Obama compares Catholic Crusades to Islamic ISIS

President Barack Obama created outrage at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington DC this morning. After remaining generally passive and silent about the barbaric acts of the Islamic terrorist organization ISIS, he breaks the silence by comparing ISIS to…the acts of Catholics during the Crusades…

So here’s my take on the controversy:

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President Obama did speak about against the Islamic State, calling it “a brutal, vicious death cult.” So he got that correct.

But then our president went on to say: “We are summoned to push back against those who would distort our religion for their nihilistic ends.”

And this has people begging the question: what did he mean by “our religion.” In context it seems that he is still referring to Islam. I’m not a “truther” about President Obama being a Muslim, but this is an odd choice of words. I can only hope he meant to say: “We are summoned to push back against those who would distort our religions for their nihilistic ends.”

And then he goes on to warn us not to get up “on our high horse”:

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.”

I’ll just focus on the Crusades here. The Crusades were a Christian response to Muslim invasions and theft. The scimitar of Mohammad had reached into Spain, Eastern Europe, and the entire Mediterranean Sea. The people of Europe fought back. There is nothing wrong with a defensive war. I highly recommend the book God’s Battalions to get the full story of this historical situation.

Was every single action of every single crusade morally righteous? No. I’m not trying to defend every single deed. But the Crusades in general were a defensive struggle against Islam.

Have Christians done evil things in the name of Christ? Yes! But to compare the brutality of ISIS to the Crusades is dishonest. As Saint Paul commanded us, let us continue to honor and pray for President (1 Tim 2:2), but I don’t agree with him on this…

Question: Do you think the President of the United States made an unfair comparison? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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  • John

    Yes The President did make a big mistakes comparing the Crusaders (Catholics) or Christians to Isis. Ottoman killed for joy and dominating Crusaders were freeing the people and the lands from evil army. Did he forgot that the Ottoman start the invasions to the Christians territories and killed millions of Christians in middle east and part of Europe Spain then how they crucified the Armenians Christians on the cross. The Christians were treated like dogs suffered from hunger took all their belonging. The Crusaders defends all humans at that period of time. Wake up people we are living in the time of evil. Now he is worry that we will look like the crusaders if we help to put a stop for Isis but let Isis kill and destroy every things. That absurd.

    • Kuni Leml

      The Crusaders defends all humans at that period of time?

      Could you point out how many Cathars were being defended during the Albigensian Crusade?

  • Payson F

    Bad pResident, bad times, evil called good, good called evil, culture of death riding high, globalization, corporations are people, big agriculture, GMO’s, big oil, big pharma, military industrial complex, etc.,. We definitely live in unsettled times. Read “the fourth turning”. It tries to explain societal cycles, and says we are headed towards a cross roads. Too bad our pResident isn’t a leader. College teachers don’t make good leaders – that’s why they teach college. But, in truth the problem is way bigger than a politician, whether he is democrat or republican. It’s a sin problem, and we know who has all the answers – our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I feel better now

    • Darsow44

      You forgot to mention the reptilians, the Illuminati and the people who faked the moon landing.

  • Andrew

    I take a dim view of writers who are overly selective in quoting their sources. In your first quote above, you misquoted the president, who clearly said “we are summoned to push back against those who try to distort our religion — any religion — for their own nihilistic ends”. For some reason, you chose to leave out the “any religion” clarification.

    Furthermore, anyone who thinks “medieval” describes the crusades in only temporal terms is sugar-coating history. Massacres and atrocities were rife on both sides. The crusaders were hardly the saints portrayed in most mythology of the time. The president also did not mention the crusades by themselves but I notice you left out any reference to the inquisition (and all the other pogroms throughout history that would have sufficed). You cannot doubt the veracity of the atrocity of the inquisition, even if you do hold reservations about the crusades (But, let’s face it, the crusades were little more than a policy of expansionism and largely a wealth-grab, not the “christian” act of charity that you seem to think it was). The poor populations of the middle east and the surrounding lands through which the crusaders traveled were squarely looted and pillaged, and populations of Jews were massacred also by the crusaders.

