Friday, February 6, 2015

Obama Defames Jesus Christ

Having begun his presidency with an apology tour Barack Obama is closing it by trying to offend as many Americans as possible.

Of course, the two bookends of the presidency are well aligned. A president who felt that America was at fault for the problems within Islam has now declared that we should not hold Muslims accountable for the violence committed in the name of Mohammed because Christians committed heinous acts in the name of Christ.

Were it not for the fact that Obama is a radical zealot who actually believes what he is saying one would suspect that he is a Republican plant, working to discredit and ultimately destroy the Democratic Party.

At the National Prayer Breakfast yesterday, Obama said this:

And lest 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.

Among the most cogent responses is that of Jonah Goldberg, who is, one presumes, not a Christian.

As I have been at pains to point out, Obama seems above all else to want to defend the good name of Islam. Unfortunately, the good name of Islam has for now been destroyed by those who perform horrifying actions in the name of the prophet Mohammed.

Unless he is willing to lead a group of Muslims apologizing for the acts committed in the name of Mohammed and is willing to lead a coalition to destroy those who have committed such acts, Obama’s effort is a fool’s errand.

Goldberg  responds to Obama’s effort to disparage, demean and disgrace the name of Christ:

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.

As for the Inquisition, it needs to be clarified that there was no single “Inquisition,” but many. And most were not particularly nefarious. For centuries, whenever the Catholic Church launched an inquiry or investigation, it mounted an “inquisition,” which means pretty much the same thing.

Historian Thomas Madden, director of the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Saint Louis University, writes that the “Inquisition was not born out of desire to crush diversity or oppress people; it was rather an attempt to stop unjust executions.”

In medieval Europe, heresy was a crime against the state, Madden explains. Local nobles, often greedy, illiterate, and eager to placate the mob, gleefully agreed to execute people accused of witchcraft or some other forms of heresy. By the 1100s, such accusations were causing grave injustices (in much the same way that apparatchiks in Communist countries would level charges of disloyalty in order to have rivals “disappeared”).

“The Catholic Church’s response to this problem was the Inquisition,” Madden explains, “first instituted by Pope Lucius III in 1184.”

Aside from the silly cliché, Obama has indulged in the ultimate in cheap shot: saying that an ill that has been committed in one culture excuses an evil committed in another.

Goldberg writes:

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.

A more judicious approach would balance the good and the bad in different cultures.

Christians have certainly done bad things—who hasn’t?—but, Goldberg continues, Christianity has been a source of much good:

Christianity, even in its most terrible days, even under the most corrupt popes, even during the most unjustifiable wars, was indisputably a force for the improvement of man.

Christianity ended greater barbarisms under pagan Rome. The church often fell short of its ideals — which all human things do — but its ideals were indisputably a great advance for humanity. Similarly, while some rationalized slavery and Jim Crow in the U.S. by invoking Christianity, it was ultimately the ideals of Christianity itself that dealt the fatal blow to those institutions. Just read any biography of Martin Luther King Jr. if you don’t believe me.

Lest we forget, Christian civilization has also contributed mightily to human prosperity and human freedom. One cannot say the same about Islam.

Another non-Christian, Roger Simon offers what appears to be the simplest and most accurate explanation for Obama’s efforts to defend the good name of the prophet Mohammed while debasing the good name of Christ:

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.

William of Ockham would approve, so we are inclined to accept Simon’s assertion.

Next, Simon believes that Obama personally feels ashamed of the behavior of his putative co-religionists.

If Obama identifies as Muslim, if not by practice, at least by temperament, he must share the shame that the ISIS terrorists and all other Islamist terrorists have produced. As I mentioned yesterday, the point of Islamist terrorism is to stigmatize the Muslim religion, thus making it far more difficult for Muslims to assimilate into the Western world.

And yet, if Obama felt the shame he would do the right thing and apologize for Islamist terrorism. His failure to pronounce the name of Islamist terrorism might well suggest that he identifies as Muslim. It also suggests that he does not accept responsibility for what has been done in the name of the prophet Mohammed. 

