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The Conservative Double Standard on Christian Terrorism

47 comments, 576 views, posted 2:49 pm 31/07/2011 in Religion by z0phi3l
z0phi3l has 8609 posts, 232 threads, 49 points, location: Waterbury CT
God

The Conservative Double Standard on Christian Terrorism

Ever since the murderous rampage in Norway last week, Bill O’Reilly and other American conservatives have sought to insist that the alleged Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik is not a Christian. “Breivik is not a Christian,” O’Reilly said on his Fox News show on Tuesday. “That’s impossible. No one believing in Jesus commits mass murder.” Elsewhere on the channel, Fox contributor Ralph Peters argued that “[Breivik] defines himself as a Christian, but you know, anybody can claim anything.” And conservative Christian activist Jordan Sekulow wrote at the Washington Post that “to label Breivik a ‘Christian’ requires a depraved understanding of what it means to be a Christian.”

The belief underlying these denials of Breivik’s professed Christian identity is that news outlets would only label a terrorist “Christian” in order to discredit Christianity. News coverage of the Norway was initially muddied when some outlets inaccurately called Breivik a “Christian fundamentalist.” A more accurate description would have been Christian nationalist. But the Christian designation itself was informed by Breivik’s own voluminous writings, which show a man animated by a very twisted version of Christian thought and history.

In fact, the clash-of-civilizations nature of Breivik’s manifesto is not so different from the warped interpretation of Islamic thought and history that motivates some Muslim terrorists. Mainstream Islam does not call for the destruction of non-Muslims or require Muslims to establish a global Islamic state. And yet when Muslims try to insist that terrorists who subscribe to such extremist beliefs do not represent true Islam, O’Reilly and his compatriots dismiss those arguments out of hand.

During last summer’s controversy over whether an Islamic center should be built in lower Manhattan, O’Reilly criticized “liberal media” for “buying into the genteel Islam.” Other Fox News figures have falsely claimed that Muslims never condemn violent acts by other Muslims, such as Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan. Glenn Beck rarely misses a chance to conflate ordinary Muslims with terrorists, saying on his radio show last year: “After you’ve killed 3,000 people, you’re going to now build your mosque on – there, really?”

O’Reilly remains unchastened by the fact that he routinely rebukes Muslims for distancing their faith from terrorists in the way that he has sought to distance Christianity from Breivik this week. He and other conservatives have focused on their doubts about whether Breivik “practices” Christianity as reason to refrain from labeling him Christian.

But there’s a reason the Bible urges Christians to avoid judging the faith of others. It’s a tricky business. Does Christian faith derive from church attendance? Bristol Palin recently told Christianity Today that her family doesn’t really go to church these days, and they’re hardly alone among Americans who call themselves Christian. Does Christian faith adhere to one narrow definition? Sekulow argues that Breivik cannot be Christian because his manifesto states that he does “not necessarily have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.” While that’s a key aspect of evangelical Christianity, plenty of other Christians don’t consider their faith incumbent upon a personal relationship with God.

The hubris involved in judging another’s faith takes on added relevance during election season. Bill Clinton’s critics were often quick to charge that his weekly church attendance was “showy” and that his sexual misconduct proved that his faith was fraudulent. (They must have skipped over the part about how we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.) In 2004, conservative Catholics declared that John Kerry was not a “real” Catholic because of his support for abortion rights.

Just this month, several Republican candidates have disputed Barack Obama’s Christianity, including Scott D’Amboise, who is challenging Senator Olympia Snowe in Maine. “I don’t believe he’s a Christian,” D’Amboise told David Frum. The Maine Republican apparently didn’t get the memo that the preferred way to question Obama’s faith is with the formulation, “Well, he says he’s a Christian.”

I have no interest in defending Anders Breivik or in making a brief for his Christian identification. But I’ve always found the eagerness to judge another’s faith offensive. I was told countless times that I was not actually a Christian when I went on conservative talk radio to promote a book about religion and politics several years ago. Like many Americans, I’ve had the experience of sitting in a pew and being told that it’s not possible to be a Christian and vote for Democratic candidates. But most upsetting was the episode a decade ago when a friend asked me to coffee so we could talk. I went straight from church to the Christian coffee shop, only to have her tell me that she didn’t think I was sufficiently Christian and was worried that I hadn’t really been saved.

O’Reilly and others do damage to Christianity by implying that it’s so fragile as to be threatened when one member does something truly vile. As heinous as Breivik’s alleged acts of terror were, Christianity has withstood worse. Islam has withstood the past ten years of turmoil within and criticism without. The best defense against terrorists like Breivik is to show how his interpretation of Christianity is wrong, not to deny that he could have come out of the tradition. Have a little faith, Mr. O’Reilly.

Amy Sullivan is a contributing writer at TIME, and author of the book The Party Faithful: How and Why Democrats are Closing the God Gap (Scribner, 2008). Articles of Faith, her column on the intersection of religion and politics, appears on TIME.com every Friday.

Read more: http://swampland.time.com/2011/07/29/bill-oreilly-anders-breivik-and-the-hubris-of-judging-faith/#ixzz1TgqkKLmZ

I have to agree with her here, everyone had no problem thinking the Norway killings were Islamic in nature, but now that we know it was a white Christian with blond hair and blue eyes, people want to discount his religious view, did we already forget about The Crusades or The Spanish Inquisition? I'm sure we can all come up with other atrocities done in the name of Christianity. Side note, do we need any more evidence the O'Reilly is a moron?

Extra Points Given by:

thecrookedman (25), griffin (5), Edorph (5), Viscera (5)

Comments

0
5:53 pm 31/07/2011

thecrookedman

But you said you weren't talking to me about this stuff anymore, remember?

