The Great Courses

Obama, ISIS, and the Religions of Peace

Feb 6, 2015 at 11:14 AM

President Obama spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast yesterday and defended peaceful Islam.  The Huffington Post has the article and video clip HERE.

It's still sad that an elected official helms a National Prayer Breakfast (essentially wrapped around the Christian deity), but fine. Let's address Obama's assertion that, like Islam, Christianity has its own record of "terrible deeds" done in its name.  

On this, he's absolutely correct. And while the Fox News crowd is freaking out about...facts, it's important they stop rending their garments and actually read 1) their holy book and 2) any history book.  (Anybody remember the Inquisition?)


Here's where President Obama derails the train. Obama claims that people "twisted" and distorted the texts and doctrines of Christianity and Islam to excuse barbaric deeds. Remember last September, when Obama told CBS's Steve Kroft that "Islam is a religion which preaches peace?"

He's either ignorant of the Qur'an, or he's being a politician. Whatever the case, his deferential attitude toward Islam (Submission!) and Christianity (More submission!) cheats the very necessary conversation that must take place about the attitudes, motivations and actions of ISIS and religious extremists everywhere. 

Obama has given violent scriptures written in violent times promoting violent deeds a pass, apparently choosing to embrace the happy-happy-joy-joy platitudes that can be cherry-picked. 

He, like many, may be more than happy to recite Christ's words in John 13 to "love one another" and ignore Jesus' declaration in Matthew that he came to turn "a man against his father," etc, and make the members of a man's household "enemies." He can proclaim that husbands should love their wives as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25), but he'll remain mute on the silencing of women (1 Tim 2:12) or the treating of women as sexual slaves...the spoils of war (Numbers 31:18).

If we're going to speak about fundamentalist religions, we must address the fundamentals of those religions, and while President Obama might be attempting to quell the flames of anger by distancing doctrine from action, he's actually spreading false information. And we're supposed to be about the facts.


Just because humankind has largely become more progressive, just because Christians no longer execute children for back-talking, just because many Islamists don't practice the whole of the Qur'an, just because people have turned hard scriptural teaching into a cafeteria plan...doesn't mean that those scriptures, teachings, doctrines and edicts don't exist. They're plain as day, in black and white, and they must be examined for what they say, and what they command others to do.

President Obama, I think your heart's in the right place, but it's time for an honest conversation on the issue of religion(s). Christianity isn't a religion of peace. Islam isn't a religion of peace. And those with the loudest voices need to honestly admit that extremists aren't slaughtering others because they got their religion wrong. They're quite possibly doing so because they got their religion right.

comments powered by Disqus