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High Horses and Low Blows
Commentary on the News
Thursday, February 12, 2015
J.L. Robb

It’s tough riding a high horse every day as I go about my Christian terrorism of writing about God and His many wonders, and mysteries. I don’t know how to ride a horse, though I did it one time on Rosarita Beach in Mexico. I think I scared the poor horse, as tight as I was holding on; because the only way it would run is for the little Mexican boy to chase it. Then one lady’s hair piece fell off (this was 1969), and the horse ate it. True story.

Last week President Obama spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast, following a wonderful speech by Darrell Waltrip of NASCAR fame. Darrell spoke of the great salvation that is offered to each of us by simply believing that Jesus is the Christ. This, of course, is what the National Prayer Breakfast is about.

Dignitaries from around the world attend the annual event, hosted by members of Congress and organized by The Fellowship Foundation. The Fellowship Foundation was founded in 1953 by Norwegian-born Abraham Vereide, a Methodist circuit rider in Montana and also the founder of Goodwill Industries.  Abraham Vereide’s life was centered on Christ. Though the Prayer Breakfast is Christ-centered, people from many religions attend.  Jordan’s King Hussein has spoken to the group as did Mother Teresa.

With this history, one would think Christian-bashing would be a poor choice for a guest speaker at the National Prayer Breakfast. Equating Christian terror to Islamic terror would seem to be somewhat inappropriate, especially for a speech from the President of the largest Christian country in the world.

Last Thursday at the event, President Obama, apparently concerned that the world of Christianity is dumping on Islam just because the Islamists (Islamist and Muslim terrorist are words that don’t seem to have made it to his audacious vocabulary) have murdered a few “random” people, had this to say:

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

“Murderous extremism,” he continued, "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."

In my travels around Duluth, Georgia and other worldly places, I have heard the “What about the crusades?” comment so many times, and it is truly a ludicrous comment, especially coming from the President of the United States. Not that all the crusaders were nice guys, but most were. Every group has its scoundrels, but many crusaders were not mercenaries but wealthy businessmen, religious men that sacrificed their wealth.

Why?

To fight the Islamic terrorists who took over ancient Israel and the Holy Land, killing what few Jews remained after the 132 AD exile. They also killed Christians (they weren’t so peaceful way back then) and anyone and everyone that did not believe as they believed. Sound familiar?

A history lesson for President Obama’s speech writer:

The first Crusade of 1095 AD formed because.

  • 460 years earlier, in 635 AD the new Muslim religion took over their first Christian city, Damascus, three years after the death of Muhammad.
  • In 638 AD, Arabic Muslims conquered Jerusalem.
  • In 642 AD, 453 years before the First Crusade, Muslims conquered Egypt which was predominately Christian.
  • In 652 AD, 443 years before the Crusade, Muslims began the plunder of Italy and Sicily.
  • In 668 AD, Muslims began the siege of Constantinople, the Christian Capital.
  • In 715 AD, Muslims began their three year conquest of Spain.
  • In 716 AD, Lisbon is captured by Muslim armies.
  • In 724 AD, Muslims capture the cities of Carcassone and Nimes in France where they loot the churches and monasteries and kill the preachers or enslave them.
  • In 846 AD, Muslim militants attack Rome, causing damage the churches of St. Peter and St. Paul. They do not leave until Pope Leo IV pays them off with 25,000 pieces of silver.
  • In 869 AD, the island of Malta is conquered.
  • In 876 AD, Muslims attack Campagna, Italy.
  • In 884 AD, Muslims invading Italy burn the monastery of Monte Cassino.
  • In 902 AD, Muslims conquer Sicily.

All of this and much more in only 300 years after Muhammad’s death in 632 AD.

Examining the timeline above, it appears to me that the Christians turned the other cheek for 500 years, unlike the Muslims of 1400 years ago, and 1200 years ago and today. There is no love your enemy in their mindset, and history continues to repeat itself.

The term crusade has been so demonized by Muslims, Atheists and liberals without them having a clue as to why they existed. Bill Clinton used the term in a speech at Georgetown University, derisively, about the First Crusade and all the Jews that were killed on the way to Jerusalem, claiming this was the reason the Middle East was upset. I am not sure why the Middle East, which is predominately Muslim, would be upset over any Jewish deaths. President George W. Bush used the term, and now President Obama is using the term, which plays right into the hands of the Islamist extremists.

Thomas Madden’s article, The Real History of the Crusades at CatholicCulture.org is quite enlightening. A Crusade historian, Madden had this to say:

Misconceptions about the Crusades are all too common. The Crusades are generally portrayed as a series of holy wars against Islam led by power-mad popes and fought by religious fanatics. They are supposed to have been the epitome of self-righteousness and intolerance, a black stain on the history of the Catholic Church in particular and Western civilization in general. A breed of proto-imperialists, the Crusaders introduced Western aggression to the peaceful Middle East and then deformed the enlightened Muslim culture, leaving it in ruins. For variation on this theme, one need not look far. See, for example, Steven Runciman's famous three-volume epic, History of the Crusades, or the BBC/A&E documentary, The Crusades, hosted by Terry Jones. Both are terrible history yet wonderfully entertaining.

But much can already by said with certainty. For starters, the Crusades to the East were in every way defensive wars. They were a direct response to Muslim aggression — an attempt to turn back or defend against Muslim conquests of Christian lands. ~ Thomas Madden

Unlike Christianity, Islam formed and expanded through war and violence.

God never asked the Jews to spread their religion to the world and convert or kill those who disagree. Quite the contrary. Judaism was for Jews, not anyone else. Because the Jews rejected the Messiah who had been sent to them specifically, the religion did expand in the form of Christianity, whose roots are Judaic. Christianity taught, unlike Judaism, to spread the Word to the nations of the world. But unlike Islam, Jesus told the flock to spread the message peacefully; but if the people didn’t want to listen, shake the dust off your sandals and go somewhere else.

"If the house is worthy, give it your blessing of peace. But if it is not worthy, take back your blessing of peace. "Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet. "Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city. ~ Matthew 10: 13-15 NIV

As the Christian World fell to Islam, the emperor at Constantinople appealed to Christians in the West to come help save the Holy Land. Christian soldiers obliged and the Crusades were formed- to fight the Islamic takeover of the known world at that time.

Now about slavery. As bad as it is, it has been around long enough for Moses to have written about it in the bible 3,500 years ago. America was not the first country to incorporate slavery in the process of nation building. As a matter of fact, 4,000 years before America and Europe enslaved Africans, Africans were enslaving Hebrews for their nation building. Slavery still goes on today in Africa.

The speech writer left the history part out of the President’s speech and failed to research the subject before letting his boss put his foot in his mouth.

Christianity, like every religion, has its baggage. But a religion of love your neighbor, love your enemy, turn the other cheek, if someone steals your coat give them a wardrobe… This is what Jesus taught and for the most part, Christians try to adhere as much as possible. The “eye for an eye” philosophy only results in ongoing war. Unfortunately, there are about 1.5 billion Muslims who believe the eye for an eye philosophy and thus have ongoing wars, with all of us. In 1,400 years it has not changed. It will not change until the final war which is not far off in the future is my guess.

Knocking Christianity or comparing it to ISIS at the National Prayer Breakfast was a huge faux pas.

Now I’m off to get a ladder so I can climb back on my high horse.

About J.L. Robb

Last week: The First Murder



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