Thursday, March 8, 2012

Christian Terrorism

In the last decade or so, muslim terrorism has been front and center in everyone's mind around the world. Al Qaeda operatives and Taliban fighters among others killing in the name of their god and Islam. Suicide bombers, attacks on innocent civilians and various threats have increased fear all over the globe and tightened security restrictions for "free" societies.  This is a threat to civilization. One idiot with an IED could literally set off World War III, or some regime could get its hands on a nuclear weapon and start a chain of reactions that could escalate into violence all over the world as people align with country and various gods. Islam is well considered the most violent main-stream religion in the world, but many people don't seem to understand that Christianity is, in many respects, just as violent.

There have also been a number of instances of Christian terrorism in the last few decades as well. With the Kony2012 documentary going viral in the last few days, this is starting to shed a light on some of these atrocities done in Jesus' name. Joseph Kony is the leader of the LRA (Lord's Resistance Army), a militant christian group based in Uganda, Congo and Sudan in Africa. They are widely known for their violence in raiding villages. They kill the men and women, abduct the young boys and enlist them into the militia, forcing them to kill others (including their own families), and take the young girls as trophies to rape. It is an awful existence for these people and the documentary done by Invisible Children is extremely moving and well worth watching. (Please do not accept this as my support of the non-profit. There are some conflicting reports of how accurate some of the details are in the film and how much a donation is actually put to the cause versus the overhead - which seems considerable. "Only 32 percent of the $8,676,614 Invisible Children spent in their campaign has been used in direct services to the people of Uganda". Please do your own research of Invisible Children before deciding to donate. They also appear to be an evangelical organization, so be wary of their intentions.)

Kony and his group are trying to establish a theocracy based on the ten commandments and various points of christianity blended with some local african religions and mysticism. The people in these countries live in fear for their lives. The children are worried they will be abducted at night and forced into a war they want no part in. It is our responsibility as human citizens to help put an end to the bloodshed and terror caused by this christian group. President Obama did send in some troops in the fall but the point of the film is to generate more awareness so that it can become an item of strategic interest for our government (at this point it is not). Kony is considered a war criminal by international authorities but has evaded capture to this point, but the government of Uganda is also considered to have been involved in various war crimes. The whole thing seems like a big mess and its certainly not as black and white as it would appear from the documentary.

The big story in christian terrorism last year was the attack in Norway in July by Anders Breivik. Claiming to be a modern-day knights templar, Breivik bombed a government building and then opened fire on a youth camp before being apprehended. He was diagnosed as a schizophrenic, but his intentions to kill were based on a christian ideology, a hatred for a perceived increased muslim influence in Europe and his longing for a return to the white/christian heritage he thought the continent should be based on.

Some have also considered Timothy McVeigh's bombing in Oklahoma City a "christian" terrorist act. It appears he was heavily influenced by the events of Waco, and he was certainly a christian. How much that effected the events on that horrific day is debated, but it was certainly a factor of some sort.

Anti-abortion violence is also a form of domestic christian terrorism. People taking their ideologies to the extreme and killing, abducting, bombing in the name of their god and their religion. Local militia groups are also on the rise in the U.S. and have shown some violent tendencies. One could also argue that the influence the catholic church has on sex and birth control is in effect killing millions of people in africa for no reason other than religious dogma. Government positions and laws on homosexuality, especially those in christian african nations, are another example. These people live in fear for their lives just because of who they are, who they can't change. Yes, even governments can be guilty of religious terrorist acts.

These are just a few noteworthy examples in recent times, but this kind of fervor is based in the same mindset of the atrocities of old. From the crusades to the inquisition to the witch and heretic trials. The justification for any of these acts can be found in the pages of your bible. It's in there. And people can interpret them in any way they like, but there are many ways to interpret the scriptures as a code of conduct with which to make the world conform to the teachings or die. The christian apologists of today can try to wiggle their way around the many passages calling for the murder of innocents (including children), slavery, oppression of women and other barbaric practices, but the text is in there and anyone with a screw loose can use them for terror just like muslim terrorists or hindu terrorists or any other.

The common theme, it seems to me, is the unwillingness of people to scrutinize what they actually claim to believe. To verify if the tenants they hold so dear are true, worthy, or admirable. Is the god you claim to worship who you really think he is? Are the accounts true or even plausible, or physically possible or supported by verifiable evidence? Spend time actually reading your holy books to see that these awful words are in there and can be the justification for much of the violence and hatred and terror in our world today. You may choose to ignore those passages that don't suit you, and that is, of course, your prerogative to do so. Just know that by doing so, you are enabling others to commit the most heinous of acts in the name of your same religion and your same "god".

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