Obama: "remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ"

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jimcarwest's picture

Since when do Christians get the same freedoms in schools, curricula, etc. as Muslims do today.  We could wish!  The schools are not now teaching children to say Christian prayers, to practice Christian festivals, etc.  The school systems are the arm of government now.  They are teaching religion:  darwinism, humanism, and all sorts of anti-Christian beliefs.  It is strange that the writers of the Constitution held that Christianity was the religion that was taught and practiced in our schools.  The Bible was read daily.  Christian prayers were said daily.  They envisioned the protection of all religions, but they incorporated the practice and beliefs of Christianity until humanists like John Dewey gained control of our educational system.  So much for those "hints" you failed to see in our system of government.   So, instead of opposing the actual trend to give special recognition to Islam in our schools, you would rather find in the Constitution reasons for excluding Christianity from any government activity.  

 

GregH wrote:

 

Jim Welch wrote:

 

Greg H, I have read the Constitution.  I am wondering where in it does it say that all religions are equal?

 

 

Are you serious? Did you miss the first amendment?

This is my ongoing beef with conservative Christians. They want to have their cake and eat it to. If you want freedom of religion in the US, guess what? Muslims get it to. Want the ten commandments hanging in schools? Guess what? Satanists can pass out their coloring books.

That is our Constitution. And if it was actually written by Christians (a highly dubious suggestion), they went to great lengths to hide that. There is not a hint that one religion is to be considered superior to another in the Constitution.

Greg Long's picture

GregH wrote:

In all the bashing of Muslims that goes on, a few little facts get conveniently glossed over. Just like fundamentalists Christians make up a tiny fraction of Christianity, fundamentalist Muslims make up a tiny part of Muslims. The vast majority of Muslims are struggling with a literal interpretation of Islam just like we see in Christianity with the Bible. And a vast majority of Muslims condemn the violence of groups like ISIS. Furthermore, the trend is in the right direction.

Could it just be that Obama knows a bit more than some of you about what is going on and just might not want to alienate all those Muslims who are our friends by continually trying to paint all Muslims as ISIS-type radicals?

In regards to the President engaging in boilerplate liberalism (all religions are the same), here is a thought: he is engaging in what we believe as a country. In this country, all religions are indeed the same. Read the Constitution. Do people really want him to get up and say that Christianity is the best religion?

It is clear that what many conservative Christians really want is a theocracy rather than the government we have. Fine. They can go change the Constitution. But until you do, it is entirely appropriate for the President to not take sides in religions.

Greg, again I really, really wish you would engage with what is actually being said on this thread. But since you seem to think Islam is such a benign religion, let me address that.

Obviously it is technically true that the vast majority of individual Muslims have never and never intend to commit personal acts of violence. Most Muslims are peaceful people. But that's not the issue. The issue is, is there anything inherent in the Islamic faith that leads to religious violence? Obviously there is debate within the Muslim community on that very point. My Muslim acquaintance that I mentioned earlier told me point blank that if there is a true Islamic state, then anyone who is a Muslim who renounces the Muslim faith or coverts to another religion should be executed. He also said that those who are already in another religion would be allowed to worship and practice peacefully, but that they would have to pay a tax to the Islamic government (this is known as ahl al-dhimma).

However, this seems to me to be a sanitized, rose-colored perspective on the true Islamic faith. Why do I say that? Well, the proof is in the pudding. Look around the world at nations where Islam is the majority religion and/or the official religion. Fareed Zakaria says this on the Washington Post site (note this is NOT Glenn Beck or some other "right-wing crazy," and that it is NOT Fox News or some other "right-wing" news source):

But let’s be honest. Islam has a problem today. The places that have trouble accommodating themselves to the modern world are disproportionately Muslim.

In 2013, of the top 10 groups that perpetrated terrorist attacks, seven were Muslim. Of the top 10 countries where terrorist attacks took place, seven were Muslim-majority. The Pew Research Center rates countries on the level of restrictions that governments impose on the free exercise of religion. Of the 24 most restrictive countries, 19 are Muslim-majority. Of the 21 countries that have laws against apostasy, all have Muslim majorities.

Now, Zakaria goes on to argue that these are Muslim extremists who are in the minority (!), and that historically Islam has been a peaceful religion. But again I say, the proof is in the pudding. Do you REALLY believe that if a true Islamic state were set up today, there would be freedom of religion? You will never convince me of that. I would encourage you to read Shariah -- The Thread to America (free PDF download) by the Center for Security Policy. (Before you dismiss it again as some right-wing evangelical screed, look at the individuals who make up the team who composed the document.) It is absolutely eye-opening.

But again, Greg, you continue to distract from the real issue by defending Obama and Islam from attacks that no one is making on this thread and by refusing to address the actual issue. Let me ask you to answer these questions, if you would:

  • Do you think it is appropriate for the Commander-in-Chief to in essence say we shouldn't be so quick to judge our military enemy (who is slaughtering men, women, and children) because we've had our own problems?
  • Do you find any problem with the fact that Obama is never willing to make any connection between Islam and violence, but explicitly did so with Christianity?

