President Barack Obama's remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast on Feb. 5, in which he seems to blame modern Christians for events occurring under Byzantine Emperor Alexius Comnenus, without ever mentioning the present-day beheading of children and ethnic cleansing by Islamic terrorists in Iraq, seem particularly disingenuous.
Christopher Marsh, a faculty member at Baylor University, was quoted in a recent article by Diane Weber Baderman as saying, "Under communism, an attempt was made to wipe out all believers, which led to multi-million deaths of Jews and Christians."
It wasn't only Christians and Jews who suffered under communism. In the former USSR, homosexuals were rounded up in mass arrests and transported to labor camps, exiled, even executed. In Cuba, gays were exiled to labor camps and held without trial. China simply denied the existence of gays — the thousands in state-run labor camps notwithstanding.
Although atheists routinely attack religion as a cause of evil — including nearly all wars — according to Baderman's research, only 7 percent of the world's conflicts were actually steeped in religious differences. The consensus among historians is that an estimated 20,000,000 were murdered by the regime of Joseph Stalin.
While some of America's church leaders undoubtedly gave slavery their tacit approval by turning a "blind eye" to the "peculiar institution," it is important to note that no Christian denomination actually sanctioned slavery. By far, the president's most egregious "sin of omission" is his failure to provide a balanced view of historical events. It was Wilbur Wilberforce, an evangelical Christian, who was instrumental in ending the slave trade in England in 1833. 131 years later, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference which, by that time, included Rev. Fred Shuttelsworth and Ralph Abernathy, helped speed passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
But, I wouldn't expect a president who has likened Campus Christian Crusade to the Ku Klux Klan to make such fine distinctions.
Edward C. Davenport, Drum Point