GHOST WARS

Yes, There Are Christian Terrorists

The anti-Muslim militias in the Central African Republic may not get the same attention as ISIS, but let’s not forget that people are still doing awful things in the name of Christianity.

02.15.15 11:45 AM ET

“There are still nine Christians here. We will capture them. We will kill them. When we finish here, we will go to the next village and kill the Christians there, too.”

If an ISIS leader made a statement like this publicly, Fox News would probably cut into their programming bring you a special report about the Muslims’ “religious war” against Christians. Mainstream media outlets would most likely cover it as well.  

But that statement was indeed uttered in 2014. Except there was one simple word difference: “Christian” was replaced with “Muslim.” That is exactly what a Christian terrorist said about his militia’s plan to exterminate the remaining nine Muslims in a village in Central Africa Republic (CAR). But, of course, stuff like that doesn’t really make news here in our country.

Or did you hear about the Christian militant who publicly beheaded a Muslim man in the streets of the CAR capital last year?  That was actually covered by the U.S. media—in a short Associated Press paragraph buried in papers like the New York Times. Anyone doubt that if a Muslim terrorist beheaded a Christian man in the public square it would’ve made the U.S. news?

Any cable news channels cover in depth the Christian marauders in CAR that are–as we speak–ethnically cleansing tens of thousnads of the minority Muslim population there? These Christian militants  “stage brutal attacks...wielding machetes” and have “burned and looted…houses and mosques.” True, this is part of a civil war, but these violent acts are still carried out by militants who publicly self-identify as Christian fighters.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of Christians committing acts of terrorism.

But, of course, when President Obama dared to mention at the National Prayer Breakfast last week that we have seen acts of violence perpetrated by Christians, including during the Crusades, some on the right went on the warpath. Rush Limbaugh called Obama’s words an “insult” to Christianity.

And numerous Fox News anchors were outraged, most notably Eric Bolling, who claimed that the number of people killed in the name of Christianity was “zero.” 

To be honest, I do agree with the right-wing pundits on one issue. I do wish Obama didn’t bring up the Crusades to point out the violence committed in the name of Christianity. The last Crusade took place over 700  years ago.

The attacks by the Christian militants taking place in CAR is a far better example of how all faiths have people who wage violence in the name of it. Obama could have also noted the horrifically violent actions of the Lord’s Resistance Army, a pseudo-Christian cult whose announced goal is to impose the Ten Commandants as the law of Uganda. To that end, the LRA slaughtered thousands of men, women and children, raped women, and forced people into being sex slaves over a 25-year period starting in 1986.

Or Obama could have simply focused on the violence perpetrated by Christian terrorists in America. For starters, since 1977 there have been “eight murders, 17 attempted murders, 42 bombings, 181 arsons, and thousands of incidences of other criminal activities” targeting reproductive health care facilities here at home. With few exceptions, there were perpetrated by Christians who opposed abortion for religious reasons

Let’s not forget that Eric Rudolph, who was tied to the white supremacist “Christian Identity” movement, had bombed abortion clinics, a gay nightclub and the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, which killed two people and wounded 110.  Rudolph’s stated motivation was to stop abortion, claiming our government had “legalized, sanctioned and legitimized” abortion, and thus, “they forfeited their legitimacy and moral authority to govern.”

And there was also the 2009 execution of Dr. George Tiller, who became nationally known for performing late-term abortions. His killer, Scott Roeder, was a born-again Christian who claimed that he the killing “was justified to save the lives of unborn children.”

Look, I fully understand that some don’t want to believe people of their faith have commited atrocities. I’m Muslim—and I can assure you that when I hear about acts of violence carried out by any Muslim, I’m outraged. Still, I can’t deny that there are Muslims who commit terrorism.

However, with both ISIS and these Christian terrorists, I know that their actions are not based on the tenets of their respective faiths but on their own political agenda. And that is why I won’t call the Christian terrorists followers of “radical Christianity.” There is no such thing, just as there is no such thing as “radical Islam.” But there are radical and violent followers of both religions who commit acts in the name of their respective faith.

Clearly President Obama and I have no intention of demonizing Christians. We’re just trying to put religious violence in context. In fact, like Obama, my mother is a Christian and my father Muslim and I was raised to have great respect for both religions.

But we can’t deny reality. There are people who commit acts of terrorism in the name of every faith, whether it is Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism or Islam, even if it’s just terrorist adherents of the latter that gets all the media attention.