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Greg Long's picture

GregH wrote:

 

Jim Welch wrote:

 

Greg H, I have read the Constitution.  I am wondering where in it does it say that all religions are equal?

 

 

Are you serious? Did you miss the first amendment?

This is my ongoing beef with conservative Christians. They want to have their cake and eat it to. If you want freedom of religion in the US, guess what? Muslims get it to. Want the ten commandments hanging in schools? Guess what? Satanists can pass out their coloring books.

That is our Constitution. And if it was actually written by Christians (a highly dubious suggestion), they went to great lengths to hide that. There is not a hint that one religion is to be considered superior to another in the Constitution.

Greg, the founding fathers disagree with you (and no, I don't believe that most of them were born-again Christians). Have you read George Washington's Thanksgiving proclamation? Did you know that George Washington added to the form of Presidential oath prescribed by Art. II, §1, cl. 8, of the Constitution, the concluding words 'so help me God'? That Thomas Jefferson attended church inside the House of Representatives? That Thomas Jefferson endorsed the use of federal funds to build churches and to support Christian missionaries working among the Indians? That the Supreme Court under John Marshall opened its sessions with the prayer, 'God save the United States and this Honorable Court'? That the First Congress instituted the practice of beginning its legislative sessions with a prayer? (Christian prayer, mind you) That the same week that Congress submitted the Establishment Clause as part of the Bill of Rights for ratification by the States, it enacted legislation providing for paid chaplains in the House and Senate? That the day after the First Amendment was proposed, the same Congress that had proposed it requested the President to proclaim 'a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed, by acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the many and signal favours of Almighty God'?

(Sources: Scalia, J. Antonin. McCreary County, KY v. ACLU of KY [Supreme Court 2005], Farah, Joseph. “Stark, Raving Atheist.” WND Commentary, March 28, 2007. http://www.wnd.com/2007/03/40797/).

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

jimcarwest's picture

I don't look to Obama to evangelize the Muslims.  But it is his responsibility to lead us when we are faced with violence.  Instead he looks back a thousand years to argue for understanding of the current crisis by equating what happened in the Crusades with what is happening today.  Christians have long since dealt with those issues, and in the current situation within Christianity, at least 400 million Christians had nothing to do with the Crusades.  Even a statistical comparison between the Crusades and what Islam was doing at the same period of history reveals that Islam was bludgeoning all Europe while Catholicism was simply trying to take back the Holy Land.  It is a comparison between 99% (Islamic offensive military activty) and 1% (Christian defensive military activity).  Obama is like a drowning man reaching for even a straw to save his sinking influence.

 

Sean Fericks wrote:

"Liberalism" (rightly understood) is freedom.  President Obama was right to point out that all religions are welcome in the USA until they attack our lives and freedoms.  Christianity is welcome, but not at the point of a sword (KKK, southern slavery, etc.).  Islam is welcome, but not at the point of a sword (the current Islamic fundamentalist jihad against the West).  God be praised that we no longer lynch our black brothers.  God be praised that we no longer burn our brothers at the stake.  But God also grant us wisdom to lead our Islamic friends to freedom, to liberty, to "liberalism".  Sometimes, we should speak softly, but carry a big stick.  Blessed are the peacemakers.  Hopefully, the President's speech demonstrates a desire for peace with our more "liberal" Muslim neighbors.

And yes, there is a moral equivalence between the Inquisition, the Conquistadors, and Islamic jihad.  Just ask the Central and South American native peoples.  Just ask Tyndale and Huss.  From Constantine to the Enlightenment, "Christianity" has murdered the innocent.  I would no more want to live in 15th century Spain than I would want to live in modern day Iran.

Even in our OT Scriptures, the promised land is conquered by the sword, and genocide is inflicted on the inhabitants of the land.  Violence is celebrated in the OT, and God blesses the warriors who kill men, women, and children.  Fortunately, we are past that time.  We speak of grace, repentance, and forgiveness.  Perhaps with some well-timed and well-placed words, we can, with God's help, lead our Islamic friends toward repentance and forgiveness as well.

DavidO's picture

I just want to raise an objection to the use of the term "Liar-in-Cheif" in reference to our President.  It strikes me as a violation of Romans 13 and other scriptures, and inconsistent with Christian charity.

GregH's picture

Greg Long wrote:

 

GregH wrote:

 

In all the bashing of Muslims that goes on, a few little facts get conveniently glossed over. Just like fundamentalists Christians make up a tiny fraction of Christianity, fundamentalist Muslims make up a tiny part of Muslims. The vast majority of Muslims are struggling with a literal interpretation of Islam just like we see in Christianity with the Bible. And a vast majority of Muslims condemn the violence of groups like ISIS. Furthermore, the trend is in the right direction.

Could it just be that Obama knows a bit more than some of you about what is going on and just might not want to alienate all those Muslims who are our friends by continually trying to paint all Muslims as ISIS-type radicals?

In regards to the President engaging in boilerplate liberalism (all religions are the same), here is a thought: he is engaging in what we believe as a country. In this country, all religions are indeed the same. Read the Constitution. Do people really want him to get up and say that Christianity is the best religion?

It is clear that what many conservative Christians really want is a theocracy rather than the government we have. Fine. They can go change the Constitution. But until you do, it is entirely appropriate for the President to not take sides in religions.