    So, let’s not whitewash history. The crusades were a horrible time and not a period of history to be proud of. The inquisition, well, if you can figure out how the massacre and torture of thousands of Jews is somehow different from what ISIS is doing then you’re obviously reading from an elementary school history textbook, or, in your words, just plain “dishonest.”

    • Joe Scaffidi

      Most crusaders were already wealthy and in fact they spent themselves into poverty by going on crusade. Many crusader knights were sent to the Middle East to protect Christians while they were traveling to and from the Holy Land. And, yes, Christians did horrible things during the crusades and the inquisition (though many who were to go on trial glady went to ecclesial courts because the royal courts were more more harsh) the Church acknowledges that these acts go against the faith. ISIS points to their faith to explain why they are committing these attrocities. Comparing ISIS to supposedly blood thirsty, money hungry crusaders in inaccurate and dishonest.

      • Kuni Leml

        How exactly were the Jews that the Crusaders murdered threatening Christian pilgrims?

        The Papists, at the time, admitted that their actions had nothing to do with their “faith”?

        Which Papists would that be?

        • Don’t you think it’s anachronistic and a little too glib to accuse Crusaders of “murdering” Jews? Few of the deaths that were inflictred in those times would pass muster according to modern legal codes. Pertty much everybody was murdering everybody. That doesn’t make the Crusaders morally benign. But it does suggest that they weren’t too terribly worse than their times. So singling them out for condemnation is not a balanced view. And “Papists”? Please. That’s just name-calling.

          • Kuni Leml

            Funny, I could have sworn that if a group of people showed up at a city in America and started murdering Jews that the “modern legal codes” would have an issue with that.

            I learn new things every day.

            Let’s hope that the regulars at Stromfront don’t figure that out, as you did.

    • Athelstane

      The Inquisitions (plural) sentenced fewer people to death (about 2,000, if we accept Kamen and Peters) over their entire history than Boko Haram killed directly in one weekend a couple weeks ago in one city in northern Nigeria. And most of those were Albigensians in the 13th century, who were not just threats to doctrine, but the civil order in southern France.

      While one can’t justify every sentence or every treatment handed out by Inquisitions, at almost any time they were preferably venue in which to be tried than any civil jurisdiction of the time. And if you were a non-Christian, they had no jurisdiction over you in the first place – again, unlike the victims of ISIS and Boko Haram and the Taliban. The pogroms and massacres of Jews you allude to were spontaneous, or undertaken by civil powers, frequently condemned by the Church – indeed, St. Bernard of Clairvaux risked his life to stop one.

      But let’s not be pedantic, for all love. There’s a fundamental difference between Christian self-understanding of the relationship of faith and use of force than obtains in Islam, and this goes back to the sources of revelation each rests upon, and the process by which they emerged. Islam employed conquest from the outset, including from its founder. Christianity was founded on the voluntary sacrifice of Christ, and spread purely by evangelical efforts for its first three centuries, under sporadic persecution. And whatever the history of past centuries, fanatical religious inspired violence in the modern world – the one we live in, now – is a mostly Islamic phenomenon, not a Christian one.

      • The Fish

        What about Lord’s Resistance Army?

        • Athelstane

          I guess that depends on how Christian you think the LRA is.

          I would contend that their Christianity is a lot more tenuous than ISIS’s Islam is.

      • Kuni Leml

        Oh, so destroying pagan shrines & temples and assaulting, even murdering, pagan leaders is not conquering.

        The second Christian to be a secular ruler ordered the closing of all pagan temples (the first Christian to be a secular ruler merely destroyed and stole from said temples) and forbade Pagan sacrifices under pain of death.

        Using your rules, Islam is also not guilty of conquering.

        Nevertheless, the last time anyone checked, expelling the ancient Jewish community from Alexandria was conquering.

        It also appears that you are trying to claim that those claiming to be Christian have put evil aside. That must explain why African children are being denounced as “Witches” By Christian pastors – His family pastor had accused him of being a witch, and his father then tried to force acid down his throat as an exorcism. . .

        around 15,000 children have been accused in two of Nigeria’s 36 states over the past decade and around 1,000 have been murdered. In the past month alone, three Nigerian children accused of witchcraft were killed and another three were set on fire.

