Wednesday, February 11, 2015

assessing Barack Obama religiously and morally

Here's one post that praises and defends the president for his "Niebuhrian" stance:

The response in some quarters to President Obama’s (frankly rather anodyne) remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast has been dispiriting, if sadly predictable. The right-wing outrage machine has (once again) deemed him an apologist for Islamist terrorism and an enemy of true Christianity and Western civilization. (How they square this with his actual record is beyond me.)

More sober commentators have made much of the “Niebuhrian” (as in Reinhold) spirit of the president’s comments. Obama recognizes that no religion has a monopoly on violence, and no society is beyond using faith to justify its crimes. As Niebuhr pointed out again and again, even our best efforts are tainted with self-interest. Humility and self-criticism are indispensable, even while they shouldn’t paralyze us in pursuing justice.

This has been a persistent theme of Obama’s public statements since the beginning of his presidency. He famously named Reinhold Niebuhr as one of his favorite philosophers, and there has been no shortage of attempts to look at his policies through a Niebuhrian lens.

Here's another post that claims Mr. Obama is a "moral idiot."

Referring to Islamic violence, the president accuses anyone who implies that such religious violence "is unique to some other place" -- meaning outside the Christian West -- as getting on a "high horse."

Is this true? Of course, not. In our time, major religious violence is in fact "unique to some other place," namely the Islamic world. What other religious group is engaged in mass murder, systematic rape, slavery, beheading innocents, bombing public events, shooting up school children, wiping out whole religious communities and other such atrocities?

The answer is, of course, no other religious group. Therefore massive violence in the name of one's religion today is indeed "unique to some other place." To state this is not to "get on a high horse." It is to tell the most important truth about the world in our time.


Furthermore, it is difficult to see why comparing Muslim behavior today to Christian behavior a thousand or five hundred years ago provides a defense of Islam. On the contrary, isn't the allegation that Islamic evil at the present time is morally equivalent to Christian evil a thousand years ago a damning indictment of the present state of much of Islam?

I print; you decide.



Surprises Aplenty said...

Regarding the latter quote. I guess it depends on how finely you measure "in our time". Five hundred years is too coarse, too big, but how about 50 or 70 years? That would include KKK violence in the US and the Irish Troubles.

Anne in Rockwall, TX said...

Found this on Ace:
Obama's right. Terrible things have been done in the name of Christianity. I have yet to meet a Christian who denies this.

But, as odd as it may sound for a guy named Goldberg to point it out, the Inquisition and the Crusades aren't the indictments Obama thinks they are. For starters, the Crusades - despite their terrible organized cruelties - were a defensive war.
"The Crusades could more accurately be described as a limited, belated and, in the last analysis, ineffectual response to the jihad - a failed attempt to recover by a Christian holy war what had been lost to a Muslim holy war," writes Bernard Lewis, the greatest living English-language historian of Islam.

...We are all descended from cavemen who broke the skulls of their enemies with rocks for fun or profit. But that hardly mitigates the crimes of a man who does the same thing today. I see no problem judging the behavior of the Islamic State and its apologists from the vantage point of the West's high horse, because we've earned the right to sit in that saddle.

-- Jonah Goldberg in Horse Pucky from Barack Obama

Hoosier X said...

So when the Crusaders sacked the Christian city of Constantinople in the Fourth Crusade, who were they defending it against?

Goldberg is full of it, as usual. They don't call him the Doughy Pantload for nothing

Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I want to see a photograph of the "right-wing outrage machine."

Jeffery Hodges

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