Greg, again I really, really wish you would engage with what is actually being said on this thread. But since you seem to think Islam is such a benign religion, let me address that.

 

Obviously it is technically true that the vast majority of individual Muslims have never and never intend to commit personal acts of violence. Most Muslims are peaceful people. But that's not the issue. The issue is, is there anything inherent in the Islamic faith that leads to religious violence? Obviously there is debate within the Muslim community on that very point. My Muslim acquaintance that I mentioned earlier told me point blank that if there is a true Islamic state, then anyone who is a Muslim who renounces the Muslim faith or coverts to another religion should be executed. He also said that those who are already in another religion would be allowed to worship and practice peacefully, but that they would have to pay a tax to the Islamic government (this is known as ahl al-dhimma).

However, this seems to me to be a sanitized, rose-colored perspective on the true Islamic faith. Why do I say that? Well, the proof is in the pudding. Look around the world at nations where Islam is the majority religion and/or the official religion. Fareed Zakaria says this on the Washington Post site (note this is NOT Glenn Beck or some other "right-wing crazy," and that it is NOT Fox News or some other "right-wing" news source):

But let’s be honest. Islam has a problem today. The places that have trouble accommodating themselves to the modern world are disproportionately Muslim.

In 2013, of the top 10 groups that perpetrated terrorist attacks, seven were Muslim. Of the top 10 countries where terrorist attacks took place, seven were Muslim-majority. The Pew Research Center rates countries on the level of restrictions that governments impose on the free exercise of religion. Of the 24 most restrictive countries, 19 are Muslim-majority. Of the 21 countries that have laws against apostasy, all have Muslim majorities.

Now, Zakaria goes on to argue that these are Muslim extremists who are in the minority (!), and that historically Islam has been a peaceful religion. But again I say, the proof is in the pudding. Do you REALLY believe that if a true Islamic state were set up today, there would be freedom of religion? You will never convince me of that. I would encourage you to read Shariah -- The Thread to America (free PDF download) by the Center for Security Policy. (Before you dismiss it again as some right-wing evangelical screed, look at the individuals who make up the team who composed the document.) It is absolutely eye-opening.

But again, Greg, you continue to distract from the real issue by defending Obama and Islam from attacks that no one is making on this thread and by refusing to address the actual issue. Let me ask you to answer these questions, if you would:

  • Do you think it is appropriate for the Commander-in-Chief to in essence say we shouldn't be so quick to judge our military enemy (who is slaughtering men, women, and children) because we've had our own problems?
  • Do you find any problem with the fact that Obama is never willing to make any connection between Islam and violence, but explicitly did so with Christianity?

A few quick thoughts for you Greg L. 

1) I have not intentionally taken this thread off topic. I was merely responding that the current attacks on Obama are the normal conservative reaction every time he opens his mouth. They ignore quotes like the one I gave above, but they whine and mock because he misspeaks about how long ago the crucifixion was (a few years ago), and they grab a 26 second of a speech in this case, ignoring the rest of the speech and the context. I consider it profoundly unfair in how Obama is treated. I am a moderate conservative (have never voted anything but Republican in my life) but I am absolutely disgusted by how conservatives act these days, especially with Obama. So I do believe that my defense of Obama is on track.

2) The Bible and the Quran both could easily be interpreted as promoting genocide and holy wars. It is something that Christians need to wrestle with rather than just ignore while pointing the finger at Islam. As far as I can tell, the only significance difference between the two falls in whether those actions are condoned today. The NT clearly establishes a different paradigm while the Koran might suggest that the old paradigm should continue indefinitely. But Christians that ignore the genocide of the OT and rail against Islam can rightly be called hypocrites. 

3) I would not want to live in a Muslim state. The civilizations heavily influenced by Christianity have been brutal in the past but at least progressed faster than those of Islam. The Middle East today basically reminds one of Europe a few centuries ago. That being said, I would not want to live in a Christian state either based on what history teaches us would happen. 

4) I believe in valuing expert opinion. I think Obama probably understands the political consequences of things more than you and I and I also know that Muslims for the most part do not want to be associated with ISIS any more than you and I want to be associated with Fred Phelps. So for heaven's sake, why not give him a little leeway to do what he thinks is best. There are issues of diplomacy that come into play.

So in summary, I understand why people are upset. But I just think it is a typical overreaction driven by ideology. Not a big deal really. That is how I see it. I hope that answers your questions.

 

Jim Welch's picture

I have read the first amendment, where does it use the word equal?

I am totally in support of each person's freedom to worship freely or to not worship freely in our nation.

I do not believe that there should be a test of religion for those who serve in public office.

Greg H., I recommend that you read Roger Williams on freedom of religion.  He was radical and I agree w/what he says.

Do I as a follower of Jesus Christ believe that all religion are equal?  Of course not, but I will do all in my power to make sure that others are free to worship or not worship as their conscience dictates.

Now, in which Muslim nation does a Christian have this same kind of liberty of conscience?

Jim Welch's picture

Greg H., I just read your most recent post.  I will defend your right to defend President Obama.  Will you defend my right to question him?

