CHARLOTTE, February 4, 2014 – With all the talk about whether the name of the Washington Redskins is politically incorrect, it is no surprise that a Christian college in Wisconsin decided to drop its nickname to reflect “a more global society.” Maranatha Baptist University will no longer be known as the “Crusaders” after using that nickname for half a century.
In many Muslim circles the word “crusade” indicates a major cultural slur against Islam. It represents a similar significance as the Confederate flag or the name Washington Redskins.
Famed evangelist Billy Graham referred to his global tours as “The Crusade for Chirst.” Batman was known as “the caped crusader.” There was even a cartoon character years ago known as Crusader Rabbit. Given the sensitivity these days toward political correctness, none of those terms would be acceptable today.
Maranatha changed its official name from “college” to “university” in December and according to Matt Davis, the university’s executive vice president, the nickname issue coincides with that change though no complaints were received by the school about being called the “Crusaders.”
Davis went on to say:
“Times change and we understand that context changes. Our world has changed since 9/11 and we’ve become a more global society with the Internet. The heartbeat behind this was not political correctness, but expanded opportunities for our students.”
Given those changing times, perhaps it is worthwhile to re-examine the truth about the Crusades in the context of history. Robert Spencer of “Jihad Watch” makes a strong argument for the all-too-frequent misunderstandings about the Crusades when he writes, “by mentioning the Crusades, the hope of the Islamic apologist is to draw attention away from Islamic violence and paint religions in general as morally equivalent.”
Which basically means that Matt Davis can say the name change at Maranatha is not political correctness, but that is precisely what it is.
As Spencer points out, Westerners either forget or are largely unaware that “In both the Western academia and media as well as in the Islamic world, the Crusades are viewed as wars of aggression fought by bloody-minded Christians against peaceful Muslims. While the Crusades were certainly bloody, they are more accurately understood as a belated Western response to centuries of jihad than as an unprovoked, unilateral attack.”
Note that Spencer admits that battles were bloody and violent on both sides. What he does not succumb to is the idea that the Crusades were Christian acts of aggression, which is where most of the discrepancies lie.
Spencer continues by saying, “the Roman Pope, Urban II, issued a call in 1095 for Western Christians to come to the aid of their Eastern cousins (and seems to have harbored the hope of claiming Jerusalem for the Papacy after the Great Schism with Eastern Christianity in 1054). It is worth noting that the most ardent Crusaders, the Franks, were exactly those who had faced jihad for centuries along the Franco-Spanish border and knew better than most the horrors to which Muslims subjected Christians. Conquering territory for God in the mode of jihad was an alien idea to Christianity and it should not be surprising that it eventually died out in the West and never gained ascendancy in the East.”
Just so there can be no mistake about the overall impact of the Crusades in the annals of history, watch this animated map and notice how small they were in comparison to other events in that part of the world, including Islamic expansion.
Much as we need to do today, the Crusades can be viewed as an attempt by the West to forestall its own destruction at the hands of Islamic jihad by carrying the fight to the enemy. It worked for a while.
“Significantly, while the West has for some time now lamented the Crusades as mistaken, there has never been any mention from any serious Islamic authority of regret for the centuries and centuries of jihad and dhimmitude perpetrated against other societies. But this is hardly surprising: while religious violence contradicts the fundaments of Christianity, religious violence is written into Islam’s DNA,” says Spencer
In essence, the Crusades were, in reality, nothing more than a blip on the radar of a fourteen hundred year legacy of Islamic jihad, war and terror. Islamists know that all too well, but it is so easy to lay blame and guilt upon gullible ears that is has simply become another ploy in the standard operating procedures playbook of Islamic misrepresentation.
And in the process, MaranathaUniversity changed its nickname to reflect the times and “a more global society” while CAIR says “Thank you” and continues to undermine American freedoms and liberties.
Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe. Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com).
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