In response to President Barack Obama drawing a parallel between the barbaric acts of the Islamic State today with actions by Christians during the Crusades, which ended 700 years ago, evangelist Franklin Graham said there was a difference between Jesus Christ who “taught peace “ and did “not take life” versus Mohammed, who “was a warrior and killed many innocent people.”
Reverend Graham further said that, “True followers of Christ emulate Christ – true followers of Mohammed emulate Mohammed.”
President Obama made his remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday in Washington, D.C. He referenced the Islamist attacks on a school in Pakistan and in Paris – without using the words radical Islam – and he described the Islamic State, or ISIL, as “a brutal vicious death cult that, in the name of religion, carries out unspeakable acts of barbarism.”
Obama shortly thereafter said, “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 was justified in the name of Christ.”
Franklin Graham, who heads the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA), said on his Facebook page shortly after the president’s remarks, “Today at the National Prayer Breakfast, the President implied that what ISIS is doing is equivalent to what happened over 1,000 years ago during the Crusades and the Inquisition."
“Mr. President--Many people in history have used the name of Jesus Christ to accomplish evil things for their own desires,” said Rev. Graham. “But Jesus taught peace, love and forgiveness. He came to give His life for the sins of mankind, not to take life.”
“Mohammad on the contrary was a warrior and killed many innocent people,” said Rev. Graham. “True followers of Christ emulate Christ—true followers of Mohammed emulate Mohammed.”
The Crusades, which occurred off and on from the 11th century to the 14th century, were the Christian attempt to push back Islamic expansion in the Middle East with the primary goal to make the holy places in and near Jerusalem accessible to Christians.
As Islamic expert Bernard Lewis reports, “The Crusade was a delayed response to the jihad, the holy war for Islam, and its purpose was to recover by war what had been lost by war—to free the holy places of Christendom and open them once again, without impediment, to Christian pilgrimage."
Further, Crusade scholar Thomas Madden at St. Louis University states that “all the Crusades met the criteria of just wars.”
As for the Inquisition, the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights reports that “the Catholic Church had almost nothing to do with it. The Church saw heretics as lost sheep who needed to be brought back into the fold. By contrast, secular authorities saw heresy as treason; anyone who questioned royal authority, or who challenged the idea that kingship was God-given, was guilty of a capital offense.”
“It was they—not the Church—who burned the heretics,” said Catholic League President Bill Donohue. “Indeed, secular authorities blasted the Church for its weak role in the Inquisition.”
One of the leading authorities on the Inquisition, Henry Kamen, states that a total of 1,394 people were killed during the Inquisition. “Today, Muslim madmen kill more than that in a few months,” said Donohue.