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

GregH wrote:

In all the bashing of Muslims that goes on, a few little facts get conveniently glossed over. Just like fundamentalists Christians make up a tiny fraction of Christianity, fundamentalist Muslims make up a tiny part of Muslims. The vast majority of Muslims are struggling with a literal interpretation of Islam just like we see in Christianity with the Bible. And a vast majority of Muslims condemn the violence of groups like ISIS. Furthermore, the trend is in the right direction.

Could it just be that Obama knows a bit more than some of you about what is going on and just might not want to alienate all those Muslims who are our friends by continually trying to paint all Muslims as ISIS-type radicals?

In regards to the President engaging in boilerplate liberalism (all religions are the same), here is a thought: he is engaging in what we believe as a country. In this country, all religions are indeed the same. Read the Constitution. Do people really want him to get up and say that Christianity is the best religion?

It is clear that what many conservative Christians really want is a theocracy rather than the government we have. Fine. They can go change the Constitution. But until you do, it is entirely appropriate for the President to not take sides in religions. 

 

Greg,

This is simply wishful thinking. The vast majority of Muslims refuse to speak out against the atrocities of the terrorists perpetrating murder, rape, kidnapping, torture and other wickedness under the umbrella of their shared religion. Instead, the vast majority of Muslims world wide are repeatedly seen taking to the streets to celebrate Muslim atrocities. Every single nation with a Muslim majority and Muslim leadership has followed the path of the so-called radicals because the radical Islam is the true Islam. The only Muslims who back away from this true understanding of Islam are portions of the minorities in Western nations that have bastardized Islam in the same way that mainline Protestants have bastardized Christianity. 

Furthermore, there is a vast difference between not taking sides in religion and refusing to identify terroristic threats and dealing with them forcefully to protect America.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Bert Perry's picture

David, I understand your position, but keep in mind that Christ referred to Pilate as a "fox", meaning worthless or insignificant person.  I don't think that we can assume that the position held by President Obama ought to insulate him from such criticism, Biblically speaking.  Certainly the Scripture says some unpleasant things about Pharaoh, Ahasuerus, Ahab, and a host of other kings.

Now we ought to make sure we're being factual about the matter, and that we're not simply throwing insults around to see what will stick (e.g. "Bushitler" about eight years back among the left), but I don't believe that Biblically speaking, Christians are bound to "hold their fire" when a leader consistently shows himself to be dishonest and such.

Now in this case, I think the President was uncharacteristically honest--though with I think a duplicitous motive--but given Obama's history, I don't think "Liar-in-Chief" is needlessly harsh or lacking charity.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

DavidO wrote:

I just want to raise an objection to the use of the term "Liar-in-Cheif" in reference to our President.  It strikes me as a violation of Romans 13 and other scriptures, and inconsistent with Christian charity.

David,

It does not violate scripture or charity when it is demonstrably true. 

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

GregH's picture

Greg Long wrote:

 

GregH wrote:

 

 

Jim Welch wrote:

 

Greg H, I have read the Constitution.  I am wondering where in it does it say that all religions are equal?

 

 

Are you serious? Did you miss the first amendment?

This is my ongoing beef with conservative Christians. They want to have their cake and eat it to. If you want freedom of religion in the US, guess what? Muslims get it to. Want the ten commandments hanging in schools? Guess what? Satanists can pass out their coloring books.

That is our Constitution. And if it was actually written by Christians (a highly dubious suggestion), they went to great lengths to hide that. There is not a hint that one religion is to be considered superior to another in the Constitution.

 

Greg, the founding fathers disagree with you (and no, I don't believe that most of them were born-again Christians). Have you read George Washington's Thanksgiving proclamation? Did you know that George Washington added to the form of Presidential oath prescribed by Art. II, §1, cl. 8, of the Constitution, the concluding words 'so help me God'? That Thomas Jefferson attended church inside the House of Representatives? That Thomas Jefferson endorsed the use of federal funds to build churches and to support Christian missionaries working among the Indians? That the Supreme Court under John Marshall opened its sessions with the prayer, 'God save the United States and this Honorable Court'? That the First Congress instituted the practice of beginning its legislative sessions with a prayer? (Christian prayer, mind you) That the same week that Congress submitted the Establishment Clause as part of the Bill of Rights for ratification by the States, it enacted legislation providing for paid chaplains in the House and Senate? That the day after the First Amendment was proposed, the same Congress that had proposed it requested the President to proclaim 'a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed, by acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the many and signal favours of Almighty God'?

 

(Sources: Scalia, J. Antonin. McCreary County, KY v. ACLU of KY [Supreme Court 2005], Farah, Joseph. “Stark, Raving Atheist.” WND Commentary, March 28, 2007. http://www.wnd.com/2007/03/40797/).

You miss my point. Whether the founding fathers went to church or not is not the issue. Whether they had services in the capital is not the issue. What is the issue is that in the entire Constitution, there is NOT A HINT that Christianity is the favored religion of the land, that it should have freedoms other religions should not. That is my point and my only point. I am not interested in Dave Barton propaganda about who said what about God. Ironically, it sort of proves my point. Yes, they believed in God and yes, their religious affiliation was Christian. And yet, they STILL DID NOT write a single word in the Constitution that would give Christianity favored status.

