Half the Earth’s population is either Christian or Muslim. The virtues and historical faults of these religions are remarkably similar.

Islam currently is rent by conflict similar in brutality and fanaticism to Christianity’s Protestant-Catholic wars of the 16th and 17th centuries. A third of Germany’s population died in those wars.

At last week’s National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama listed atrocities committed primarily by Muslims in Pakistan, France, Iraq, Syria and Nigeria, adding: “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.”

Former Republican Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore said: “The president’s comments this morning at the prayer breakfast are the most offensive I’ve ever heard a president make in my lifetime. He has offended every believing Christian in the United States. This goes further to the point that Mr. Obama does not believe in America or the values we all share.”

His response was typical of those on the right. Actually, President Obama eloquently expressed basic American values that I formerly believed were shared by most Americans.

Columnist Jonah Goldberg responded similarly with an ahistorical prettifying of the Crusades and the Inquisition (“Obama’s comparison of radical Islam to Christianity defies logic,” Feb. 7).

The Crusades weren’t a response to Muslim jihad, having started about 400 years after Islam’s major conquests. The Inquisition’s last execution was in 1826. Most Jews driven out of Spain by the Inquisition went to Muslim countries for safety.

Mr. Goldberg faults Obama for not holding Islam responsible for its fanatics, but implies that Obama blames all Christianity for the evils committed by some Christians. Obama did no such thing.

Meredith N. Springer

Scarborough