Barack Obama, a Moral and Historical Ignoramus

Scott wrote this morning about President Obama’s speech at the National Prayer Breakfast. I think Obama deserves another whack, so here goes.

Much of the speech was fine. But the key passage was where he acknowledged the reality of Islamic aggression and terrorism, and then commented on it:

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.

All true. So what are we going to do about it?

…And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place…

What does that mean? Does Obama think Jews are “on their high horse” when they express concern about Islamic terrorism?

…remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.

There was nothing wrong, in principle, with the Crusades. They were an appropriate (if belated and badly managed) response to the conquest of the Holy Land by Islam. Did marauding 11th century armies inevitably commit outrages? They certainly did. In fact, that still happens today. But the most unfortunate thing about the Crusades is that they failed.

As for the Inquisition, that is a large topic. For the moment let’s just note that the entire number of people executed by multiple inquisitions over a period of centuries would hardly make a good week’s work for Boko Haram or ISIS.

But more fundamentally, what is the point? Obama is telling us not to get on our “high horse.” Does that mean that we shouldn’t try to do something about the groups that are ravaging the Middle East and Africa and carrying out terrorist acts around the world? Are we supposed to refrain from anger against ISIS on account of the Crusades? Seriously?

In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.

Actually, slavery might well be widespread today if it were not for Christianity. Until the early 19th century, there had never been an abolitionist movement. Slavery had existed from the beginning of time, seemingly, and was widely accepted. It still is in many Islamic areas. The abolitionist movement was 100% driven by Christian faith, with a strong assist from Jews.

As for Jim Crow, I am not sure what Obama is talking about. Jim Crow was supported by the Democratic Party, but I don’t recall anyone claiming Biblical authority for it. The civil rights movement that ended Jim Crow was mostly a Christian movement–just ask Martin Luther King–again with a major Jewish component.

So this is not unique to one group or one religion.

Yes, it is. There is only one religion whose adherents are slaughtering entire villages, torturing children, burning a pilot alive in a cage. Obama described the outrages not two minutes earlier. What was his point? Apparently there was none. The only conclusion he draws is that we shouldn’t get on our “high horse.”

Earlier, as quoted above, Obama described Islamic violence and terrorism as “faith being twisted and distorted.” If I were a Muslim, I might be interested in whether the appalling actions of ISIS and Boko Haram represent a fair reading of the words of the Prophet. But I am not a Muslim, and frankly, I don’t give a rat’s ass about the words of the Prophet. What I want to know is, how can we kill them? Or is that what Obama means by getting on our “high horse?”

More insipidity follows, but I want to note just one more disgusting bit of hypocrisy. Obama went on at great length about Pastor Saeed Abedini, an American citizen who has been under arrest in Iran since 2012. Obama described his recent meeting with Abedini’s wife and children, and said that “we’re doing everything we can to bring him home.” But this is false. Obama has been widely criticized for failing to demand Pastor Abedini’s release as a condition of nuclear talks with Iran. Jay Sekulow, for example, wrote in November 2013:

Even after President Obama raised Pastor Saeed’s case directly to the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Iran responded not by releasing Saeed but by transferring him to an even worse prison — a prison full of murderers and rapists, where his life is in danger at every moment.

The Iranian regime rebuked the president of the United States, and we’re now supposed to believe it’s acting in good faith?

President Obama is now trying to spin our stunning act of weakness as a breakthrough for peace. In fact, we were so weak that (according to the administration) the State Department did not even raise Pastor Saeed during the nuclear negotiations.

Fox News asked an administration spokesman why Pastor Saeed was not part of the agreement, and the spokesman responded: “The P5+1 talks focused exclusively on nuclear issues.”

This is self-evidently false. Even the administration’s own fact sheet on the agreement describes how the U.S. will not only ease the sanctions directly related to Iran’s nuclear program but also facilitate additional “humanitarian transactions” that are not related to the sanctions regime.

Why couldn’t we demand that Iran “facilitate” its own “humanitarian transaction” by releasing an American pastor (and all other Americans held in Iran) back to his wife and two young children?

This is an unconscionable betrayal….

Of course, Obama made no mention of this history.

One last thing: Jordan’s King Abdullah was in Washington, meeting with lawmakers, when news came of ISIS’s murder of Muadh al-Kasasbeh. As you no doubt have heard, he canceled his remaining Washington meetings and returned to Jordan, first vowing to seek revenge against ISIS in the words of Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven. Abdullah is, among other things, the former commander of Jordan’s special forces and a trained pilot. The royal family’s Facebook page posted this photo of the king in military gear:


There was widespread speculation that Abdullah might personally lead retaliatory sorties against ISIS. Jordan’s government has now denied those rumors, and says the king won’t be flying himself. Still, he is showing the right attitude: we haven’t heard any idle musing about the Crusades from him. The United States should be so lucky.