Barack Obama, incoherent theologian
Perhaps it was all those years spent at Jeremiah Wright’s church. Or maybe it was merely a clumsy attempt to whitewash Islam in the American public’s mind. Either way, President Obama’s attempt to lecture ISIS on theology was not merely presumptuous, it was incoherent.
Writing in the Wall Street Journal, James Taranto points out the serious self-contradiction the president engaged in:
The president kept his promise of clarity only for a few sentences: "They have rampaged across cities and villages--killing innocent, unarmed civilians in cowardly acts of violence. They abduct women and children, and subject them to torture and rape and slavery. They have murdered Muslims--both Sunni and Shia--by the thousands. They target Christians and religious minorities, driving them from their homes, murdering them when they can for no other reason than they practice a different religion. They declared their ambition to commit genocide against an ancient people."
But then he descended into sophistry: "So ISIL speaks for no religion. Their victims are overwhelmingly Muslim, and no faith teaches people to massacre innocents. No just God would stand for what they did yesterday, and for what they do every single day."
Hmm. ISIS both "speaks for no religion" and targets "Christians and religious minorities" because "they practice a different religion." Different from what?
Oops. Maybe when he comes back from his latest round of golf, the World’s Greatest Orator can explain that.
As Taranto points out, the president seems to be defining to Muslims what true Islam is, a but of hubris that also bothered me yesterday:
Is Obama merely confused, or is there a rhetorical strategy at work here? We'd speculate it's the latter. The first letter of the terrorist organization's acronym stands for "Islamic," a fact the president implicitly acknowledges by not including Muslim victims among those targeted because "they practice a different religion." Although his statements are logically consistent with the proposition that Islam is not a true religion, there is ample evidence that he thinks it is.
Thus, what he appears to be trying to suggest is that the ISIS terrorists are not true Muslims.
Somehow, I don’t think Obama will be very persuasive as far as Muslims are concerned. Perhaps his dwindling number of true believers in America will find his words of comfort, but as the logical contradiction Taranto points out indicates, he is descending to incoherence when he addresses serous problems.
Hat tip: Cliff Thier