Geraldine Lewis: America’s ‘High Horse’


By Geraldine Lewis

On February 5, 2015, President Barack H. Obama spoke at America’s National Prayer Breakfast. The following in italics, are some of the words from the President’s Speech:

“We see faith driving us to do right. But we also see faith being twisted and distorted, used as a wedge – or, worse, sometimes used as a weapon. We see a brutal, vicious death cult that, in the name of religion, carries out unspeakable acts of barbarism – terrorizing; subjecting women to rape as a weapon of war, and claiming the mantle of religious authority for such actions. We see wars of murdering innocents in other places.

So how do we (Americans), as people of faith, reconcile these realities – the profound good, the strength, the tenacity, the compassion and love that can flow from all of our faiths, operating alongside those who seek to hijack religion for their own murderous ends?

Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history. And lest we (Americans) 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. In our home country (America), slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”

While invoking the name of Christ, the president’s phrase ‘high horse’ caused a stir among the American people, especially among Christians. Why would President Obama pick a fight with Christians at a prayer breakfast filled with religious people?

First, let’s take a look at the meaning of the phrase ‘high horse.’ Phrases.Org describes ‘high horse’ as, “A request to someone to stop behaving in a haughty and self-righteous manner.” The Phrase-Finder at this site explains, “‘High’ has long been a synonym for ‘powerful’; ‘remote from the common people.’”

Human beings have never been perfect here on earth. An honest man or woman would acknowledge this fact and not reach back to the 12th through 19th centuries to justify current, murderous atrocities. Neither would an honorable person mock imperfect human beings for actions taken that might or might not have been self-defensive measures nearly 800 years ago.

Based on history, slavery and Jim Crow were supported by the Democrat Party. These heinous atrocities were of President Obama’s own party’s makings. And besides, how Christian are Democrats who just recently scrambled to remove God from their party’s platform? Moreover, unlike the Koran, The Holy Bible or The Guide for Christians has never commanded Christians to kill innocent people.

Of course, there are many Americans that may not be on board with our country’s Christian heritage because Americans are free to believe or not to believe however they wish. Nevertheless, America’s Founders made their religious intentions for America crystal clear to a British Soldier and in a letter to Abigail Adams, whose friendship was sought by Anne, Queen of Great Britain. Their religious declaration was: “We recognize no sovereign but God, and no King but Jesus!” —John Adams and John Hancock, 1775.

John Adams, the second President of The United States, also declared: “The Christian religion is above all the religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times, the religion of wisdom, virtue, equity and humanity.” Albeit, Jesus proclaimed this declaration first, in John-10:8, of the Christian Guide, known as, The Holy Bible.

In 1789, President George Washington prayed for America. His prayer for the United States began by saying: “Almighty God; “We make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States, in Thy holy protection.” President Washington ended his prayer by saying: “We beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

In Washington, D.C. on Capitol Hill, America’s Founders left glaring evidence of their Christian intentions for this nation through biblical inscriptions recorded on monuments, Capitol Buildings, statues, etc. Today, since 1777, every session of Congress has begun with a prayer offered by a tax-paid Christian preacher or minister.

©Geraldine Lewis, 2015

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