Thursday, February 12, 2015

Christianity, Islam, Violence: Three Thoughtful Reactions to Mr. Obama's National Prayer Breakfast Remarks

Three thoughtful quotes from three thoughtful articles responding to the manufactured right-wing outrage after President Obama told the attendees of the National Prayer Breakfast that Christianity, too, has its heritage of violence with which to contend:

The right-wingnut controversy following Obama’s remarks, however, has laid bare a troubling trend among conservative Christians (and the politicians eager to pander to them): They are now in the business of justifying the Crusades.

Obama’s critics validate the propaganda of ISIS and al-Qaida. They’re not just pandering to the Christian right. They’re aiding the Islamic right. 
Conservatives are correct that we’re in a global struggle over Islamic violence. But the struggle isn’t between Islam and Christianity. It’s between people who want religious war and people who don’t.

Obama seemed to be going for something more—faith leavened by "some doubt." If you are truly appalled by the brutality of ISIS, then a wise and essential step is understanding the lure of brutality, and recalling how easily your own society can be, and how often it has been, pulled over the brink. 

And as Michelle Goldberg noted yesterday following the murder of three Muslim students at University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, isn't it peculiar that when a white man commits mass murder (and most mass murders in the U.S. occur at the hands of white males), he's deranged, but if a Muslim commits such an atrocity . . . :

Violence perpetrated by Muslims is almost always seen as part of a global conspiracy, whereas white men like Hicks are usually seen as isolated psychopaths.

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