Addressing the National Prayer Breakfast Thursday, President Obama admonished his audience not to get on a “high horse” about Islamic terrorists (of course he did not name them) since atrocities had been committed in the name of many religions or, as he put it more specifically, “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.”
Well, that doesn’t mean me. As a Jew, I’m exempt from anything done “in the name of Christ.” But frankly I was appalled by what Obama said. Many faiths could be cited, including communism, obviously, also a kind of religion that was responsible for exponentially more deaths — via Stalin’s Gulag, Mao’s Cultural Revolution and Great Leap Forward, the killing fields of Cambodia, etc. — than all other belief systems combined, although none of them are doing it now. Right now it’s Islamic radicalism that just the other day placed a human being in a cage and burned him alive, an act not, to my knowledge, even performed by Dr. Mengele. And it was done in the name of Allah.
And yet Obama saw fit to lecture his audience on the Crusades and slavery, done “in the name of Christ,” subjects of which his audience was undoubtedly well aware and, needless to say, did not approve in the slightest. Yet still the president felt he had to hector them. Why?
To begin with, we can find some the answer in his criticism of ISIS, which Obama described as “a brutal vicious death cult that in the name of religion carries out unspeakable acts of barbarism, claiming the mantle of religious authority for such actions.” Note the now unsurprising use of the word “religion,” not “Islam,” or the even more telling “Mohammed,” a warlord who married a little girl and a figure, one can safely say, not very much like Christ. Nevertheless, Obama can blacken Christians and name them in a speech, but not Muslims.
The reason is not complicated. Obama is not a religious person. He rarely appears in church, except for political purposes. He is titularly a Christian, but identifies emotionally, from his youth in Indonesian madrassas and from his ideological predisposition, with Third World Muslims. But now he is confronted with those same Muslims behaving like barbarians across Africa and the Middle East and sometimes into Europe and America.
What would be his reaction to that? Pretty much what it is for most throughout the Islamic world — shame. As many have noted, Islam is a shame culture (the kind of society that will go berserk over cartoons) and, like it or not, our president is part of it culturally. That does not mean he is stoning adulterers or cutting off the hands of thieves or treating women like chattel, but it does mean he is genuinely and quite deeply ashamed of the religion he, in part, came from. He cannot adjust to or accept the calamities it is causing. Unlike the president of Egypt, he cannot name it.
This also explains Obama’s determination to whitewash the behavior of Iran and make a deal with the Islamic Republic that will jeopardize the entire world. It also helps make more clear his ambivalent (at best) relationship to the state of Israel and its leaders.
It grieves me much to write this, because it is a horrible situation. Obama is not a Manchurian candidate and never was. He never had to be. He is just absolutely the wrong human being to be leading the West at this point in history. Heaven help us.