At issue: Obama's prideful apology for Christianity

Friday, February 13, 2015
Michael F. Haverluck (

Barack Obama's comments at last week's National Prayer Breakfast - in which he called out real and perceived sins from Christianity's past - were an act of pride, not humility, says an observer.

A Closer LookWhile many Christians and conservatives are still expressing outrage over President Barack Obama's lashing out at Christians of centuries past for everything from slavery to the Crusades during his speech at last week's National Prayer Breakfast, one critic is honing in on the president's moral grandstanding. The alleged political posturing is said to be an effort to give Americans a lesson on "diplomatically" handling religion and terrorism.

Knocking Obama off his "high horse" for apologizing for other people's actions, American Center for Law and Justice senior counsel David French says he's getting tired of the president's feigned humility that he uses in an attempt to score moral points with progressives and "brownie points" with terrorism sympathizers, justifiers, and perpetrators.

"There are few moral fashions more tiresome than the largely liberal tendency to 'apologize' for the actions of others — whether it's America's past sins, the sins of medieval Christianity or the actions of your contemporary political opponents," French expressed. "In the evangelical world, more liberal evangelicals have raised this practice to an art form, signaling their 'I'm not like those people' social acceptability by joining the secular left in piling on Christianity."

A script right out of the old book

French tells how Obama's political spin — condemning those who acknowledge Islamic terrorism by tearing down Christianity with a false humility — is best illustrated through a recent New York Timesbestseller purchased by more than 1.5 million Americans.

French, David (ACLJ)"Perhaps a classic of the genre is found in Donald Miller's bestselling book, Blue Like Jazz, where he describes setting up a 'confession booth' at Reed College, where the goal was to turn the notion of confession on its head," French points out. "Instead of confessing their sins, students and others in the booth would hear a confession of Christianity's sin."

Illustrating French's example is this snippet of Miller's exhortation to students, urging them to say they're sorry for their "failed" fellow Christians over the centuries:

"We are going to confess to them," Miller directed students in his book. "We are going to confess that, as followers of Jesus, we have not been very loving; we have been bitter, and for that we are sorry. We will apologize for the Crusades, we will apologize for televangelists, we will apologize for neglecting the poor and the lonely, we will ask them to forgive us, and we will tell them that in our selfishness, we have misrepresented Jesus on this campus. We will tell people who come into the booth that Jesus loves them."

Miller then tells his audience exactly what they were supposed to glean from his fabricated confessional.

"All of us sat there in silence because it was obvious that something beautiful and true had hit the table with a thud," Miller wrote, expressing the exact reaction he was looking to get. "We all thought it was a great idea, and we could see it in each other's eyes. It would feel so good to apologize, to apologize for the Crusades, for Columbus and the genocide committed in the Bahamas in the name of God, apologize for the missionaries who landed in Mexico and came up through the West slaughtering Indians in the name of Christ."

Seeing through the repentant façade of the author, French exposes Miller's politically charged motivation behind his contrived campus demonstration.

"I'm sorry, this is not 'confession' — it's a series of conforming moral judgments made by half-informed progressives," French asserts. "From my own experience with similar progressive evangelicals, the 'apologies' come from a place of grade-school understanding of theology and history — and they come from individuals who are almost certain to do less in their entire lives for the 'poor and the lonely' than many despised televangelists accomplish in a week."

Pontificating from the political pulpit

Reflecting on Obama's canned speech/prayer at the National Prayer Breakfast, French says in so many words that Obama's ploy was straight out of campus politics 101, giving mere lip service to those falling victim to the real religious terrorist atrocities taking place today.

"I felt much the same way watching President Obama's 'high horse' comments, calling out real and perceived sins from our own national and religious past," French expressed. "Who, exactly, is impressed by these comments? Certainly not our enemies (who merely see confirmation of their own critiques); and certainly not the friends who need our strength and assistance far more than they need to see our president's moral hand-wringing over the sack of Constantinople. A few Kurds may have some dim awareness of Saladin, and even fewer may have heard the name Richard the Lionheart, but what they'd really like is to stay alive, and that requires artillery, armor, ammunition and — most importantly — resolve."

Making light of the dark

When asked about his take on Obama's dealing with Christianity at the prayer breakfast, prospective 2016 Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson agreed that the president was out of line making a modern-day analogy between the Crusades of long ago and global terrorism today.


"Well, it certainly gives us some insight into his thinking," Carson told Fox News. "Obviously, any atrocities that are committed in the name of religion at any time in history are horrible. And none should be used to justify what is going on today."

Carson argued that Obama's apology for Christian sins of centuries past was also another tactic used to imply that the terrorism taking place today is nothing uncommon and that Christians are hypocritical for condemning something in which their religion has engaged in the past.

"I believe is he attempting to say that these people are no worse than other people have been in the past," Carson continued. "That is absolutely irrelevant, because we are dealing with an evil in today's world that is threatening Christians and people who don't believe like they do. And if we allow it to continue to grow, it will be a big tree with lots of branches and roots, rather than a bush as it is now."

Setting himself above Christianity

French contends that instead of standing with Christians at the prayer breakfast, Obama distanced himself from them by highlighting the low points of Christianity and raising them over their heads to argue "who are you to criticize?"

"President Obama's comments — like the progressive evangelical 'apologies — are simply ways of standing apart and above his own faith, his own nation, and his own fellow citizens," French explained. "For the apologizers, it's an act of mounting their own 'high horse' to ride comfortably with members of their own social and intellectual class."

Even though Obama was presumably standing before a religious constituency at the prayer breakfast, he was evidently speaking to appease militants and anti-Americans who are rarely satisfied — no matter how accommodating or tolerant the White House's policies are.

"President Obama further establishes his credibility with his own cultural base, but at the expense of reaffirming our enemies' and critics' hatred of our history and culture," French attests. "Evangelical apologizers enjoy acclaim that their more orthodox peers will never receive."

French says Obama might have fooled a small audience at the prayer breakfast, but insists that ingratiating a few comes at a great expense. "At their core, these are acts of pride, not humility; and they carry with them a real cost that we all have to bear," he concludes.


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