Tying Islamic Terrorism to Past Atrocities is Pointless

President Obama spoke this morning at the National Prayer Breakfast.  During his speech he touched on ISIS and the horrors being committed in the Middle East.  While speaking of ISIS and their heinous acts he made a couple of curious comments.  At one point he said that we should “push back against those who would distort our religion for their own nihilistic ends”.  This is a strange comment because A) the US is about 95% Christian (in one form or another) and B) ISIS is 100% Sunni Islam.  So one is left to wonder exactly whose religion it is they are distorting for their nihilistic ends?  Of whom exactly are you speaking Sir?  Most would probably brush this comment off as nothing but to those who pay attention it follows a certain pattern regarding the way the President speaks of ISIS and Islamic terror groups.  The President has a history of downplaying the role of religion in regards to terror attacks as though he’s attempting to be politically correct or something.  He never wants to point the finger at their belief system as being the root of their actions.

Greater context is added to this comment when we see the comment that preceded it.  The President reached back into the annals of history to remind us that other atrocities have been committed in the name of religion such as the Crusades and the Inquisition; and with this he was pointing at Christianity.  Taken together it’s almost as though the President is blaming Christianity for what is happening now.  Why else would the President take time during remarks on ISIS and Islamic terror to remind us of the horrors committed in the name of Jesus Christ?  The thing is, he’s not alone on this.  Many people are taking this opportunity to remind everyone of how “awful” Christians, and in some cases White Europeans are.  Yes it’s true Christians have committed horrible crimes against humanity over the past 2000 years.  And….?

People have killing each other in the name of religion for thousands of years.  If we’re to believe the Old Testament the Jews marched into Canaan and slaughtered tens of thousands of men, women and children because they believed God told them to do it.  The Romans tortured and executed Christians for sport until they became Christians themselves and then they began executing non-Christians.  The Aztecs killed tens of thousands (hundreds of thousands by some estimates) in ritual sacrifice to their gods.  The Ottomans executed more than 1 millions Armenian Christians, their own citizens, during World War I.  The Nazis murdered 6 million Jews during World War II.  The Lord’s Resistance Army used child soldiers to kill thousands in Uganda and Sudan.  People have been killing in the name of religion since the invention of religion.  My question Mr. President is:  what’s your point?

Why even mention Christianity in the same breath as Islamic terrorism?  Are you trying to equate the two?  Are you trying to justify what is happening now by referring to the past?  Are you trying to say that Islamic violence now is some sort of justice or retribution for the sins of Christianity?  Or perhaps that Christianity is the reason ISIS is doing this?  We all know that Christianity has been responsible for horrible, unspeakable things, but that has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on what ISIS is doing in the Levant right now.  Tying the actions of Islamic terrorists to the actions of religious zealots from centuries past does nothing to address the current situation.  It makes no difference what happened 100, 200, or 500 years ago.  The past is the past.  Unless you have a time traveling DeLorean hidden in a bunker under the West Wing of the White House there is nothing we can do about the mistakes of the past.  We can, however, do something about the crimes being committed now.  The governments of the world have the power to stop this now, today.  We have the power to prevent anymore innocent people from being hacked to death with machetes in Africa, or burned alive in cages in Syria, or used as suicide bombers in Pakistan.  Stop using this moment to rail on about the mistakes of the past and look toward the future.  We can only learn from our past but we can shape our future.

J.S. Franklin is a Constitutionalist and does not subscribe to any particular political party. He served nearly a decade in the United States Army and has degrees in Psychology and Criminal Justice with a focus on Homeland Security and Counter-terrorism.
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