GregH's picture

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

 

GregH wrote:

 

In all the bashing of Muslims that goes on, a few little facts get conveniently glossed over. Just like fundamentalists Christians make up a tiny fraction of Christianity, fundamentalist Muslims make up a tiny part of Muslims. The vast majority of Muslims are struggling with a literal interpretation of Islam just like we see in Christianity with the Bible. And a vast majority of Muslims condemn the violence of groups like ISIS. Furthermore, the trend is in the right direction.

Could it just be that Obama knows a bit more than some of you about what is going on and just might not want to alienate all those Muslims who are our friends by continually trying to paint all Muslims as ISIS-type radicals?

In regards to the President engaging in boilerplate liberalism (all religions are the same), here is a thought: he is engaging in what we believe as a country. In this country, all religions are indeed the same. Read the Constitution. Do people really want him to get up and say that Christianity is the best religion?

It is clear that what many conservative Christians really want is a theocracy rather than the government we have. Fine. They can go change the Constitution. But until you do, it is entirely appropriate for the President to not take sides in religions. 

 

 

Greg,

 

This is simply wishful thinking. The vast majority of Muslims refuse to speak out against the atrocities of the terrorists perpetrating murder, rape, kidnapping, torture and other wickedness under the umbrella of their shared religion. Instead, the vast majority of Muslims world wide are repeatedly seen taking to the streets to celebrate Muslim atrocities. Every single nation with a Muslim majority and Muslim leadership has followed the path of the so-called radicals because the radical Islam is the true Islam. The only Muslims who back away from this true understanding of Islam are portions of the minorities in Western nations that have bastardized Islam in the same way that mainline Protestants have bastardized Christianity. 

Furthermore, there is a vast difference between not taking sides in religion and refusing to identify terroristic threats and dealing with them forcefully to protect America.

That is the most absurd thing I have read on this entire thread. Chip, two minutes on Google will get you all the stats you need to demonstrate that you are wrong. The majority of Muslims worldwide condemn violence under the name of Islam. Study after study shows it. Get your facts right.

GregH's picture

Jim Welch wrote:

Greg H., I just read your most recent post.  I will defend your right to defend President Obama.  Will you defend my right to question him?

Of course you have the right to question him. And I have the right to think that much of that questioning is ridiculous.

Bert Perry's picture

GregH, I think that the crux of the debate over the impact of radical Islam vs. moderate/sensible Islam is the simple question of whether they disapprove in private, or whether they take on risk to confront it publicly.  Kinda along the lines of an acid test for churches vs. racism; it is one thing to disapprove of it privately, and yet another to discipline a deacon found to be a member of the Klan or some such thing.

Or, closer to home--and not to incite a flame war or anything--what do our churches do with the issue of sexual assault by members, pastors, and the like?

Going back to the topic of radical Islam, my take is that I would agree that most--I'd guess 90-95%--Muslims privately reject violent jihad.  There are also encouraging signs, like Jordan and others taking on a role in attacking ISIS.  On the flip side, Yemen, Pakistan, and Afghanistan aren't doing so hot in that regard, and the presence of "no go" zones in Muslim-dominated neighborhoods in Europe is also a bad sign.

And to me, that's why President Obama's obvious feint is troubling.  One can even suggest that it's only a group of "1%ers" (the Jihadist cycle club?), but with a billion Muslims out there, 1% is still ten million people, more than enough to cause a few problems for the rest of us.  Pointing at the Crusades instead of aligning troops and incentives (e.g. foreign aid) with the need to help ISIS members assume room temperature can be a very dangerous game to play.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Jay's picture

Al Mohler addressed this issue this morning in his daily podcast.  He also provided links to the text of his remarks, a column in the NY Times by Ross Douthat, and his own personal reply to the issue.

I'm also coming out to object to the denigration of our President.  Acts 23 comes to mind here:

And looking intently at the council, Paul said, “Brothers, I have lived my life before God in all good conscience up to this day.” And the high priest Ananias commanded those who stood by him to strike him on the mouth. Then Paul said to him, “God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! Are you sitting to judge me according to the law, and yet contrary to the law you order me to be struck?” Those who stood by said, “Would you revile God’s high priest?” And Paul said, “I did not know, brothers, that he was the high priest, for it is written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’”

Whether you like it or not, or whether the President lied or not, he is still due the respect and honor that we would and must accord to any leader, as I Peter commands.

Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

Furthermore, to openly denigrate the President puts the author of that comment under the just condemnation of both God and civil authority, even though we do enjoy the privileges of free speech.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Jay's picture

It does not violate scripture or charity when it is demonstrably true. 

As my mom taught me, just because it's true doesn't mean it needs to be said.  And there is a massive difference between noting an untruth and attacking the person who said it as a liar.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Bert Perry's picture

Jay, I interpret Acts 23 somewhat differently than does Dr. Mohler for a simple reason; 12 years in rabbinical school, and Paul doesn't recognize the high priest's garments, and the seat he's sitting in, when he's called before the Council?  I have trouble believing that. So I think that's a subtle poke at the fact that the high priest at the time was not a true Cohen at all, but rather a pet of the Romans.

