I almost fell out of my chair when I saw a quote from Bill O'Reilly in which he contends the confessed assassin in Norway could not be considered a Christian. "...No one who believes in Jesus could kill like Anders Behring Breivik did." Either Bill and his ilk think their audience is stupid or ignorant or they just don't care whether what they say has any semblance of truth within it. It is fascinating to see the regressive Christian movement try to distance itself from this act of lunacy when the reality is Breivik acted well within the traditions and norms of fundamentalist Christianity.
Is O'Reilly ignorant? No. Is he well read? Yes. Did he know how surreal his statement sounded and how completely contrary to history it is? I suspect he, like Hanbaugh, Beck, Ingram, Coulter and company, is willing to say anything to deflect attention and criticism from a belief system which cannot hold up in the light of scripture and through which more harm has been done throughout the world than by any other religious system. No one who believes in Jesus would commit an act like this? He can't be a Christian, because true Christians don't act like this. Really? We don't have enough room to list all of the examples BillO and the rest ignore, but at least some need to be pulled forward for a re-examination.
Where to start...How about Manifest Destiny...it was the dominant Christian belief of the 19th century. God intended for the United States to own and control the entire continent. The movement to expand across the US was driven heavily by the belief it was what God intended. It was this religious fervor, which allowed, and then justified, the massacre of the native peoples who occupied the land God intended for the good white Anglo Protestants. These were heathens and God or Jesus had no problem with either wiping them out, or converting them. Americans went to church on Sunday and started Indian wars on Monday. Good Christians were the founders and charter members of the slave trade. How many thousands, some say millions, died on coffin ships during the trip from Africa to the West? Ironically, "Amazing Grace" was written by a slave ship captain who had finally seen the error of his ways. His fellow English Christians excoriated him and his beliefs. Germans went to war in World War II wearing belt buckles emblazoned with "Got mitt us". The Roman Catholic leaders in Austria and Hungary and Poland welcomed the Nazis with open arms and assisted and approved of their final solution concerning Jews. Good Christians were the foundation of Jim Crow and segregation throughout the South. Self proclaimed Christians blew up black churches and lynched and burned out those fighting for civil rights. Yes, Martin Luther King was a Christian, but go back and read what regressive fundamentalist Christians had to say about him and the attacks he endured because he proclaimed non-violence to be the central message of the Jewish carpenter from Nazareth.
What is perhaps the ultimate in hypocrisy is to hear these pseudo-Christians like O'Reilley and Ingram and Hanbaugh talk as if Jesus' teachings have some role in their lives. No communities in this nation more epitomize living out the Christian ethos than do the Amish and Mennonites along with the Catholic Worker movement and numerous others, and yet these are the very same groups which regressives, like the afore mentioned pundits, attack ceaselessly for their naïveté and foolishness and their lack of patriotism because their religious beliefs lead them to embrace pacifism and non-violence and to oppose American foreign policy. President Bush's church, the Methodists, as well as the American Catholic bishops, opposed the war in Iraq. Did their opinions affect Bush? Did good Catholics like Santorum and Gingrich and many others change their positions when their church declared the war to be immoral?
The dirty little secret is a fundamentalist Christian carried out the attacks in Norway. The same strain of fundamentalism is alive and well in this nation. The murders of doctors who perform abortions...the bombing of clinics like the ones in Georgia...the attack on the federal building in Oklahoma...violence against gays and lesbians...are from the same cloth. The nativism and jingoism expressed by the man in Norway is a mirror image to the rhetoric we read or hear on a daily basis in this country. Look at the immigration debate and try and deny the language is eerily similar. The criticisms of Islam and the opposition to mosques and community centers could have been written by the same man who produced 1,500 pages of tripe in Norway. Do BillO and the rest ever listen to themselves? Do they have such disdain for their audience they think we don't listen? A man tries to blow up his underwear, another his shoe, still another a car in Times Square and all claim to be Muslim. Does regressive talk radio make any distinction between them and the vast majority of Muslims who have never attacked anyone? Do they distinguish between fundamental Islam and the mainstream? Or do they lump all Muslims into the same batch and declare it to be a philosophy, which encourages violence. Could there be a more violent religion on earth than Christianity as practiced by the fundamentalists for whom Jesus is an excuse to kill anyone who disagrees with them and whose banner regressives proudly hold aloft?
What regressives and regressive corporate media are concerned about tamping down is a discussion about the difference between fundamentalism and the main stream in religion. Bachman, Cain, Romney, Pawlenty, Perry, Palin, and Gingrich, along with Fox, the Wall Street Journal and anything owned by Rupert Murdoch, The Weekly Standard and much of corporate media cannot afford to have real Christianity arise in this nation. Can you imagine a budget debate, immigration discussion, foreign policy decision made by Christians who read Matthew 25 or are committed to turning the other cheek, loving their enemies and forgiving an infinite number of times? What would our economy look like if consumers refused to buy the next great thing or gadget or go into debt to maintain the lifestyle fundamentalist Christianity touts?
Fundamentalist Christianity is anti-democratic, anti-pluralism, anti-intellectual, intolerant, and judgmental. It is un-American, pro-autocratic regimes and certainly opposes equality of the races or sexes. It is no different than fundamental Islam or fundamental Judaism. When you are right and everyone else is wrong, violence is an acceptable means to accomplish your end of everyone believing exactly like you or else. The tragedy in Norway is another wakeup call for all who oppose fundamentalism in any form to rise up and lend their voices to a campaign to address it wherever it rears its head including the media and politics in this country.
Do I think Anders Behring Breivik is a Christian? What do you think?