If, however, Obama identifies as a Christian he should lead the charge against Islamist terrorism as an offense against human decency, human dignity and human civilization. If so doing he would be asserting his own dignity, the value of his own civilization and his own pride. He would, in short be demonstrating his sense of shame.

Next, Simon introduces the notion of “shame culture,” and declares, with more than a few scholars, that it describes Islam culture.

He explains:

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.

Many people do believe that Islam is a shame culture. I suspect that they have not read Ruth Benedict, or, for that matter, your humble blogger on this topic. Nor have they read the leading psychoanalytic author on shame and guilt, Helen Block Lewis. If they had a better understanding of shame and guilt cultures they would recognized that Islam is not a shame culture. It’s a guilt culture.

Japan is a shame culture. Great Britain is a shame culture. Their most salient cultural characteristic is that they believe in decorum, propriety, good manners, keeping up appearances and civility. They eschew all forms of public drama in order to foster a good reputation. They do whatever they can to avoid giving offense. 

When people in a shame culture do wrong, they offer public apologies, accept responsibility, withdraw for a time and to move on.

Shame cultures are designed to manage shame, beginning with practices that allow people to avoid it. It offers people a means to correct an error while maintaining decorum-- without going completely insane, without rioting in the street, without inflicting grotesque punishments on those who one is blaming for one’s ills.

When you say that someone has a sense of shame you are saying that he is dignified and decorous. Even when he has done something wrong or even when he feels that he is being insulted, he does not strike out in anger. A shame culture promotes civility.

If someone in your family does something that tarnishes the family name you should accept the fact, apologize and work to atone for the error. Only in a guilt culture do you murder the offending family member.

If someone in your family has embarrassed you, you do not pretend that nothing has happened. You do not assert that you have nothing to do with the misdeed.

You know that your reputation has been compromised by the action of another. You do not cop out by saying that you personally are not guilty. Such is the behavior of someone who does not understand shame.

Obviously, many Muslims have a sense of shame. One recalls that the uncle of the Boston marathon bombers, the Tzarnaev brothers, apologized for what his nephews did. He knew that their actions had compromised his good name. His was the opposite of the Obama approach to radical Islam.

To be perfectly clear, the primary sanction in a shame culture is ostracism. When one apologizes one withdraws, to some degree, from social commerce. In a guilt culture, however, the primary sanctions are corporeal punishments, whether imprisonment, beheadings, amputations or mutilation.

A culture that murders its children in the name of honor has no sense of honor.

A president who began with an apology tour, explicitly taking responsibility for the sins of past presidents will close with a failure to call out radical Islam for the horrors it has been inflicting on the civilized world.


Anonymous said...

The most relevant Koranic verse is 4:56 "Indeed, those who disbelieve
in Our verses - We will drive them into a Fire. Every time
their skins are roasted through We will replace them with
other skins so they may taste the punishment (forever). Indeed, Allah is
ever Exalted in Might and Wisdom.

Paul Weston

Sam L. said...

As if we needed another reason for not liking The Won.

Gibson Block said...

It's important that people not minimize the aggressiveness and barbarity of the Islamists but it's also good to remember that they're not the only ones who can go crazy about their religion.

Otherwise, it's easy to get self-righteous and holier-than-thou.

If, Goldberg wants to minimize the barbarity of the Crusades, he can try. But I remember that Melanie Phillips pointing out that Christianity was a savage religion.

It's only modernity that tamed these religions. And didn't that come, in part, because religious people killed so many of eachother that they realized that they had to stop?

Wm Sears said...

Gibson, I think that you have reversed cause and effect. Modernity is an effect not a cause. Many have claimed that one of the major causes of modernity is Christianity since this is the only culture that produced it. Some other cultures have copied it but most have rejected it.

Ares Olympus said...

re: To be perfectly clear, the primary sanction in a shame culture is ostracism. When one apologizes one withdraws, to some degree, from social commerce. In a guilt culture, however, the primary sanctions are corporeal punishments, whether imprisonment, beheadings, amputations or mutilation.