Now I would agree with your point if it were restrained simply to the point that we ought not simply be throwing insults at the President.  However, you're seeming to go to the point where we could condemn Christ for calling Pilate "that fox."  I can't go there.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Jay's picture

Jesus is God.  He can do things I can't, and it doesn't mean that I can do all the things he did...not with the selfish, sinful, pride filled heart that I possess. I already have enough problems respecting him and his position - I don't need to feed those issues by trying to defend what was said.

The latter half of I Peter 2 is my guidance here:

20 For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Joel Shaffer's picture

Here are some stats from the Pew Forum that seem to back up Greg's assertion:     http://www.pewforum.org/2013/04/30/the-worlds-muslims-religion-politics-...       

 

GregH wrote:

 

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

 

 

GregH wrote:

 

In all the bashing of Muslims that goes on, a few little facts get conveniently glossed over. Just like fundamentalists Christians make up a tiny fraction of Christianity, fundamentalist Muslims make up a tiny part of Muslims. The vast majority of Muslims are struggling with a literal interpretation of Islam just like we see in Christianity with the Bible. And a vast majority of Muslims condemn the violence of groups like ISIS. Furthermore, the trend is in the right direction.

Could it just be that Obama knows a bit more than some of you about what is going on and just might not want to alienate all those Muslims who are our friends by continually trying to paint all Muslims as ISIS-type radicals?

In regards to the President engaging in boilerplate liberalism (all religions are the same), here is a thought: he is engaging in what we believe as a country. In this country, all religions are indeed the same. Read the Constitution. Do people really want him to get up and say that Christianity is the best religion?

It is clear that what many conservative Christians really want is a theocracy rather than the government we have. Fine. They can go change the Constitution. But until you do, it is entirely appropriate for the President to not take sides in religions. 

 

 

Greg,

 

This is simply wishful thinking. The vast majority of Muslims refuse to speak out against the atrocities of the terrorists perpetrating murder, rape, kidnapping, torture and other wickedness under the umbrella of their shared religion. Instead, the vast majority of Muslims world wide are repeatedly seen taking to the streets to celebrate Muslim atrocities. Every single nation with a Muslim majority and Muslim leadership has followed the path of the so-called radicals because the radical Islam is the true Islam. The only Muslims who back away from this true understanding of Islam are portions of the minorities in Western nations that have bastardized Islam in the same way that mainline Protestants have bastardized Christianity. 

Furthermore, there is a vast difference between not taking sides in religion and refusing to identify terroristic threats and dealing with them forcefully to protect America.

 

 

That is the most absurd thing I have read on this entire thread. Chip, two minutes on Google will get you all the stats you need to demonstrate that you are wrong. The majority of Muslims worldwide condemn violence under the name of Islam. Study after study shows it. Get your facts right.

Bert Perry's picture

Jay, does one really have to indulge selfishness and the like to point out something as obvious as the fact that large numbers of politicians lie a lot?  I appreciate your caution and share it to a degree, but at a certain point, refusing to state an obvious truth is in itself false witness, is it not?

Yes, don't make it excessively obnoxious--in part for the simple reason that a calmly stated truth is rhetorically more powerful--but let's remember that when we indulge a lot of navel-gazing to make sure our motives are right before we point out something that's pretty obvious, we're just as self-centered as when we explode in passionate insults.

Joel, thanks for the data--but I still note that support for violent extremism seems to be around 10%, or something like 100 million people.  This would explain, per an earlier comment I made, why a lot of Muslims aren't terribly eager to confront it.  It's a big deal in their culture.  And I really don't like the 80% or so support for Sharia.  Lots of barbarity in that one....

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Greg Long's picture

GregH wrote:

 

Greg Long wrote:

 

 

GregH wrote:

 

 

Jim Welch wrote:

 

Greg H, I have read the Constitution.  I am wondering where in it does it say that all religions are equal?

 

 

Are you serious? Did you miss the first amendment?

This is my ongoing beef with conservative Christians. They want to have their cake and eat it to. If you want freedom of religion in the US, guess what? Muslims get it to. Want the ten commandments hanging in schools? Guess what? Satanists can pass out their coloring books.

That is our Constitution. And if it was actually written by Christians (a highly dubious suggestion), they went to great lengths to hide that. There is not a hint that one religion is to be considered superior to another in the Constitution.

 

Greg, the founding fathers disagree with you (and no, I don't believe that most of them were born-again Christians). Have you read George Washington's Thanksgiving proclamation? Did you know that George Washington added to the form of Presidential oath prescribed by Art. II, §1, cl. 8, of the Constitution, the concluding words 'so help me God'? That Thomas Jefferson attended church inside the House of Representatives? That Thomas Jefferson endorsed the use of federal funds to build churches and to support Christian missionaries working among the Indians? That the Supreme Court under John Marshall opened its sessions with the prayer, 'God save the United States and this Honorable Court'? That the First Congress instituted the practice of beginning its legislative sessions with a prayer? (Christian prayer, mind you) That the same week that Congress submitted the Establishment Clause as part of the Bill of Rights for ratification by the States, it enacted legislation providing for paid chaplains in the House and Senate? That the day after the First Amendment was proposed, the same Congress that had proposed it requested the President to proclaim 'a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed, by acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the many and signal favours of Almighty God'?

