Obama teaches History 101 for Dummies

George Washington threw a beer bottle across the Potomac, ISIL burned a Jordanian pilot because they were upset about the Crusades, and Obama was crucified for our sins.

Staring history in the face / Official White House photo used under United States Government Works license.
Staring history in the face / Official White House photo used under United States Government Works license.

CHARLOTTE, N.C., February 9, 2015 — Barack Obama’s comments at the National Prayer Breakfast continued to generate discussion over the weekend.

Among the most negative assessments of the president’s remarks were those criticizing the lack of historical accuracy in his lectures to the American people in which he contrasts the evils of Christianity with the virtues of Islam.

A simpler example of Obama’s historical fantasy world happened prior to the Super Bowl. Most of the media didn’t report the error, but that was probably because the press did not catch it.

During an interview with NBC’s Savannah Guthrie, Obama explained that they make their own beer at the White House these days. According to Obama, he is the first president since George Washington to make beer in the White House. The only problem, of course, is that John Adams was the first occupant of the presidential residence in 1800, after Washington had left office.

It’s a small point, but revealing, much like Obama’s “sermon” to the American people about the Crusades and Christianity last week.

MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell criticized the president’s use of the word “crusade” in his remarks. Mitchell believes that given the current political climate, the word is dangerous. That might be true for some, but Islamists throw the word “crusade” around with impunity. It is part of their strategy, and Obama has never been shy about his criticisms of Christianity or his defense of Islam.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal responded to the president, “We will be happy to keep an eye out for runaway Christians, but it would be nice if he (Obama) would face the reality of the situation today. The medieval Christian threat is under control, Mr. President. Please deal with the radical Islamic threat today.”

On Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry rejected Jindal’s premise on Meet the Press, claiming that the “U.S. is on the road to defeating the Islamic State.”

Considering the video that surfaced last week of the Islamic State burning a Jordanian pilot alive, those remarks seem disconnected from reality. Kerry may be getting his rosy talking points from other places, but there were dire warnings from Washington that the ISIL network is spreading rather than diminishing.

Why let the facts interfere with a good story?

As reported in the New York Times, a White House aide explained that the president was intentionally provocative with his remarks at the prayer breakfast because he wanted to put the Crusades and the barbarism of the Islamic State into perspective.

That Obama might be “provocative” has never been in doubt. He thrives on the controversies his “provocative” comments stir up. What is in doubt is his historical accuracy, as with his off-the-cuff remark about George Washington.

In an article for Breitbart News, Ben Shapiro wrote that Obama “is historically and philosophically illiterate. Historically speaking the Crusades were a response to Islamic aggression in Europe and the Middle East.”

Shapiro’s analysis has been oft repeated by historians, but none of that matters to Prof. Obama.

Quoting Jonah Goldberg, Shapiro notes that “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.”

Agree or disagree with the shades of gray in that statement, there can be no argument that Islamic jihad is based on violence that benefits no one except the true believers of Islam.

As a matter of factual record, writes Shapiro, “Obama has a history of insulting Christianity and Judaism while upholding Islam.” He adds, “The Obama administration has routinely attacked religious organizations and people who violate Obama’s personal political predilections. The Obama administration clearly isn’t fond of Christianity.

“This contrasts strongly with President Obama’s romantic vision of Islam. He famously called the Muslim call to prayer ‘the sweetest sound I know.’”

Discussing another page from the White House playbook, Shapiro cites a remark by Obama that, “I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.”

Winston Churchill once said, “History will be kind to me for I will write it.” Obama hopes to do the same.

Take your pick and then consider the words of Woody Allen, “More than any time in history mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness, the other to total extinction. Let us pray that we have the wisdom to choose correctly.”


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)

Read more of What in the World and Bob Taylor at Communities Digital News. Follow Bob on Twitter @MrPeabod


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