When I first heard the comments made by President Obama about religious fanaticism and the Crusades, I just shook my head and sighed. Not because they were offensive, but because I knew what was coming from the conservative media:
President Obama compared Christians to terrorist Islamic radicals! See, we told you he’s a Muslim who hates Christians and sympathizes with terrorists!
And that’s pretty much been what the conservative media has been pushing since he uttered these ill-advised comments.
Before going forward, let me explain why I disagree with what he said. Nobody is denying that the Crusades were a horrific time in Christianity where religious extremism was driving the religion. But when people talk about radical Islam, they’re not talking about something that happened a thousand years ago, they’re talking about events that are happening right now. So to go back a millennium to use that behavior as an example of how Christians can be violent doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. If anything, it actually supports those who speak out against Islam considering almost every other religion evolved from a violent past – yet radical Islam continues to grow in our modern world. We’re not talking about horrific deeds carried out in the name of Islam in 1015, we’re talking about these barbaric acts happening in 2015.
So to compare the Crusades with modern day Islamic radicals makes for a great sounding talking point, and I know a lot of people have done it, but when they do they’re comparing two completely different times in human history.
But be that as it may, what I believe President Obama was saying is that religious fanaticism should never be used to judge an entire religion. It’s okay to say all the negative things you want to about ISIL and other Islamic terrorists, but just make sure you’re attacking them and not all Muslims as a whole – the majority of whom aren’t terrorists.
Though I’ll admit, even I’ve run into a quandary with defending Islam. I don’t like judging anyone or anything based on the actions of a few, but at the same time it’s hard to defend a religion where even outside the fanatical terrorist aspects of it, a rather large portion of “mainstream” Muslims are fairly radical when it comes to their religion.
However, the way the conservative media has taken off with these comments has been ludicrous. From claims that he was trying to compare Christians to Islamic radicals (he wasn’t), or that it’s just “another attack on Christianity” (wrong again), the right-wing media (in particular Fox News) has been so over-the-top with their coverage of these comments that I’ve gotten to where I all I can do is laugh.
Fox News’ Eric Bolling actually tried to claim that these comments would haunt Obama for the rest of his life and would forever tarnish his legacy. Yeah, his comments aren’t sensationalized at all. Also some pretty big talk from someone who probably voted for George W. Bush twice and most likely thinks he was a great president. You know, the president who lied about the Iraq War (resulting in nearly 4,500 American deaths) and authorized this nation to commit torture.
But like with many things President Obama says or does, the context of his comments was just too complex for some simple minds to understand.
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