Politics

President Obama On Religion: 'No God Condones Terror'

| by Edward Arnold
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On Thursday, President Obama condemned those who use religion to justify their use of violence around the world.

“No god condones terror,” he said at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington. 

"We see faith driving us to do right," he added. "But we also see faith being twisted and distorted, being used as a wedge - or worse, sometimes used as a weapon." 

Specifically, he mentioned the violence of ISIS, the recent terrorist attack in Paris, and the fighting in Africa as examples of religious motivated violence.

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We have seen violence and terror perpetrated by those who profess to stand up for faith, their faith, profess to stand up for Islam, but in fact are betraying it,” Obama said. “We see ISIL, a brutal, vicious, death cult, that, in the name of religion, carries out unspeakable acts of barbarism, terrorizing religious minorities like the Yazidis, subjecting women to rape as a weapon of war, and claiming the mantle of religious authority for such actions.”

After calling ISIS a “death cult,” he reminded the audience that religious violence is not alone within Islam and that any religion can be “twisted” by humans to justify violence.

"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," Obama said. "In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ."

The breakfast event also was the first public meeting between Obama and the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan Buddhist leader.

"I want to offer a special welcome to a good friend, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who is a powerful example of what it means to practice compassion and who inspires us to speak up for the freedom and the dignity of all human beings," Obama said.

While the two world leaders have already met three times in private, Yahoo News reports that the Chinese government objects to the Dalai Lama meeting with foreign leaders, marking today as the first public meeting.

After praising the Dalai Lama, Obama finished by talking about his own experience with religion.

“If we drop to our knees on occasion, we will acknowledge that we never fully know God’s purpose,” Obama said. “We can never fathom his amazing grace. We see through a glass darkly, grappling with the expanse of his awesome love. But even with our limits, we can heed that which is required: to do justice and love kindness and walk humbly with our God.”

Sources: MSNBC, Yahoo News, Washington Post / Photo Credit: Daily Caller