Okay, it all started when the President made a seemingly pretty darn innocuous statement about people using their religion to justify despicable behavior. First he talked about Al Qeda and ISIS/ISIL. Then he said this:
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…
Which is pretty generous considering he could have used much more recent examples of faith-based murder, like the killing of Dr. Tiller, or the bombing spree of Eric Rudolph, or the Phineas Priesthood, etc. Of course, this led to a ton of faux-outrage on the right, with high dudgeon for everyone, and all the umbrage you can take!
That was, of course, to be expected. But I know I, for one, never expected anyone to defend the Spanish Inquisition or the Crusades. Not in 2015!
Boy was I in for a surprise!
You see, I hadn't counted on . . . (Dramatic music). . . Jonah Goldberg!!!
It seems you have underestimated me again, Professor! Bwuhahahahahaha!!!
He begins his little column sanely enough, talking about ISIS's disgusting videos and President Obama's comments on the subject. He even goes so far as to admit:
Obama’s right. Terrible things have been done in the name of Christianity. I have yet to meet a Christian who denies this.
The first two words of that paragraph are probably enough to get him fired from National Review Online.
But then he redeems himself, and by "redeems himself" I of course mean "goes completely off the rails and drives the train into bullshit canyon."
But, as odd as it may sound for a guy named Goldberg to point it out, the Inquisition and the Crusades aren’t the indictments Obama thinks they are. For starters, the Crusades — despite their terrible organized cruelties — were a defensive war.
Wow. Why do guys like Goldberg think they can just make up their own facts? A defensive war? I'm sorry, were you under the impression that the Turks had invaded Vatican City? Because, sure, then it would have been a defensive war. But when you have to travel 1,400 miles in order to engage the enemy, it's pretty hard to claim that you're playing defense!
“The Crusades could more accurately be described as a limited, belated and, in the last analysis, ineffectual response to the jihad — a failed attempt to recover by a Christian holy war what had been lost to a Muslim holy war,” writes Bernard Lewis, the greatest living English-language historian of Islam.
Sure, and had the Crusades been fought by the residents of the Holy Lands against the Muslim invaders, you might have a point. But seeing as how they were fought by European Christians, not Palestinian Jews or Arabs, I really don't see how you can call this "defensive."
As for the Inquisition, it needs to be clarified that there was no single “Inquisition,” but many. And most were not particularly nefarious. For centuries, whenever the Catholic Church launched an inquiry or investigation, it mounted an “inquisition,” which means pretty much the same thing.
Okay, let's assume that that is true. I don't know whether it is, but I've been out of school for awhile so no one can make me do research anymore, so I'll just assume that the term "Inquisition" was also used to refer to any type of inquiry or investigation. So what? You know perfectly well what people are referring to when they mention the Spanish Inquisition. They mean the one with the torture and the killing. It's like when an American says "football," you know perfectly well he mean the sport with the touchdowns and the field goals and the life-threatening cranial injuries, not the one with the kicking and the nets and the non-use of hands. And you can say "you know, erm, in the rest of the world, erm, when they say "football" they mean what we call, ahem, 'soccer.'" but that just makes you this guy:
And no one likes this guy.
I cannot defend everything done under the various Inquisitions — especially in Spain — because some of it was indefensible.
Also, I cannot justify everything that Charles Manson has done, but. . .
I cannot defend everything done under the various Inquisitions — especially in Spain — because some of it was indefensible. But there’s a very important point to make here that transcends the scoring of easy, albeit deserved, points against Obama’s approach to Islamic extremism (which he will not call Islamic): Christianity, even in its most terrible days, even under the most corrupt popes, even during the most unjustifiable wars, was indisputably a force for the improvement of man.
I think Galileo might disagree.
It's just possible that doing everything in their power to prevent science from happening might not have really contributed to all that much "betterment."
Also, I'm guessing the women burned as witches might have some comment on that. As would the Aztecs, The Mayans, and other native American groups decimated by Spanish "missionaries" who believed in conversion through enslavement.
Pretty sure this guy would beg to differ:
Look, I know that if Obama is fer it, you're legally required to be agin' it and if Obama is agin' it, you are contractually bound to be fer it, but Jeezus Christ, the Inquisition? The Crusades? A more clever person than I once said that if Obama came out in favor of oxygen, Republicans would all suffocate, and I'm starting to think that may not be that big an exaggeration. If you're going to defend these kinds of atrocities just because Obama said they were bad, I mean. . . I mean. . . what the hell, man?
Sure, this looks bad, but on the other hand, Obama condemns it, so. . .?
We are all descended from cavemen who broke the skulls of their enemies with rocks for fun or profit. But that hardly mitigates the crimes of a man who does the same thing today. I see no problem judging the behavior of the Islamic State and its apologists from the vantage point of the West’s high horse, because we’ve earned the right to sit in that saddle.
Okay, see - why not just say that? Why not just say that we in the West are at least no beheading people or burning them alive, so we have a moral superiority compared to ISIS? It's hard to argue that. Although, one might note that most non-Westerners, most Muslims are also not beheading or burning people, so let's not act like our superioroty extends to all non-Westerners, but still. You can certainly make that point without going through the mental gymnsatics required to come up with a defense of the Spanish Inquisition!