    • Phoenix_Lion

      Thousands of Jews were killed during the inquisitions? Now you just exposed your lack of knowledge of truth. You obviously have been taught by revisionists with a hatred towards Catholics and religion in general.

    • CptJohn

      Talk about listening to the anti-Christian rantings and writings of few authors carried forward by others of the same ilk!!! Read “Seven Lies About Catholic History” by Diane Moczar and you’ll see yourself ascribing to them all. The book not only debunks what you claim, but gives a huge set of resources to support the author’s research.

  • Tom in SJ

    I’m a bit biased, being a descendant of Charles Martel and King Fulk of Jerusalem, but President Obama should stick to community organizing in Chicago. May God save the United States of America, from itself. Amen.

    • Kuni Leml

      God saved America from itself back in 2008 by electing Obama who turned an economy headed for the abyss (and the barter system) around.

      Even with Trickle Down/Supply Side economics murdering America’s middle class by beheading both a) the high marginal tax rate and b) the inheritance tax. Both of which Adam Smith, the father of Capitalism, clearly states needs to be higher on those who have bribed politicians in order to game the system to redistribute most, if not now all, of the wealth created upwards to themselves. Obama managed to avoid America finally reaping what it sowed 30 years ago when America turned from God and embraced evil by choosing Modern Feudalism over Capitalism and the benefits and freedoms that a 90% top marginal tax rate (with an effective rate somewhere near the mid-70’s) bestows on a nation.

      God helps those, who help themselves by implementing what is now mistakenly called Socialism.

      • Tom in SJ

        I appreciate your dissertation on economics, but I think you missed the stated topic of discussion.

        • Kuni Leml

          You should tell that to the person who spit in God’s face when it comes to his Commandment to not bear false witness, when he failed to acknowledge that God saved America from itself back in 2008 by electing Obama who turned an economy headed for the abyss (and the barter system) around.

          You are telling the person who responded and not the person who made the original post, why exactly? You don’t own a mirror?

  • Athelstane

    I’m not a “truther” about President Obama being a Muslim, but this is an odd choice of words.

    Even allowing for Andrew’s point below – that there was a clause inserted of “any religion” – one cannot help the suspicion that Obama is, deep down, sympathetic to a vague universalist deism. The monotheistic religions are all more or less the same to him, to the extent that he has any flicker of spiritual life at all.

    It is also true that some of the Founding Fathers were Deists of some flavor. But one cannot imagine any of them taking this tack in reaction to such atrocities, save possibly Thomas Jefferson on a bad day or (if you count him), Tom Paine.

    I find it striking but not surprising that the only examples of Christian violence cited were apparent Catholic ones. Perhaps because it’s still a going concern in a way that, say, the New England Puritans, Cromwell’s Fifth Monarchists and Calvin’s Geneva simply are not, not even as allegorical phantoms like they were for Arthur Miller as recently as the 50’s.

    • Lowkey

      You say vague universalist deism like it is a bad thing, surely the separation of church and state (especially a ‘one religion is the true religion’ state) is a good thing?! Looking at the Middle East I would say that theocracies are proving to be a little problematic.

      • Athelstane

        Well, it *is* a bad thing, in that it is untrue. (Obviously the Founding Fathers in question had other virtues to offset their error in this record.)

        But I wasn’t really making a judgment, only a description of what I suspect the president’s real views may be.

  • R

    Even the slightest comparison between the defensive actions of Christian Cusaders to the pure evil of ISIS terrorists who show little respect for their own women while ruthlessly killing others who don’t follow their religion is abhorrent! Obama is either completely delusional or intentionally attempting to neutralize the gravity of radical Islam while attacking Christianity. This is clearly a ploy to further divide our nation! God help us!

    • Kuni Leml

      That must explain why the Albigensian Crusade, were the Cathars, who were called “The Church of Satan” by the Papists, were massacred: Obama used his time machine to go back even further than his recent visits in time, and whispered “Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius.” (Kill them all, the Lord will recognize his own.) into the ear of Arnaud-Amaury, the Cistercian abbot-commander, so that Obama could use the Crusades as an example.

