President Barack Obama stirred outrage with his speech at the National Prayer Breakfast Thursday, comparing the atrocities committed by ISIS to those of Christians "in the name of Christ."
"Unless we get on our high horse and think that this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ," Obama said. "In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ."
"So it is not unique to one group or one religion," Obama said. "There is a tendency in us, a simple tendency that can pervert and distort our faith."
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The comments drew swift reaction.
Appearing on "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV
, conservative commentator Pat Buchanan fumed
at Obama comparing the extreme barbarity of ISIS to the Crusades.
"He's trying to give them all equivalence to what happened in the 11th century to what's happening today? It's astonishing," Buchanan said.
"The whole idea of the Inquisition in Spain – I mean these things are hundreds of years ago. That was a 30-year war long, long ago.
"I can't think of any atrocities that have really been committed in the name of Christ … There's no justification anywhere in all the books of the New Testament for any kind of violence on the scale of what we just saw with that Jordanian pilot."
Buchanan said Obama has a "real problem with the cold hard truth and reality of our times" regarding terrorism.
"There is an element in the Islamic community worldwide, which has awakened and is embarked on a global crusade of its own to conquer western countries," Buchanan said.
"But first [they want to conquer] Arab and Muslim countries and to impose upon them a Sharia law to expel the Christians, Jews, and the nonbelievers if they're Shiite and not part of what they consider the mainstream.
"They're using all manner of violence in order to achieve this, from Boko Haram to ISIS to Ansar al-Sharia and to al-Qaida. Can the president not see the reality of his own time that he's got to retreat centuries to find what he thinks might be a moral equivalence?"
Buchanan also objected to Obama's reference to racial segregation laws during the Jim Crow era during the same speech.
"To call it Jim Crow, which was a form of segregation of racists; to say that was rooted in Christianity, it seems to be an absurdity and injustice," he said.
Former U.S. Rep. Allen West said
: "President Obama is the gift that keeps on giving,' "The Islamapologist-in-Chief attempted to find moral equivalency between the brutality of ISIS and Christianity."
And in a statement on his website
, Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, said "the president should apologize for his insulting comparison."
Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, a Republican, said Obama's remarks were "the most offensive I’ve ever heard a President make in my lifetime."
Gilmore said it illustrated that "Obama does not believe in America or the values we all share. There is no moral equivalency for the horrific behavior of terrorists whose atrocities are shocking and reprehensible"
Reaction also poured in on Twitter.
The president said that while religion is a source of good around the world, people of all faiths have been willing to "hijack religion for their own murderous ends."
Obama called for all people of faiths to show humility about their beliefs and reject the idea that "God speaks only to us and doesn't speak to others."
"No god condones terror," he said.
"We are summoned to push back against those who would distort our religion for their nihilistic ends," Obama said at the National Prayer Breakfast.
He singled out the ISIS, calling the militants a "death cult," as well as those responsible for last month's attacks in Paris and deadly assault on a school in Pakistan.
Obama offered a special welcome to a "good friend," the Dalai Lama, seated at a table in front of the dais among the audience of 3,600. Earlier Obama, from the head table, pressed his hands together in a prayer-like position and bowed his head toward the Dalai Lama, then gave him a wave and a broad smile.
It was the first time the president and the Tibetan Buddhist leader attended the same public event.
Jordan's King Abdullah II canceled plans to attend the breakfast after ISIS militants released a video this week showing a captured Jordanian pilot being burned to death.
In his place, Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., offered prayers for Jordan and read the New Testament parable of the Good Samaritan, who saved a stranger who had been beaten and left for dead.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.
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