Obama Tells Christians to Get Off 'High Horse'
Critics rail president's statements about slavery, Crusades at prayer breakfast
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 6, 2015 11:58 AM CST
President Barack Obama bows his head toward the Dalai Lama as he was recognized during the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(Newser) – It's not terribly surprising that President Obama brought up Jesus Christ during yesterday's National Prayer Breakfast in DC—but for some, it's an outrage how he brought up the son of God. During his speech, Obama recognized the challenges faced by the global community in dealing with religious fanaticism. "No god condones terror," he said, as per the AP, calling out those who "hijack religion for their own murderous ends." To make his point that this phenomenon happens across all religions, he then continued, "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. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ."

Obama's statements were in line with how he's previously addressed the "exceptionalism" perception—that our nation is somehow markedly more "special" than others—as well as with his efforts to address concerns from a variety of groups: Yesterday, for example, he held his first-ever roundtable with Muslim-only leaders, the Washington Post notes. Still, critics didn't take kindly to his lecture. "The president's comments … at the prayer breakfast are the most offensive I've ever heard a president make in my lifetime," former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore tells the Post. "He has offended every believing Christian in the United States." Russell Moore, president of a Southern Baptist commission, adds Obama's comments were "an unfortunate attempt at a wrongheaded moral comparison," calling instead for a "clear strategy for defeating ISIS." (The harsher your life, the more likely you believe in a powerful god.)