Crusades, slavery, and Jim Crow. Some comments are in order.
First, critics who make the “That Was Then, This Is Now,” argument against Obama not only sorely miss the point; they actually legitimize his contention that Christians are guilty of the charge that Obama levels against them.
The truth is that while individual Crusaders, like individual soldiers in every war, were indeed guilty of some horrible things, the Crusades as such were just. Obama typifies the Christophobe who can’t resist treating the Crusades as an axiomatic instance of Christian villainy while conveniently refusing to mention that they were a response to centuries of Islamic aggression.
That’s right: For centuries Islamic armies had been conquering Christian lands generally and the Holy Land specifically. And the invasion into Europe was well underway by the time Urban II issued a call for the first holy war in 1095.
“From the confines of Jerusalem and from the city of Constantinople,” the Pope exclaimed, “a grievous report has gone forth [.]” The word was indeed “grievous,” for “a race from the kingdom of Persians,” what the Pope characterized as “an accursed race,” “has violently invaded the lands” of Christians “and has depopulated them by pillage and fire.” These Persians—Muslims—“have led away a part of the captives into their own country, and a part,” he says, “they have killed by cruel tortures.” Churches had been destroyed and “the kingdom of the Greeks” has been “dismembered” and “deprived of territory so vast in extent that it could not be traversed in two months’ time.”
Obama is right that the Crusades most certainly were conducted by Christians in the name of Christ. But unless defending one’s person and property against those who mean to deprive one of them is immoral, the Crusades per se amounted to an eminently just enterprise. That abuses and even atrocities occurred in the Crusades no more establishes the injustice of the Crusades as such than does the fact that abuses, and even atrocities, occur within marriages and families establish the immorality of marriage and family as such.
Second, slavery had been a global institution from time out of mind. In the Christian world, and in America, slavery was not conducted “in the name of Christ,” as Obama maintains. It’s true that slave owners, including and especially Christian slave owners, frequently alluded to the Bible to show that the fanatical abolitionists’ charge that slavery was a sin was unsustainable. However, many of these same Christian slave holders nevertheless believed that slavery was an evil that needed to be abolished.
Even still, only a woefully impoverished moral imagination could fail to recognize the relevant differences between, on the one hand, the situation of slavery in which earlier generations of Americans found themselves, to say nothing of the situation of Jim Crow (!) that Americans eradicated more recently, and, on the other, the situation that ISIS and other Islamic jihadists are creating for their victims whenever and wherever they rear their beastly heads. Indeed, such is the sophomoric character of Obama’s moral vision that it would be laughable if it weren’t so damn offensive—and dangerous: In one and the same breath, he speaks of both a white segregationist’s refusal to associate with blacks and an Islamic fanatic’s refusal to grant mercy to a person who he instead cages and eventually burns to death.
Third, more galling than Obama’s historical illiteracy and moral idiocy is his rank hypocrisy. Though he talks of “we” when implying moral parity between Islamic violence and the violence perpetrated by Christians in the past, Obama most certainly does not mean what he says. What he is really saying is that you—all of you white Christians—must not shed any of that white guilt that’s paid off so well for the Barack Obamas of the world.
Let’s be frank: Leftists like Obama have been able to perpetuate the fiction—the invidious fiction—that, to paraphrase one of his fellow leftists, the white race is “the cancer” of the planet, by ignoring the evils committed by the world’s peoples of color. For you see, when the historical conduct of whites is compared with, not contemporary Western standards, but the historical—and present—conduct of all peoples, it becomes crystal clear that the injustices for which whites, and white Christians in particular, are forever being blamed and for which they are forever atoning are common to the human species.
But more than this, remarkably, it is only among whites, and especially among white Christians, that a genuine moral revulsion of these perennial practices arose. Whites, especially white Christians, though the majority and the wielders of power in the West, made enormous sacrifices to rectify not just those wrongs that were done to fellow white Christians; but as well those wrongs suffered by non-whites and non-Christians, both in the West and beyond.
Obama and his ilk in the Racism-Industrial-Complex have too much to lose if this dirty little secret gets out.
It is this, more so than anything else, that explains why, in the light of the Islamic savagery on display in the fatal burning of a Jordanian pilot, Obama had to warn us against getting on “our high horse.”
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