So what I'm getting from this is:
(1) Shame cultures don't work well in pluralistic societies where there's no top-down assignment of common values.
(2) Same cultures don't work well where everyone is seen as an individual.

Ostracism is only effective when you identify yourself within an exclusive culture (or subculture?) where your social identity is more important than your individual identity.

But maybe subgroups are sufficient? Where do people have strong social identities?

(1) Family, (2) Religion. Maybe adding (3) Unions and guilds? (4) Brotherhood societies (5) Military? (6) Mafia?

One of the things that disappointed me when I tried going to the DFL (Democratic) caucuses in Minnesota is I talked to teachers and they said they were their to vote for candidates endorsed by their teacher's union. This disturbed me greatly, that educated adults were willing to reduce their participation to maximizing their collective power.

And it suggests the opposite side, if a candidate for office tries to gain the endorsement of a union or group, they are "selling" their autonomy to a special interest, and if they "betray" that union by daring to act independently, they can be punished by being blacklisted, and the union will try to find another candidate who will toe their line.

I remember reading people were concerned when JFK was running for president, that he would be taking orders from the Pope.

Mitt Romney almost got a chance for the same predicament as the first Morman president.

It would be cool if religions would take hard lines and excommunicate members with political power who try to represent the whole, rather than their personal religion. At least then you'd know Romney was his own man.

But of course groups must consider boths sides - Ostracism means losing ALL influence, so its hard to reject winners.

But watch out if you're a loser, then you'd better follow your "God Father" carefully, or you'll be made an example and you'll have nothing left when he's done with you.

Larry Sheldon said...

"In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ."

Too bad that he did not explain that it was the Democrats of the day that he was talking about, or that it was Republicans, with actual ordained and practicing ministers in the leadership, that got us out of that world.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Obama seems like a college kid, parroting all the things he learned from Lefty professors. This bit of moral equivalence between Christian history and Islamist terror is no different.

It is instructive that Obama is so petty and thin-skinned, as he doesn't seem to know what he believes or why he believes it. He just assumes that it's true, and his opponents are not just wrong... they're something just shy of evil. It's a dualist world based on all the traditional collegiate protest causes. He's learned nothing since college.

He has lived in a bubble. This is the most recent example. He knows what he knows because someone told him it was the right way, and others who do not believe these things are bad or mean-spirited. And mean people suck.

Appearances with normal people at the National Prayer Breakfast are "teachable moments" to Obama, offering him the opportunity to learn us a thing or two for our own good because we're imbeciles, or "cowards" (as his Attorney General would say).

He knows that business people "didn't build that." He knows his core voters don't get a "fair shot." He knows Mitt Romney wants to kill his family dog. He knows "tax cuts for the rich" are bad, even though he's a Wall Street darling. He won't say "radical Islam," but is quite pugnacious about Jim Crow and race-based unfairness.

I guess we're all just bitter clingers to guns and religion out here in flyover country, eating iceberg lettuce instead of arugula, funding our kids' school activities using the most vile of archaic gastronomic horrors: the bake sale. So while he flies around going on two-week vacations in the most posh places in America, the rest of us in Christian middle America are scolded for asking him to state the obvious about who our enemy is. Meanwhile, he gives Iran most everything it wants... because we know Iran really has a stockpile of goodwill for America, it's just that we stupid Anericans can't see it. Good grief.

n.n said...

Said, Obama, abortionist in chief, head of the abortion party, supporters and promoters of an unprecedented [selective] termination of wholly innocent human lives.

The "secular" religion or moral philosophy is objectively as depraved as Islam that directs its followers to convert or subjugate unbelievers through coercion rather than evangelization. While Muslims follow the prophet of Muhammad, seculars follow the profits of wealth, pleasure, and leisure. While Muslims violate human rights in the open, seculars violate human rights in privacy.

I think Obama is motivated by nothing more than to marginalize or neutralize his competing interests. It's telling who he rejects and favors. Only time will tell how many will blindly follow him and what they will continue to sacrifice in order to secure their personal interests.

n.n said...

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD:

Obama is a bitter clinger. He leverages past events to obfuscate present actions, and intentionally distorts known and accepted history.

