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The Depravity of Obama’s Prayer Breakfast Remarks

Nazis and Islamists

Establishment Republican leaders were predictably silent about President Obama’s remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast that “Unless we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ… In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”

Christian leaders and grassroots Christian believers were quick to condemn the remarks, but in our view many have missed the mark by getting drawn into arguments over the history of the Crusades rather than recognizing that the real depravity in Obama’s remarks is that it accepts and promotes the idea that events of hundreds of years ago justify a never-ending cycle of violence and retribution.

If one accepts Obama’s concept of history then reconciliation between tribal, religious and racial “enemies” can never be accomplished; peace between the IRA and the Orangemen can never happen; Hutus and Tutsis must battle forever, or until one exterminates the other; and Christians and Muslims and Jews and Muslims can never live in peace because one will always have a historical grievance against the other that can only be settled with blood.

This is almost the exact opposite of the aspirations, and the reality, of the American founding.

America was in large degree established by pilgrims and pioneers seeking to escape the endless ethnic, religious and dynastic upheaval of Europe. And by crossing the Atlantic to a New World they didn’t just hope to escape the religious and ethnic conflicts of the Old World, they resolved to banish them from the New.

Those who hold Obama’s view of history will no doubt quickly point out that the pilgrims and pioneers who came here and established their havens from European religious and ethnic oppression themselves conducted a brutal war against the Native Americans. Consequently, they were not saints and all of the subsequent history of European America is tainted by their acts.

This reading of American history was well rebutted by Dinesh D'Souza in his great film America, Imagine the World Without Her, “The Indians have gotten a bad deal. I’m not saying it is a good deal. At the same time, we should be clear about what the alternatives are. It makes no sense to say, “Give us back Manhattan.” We cannot give you back Manhattan because Manhattan was never yours. You sold a piece of land that was virtually worthless and on it others have built a great and glorious city. It is unjust to demand back what was never yours in the first place."

But Dinesh did not take the argument to its logical conclusion – what if Native Americans and European Americans had never reached an accommodation?

What if the war between them had continued until one side had been exterminated?

Or perhaps even more perversely, now, more than 100 years after the conclusion of the last great acts of Native American resistance, should Native Americans take up arms in a terrorist campaign to regain their homeland?

If you buy Barack Obama’s concept of the existence of collective guilt, and some strange right to blood recompense for the perceived wrongs of history, then the answer would have to be yes.

And the only logical result of that depraved concept of history would be endless religious war and ethnic cleansing based on collective guilt and rights.

But the concept Americans enshrined in our Constitution is completely contrary to what Obama advocated in his remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast.

Under American law, tradition and culture there can be no collective guilt, and thus no collective punishment and certainly no right to blood recompense for the perceived wrongs of history.

Under our Constitution and system of laws there can be no Bills of Attainder (legislative finding of guilt without trial) or “corruption of the blood” that punishes the heirs of a felon or traitor for the crimes of the ancestor.

Guilt, and therefore punishment, is determined on an individual basis through due process and punishment cannot continue beyond the life of the individual being punished.

Imagine, if you can, applying Obama’s idea of history, and the right to collective blood recompense for historical wrongs, to the conclusion of World War II.  Instead of the trials and punishment of individual Nazi war criminals the result would have been mass executions, the extermination of millions of ethnic Germans and an endless cycle of death – in short adoption and repetition of exactly the depravity that so repulsed Americans when they discovered the Nazi’s racial extermination machine and the Holocaust.

Commentators who debate Obama’s reading of history are missing the most important point in his remarks – in finding moral equivalence between the Crusades, American slavery and the savagery of today’s radical Islamist terrorists Obama has completely rejected the American legal and moral concept of individual responsibility.

And in rejecting the moral concept of individual responsibility Obama has accepted the depraved concept that any individual or group who believes themselves aggrieved by some historical wrong is entitled to blood recompense and is justified in waging an endless religious or race war to obtain it.

Conservatives, and anyone else who seeks peace and the advancement of the human condition, must reject this depraved reading of history and its warped morality out of hand, lest we be drawn into accepting it and be ourselves consumed by its evil.

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And another thing...

Well said, Mr. Rasley! I would add to your many good points one more: Evil has always been done in the name of Christ, just as He warned it would be until He returns. But He never suggested we should apologize or feel any guilt for the actions of those wolves in sheep's clothing. Makes sense to me.

Yet bizarrly, Mr. Obama (why is he always lecturing us?) seems to believe Christian Americans should repent for crimes committed by total strangers in another land 1,000 years ago -- a logic-free position to which the only rational reply is, "What difference, at this point, does it make?"

I agree

You really hit home with this one. The idea of moral equivalence is too easy to manipulate. Are Christians and Nazis morally equivalent? There seems to be a lot of confusion and conflation going on all around us. The invective of the one side can be reflected on the other side with little effect. Why is that? The natural of man vs. the nature of God is a big part of it. The ideal of God is corrupted in the human mind and experience. Until the majority wake up and make appropriate changes at the personal level, nothing can significantly change. False historical narratives must be repudiated.