      P.S. The heretics who call themselves Christians do not treat women here with respect. I don’t know what monkey god, said heretics, who want to force Sharia Law on America, worship, but every Jew and Christian knows that God permits and condones abortions.

      Numbers 5 documents a Bronze Age abortion, where a woman is given a potion to induce a miscarriage if her husband thinks that the fetus is not his.

      The difference between these heretics and ISIL? Nothing, both have crossed a line that determines who is good and who is evil. Scale/distance over the line does not matter.

  • Lu

    The biggest issue that should be taken is not just that he compared to the Crusades and the Inquisitions, but that he had to go back to the 11th-14th centuries to compare the acts being committed in the 21st

  • Romeo

    Obama’s remarks show only two things: ignorance and repulsion for the Catholic religion. Poor guy. He cannot hide either.

  • A.B.

    Well said! Not many people know this in popular culture but the Byzantine Empire had control of the Holy Land before it was conquered by Muslims. I think the Sassanid Persians had it after the Byzantines too, but I could be wrong. So the Crusaders really just took back what was previously Christian land since the 1st century. But then that brings up the problem of why the crusader kingdoms didn’t give the land to the Greeks. Weren’t most of those kingdoms ruled by Western Europe?

    • Lowkey

      Was there really any ‘Christian land’ in the first century?

      • Guest

        Whoops, sorry about that. You’re right. Palestine/Israel was mostly Jewish at the time because the destruction of the temple happened in 70 AD. I should know basic stuff like this in history. So let me rephrase this–the Holy Land belonged to the Roman Empire, which in the east became the Byzantine Empire, since the 1st century.

        Also, I think I found the answer to my own question. I remember reading that Pope Urban II specified that any land gained by the Crusaders should be given to the Greeks.

        But then again, the land should have been Israel’s because they had
        their own state before they were conquered by the Greeks first, then the
        Romans. So shouldn’t the Greeks have given Israel independence? Or did everyone at the time think that the Jews lost the Kingdom due to the destruction of the Jewish temple, which they thought was divine punishment? What was the right thing to do? Either way, the Crusades should have been fought.

      • A.B.

        Whoops, sorry about that. You’re right. Palestine/Israel was mostly
        Jewish at the time because the destruction of the temple happened in 70
        AD. By that time the 1st century was almost over. I should know basic stuff like this in history. So let me rephrase
        this–the Holy Land belonged to the Roman Empire, which in the east
        became the Byzantine Empire, since the 1st century.

        Also, I think I
        found the answer to my own question. I remember reading that Pope Urban
        II specified that any land gained by the Crusaders should be given to
        the Greeks.

        But then again, the land should have been Israel’s because they had
        their own state before they were conquered by the Greeks first, then the

        Romans. So shouldn’t the Greeks have given Israel independence? Or did
        everyone at the time think that the Jews lost the Kingdom due to the
        destruction of the Jewish temple, which they thought was divine
        punishment? What was the right thing to do? Either way, the Crusades
        should have been fought.

        • Kuni Leml

          Hebrews did not control “Israel” for any significant period of time.

          The West just felt guilty after the public found out what happened to all those Jews trying to escape Europe that we refused refuge to. So we created the State of Israel for them.

      • Athelstane

        Not in the first century. By the third century there were Christian dominated areas of significant size in the Eastern Mediterranean.By the end of the 4th, we can probably speak reasonably of most of the Eastern Mediterranean basin being Christian dominant, along with parts of Italy, the Rhone Valley, and Punic North Africa.

  • out of respect

    The author is an idiot and clearly does not do his research! Probably believes that our president is an illegal immigrant too! Next time get the facts straight and do not spread false information that was clearly meant to stir more hatred towards our president.

    • Foster

      Forgive me sir, but you have not made your case. What research is necessary in order to analyze the published comments of the President of the United States? What evidence from his comments leads you to believe that it is probable Dr. Taylor Marshall believes President Obama to be an illegal immigrant? What false information has Dr. Marshall spread? Not merely rhetorical, I am really asking you the question. In my own view, it is the President who has stirred Catholic prejudice and unreasoned hatred through his own comments, not Dr. Marshall, and those comments in turn have stirred not hatred but revulsion in these circles.

