Politics & Media
Feb 07, 2015, 10:23AM

President Commits Thought Crime Against Jesus, Western Civilization

A look at right-wing PC in action.

Obama national prayer breakfast washington .jpg?ixlib=rails 2.1

One way to tell PC: when people blame you for being right. What you said wasn't wrong—they will admit that in passing. But you get paragraphs of stomp-and-snort because nobody should ever say what you just said, even if it has the incidental property of being true. Left-wing PC is a famous blight and is practiced by thyroidal college kids and crowd-following office gals. Right-wing PC is practiced mainly by well-paid columnists and takes as its main target President Obama.

Right now they're telling us that Obama just said Christianity is as bad as Islam, maaan. Actually the President said any religion can attract followers who will use their faith as an excuse to do nasty things. Here's the relevant excerpt from his remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast:

So how do we, as people of faith, reconcile these realities—the profound good, the strength, the tenacity, the compassion and love that can flow from all of our faiths, operating alongside those who seek to hijack religious for their own murderous ends?

Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history. 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. Michelle and I returned from India—an incredible, beautiful country, full of magnificent diversity—but a place where, in past years, religious faiths of all types have, on occasion, been targeted by other peoples of faith, simply due to their heritage and their beliefs—acts of intolerance that would have shocked Gandhiji, the person who helped to liberate that nation.

So this is not unique to one group or one religion. There is a tendency in us, a sinful tendency that can pervert and distort our faith.

People haven't had much time for the reflections on India. But the bits touching on Christian behavior have been a minor and unhappy sensation. They are also true. Even Jonah Goldberg, a conservative, says as much: “Obama's right. Terrible things have been done in the name of Christianity. I have yet to meet a Christian who denies this.” Then what's the problem? Goldberg follows this concession by arguing that the Crusades (“despite their terrible organized cruelties”) were defensive, and that there were some inquisitions where people weren't tortured, and that all this was a long time ago whereas radical Islam is misbehaving right now. In general, looking at world maps, he thinks Christianity is just fine, “indisputably a force for the improvement of man... indisputably a great advance for humanity.” Well, people dispute it, but the President is not one of those people.

Looking through the President's remarks, you might ask where he says Christianity isn't really so hot. You're looking for the wrong thing. The right-wing PC-nik wants to find this: a clear statement that Christianity is better. Absent that, the President is committing heresy. He may reflect in his Christian way on the need to stay off our high horse (they call it the sin of pride) and to remember that all mortals are prey to temptation (they call it original sin). But he'd better make clear that Christianity is the good religion.

Why? Not necessarily for the love of Christ. Jonah Goldberg playfully lets us know that's not his motivation: “As odd as it may sound for a guy named Goldberg to point it out,” he writes before launching into his soft-soaping of the Crusades and Inquisition. His object of loyalty is given here: “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.” Christianity is the West's religion, and the West is better. If some facts don't suggest as much, the facts must be squawked at.

Notice how ISIS sneaks in there. Obama says everybody is sinful, so he's saying we shouldn't be so mean about ISIS. This conclusion by Goldberg is something of a miracle, given that Obama is the man bombing ISIS. But the PC., left or right, believes that any idea is just an assertion of loyalty, a declaration for a side. Adherents of right-wing PC can't hear words like Islam, West and Christianity unless some stacking up is being done, one pile against the other. If somebody says we’re all sinful because we’re people, the sentiment just doesn't compute. The wingnuts can read it only as a statement that our side's pile of good isn't any higher than the other side's, and then something deep in their souls is violated. These are the people who got upset when Obama told the world that, exceptional as America is, people in other countries think that their countries are exceptional too. He didn't say they were wrong!

Nothing in the President's remarks about faith was especially challenging or even new. His ideas weren't complicated, but they were ideas and not expressions of allegiance. Therefore a yowling has arisen. That's PC again, voicing its eternal preoccupation: who are you saying is good, and who are you saying is bad? They care about nothing else and can imagine nothing else, and the noise they make can choke the brain. But at least when the college kids make that noise, it's considered a problem. When Jonah Goldberg does, it's a column.

