February 5, 2015
Catholic League’s Bill Donohue comments on remarks made
today by President Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast:
In an attempt to deflect guilt from Muslim madmen, President Obama said, "Unless 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." Obama's ignorance is astounding and his comparison is pernicious.
The Crusades were a defensive Christian reaction against Muslim madmen of the Middle Ages. Here is how Princeton scholar and Islamic expert Bernard Lewis puts it: "At the present time, the Crusades are often depicted as an early expansionist imperialism—a prefigurement of the modern European countries. To people of the time, both Muslim and Christian, they were no such thing." So what were they? "The Crusade was a delayed response to the jihad, the holy war for Islam, and its purpose was to recover by war what had been lost by war—to free the holy places of Christendom and open them once again, without impediment, to Christian pilgrimage."
Regarding the other fable, the Inquisition, the Catholic Church had almost nothing to do with it. The Church saw heretics as lost sheep who needed to be brought back into the fold. By contrast, secular authorities saw heresy as treason; anyone who questioned royal authority, or who challenged the idea that kingship was God-given, was guilty of a capital offense. It was they—not the Church—who burned the heretics. Indeed, secular authorities blasted the Church for its weak role in the Inquisition.
According to St. Louis University and Crusade scholar Thomas Madden, "All the Crusades met the criteria of just wars." How many ISIS atrocities, Mr. President, have met the criteria of just wars? The ones where they buried people alive, stoned children, raped women, and crucified men? Moreover, according to Henry Kamen, the leading authority on the Inquisition, a total of 1,394 people were killed during the Inquisition. Today, Muslim madmen kill more than that in a few months.
The President should apologize for his insulting comparison.