 

(Sources: Scalia, J. Antonin. McCreary County, KY v. ACLU of KY [Supreme Court 2005], Farah, Joseph. “Stark, Raving Atheist.” WND Commentary, March 28, 2007. http://www.wnd.com/2007/03/40797/).

 

 

You miss my point. Whether the founding fathers went to church or not is not the issue. Whether they had services in the capital is not the issue. What is the issue is that in the entire Constitution, there is NOT A HINT that Christianity is the favored religion of the land, that it should have freedoms other religions should not. That is my point and my only point. I am not interested in Dave Barton propaganda about who said what about God. Ironically, it sort of proves my point. Yes, they believed in God and yes, their religious affiliation was Christian. And yet, they STILL DID NOT write a single word in the Constitution that would give Christianity favored status.

Greg, gotta be honest that it doesn't reflect well on you when you use demeaning and inflammatory language like "Dave Barton propaganda" when I actually did not quote Dave Barton, but rather Antonin Scalia, who happens to be a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Regardless of the source, do you dispute any of the facts as historically inaccurate?

It's strange that the founding fathers who you say avoided giving favor to Christianity in the Constitution did just that with their actions. It is indisputable. Perhaps you have a different understanding of the First Amendment than they did, the ones who actually wrote it.

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

GregH's picture

Greg Long wrote:

It's strange that the founding fathers who you say avoided giving favor to Christianity in the Constitution did just that with their actions. It is indisputable. Perhaps you have a different understanding of the First Amendment than they did, the ones who actually wrote it.

Um, I am still waiting for where the place in the Constitution where special consideration is given to Christianity. You say it exists. Show me where please.

 

Greg Long's picture

Joel Shaffer wrote:

Here are some stats from the Pew Forum that seem to back up Greg's assertion:     http://www.pewforum.org/2013/04/30/the-worlds-muslims-religion-politics-...       

 

 

GregH wrote:

 

 

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

 

 

GregH wrote:

 

In all the bashing of Muslims that goes on, a few little facts get conveniently glossed over. Just like fundamentalists Christians make up a tiny fraction of Christianity, fundamentalist Muslims make up a tiny part of Muslims. The vast majority of Muslims are struggling with a literal interpretation of Islam just like we see in Christianity with the Bible. And a vast majority of Muslims condemn the violence of groups like ISIS. Furthermore, the trend is in the right direction.

Could it just be that Obama knows a bit more than some of you about what is going on and just might not want to alienate all those Muslims who are our friends by continually trying to paint all Muslims as ISIS-type radicals?

In regards to the President engaging in boilerplate liberalism (all religions are the same), here is a thought: he is engaging in what we believe as a country. In this country, all religions are indeed the same. Read the Constitution. Do people really want him to get up and say that Christianity is the best religion?

It is clear that what many conservative Christians really want is a theocracy rather than the government we have. Fine. They can go change the Constitution. But until you do, it is entirely appropriate for the President to not take sides in religions. 

 

 

Greg,

 

This is simply wishful thinking. The vast majority of Muslims refuse to speak out against the atrocities of the terrorists perpetrating murder, rape, kidnapping, torture and other wickedness under the umbrella of their shared religion. Instead, the vast majority of Muslims world wide are repeatedly seen taking to the streets to celebrate Muslim atrocities. Every single nation with a Muslim majority and Muslim leadership has followed the path of the so-called radicals because the radical Islam is the true Islam. The only Muslims who back away from this true understanding of Islam are portions of the minorities in Western nations that have bastardized Islam in the same way that mainline Protestants have bastardized Christianity. 

Furthermore, there is a vast difference between not taking sides in religion and refusing to identify terroristic threats and dealing with them forcefully to protect America.

 

 

That is the most absurd thing I have read on this entire thread. Chip, two minutes on Google will get you all the stats you need to demonstrate that you are wrong. The majority of Muslims worldwide condemn violence under the name of Islam. Study after study shows it. Get your facts right.

 

 

Joel, public opinion polls mean nothing. Look at the actual countries where Islam is the dominate or official religion. I say again, the proof is in the pudding. According to the Open Doors 2014 World Watch List, here is the ranking of countries where persecution of Christians for religious reasons is most severe, which the percentage of the country that is Muslim in parentheses (if near or over 50%):

