President Barack Obama spoke about religious extremism during an address at Thursday morning’s National Prayer Breakfast, noting that the “twisting and distorting” of faith is “not unique to one group or one religion” and claiming that some Christians also had a history of justifying bad deeds with the name of Jesus.
“We see sectarian war in Syria, the murder of Muslims and Christians in Nigeria, religious war in the Central African Republic, a rising tide of anti-Semitism and hate crimes in Europe, so often perpetrated in the name of religion,” Obama said during his remarks.
From there, the president implored listeners not to forget the negative history that Christianity has had in light of the Crusades and Inquisition — and with America’s own past with slavery.
“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,” he said. “In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”
Speaking about people and faiths more generally, Obama added, “There is a tendency in us, a sinful tendency that can pervert and distort our faith.”
Watch his comments below:
Read more about Obama’s National Prayer Breakfast remarks here.