Are Jihad and the Crusades Morally Equivalent?
As you most likely know by now, President Obama offered something of a dismissal of today’s Islamic Jihadists by comparing their actions to the Crusades and Inquisition. Here’s what he 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. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”
Obama pulled the tu quoque (pronounced too-kwo-kwee) fallacy, or the appeal to hypocrisy. Its less technical name is the “you too” argument. “Yes, some people who claim to be Islamic have done some evil things, but Christians have done evil things too.”
The former Soviet Union used the “you too” argument against the United States when human rights violations were brought up: “And you are lynching Negroes.” The use of the phrase was a way “to deflect criticism, e.g. by referencing racial discrimination and lynching in the United States.”
Obama used an old Soviet tactic. Bill Clinton also pulled the “you too” argument in a speech after the events of 9-11.
Committing an act in the name of Christ is not the same thing as finding in the Bible a command to perform that act. The Bible prohibits man stealing (slavery) and requires the death penalty for those who are engaged in the act of man-stealing. There is nothing in the Bible that can be used to support Jim Crow laws or lynching, which is murder.
Consider this from “Darwin’s Bulldog” Thomas Huxley in his Controverted Questions (1892):
The Bible has been the Magna Carta of the poor and of the oppressed; down to modern times no State has had a constitution in which the interests of the people are so largely taken into account, in which the duties so much more than the privileges of rulers are insisted upon, as that drawn up for Israel in Deuteronomy and Leviticus; nowhere is the fundamental truth that the welfare of the State, in the long run, depends on the uprightness of the citizen so strongly laid down.
“Arthur Koestler – a Jew and Zionist – who perhaps best expressed the difference between the Christian idea and its rivals, in his anti-communist novel, Darkness at Noon:
There are only two conceptions of human ethics, and they are at opposite poles. One of them is Christian and humane, declares the individual to be sacrosanct, and asserts that the rules of arithmetic are not to be applied to human units. The other starts from the basic principle that a collective aim justifies all means, and not only allows, but demands, that the individual should in every way be subordinated and sacrificed to the community…. Humbugs and dilettantes have always tried to mix the two conceptions; in practice, it is impossible.
Islamists claim that the Koran mandates certain actions. You can read some examples of using the Koran to justify violent acts.
But what about the Crusades? Can they be compared to 1400 years of Jihadic advance and battles?
“For the record, the crusades were completely REACTIONARY to a multi-century onslaught by jihadists. The purpose of the crusades [was] to free Christians while the purpose of jihad (Islam’s march) was to conquer and kill the kaffir (non-muslims).”
Thomas F. Madden writes, “It is generally thought that Christians attacked Muslims without provocation to seize their lands and forcibly convert them. . . Every word of this is wrong. Historians of the Crusades have long known that it is wrong, but they find it extraordinarily difficult to be heard across a chasm of entrenched preconceptions.”
Watch this informative video by Dr. Bill Warner that compares the perpetual wars of the Jihadists with the Crusades:
For s study of the Spanish Inquisition, see Rodney Stark’s comments on the subject in his books For the Glory of God and The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement Became the World’s Largest Religion. On the Crusades, see Stark’s book God’s Battalions: The Case for the Crusades. There is also material on all these subjects in The Triumph of Christianity.