0
5:53 pm 31/07/2011

Viscera

Quote by thecrookedman:
But you said you weren't talking to me about this stuff anymore, remember?


I'm learning from BR to not allow someone to misrepresent out of ignorance or malice what I believe is right

3
5:55 pm 31/07/2011

Flee

Quote by griffin:
I mean it was his xenophobic views rather than his christianity which prompted his murderous rampage.


Winner!

0
5:56 pm 31/07/2011

Quaektem

Quote by thecrookedman:
It's almost as if religious literature is a self-contradictory mess of metaphors that can be twisted say anything you like.



Only because they evolve with time. When Moses wrote the first five books things were vastly different than when David wrote Psalms, and things changed further when Christ returned. Yeah, the original five are still in there, and for good reason.

Now, unless you want to start discussing other religious literature and provide examples of self-contradictory mess of metaphors I'd avoid lumping the rest of the word into your anti-Christan stance.

0
5:56 pm 31/07/2011

Quaektem

Quote by Viscera:

I'm learning from BR to not allow someone to misrepresent out of ignorance or malice what I believe is right
!



... gee, what an esteemed teacher.

0
5:57 pm 31/07/2011

Viscera

just so we are clear, Hebrews 10:30 For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.”

1 Corinthians 5:12-13

12For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13God judges those outside. "Purge the evil person from among you."

0
5:57 pm 31/07/2011

thecrookedman

Quote by Viscera:
so once again, you have refuting evidence, and you just have the opinion that it isn't enough to convince you


I'm confused by this. Whose opinion should I be concerned about?

-1
5:58 pm 31/07/2011

Viscera

Quote by Quaektem:
anti-Christan stance.


ding ding ding

2
5:58 pm 31/07/2011

Quaektem

Mine, of course!

0
5:59 pm 31/07/2011

Viscera

Quote by thecrookedman:
I'm confused by this. Who's opinion should I be concerned about?


you aren't qualified to judge the writings of an acniet book, any more then I am. The people who study these things for a living have insight and references you summarily dismiss. When speaking about evolution, or physical sciences, I don't dismiss thsoe people, I ask them for the teaching behind it.

0
6:01 pm 31/07/2011

Viscera

as evidence of my position I had a 5 month discussion with HelplessLlama about evolution and agreed with a great deal of what he said that I was ignorant about before.

1
6:03 pm 31/07/2011

Viscera

Quote by Quaektem:
Quote by Viscera:

I'm learning from BR to not allow someone to misrepresent out of ignorance or malice what I believe is right
!


... gee, what an esteemed teacher.


be nice. Give credit where credit is due

1
6:03 pm 31/07/2011

thecrookedman

Quote by Viscera:
you aren't qualified to judge the writings of an acniet book, any more then I am. The people who study these things for a living have insight and references you summarily dismiss. When speaking about evolution, or physical sciences, I don't dismiss thsoe people, I ask them for the teaching behind it.


That first bit makes you sound a bit like the old Catholic Church, don't you think? Keep it in Latin and we won't have the peasants confusing themselves!

0
6:06 pm 31/07/2011

Viscera

TCM, pleasse don't get me wrong, I'm not saying you have to "believe". But there is a difference in misrepresenting a position for your own argument sake and recognizing that there are people who know more about this, grammatically, historically archeologically then you do. No I'm not saying the same thing as RCC, I'm saying do your homework before deciding to disparage a group of people. It appears you don't, you just sling accusations, then ignore the answers.If you don't believe me, go to someone who is qualified to answer these comments. I don't state anything about the Muslim faith that I haven't spoken to an Imam about. I do my due diligence

1
6:07 pm 31/07/2011

griffin

Quote by thecrookedman:
It's almost as if religious literature is a self-contradictory mess of metaphors that can be twisted say anything you like.


By you, anyway. You specifically mention christian teaching. So quote some that justifies murder of children. Or have the goal posts moved again?

0
6:11 pm 31/07/2011

thecrookedman

Well, here we are again. I'm not sure I can add anything more that would be useful or interesting. Was this a one thread exception, Viscera, or have you lifted your self-imposed ban on religious discussion with me?

0
6:13 pm 31/07/2011

Viscera

I think I am clear, I won't let you misrepresent with blantant lies about my faith. If you don't like that, do your homework and we can have many conversations. But if you decide to continue, then I will continue to show your apparent dishonest position. Discussions on theology? no I won't because you aren't interested in learning if you are in error, seemingly the same charge you make about those who live by faith, funny eh?

1
6:18 pm 31/07/2011

thecrookedman

I always have the feeling I'm missing out on some really great PMs when these threads flare up.

Okay, V, thanks for however much you're willing to talk again.

1
6:20 pm 31/07/2011

Quaektem

Quote by thecrookedman:
I always have the feeling I'm missing out on some really great PMs when these threads flare up.



Between who exactly? Griffin, V and I are about as opposed to each others beliefs as you can get yet we all are saying the same thing.

It may actually not be a conspiracy.

2
6:22 pm 31/07/2011

thecrookedman

Quote by Quaektem:
Between who exactly? Griffin, V and I are about as opposed to each others beliefs as you can get yet we all are saying the same thing.

It may actually not be a conspiracy.


I meant between me and one other person, as the multiple contributors can make the lines of thinking hard to follow. A one-to-one exchange might be more interesting, sometimes.

0
6:26 pm 31/07/2011

Quaektem

Gotcha.

1
7:32 pm 31/07/2011

Flee

Just all agree to this...

Crazies sometimes hide behind religion and may try to twist the religion to gain followers/acceptance for their actions.


Its an old song and its been played far too often.

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