On Tuesday, we learned that Islamic State militants had kidnapped some 220 Assyrian Christians in northeastern Syria. The week before, ISIS released a video of 21 Egyptian Christians getting beheaded, in which a jihadist declares, “We will conquer Rome, by Allah’s permission.”
Preceding these atrocities was another controversy, this one oratorical. At the National Prayer Breakfast earlier this month, President Obama beseeched his listeners to “remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.” Many people took offense at this remark, not because of its historical veracity but because of its context. Here was the president, like a middle-aged man reminiscing about high school, discoursing on ancient history because he didn’t want to talk about the present.