Sep 22 2009
What’s the terror alert level at, right now, anyway? This month, we’ve seen the following headlines about foiled Al Queda-inspired terror plots:
But the real threat in our midst? Christian Fundamentalist Terrorism.
On that note, one puffed-up Canadian writer recently described the fundamentalist movement that chills so many hyperbolic pundits above the 49th parallel:
Me? The only thing that really scares me is them. That is, the only thing that really terrifies me is the possibility of these right-wing Christian conservative blow-hard homophobes one day actually taking over America. It may seem unlikely now, but seeing that their numbers continue to grow almost as fast as their minds continue to close, it is, sadly, a distinct possibility.
Oh, I’m not disputing that the newsworthy cases (because they are so rare) of Christians who commit murder and other violence against innocents in the pursuit of political change are terrorists (although I’m not convinced that the lone nuts cited in the Huffington Post article above had any particular political aims). But are we really so blind as a society that we cannot distinguish qualitatively different phenomena?
We are given the example of a guy who walks into a church and starts shooting randomly in order to target, in his words, liberals and gays (which may seem like an odd place to carry out his goals, for those who assume that anyone who attends church is automatically a conservative, religious fundamentalist homophobe). Even if this is terrorism — and it’s not clear that this qualifies — it is simply not a threat on the scale of blowing up large buildings in metropolitan areas, or destroying airliners, or slamming said airliners into large buildings in metropolitan areas.
“But what about the Oklahoma City bombing?”, the tattered argument goes. Surely, this proves Christians in North America are a fifth column of dangerous religious fanaticism? Except that Timothy McVeigh wasn’t a religious fundamentalist. Gun nut, check. Enemy of the US government, check. Christian radical? Not so much:
McVeigh professed his belief in “a God”, although he said he had “sort of lost touch with” Catholicism and “I never really picked it up, however I do maintain core beliefs.” The Guardian reported that McVeigh wrote a letter claiming to be an agnostic. McVeigh at one time said that he believed the universe was guided by natural law, energized by some universal higher power that showed each person right from wrong if they paid attention to what was going on inside them. He had also said, “Science is my religion.”
Three quarters of America’s 300 million people are Christian. When you’ve got numbers that large, you’re going to see some scary ambassadors of the faith emerge. We mainly make fun of their views and behavior, rather than locking them up. But given the numbers, if Christian fundamentalists were really as violent as some pundits make out, we’d be seeing terrorist attacks from coast to coast every hour of the day.
Meanwhile, Al Queda-inspired groups have been using Islam as a recruiting tool in the USA for years, if not decades. In the USA, the population of self-declared Muslims is suggested to be 2.35 million, or 0.6 per cent of the population — a far smaller recruiting pool than accessible to a would-be Christian terrorist with a bomb and a grudge against the ZOG authorities. Yet we’ve already seen an ever-increasing list of foiled Al Queda-inspired plots planned on American soil. This, despite a climate of suspicion and vigilance in America that has presumably deterred a significant number of plotters who decided they’d probably get caught before the scheme went very far.
This is not another misguided argument that the Christian religion is inherently more peaceful than Islam, or that Muslims are inherently prone to violence. It isn’t and they aren’t. It’s not an alarmist screed about terrorism, either, since the chances of dying in a terrorist attack are close to zero. But so long as there are real terrorists plotting and scheming in our cities and suburbs, we might as well be realistic about which kind of radical fundamentalism is the real breeding ground for potentially devastating politically-motivated violence on our own soil.
Religious Extremists in America