  1. North Korea
  2. Somalia (98.6)
  3. Syria (92.8)
  4. Iraq (98.9)
  5. Afghanistan (99.8)
  6. Saudi Arabia (97.1)
  7. Maldives (98.4)
  8. Pakistan (96.4)
  9. Iran (99.7)
  10. Yemen (99.0)
  11. Sudan (71.4)
  12. Eritrea
  13. Libya (96.6)
  14. Nigeria (47.9)
  15. Uzbekistan (96.5)
  16. Central African Republic
  17. Ethiopia
  18. Vietnam
  19. Qatar (77.5)
  20. Turkmenistan (93.3)
  21. Laos
  22. Egypt (94.7)
  23. Myanmar
  24. Brunei
  25. Colombia
  26. Jordan (98.8)
  27. Oman (87.7)
  28. India
  29. Sri Lanka
  30. Tunisia (99.8)
  31. Bhutan
  32. Algeria (98.2)
  33. Mali (92.4)
  34. Palestinian Territories (97.5)
  35. United Arab Emirates (76.0)
  36. Mauritania (99.2)
  37. China
  38. Kuwait (86.4)
  39. Kazakhstan (56.4)
  40. Malaysia (61.4)
  41. Bahrain (81.2)
  42. Comoros (98.3)
  43. Kenya
  44. Morocco (99.9)
  45. Tajikistan (99.0)
  46. Djibouti (97.0)
  47. Indonesia (88.1)
  48. Bangladesh (90.4)
  49. Tanzania
  50. Niger (98.3)

Do you notice a pattern here?

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Greg Long's picture

GregH wrote:

 

Greg Long wrote:

 

It's strange that the founding fathers who you say avoided giving favor to Christianity in the Constitution did just that with their actions. It is indisputable. Perhaps you have a different understanding of the First Amendment than they did, the ones who actually wrote it.

 

 

Um, I am still waiting for where the place in the Constitution where special consideration is given to Christianity. You say it exists. Show me where please.

 

I know the text of the First Amendment. I think I also know it's actual intent, based on what the Founding Fathers said and did. Can you explain to me why the founding fathers did what they did if they weren't supposed to give any special status to Christianity?

The point is, by their words and actions they didn't seem to agree with how you think they should have viewed the First Amendment that they wrote.

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

GregH's picture

Greg Long wrote:

 

GregH wrote:

 

 

Greg Long wrote:

 

It's strange that the founding fathers who you say avoided giving favor to Christianity in the Constitution did just that with their actions. It is indisputable. Perhaps you have a different understanding of the First Amendment than they did, the ones who actually wrote it.

 

 

Um, I am still waiting for where the place in the Constitution where special consideration is given to Christianity. You say it exists. Show me where please.

 

 

I know the text of the First Amendment. I think I also know it's actual intent, based on what the Founding Fathers said and did. Can you explain to me why the founding fathers did what they did if they weren't supposed to give any special status to Christianity?

 

The point is, by their words and actions they didn't seem to agree with how you think they should have viewed the First Amendment that they wrote.

Got it. You have nothing from the Constitution to prove your point so you want to throw the burden of proof on me to prove a negative by trying to read minds of people that have been dead 200 years. No, I think it is more simple than that:

1) The founding fathers largely claimed Christianity as their religious affiliation.

2) There were other religions in the US at that time.

3) The founding fathers could have explicitly given Christianity favored status over those religions but chose not to.

4) That they chose not to is significant.

It is absolutely bewildering that we are now so polarized as a country that these kinds of arguments even exist. I would have never guessed I would even have to have this argument though I know your position is becoming more popular. A crazy judge in AL (Roy Moore) is now running around saying that the first amendment does not apply to religions other than Christianity.

Jay's picture

Bert, 

I'm going to disagree with you on this and move on.  Thanks for interacting.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Greg Long's picture

P.S. There is a difference between an established state religion/church, which of course the First Amendment prevented, and expressions and promotion of the dominate or favored religion, which the Founding Fathers did not intend to prevent.

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Greg Long's picture

If you don't care to answer my questions, Greg, that's fine. The fact is, if the Founding Fathers understood their own First Amendment in the same way you do, they would never have done the things I listed in a previous post because that would have been "favoring a religion." Either that, or they would have also needed to have prayers and religious services for other gods/religions.

You can keep name calling and expressing incredulity and associating me with David Barton, Roy Moore, and "Obama-bashers" if you want to. I don't listen to or follow those people (or Fox News or whatever other right-wing bogeyman you want to list). I'm just trying to deal with facts here.

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Sean Fericks's picture

I think the issue here is that Christ provided Christianity a decoupling of religion from politics and war.  In the OT, we have a form of jihad, blessed by Jehovah.  After Christ, we have personal grace, repentance, and forgiveness.  BC, annihilate the Canaanites.  AD, we go into the world and preach.  Unfortunately, under Constantine, Christianity was hijacked back into the Roman empire as a tool.  It was then recoupled with politics and war.  It lasted this way (with wars, murder, burnings, etc.) until the enlightenment, when we finally realized that human liberty and agency are moral imperatives.  Only hearts at liberty (including the hearts of people of all ethnic backgrounds) can truly trust Christ.  

Islam does not have a Christ.  Islam has not had an enlightenment.  In Islam, Sharia ties doctrine to politics, law, crime, and punishment.  Therefore, Islam cannot coherently argue for liberty.  Islam needs Christ to set its people free.  It needs the concepts of tolerance and liberty to separate the state from the faith.

I think President Obama was trying to speak peace to moderate Muslims.  He was trying to help them see that progress can be made from Sharia and Jihad to tolerance and peace.  He was not trying to insult the Christianity of 21st century America, but he was calling us to remember our history, and act and think in humility.  These are valid and noble goals.  There is enough wrong with his policy.  We should not waste our time being offended by a reasonably decent speech.

 

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