  • miguel

    he is a muslim”’

  • Patrick

    Obama was correct in comparing ISIS to those who killed others if they did not submit to their way of believing. There has been a lot of that in history. As far as the crusades or the inquisition, one can do their own research. It is documented that the Catholic church murdered hundreds of thousands for not submitting to their religious beliefs. Look it up. The Catholic church used various acts of torture that pale in comparison to ISIS. That still doesn’t excuse what is going on now, with the deeds of ISIS which should have already been dealt with in a swift and exemplary manner.

    • knetzkee

      You say there is documented evidence that the Catholic Church murdered hundreds of thousands but where is your proof? Saying “look it up” is too convenient. In the same vain I can just say: that’s nonsense and ignorant, look it up!

      • Athelstane

        Somebody’s been watching too much Lawrence O’Donnell.

    • Athelstane

      It is documented that the Catholic church murdered hundreds of thousands for not submitting to their religious beliefs. Look it up.

      I have. You’re wrong.

      If you have evidence, it’s your obligation to provide it.

    • Ray Hill

      Let me ask you this – if it is true that the church is comprised of sinners (which it is, by the way – I’m one of them), could it also be true that there were folks throughout the ages (lay people, priests, nuns, Bishops, even Popes) that may not have been true to the Gospel? Of course it’s true. Some of them probably did some really bad (I mean, REALLY bad, things). I hope you would chastise such characters, denounce such acts, and remind mankind the authentic way to live the Gospel – that’s what true Catholicism is all about. But always remember one thing: The Church herself (the Bride of Christ) is unblemished, even if people “get in the way” and do things contrary to the Gospel message. So, to make a claim that “the Catholic church murdered hundreds of thousands for not submitting to their religious beliefs” is inaccurate. It wasn’t the Church’s position. Perhaps people acted in the name of the Church, etc. I’d be curious to see the “documentation” you may have found. I’ve been around 46 years and have yet to see that smoking gun. Nonetheless, errors of others can never, I mean, NEVER be an excuse to quit striving for personal sanctity. Is Patrick striving for sainthood? I sure hope so. I hope everyone reading this is. We think sainthood for us is impossible and reserved for what we believe are “God’s chosen ones”, but that’s the devil telling us that. I have a feeling when all is said and done within each of our own lives and we stand before the Good Lord, it’ll dawn on us on how easy it could’ve been to reach that sanctity we are called to.

      Now, having said all this, I can’t help but think that Obama is really trying to minimize/reduce our Judeo/Christian heritage. And I don’t feel that way because of what others are saying, I feel that way because of what Obama is saying.

  • truly

    Why is no one commenting on what else He said? It is important too. He said, ,”First, we should start with some basic humility. I believe that the starting point of faith is some doubt — not being so full of yourself and so confident that you are right and that God speaks only to us, and doesn’t speak to others, that God only cares about us and doesn’t care about others, that somehow we alone are in possession of the truth.” We can only be holy if we doubt our faith and hold it up as equal to others. Not whispers in the ear but talking about humility and tying it with doubt to make the rest seem resasonable. Except he is preaching to the choir about one when he should be taking that to his mosque and at the same time he is elling us to doubt our faith and be less firm in our resolve to take back our nation and insist Christianity stay as its foundation. He is so adept that no one picks up on the underlying concepts he pushes and supports which is not the Golden Rule and has never been for him.

    • Edward Power

      I suppose these monsters called Isis would just stand and listen to him? and applaud him? they’d more likely behead him., though, wouldn’t they? Ans another point, which seems to have been overlooked: ISIS has killed thousands of muslims in their evil rampage.

  • K

    Dr. Marshall did not have to add the “any religion” clause. Here is why: the phrase “our religion” is clearly and directly connected to the preceding reference to Islam, and the following “any religion” was a modification to that; that is, it is like saying, “Catholics should not murder, no one should.” The first part of Obama’s phrase links him to Islam, the second is a further clarification aimed at any religion. I don’t see how it could be more clear. Obama was clear. Dr. Marshall was clear. One has to quote in context, to be sure–but leaving out Obama’s modification is fine, since that phrase does not change anything of what Obama clearly said, Now, whether that was an accident on the part of Obama to reveal this is another question. But he did. Either way though, we need to pray for him.

