Friday, February 6, 2015

Resources: Reaction to Obama's National Prayer Breakfast Speech

Here are just a few resources I'm currently using:

The president's remarks in full. Here's the key excerpt:
We see sectarian war in Syria, the murder of Muslims and Christians in Nigeria, religious war in the Central African Republic, a rising tide of anti-Semitism and hate crimes in Europe, so often perpetrated in the name of religion.
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.  In today’s world, when hate groups have their own Twitter accounts and bigotry can fester in hidden places in cyberspace, it can be even harder to counteract such intolerance. But God compels us to try.  And in this mission, I believe there are a few principles that can guide us, particularly those of us who profess to believe. And, first, we should start with some basic humility.
And now reactions:

The Good
  • This storify from Matthew Gabriele, a professor of medieval history at Virginia Tech. A great twitter essay. 
  • Bill Moyers comparing the burning of the Jordanian pilot to the burning of a black man in Waco in 1916.
  • Ta-Nehisi Coates - "Now, Christianity did not "cause" slavery, anymore than Christianity "caused" the Civil Rights movement. The interest in power is almost always accompanied by the need to sanctify that power. 
  • General coverage from the New York Times.
  • Relatively calm coverage of the issue from India.

The Bad
One thing I find interesting is that folks like Donohue consistently cite Bernard Lewis (not an expert in the Crusades) and Thomas Madden. Madden is an expert on the Crusades and a personal friend and mentor. He does argue for the defensive nature of them, but in his scholarship is quite explicit about the many terrible things that took place during the Crusades, as well as the explicit religious motivation behind them.


The Ugly
  • Dinesh D'Souza - A map that lies with true facts.
  • Erick Erickson - Obama isn't a Christian.
  • Rush Limbaugh - Transcript from this morning. 
  • Rev. Graham - Mohammad was a killer, Christ taught only peace.
So there we have it. The #Crusades are trending again. This job calls for a medieval historian! Or historians. 

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