President Obama spoke for about thirty minutes and used almost three thousand words ... , but the only part of the speech the right wing media is focusing on is when he brought up the Crusades.For this he's being attackd by everyone from Victor Davis Hanson ("This is banal") and Peggy Noonan ("He always says these things as if he’s the enlightened one") to Bill Donohue of the Catholic League (who's upset because the president "singled out the Crusades and the Inquisition"), not to mention the former Virginia GOP candidate for lieutenant governor who thinks yoga is Satanic:
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....
"Instead of closing Guantanamo Bay, frankly sir, you ought to close your mouth." -Bishop E. W. Jackson pic.twitter.com/fgODluX0S4— FOX & Friends (@foxandfriends) February 6, 2015
On Sean Hannity's show, radio ranter Mark Levin compared Obama unfavorably to Abraham Lincoln:
LEVIN: What’s ironic about it, Sean, is if Abraham Lincoln took the position of Barack Obama it would have been something like this: Lincoln saying “we’ve had slavery on every continent, in every country since the beginning of mankind.” The Egyptians enslaved the Jews, the Romans enslaved the Christians -- slavery is almost a human natural act, is it not? And Lincoln would say, following Obama’s argument, don’t get on your high horse, this is not an existential threat Obama said the other day of the genocide in the Middle East. And Lincoln might say, “why in the world would I send hundreds of thousands of men to their death to end slavery?”Now, when I think of Lincoln, I think one of the best-known remarks ascribed to him. It was reportedly uttered during The Civil War and first appeared in Francis B. Carpenter's 1867 book, Six Months in the White House with Abraham Lincoln:
"No nobler reply ever fell from the lips of a ruler, than that uttered by President Lincoln in response to the clergyman who ventured to say, in his presence, that he hoped 'the Lord was on our side.'(Emphasis added.)
"'I am not at all concerned about that,' replied Mr. Lincoln, 'for I know that the Lord is always on the side of the right. But it is my constant anxiety and prayer that I and this nation should be on the Lord's side.'"
Did Lincoln really say this? It's not clear. But it's ingrained in our sense of Lincoln, so much so that even Sarah Palin felt motivated to quote it (in a somewhat garbled form) a few years back, in reference to the Bush-era wars.
The reply to the clergyman doesn't accuse Christians of crimes. But it does question whether America is on God's side, and is worthy of God's blessing.
Can you imagine the reaction to the remark if it had been publicly uttered in the Fox News era by a president Fox didn't like? Questioning whether God favors America? Implying that God might be on the enemy's side? How dare you, Mr. President!
This remark is now grandfathered as a Noble Patriotic Sentiment from a Great American. But if it hadn't attained that status, it could have outraged jingoists as much as Obama's remarks have.