- - Monday, February 9, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

When a U.S. president enters the “lame duck” phase of his presidency, one good thing comes of it: the public gets to see who he really is. President Obama proved this at last week’s National Prayer Breakfast when he equated slavery, segregation laws, the Inquisition and the atrocities of the Crusades to the actions of the Islamic State (“Obama and the National Prayer Breakfast,” Web, Feb. 6).

The Catholic Church may well have put its stamp of approval on the Crusades to repel Islamist invaders and to hold or retake lands seized. It did not, however, order or condone the actions taken by the soldiers who went forth to carry out the operations. It did not order atrocities to be committed. The same goes for those church leaders who looked the other way when slavery began in America. But again, this doesn’t equate to the sanctioning or approval of it. Individuals who professed Christ — not church hierarchy — justified slavery and segregation with Scripture.

Slavery in America lasted two-and-a-half centuries and Jim Crow laws evaporated in half that time. Neither was supported by the upper echelon of the Church. Lest the president forget, church leaders helped create and operate the Underground Railroad. They were also visible leaders in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. Mr. Obama’s convenient omission of such facts goes back to a largely forgotten issue from the beginning of his run for the White House: his own radical religious pedigree. A professing Christian, he worshipped at the church of Pastor Jeremiah Wright. He distanced himself from Mr. Wright only after Mr. Wright’s infamous “chickens coming home to roost” comment went viral. However, a quick examination of previous sermons reveals that such rhetoric was an integral part of Mr. Wright’s doctrine; thus parishioner Obama was fed this diet of radicalism before he sought public office.

Now, at the end of his term, with little reason to hide his true worldview, our president opts for calling the Islamic state “ISIL” and avoids the term “radical Islam” since he is apparently concerned about offending the predominant religion of the Arab world. Yet he shows little concern for offending the predominant religion of the nation of his own birth. At a gathering of people of faith, he removed his mask and showed his disregard for Christianity with his offensive, insensitive remarks. At least now we know where he stands.

WILLIAM T. JONES

Washington


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