Thursday, December 3, 2015

When "Christian Terrorism" Isn't

As a Jewish atheist who resents Christian privilege in America and as one who finds Christian teachings ridiculous, I'm not especially fond of that  religion. But if we're going to criticize it, let's do so objectively.
The regressive Left, which reflexively defends Islam no matter how often Muslim extremists commit violence against others, wasted no time in pouncing on  Robert Dear who attacked the Planned Parenthood center, as an example of Christians who also commit terrorism ("See? They do it too").  And some leftists are even calling Dear a "White Christian terrorist"

The difference is that Muslims who terrorize others as in the recent assault on Paris openly acknowledge that they are doing so in support of  Islam. So far Dear has not justified his actions in the name of any religion or race. Instead he simply said "No more baby parts".  Non-religious motivation was also definitely true for example, of the Oklahoma City bomber, Extreme Timothy McVeigh, a right-wing extremist. His reason was hatred of the U.S. federal government.  In short these two were  not using Christianity as an excuse for committing their heinous crimes. That's why it's inaccurate to label them as Christian terrorists.

To put it another way, don't we atheists object to the cliche that we often hear that "Stalin and Pol Pot were atheists, and look at the atrocities they committed."?  Our response is yes they were evil men who did terrible things, but they did not carry them out in the name of atheism. Likewise, that is the same standard that we should apply to Christians and members of other religions whom we condemn as terrorists for their heinous acts: Did or did they not do so so in the name of these beliefs?  If not then let's not use religion as a target if there's no basis to do so.


Jack Vance said...

Good points. I'm not sure we know enough about Dear yet to be certain about his motivation, and it seems premature to call him a "Christian terrorist" based on what we do know so far. There certainly are Christian terrorists who commit bad acts in the name of Christianity, and some of their victims have included abortion providers. Maybe that will turn out to be the case with Dear, and maybe it won't.

Secular Guy said...


Thanks for your response. That's why I prefaced my observation "Dear has not justified his actions in the name of any religion or race." with the qualifier, "So far".

It's a different story with the perps who committed the massacre in the city of San Bernardo (BTW San Bernardino County is my former place of residence). It's shaping up that they were Muslims, and the killing spree may have been intended as an act of terrorism.