President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama share a laugh during the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015. The annual event brings together U.S. and international leaders from different parties and religions for an hour devoted to faith. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama share a laugh during the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015.  The annual event brings together U.S. and international leaders from different parties and religions for an hour devoted to faith. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama share a laugh during the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015. The annual event brings together U.S. and international leaders from different parties and religions for an hour devoted to faith. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(The Washington Post) – President Obama has never been one to go easy on America.

As a new president, he dismissed the idea of American exceptionalism, noting that Greeks think their country is special, too. He labeled the Bush-era interrogation practices, euphemistically called “harsh” for years, as torture. America, he has suggested, has much to answer given its history in Latin America and the Middle East.

His latest challenge came Thursday at the National Prayer Breakfast. At a time of global anxiety over Islamist terrorism, Obama noted pointedly that his fellow Christians, who make up a vast majority of Americans, should perhaps not be the ones who cast the first stone.

“Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history,” he told the group, speaking of the tension between the compassionate and murderous acts religion can inspire. “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. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”

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