Republican U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (CA) on Thursday broke with a large number of his GOP colleagues and said that he had no problem defining both the radical Islamic group ISIS and Christians as "terrorists" if they deserved the label.
President Barack Obama warned during his speech at the National Prayer Breakfast last week that Americans should not get on a "high horse" in their efforts to destroy Islamic terrorists because Christianity had also been used to justify horrific acts like slavery and the Crusades. The remarks sparked outrage among conservative pundits and politicians, who accused the president of promoting ISIS "propaganda."
On Thursday's edition of C-SPAN's Washington Journal, a caller confronted Rohrabacher on the issue.
"What do you call Christians who behead blacks, castrate blacks, throw fire bombs in churches, killing innocent children?" the caller wondered. "All because we're black. Why don't you all call Christians radicals?"
"Actually, you're talking to some guy who has used that phrase," Rorhabacher replied, explaining that he had grown up in North Carolina in the 1950s.
"And I'm fully aware that we had people who were -- thought of themselves as Christians, who were carrying crosses, burning crosses, who were brutalizing and terrorizing America's black population," he continued. "And I agree that there are a lot of people that deserve the criticism that you just made, but it's not me."
A second caller later returned to the subject: "You keep referring to Islamic terrorists. If you lived in 1920 and the Ku Klux Klan was lynching and burning people, would you refer to them as Christian?"
"Yes, I would," the congressman insisted. "Not only I would, I have. And you missed an earlier call."
"I lived in North Carolina in the 1950s, and it was very clear that you had a terrorist group in the United States, who were claiming to be dedicated Christians, who were out terrorizing the black people of this country."
"And, yeah, they excused themselves with Bibles and crosses all the time. Yeah, they were Christian terrorists -- fanatic Christian terrorists. Yeah, they were."
Watch the video below from C-SPAN, broadcast Feb. 12, 2015.