At Vox Max Fisher is actively alarmed over the criticism the president is getting for arguing in his National Prayer Breakfast speech that it’s not okay to pretend Muslims are distinct from any other set of believers (or unbelievers) in their proclivity towards violence. Yet as he points out, many of Obama’s defenders have gone for the capillaries, contending over the details of Obama’s points about the history of Christianity or the counter-points of his critics. It is, says Fisher, actually pretty simple:

To be crystal clear: this is not a fight over the fine-grain imperfections of Obama’s historical analogy or over the implications for US foreign policy. It is a fight over whether it’s okay to hate Muslims, to apply sweeping and negative stereotypes to the one-fifth of humanity that follows a particular religion. A number of Americans, it seems, are clinging desperately to their anti-Muslim bigotry and are furious at Obama for trying to take that away from them.

There’s something else going on, as I have been at pains to point out: those attacking Obama also want to define liberals right out of Christianity. But they do so by way of a most ironic litmus test: to love Jesus, you have to hate some of his children.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.