He is establishing a moral equivalence and motive between the Christian Crusades and ISIS. He is arguing that ISIS is fighting a defensive war to reclaim conquered lands and protect conquered people. In his effort to legitimize ISIS, he is delegitimizing the current native regimes. I wonder if they will notice. His slight of Christians, and Americans in particular, is merely icing on the cake.

Larry Sheldon said...

The world needs for somebody to collect the comments in this thread and put them in a brightly lighted place for all to see.

Dennis said...


This should not be a surprise given the lack of true political diversity in academe.
Unfortunately academe has the same problem in almost ever area and not just in psychology. It take real bravery to challenge academe so I applaud the writer of the above in Psychology Today."

What can one expect from someone like Obama when he gets so much of American History wrong and worse yet does not understand the context and/or meaning of "a more perfect union." George Washington did not live in the White House as Obama suggested. He selected the place for it in 1791. It was completed in 1800 president John Adams and his wife Abigail moved in.
It is a question how someone who professes to be a Constitutional scholar gets so many things wrong. The mistake made by Obama rise exponentially when it comes to world history. Too much of his knowledge about the United States come from the pews of Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayres which is underpinned by a real hatred of this country. When one is a radical or tends to be one then it is easy to find comradeship with "community organizers" which is an apt description of ISIS, DASH, et al.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Dennis @February 8, 2015 at 6:22 AM:

Obama likes being a critic, but doesnt handle criticism very well. What does that tell you? Too much Howard Zinn, John Rawls, Sauk Alinsky, John Dewey, Karl Marx, etc. without the "diversity" he says is so critical to the America he dreams of. He is a student of indoctrination, passing on the torch. His Constitution is a critique, not a contribution. It's easy to be a critic. I do not find him American in his bearing at all. That doesn't mean I'm a Birther... I'm not interested in where he was born for the sake of this exchange. What I find remarkable is how his bearing, interests, disposition and attitude aren't American at all. When he said in Berlin that he was a "citizen of the world," I suspect he meant it. Kennedy said "Eich ein Berliner," but no one scarcely believed he was German. He was American. That's why I found Obama's Berlin speech so alarming in the wake of the Jeremiah Wright episode. It fit the narrative. That's why Democratic operatives had to quash it, and fast. And with their willing media accomplices, and a lousy candidate in McCain, they succeeded. Once I learned where Obama was from, where he chose to go, who he chose to listen to, the whole thing seemed unsettling. And nothing has been right since. He won two elections: first running against something, then against someone. His entire campaign was about a euphemism, an empty vessel people could pour all their dreams into -- "Hope & Change." Then we got "Forward," and we're living it full steam ahead.

n.n @February 7, 2015 at 12:05 PM:

And that's what makes him a "bitter clinger."

Maybe Obama will set the record straight and give the southwestern United States to Mexico (or Spain), and then give the rest of the country back to the Native Americans. Is that justice?

And I do find it interesting that Obama called ISIS a "death cult." What have we been doing to unborn children all these years under the guise of man's law? That's not the icing on the cake... that's not even a part of the recipe. Unborn children are more collateral damage in his misguided pursuit of "justice."

Obama wants to tell us we're all the same, drawing moral equivalence, but he doesn't mean it. He doesn't treat us all the same. He's made his choice, time after time. Look who's worthy of protection, and who's worthy of ridicule. There's your answer.

Anonymous said...

Obama thinks he is Jesus Christ

Anonymous said...

I thought he couldn't surprise me. I was wrong.

Subject was current (and future) threats to national & intn'l security. And how to handle them. (W/o naming their motive Theology from 642 CE.)

He swerves to 1099 thru @ 1199 and beyond. Names Theology, which isn't a threat. Blames it for misdeeds, and conflates it with the un-named threat.

A cow-college lawyer (no offense intended) would call that a Non-Sequiter. A Harvard lawyer ... wisdom, I suppose. - Rich Lara

Dennis said...


One of the most telling statements, "Throughout history, without the vanity of the conceder, there would never have been appeasement."