Fear and Loathing and the Crusades
One of the many and sundry calumnies hurled at Christianity today is the myth of the Crusades. The current popular narrative (echoed recently by the president) maintains that the Crusades were just another example of Western "imperialism" and Christian hypocrisy: Expeditions mounted under the cynical pretext of religion (by vile white men of course!) for booty and women against an innocent and peace loving Muslim world.
In fact the Crusades... were not an attack: They were instead a COUNTERATTACK. Most Americans are so blissfully ignorant of history that we don't know that all of North Africa and the Middle East including modern Israel, Iraq, Egypt, Turkey and Iran were once solidly CHRISTIAN.
Over hundreds of years and at the point of the sword these countries and many more were forcibly converted to Islam. Even fewer remember that Spain was conquered by Moslem invaders in the 8th century and was ruled by her conquers for hundreds of years only to be finally expelled in 1492.. Only with the Battle of Tours in 732 were the "Moors" turned back and France spared a similar Moslem fate.
So in point of fact the Crusades were only a REACTION to 100's of years of Islamic aggression and conquest. Sure the crusaders themselves had mixed motives and many were not angels but to masochistically and repeatedly use the Crusades as yet one more reason to apologize for western civilization is absurd to the point of pathological self loathing.
Not to mention that without the pioneering ideas of Christianity and its influence on western civilization the very notion that imperialism is wrong to begin with would not exist. It is so ironic that one of the greatest contributions of Western Thought are the very values we now so often use to lacerate and undermine Western Thought!
Having said all this, do I in any sense "blame" Islam for its aggression and "imperialistic" approach to Christianity back then? No. Back then that was the way the game was played. I just wish our president and our own intellectual "elites" --not to mention our Muslim brothers--would cut the Crusaders the same slack as well.