  • There are two problems with the president's point. The first one is the usual, boring, overdone, juvenile tactic of pretending to think the discussion is which religion was the awfullest, worstest, terriblest based on ancient history and founding documents. Bzzzzt! Wrong. It's what do we do about Islamic fundamentalism today. Obama made a stupid--but common--dodge. Transparent as a sheet of polished plate glass that he doesn't want to discuss the issue. Which is what to do about Islamic fundamentalism today. Secondly, the usual implication that all Christians have to feel bad, if not guilty, about what other Christians did five hundred years ago while Muslims today have nothing whatsoever to do with or be reproched for or feel guilty for that which some other Muslims are doing righttherfreaknow. I know, I know. You think it's stupid, and so do I. But, hell, he got elected. Our bad. Lastly, it's interesting to ask people who are complaining about the Crusades what the predominant religion in the area was prior to the Muslim takeover. Blank stares for two reasons; They don't know...or they don't think it matters.

    Responses to this comment
  • You are heroic at missing the point. But try to miss it in fewer words.

    Responses to this comment
  • I got the point. It's an old, tired "look, a squirrel" obfuscation and distraction from the question of what to do with Islamic fundamentalism right now. And that's what the complaints are. He doesn't even have a new trick. Crap, college freshmen trying this one out don't think it's original. But they think they can change the subject. The complainers are complaining that the president missed the point. This is not comparative religions for left-wing non-majors. I do know, thouigh, that you get the point of the current issue and believe the president did exactly the right thing. Now, if you want to say that the national prayer breakfast should be a lecture from the first session of comparative religions for left-wing non-majors, say so. 'Among other things, this is an exercise in the obvious. Everybody's heard of the crusades and the inquisition. Nobody's heard of the Muslims going into India and killing....hey, look, a squirrel. We get it.

    Responses to this comment
  • No, you really don't get the point. You're imagining he said something that he didn't. You're having a child's argument and pretending that he's taking the other side. And you're doing it at length.

    Responses to this comment
  • C. T. Missed again. The whole point is that the assertion of Christian atrocities is irrelevant except in a class for non-majors. It compares what's happening now with what happened five hundred or a thousand years ago and finds no difference. Everybody knows that, even if it's not correct. So what's the point? The point is to convince us not to be overly concerned about Islamic fundamentalism because if we are, we'll get another lecture on the Crusades. The point is why Obama said it, not what he said.

    Responses to this comment
  • Uh huh. The point isn't what Obama said, what really counts is the motive you make up for what he said. I think you have just crystallized a key trait of the p.c. mindset.

    Responses to this comment
  • You miss the context. AceofSpadesHQ has a longish piece on Obama and the rest of teh admin trying to pretend the people killed at the kosher deli in Paris were just "random folks". That the news overstates Islamic fundamentalism because bleed/lead and it's sexy. That we're worried too much about it. Now, to save you some time, I get that Ace can be discredited because....just because. But the point is, Ace is saying what is on the record from reporters and admin spox. Okay? You can find the stuff elsewhere, which is to say, sneering at it because it's on Ace won't work. It's the context in which Obama is trying to reduce the putative threat of Islamic fundamentalism by pretending to make a point about ancient religious atrocities. There are two kinds of people reading his comments. One says, yeah, we shouldn't be so upset about the Islamic fundies because Torquemada. The other says, what a lame attempt to bs us.

    Responses to this comment
  • The "randomly" quote. Big deal. Here's some context that you missed: Obama is fighting a military action against Muslim extremists and wants Congress to vote authorization for doing so. And did I sneer at Ace? Didn't say a word about him. You're conducting a silly argument in your head and keep pretending that other people are taking part in it with you.

    Responses to this comment
  • C.T. I was addressing the tactic of pre-discrediting. Say something a liberal likes and they sneer, "You heard that on Faux Snews" or from Limbaugh or whatever. Thus discrediting information which came from someplace else. So I pre-discredited that tactic. Point about the randomly quote is the WH and State spox are still peddling the idea, turning themselves inside out to pretend it was the case. They wouldn't be doing that if it weren't a WH point the WH wants to make. Nobody on the podum has said, "Obama misspoke. He knows all about the anti-Semitic stuff in Paris." There are military actions going on. Everybody knows this. But to what end? Old, Cold War joke: Two Russian generals run into each other in London. One says to the other, "Hey, did you ever find out who won the air war?" Meawhile he's giving Iran time to get nukes. Point is, there is no point to making the case that bad things were done in the name of Christianity except for the purpose of trying to reduce the current concern about....hey, look, a squirrel! There is no reason to bring up that subject at the national prayer breakfast. Lame ancient history missing the ancient context is proper for a national prayer breakfast because...? There has to be a reason and if it's not the usual western-civ-has-got-to-go thing you learn from a bored TA in freshmen sociology, what is the point? Got to be a point, right?

    Responses to this comment

Register or Login to leave a comment