There is an up-roar in America because President Obama was telling the truth at the National Prayer Breakfast. Somewhere in the American mind we only want to hear the good things that happened in our history. But our president was historically correct when he acknowledged during the Crusades that people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.
“Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history. 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 were justified in the name of Christ,” says President Obama in his speech at the Prayer Breakfast.
It is time for Republicans, Democrats and Conservatives to acknowledge that slavery was an inhumane institution that was morally and politically wrong and justified by the Christian church. This year, America will celebrate 150 years that African Americans have been free from slavery, but the majority of Americans will try to sweep this knowledge under the rug.
Most Americans refuse to have a discussion about this period in our history, and have tried to block out racism and discrimination as if they never existed. By blocking out the reality of slavery, old wealthy American families never have to explain how they became so rich.
Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, a Republican, said this: “The president’s comments this morning at the prayer breakfast are the most offensive I’ve ever heard a president make in my lifetime.” Russell Moore, president of the southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission said Obama’s remarks about Christianity were an unfortunate attempt at wrongheaded moral comparisons.”
It is easy to run from the truth because most Americans are hypocrites. They’d rather take the easy way out and accept a fabrication of facts. There are very few fact checkers and information is generally accepted if the person is considered an authority.
In our information world, no one knows who to trust or who to believe. The conservatives will continue to believe that the president is divisive, and America will be a better place if we turned back the hands of the clock. But when America goes backward, overt racism and discrimination was prevalent, and Black people were lynched.
This is obviously the wrong way to go and America must move forward and accept the evil, unfair systems that were created as a result of slavery and Jim Crow laws. It is easy to run from the truth, but in a democracy the goal is to work toward “a more perfect union.”
“And certainly for me, this is always a chance to reflect on my own faith journey. Many times, as President, I’ve been reminded of a line of a prayer that Eleanor Roosevelt was fond of. She said, “Keep us at tasks too hard for us that we may be driven to Thee for strength.” I’ve wondered at times if maybe God was answering that prayer a little too literally,” says the president.
It is easy to have all the answers when you are on the sidelines and giving your advice. But the president is never on the sidelines because he is the quarterback and he is calling all the plays with help from his assistant coaches.
Americans may not like the raw truth, but we all must be reminded of the historical atrocities of the Christian history and American history. These stories are never easy to tell, but our leaders must correct the problems of the past so our children can live in a more ethical, moral and fair world.
Roger Caldwell, a community activist, author, journalist, radio host and CEO of On Point Media Group, lives in Orlando. His book, The Inspiring Journey of a Stroke Survivor, details the story of his recovery from a massive stroke. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.