Get Off Your High Horse

On February 5, 2015 President Obama spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast and suggested we take an honest look at killing in the name of God. Of course, all hell broke loose.

Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history. 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.   –Pres. Barack Obama

Critics are outraged and insist this is proof of the President’s hatred for America and Christians. Really? I know that when I consider the history of America and recall the details about the massacre of indigenous People, Slavery, Manifest Destiny and a few other stories of how our nation was formed, I find a bit of shame mixed with my patriotic pride. Don’t get me wrong, I am proud of my country and see the attempts we have made to correct the wrongs of the past. I am also fully aware of the fact that the majority of our world’s cultures have in some way used   Genocide, slavery and other methods to control their territory.

Let’s look at the truth of what the President is saying. He is saying that unless we think we are perfect and above comparison, we have to admit that America has Her own share of misdeeds to consider. That certainly does not diminish the horror of what has taken place over the past few weeks, but it does call for a self check prior to making decisions about how to deal with the situation.

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the speck out of your eye and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.  — The Bible, Matthew 7:3-5

Though I realize that as Americans we have continued to move forward in establishing a free society, we must consider our past when dealing with the struggle of other cultures to come into their own freedom. During this process it is important that we are truthful when discussing the major motivation for war and atrocity throughout history. The truth is that religion and greed are the leading causes of conflict.

As I write this on a beautiful Sunday morning, there are hundreds of sermons being preached in America about “us versus them” and how the evils of society are due to the lack of belief in their specific dogmatic interpretation of God.  Until we get off our high horse and understand this, we will continue to be hated as the hypocrites around the globe and will continue to experience conflict within our own borders.