Last week at the National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama correctly pointed out that people from all religions have committed horrible acts of violence in the name of their faith. He brought up both the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition as examples of Christian atrocities and condemned the more recent actions of extreme religious groups such as the Islamic State.
This, of course, sent the Religious Right into a tail spin. How dare the president continue the (non-existent) war against Christians by (accurately) bringing up events from history?
As Eric Kilgore of Talking Points Memo pointed out, for Obama, like many liberal Protestants, “’the fear of God’ connotes not only tolerance of other believers (and nonbelievers), but separation of church and state, which he treats as a practical application of the Golden Rule.”
Evangelical Republicans, however, see that equal treatment towards all religion as a slight and become enraged.
Erick Erickson, a conservative blogger, radio host, and Fox News contributor said,
“Barack Obama is not, in any meaningful way, a Christian and I am not sure he needs to continue the charade. With no more elections for him, he might as well come out as the atheist/agnostic that he is. He took his first step in doing so yesterday in a speech reeking with contempt for faith in general and Christianity in particular … The President is a moral relativist. It was clear in his whole speech … To suggest that everyone can have some version of God and some version of the truth is worldly babbling, not Christianity.”
The problem with this rationale is that nowhere in any document does it require that the president be a Christian. The constitution does, however, afford every American the right to his or her religious freedom.
The narrow-minded-right-wing view of religion pushes liberals away from the Christian faith. Many realize that supporting the “my way or the highway” form of Christianity that many Republicans have helps no one.