  • Scott

    It appears that the President is using the ad hominem argumentation diversion here…. Well, let’s not be too harsh on them, cause we’ve been pretty bad ourselves you know…

  • Don

    typical liberal logic. The islamic forces have been raping and pillaging much of the mediterranean, North Africa and Europe- and when it got to the Byzantine- they asked for help and the Pope did. That is the reason of the Crusades. Good grief Mr. President. Read a book.

  • DJ

    Obama is totally ignorant of history comparing Isis to the Crusades. Islamic Jihad has been ongoing for 1400 hundred years filled with terror, murder, rape, pilege, slavery, imprisonment, and slaughter.
    The crusades were primarily Christians fighting to protect other Christians in and traveling to the Holy Land.

  • Bill

    The crusades were also a response to the invasion of southern France by a 130,000 strong Muslim army from Spain and if it weren’t for an insightful French king nicknamed “bone crusher” all Europeans would be bowing to Mecca now

  • gramma

    For sure that is uncalled for as the crusaders were not the agressers. isis is busy cleansing lands they want for themselves of all its inhabitants. hardly even remotely comparable.

  • Roberto Agostini

    President Obama is right. The Crusader went to Palestine killing, raping and looting
    The Spanish inquisition was burning non Christians alive. The Spanish
    Conquistadores destroyed Latin American natives, stole their lands and killed the
    rebels that wanted to defend their ancestral land. The Christians did the same
    with the Removal Act of 1830y alias called ” the American Indians, Colonization. Genocide in America”. One famous event w the Trail of Tears where thousands perished- including pregnant women, children and older Indians.
    In order to stop ISIS is to have a string leader that he is more interested to eliminate terrorism than political power

  • John

    Obama did exactly what he wanted to accomplish. He wanted to change the focus of the discussion from what horrible ungodly acts that are actually at this moment being perpetrated by Muslims to having Christians defending themselves for nonconsequential acts from a thousand years ago. He intended for Christians to fight and argue among themselves and to open the door to further attacks on Christians through this dialogue. Obama is the great divider he is an accuser of the brethren , as is satan. How many times will we fall for this? Don’t be naieve Obama has an agenda, and its not in line with God’s good purpose.

  • Professor91

    Yes, he demonstrates his utter contempt for Christianity and total ignorance of history and a knowledge of religion. He is an idealog with no respect for the facts. This current inhabitant of the White House is dangerous.

  • Leo

    yes this is 2015 lets live today as everyone believes in their belief and let everyone alone like America does let them keep to themselves but why are they trying to convert people by beheading everyone ?

  • Jatin

    He definitely is mistaken & showing his ignorance. If you go to some of the territories the ottomans captured like Northern Cyprus, you will see every single medieval church & cathedral still standing, BUT converted to mosques after the ottomans invaded these originally Christian lands. The entire Byzantine Christian Empire was either forcefully converted or wiped out by the followers of this new religion. Strange to see gothic style cathedrals with the Muslim call to prayer issuing out of minarets that have been added on, but that’s exactly what you’ll see in Northern Cyprus. Proof that the medieval ottomans really did try to wipe out Christianity in the region as ISIS is trying now. When we see the medieval acts of brutality being meted out against Christians today by ISIS, it is exactly what the ottomans did in the Middle Ages. THAT is what spurred the Crusades, an attempt to defend Christian lands & people from the “Saracen” invaders. Yet it seems history (& politicians) only remember the Christian misdeeds in those dark days, totally glossing over the many Muslim atrocities & portraying them as the victims of European aggression!

  • Rusty

    I think his comment was inappropriate for the setting. As far as history goes, I think it is bias. Historians are hired by the powers that be, and therefore reflect the righteousness of that power. So who is right? We have learned little from history, because we continue to make the same mistakes. It is my belief that greed for power , money, and land is what motivates many of these injustices. We cannot expect other nations to respect religious difference as our great nations does, however, we should not allow evil to terrorize us and the rest of the world. How to peaceable attaine this Is something we as a nation should be working on, yet at this time our nation seems very divided.m