The Bible and Society

How God’s Word is True

“Christianists” equated with “Islamists” in wake of murder of abortionist

Posted by Mats on 07/06/2009

By Robert Spencer

Christian and pro-life groups unanimously condemned the murder of abortionist George Tiller, but that hasn’t stopped many in the mainstream media (and some on the fringes of it, e.g. Keith Olbermann) from equating “Christianists” with “Islamists.” In 2007 I wrote a book about this moral equivalence, attempting to show not only that it failed on the basis of the evidence, but that this tendency to equate the two was essentially an attempt to distract public attention from the Islamic jihad, and to divert energy away from fighting it.

Here, James Kirchick ably dismantles the latest iteration of this popular myth. “The Religious Right Didn’t Kill George Tiller: The left tries to smear ‘Christianists’ as akin to Islamic extremists,” by James Kirchick in the Wall Street Journal, June 3 (thanks to Wecco):

[…] Over the past decade this argumentative tactic has taken on an even more insidious twist. In addition to fighting violent, Muslim jihadists abroad, some liberals argue that America must deal with its own, homegrown terrorists. These are not just people who commit violence but millions of socially conservative evangelicals and Catholics — “Christianists” — who comprise the base of the Republican Party and threaten the stability of the country.In 2007, former New York Times Middle East Bureau Chief Chris Hedges published a book called “American Fascists” that compared conservative evangelicals to European brownshirts of the 1920s and 1930s. That same year, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour hosted a three-part series, “God’s Warriors,” that equated Christian (and Jewish) fundamentalists with Muslim extremists.

The comparison between the religious right and Islamic extremists is invariably partisan so as to smear the GOP as being held hostage to forces as dangerous as Hamas or Hezbollah. “Even as the Bush administration denounces and battles Islamic religious zealotry abroad, fundamental Christian zealotry is taking hold here at home,” wrote Stephen Pizzo on the liberal Alternet Web site in 2004. On his popular HBO program, comedian Bill Maher frequently compares murderous Islamists to censorious Christians.

But if the reactions to the death of Tiller mean anything, the “Christian Taliban,” as conservative religious figures are often called, isn’t living up to its namesake. If “Christianists” were anything like actual religious fascists they would applaud Tiller’s murder as a “heroic martyrdom operation” and suborn further mayhem.

Radical Islamists revel in death. Just witness the videos that suicide bombers record before they carry out their murderous task or listen to the homicidal exhortations of extremist imams. Murder — particularly of the unarmed and innocent — is a righteous deed for these people. The manifestos of Islamic militant groups are replete with paeans to killing infidels. When a suicide bomb goes off in Israel, Palestinian terrorist factions compete to claim responsibility for the carnage.

There is no appreciable number of people in this country, religious Christians or otherwise, who support the murder of abortion doctors. The same cannot be said of Muslims who support suicide bombings in the name of their religion.

Yet speak of the disproportionately violent strain in Islam to a “progressive” person and you’ll be met with sneering recitations of millennia-old Christian crusades or Jewish settlements in the West Bank. As for conservative Christians’ contemporary political endeavors, lobbying to ban the teaching of evolution in schools or forbidding same-sex marriage simply does not threaten society in quite the same way as the genital mutilation of young girls or the bombing of the London transit system….

But the Christian right’s responsible reaction to the death of George Tiller should put to rest the lie that Judeo-Christian extremists are anywhere near as numerous or dangerous as those of the Muslim variety.


But it won’t.


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