"Artist Immerses Cross in Urine. Christians Riot Worldwide, Death Toll Mounting."Although the headlines seem familiar, they’re reversed. When Islam is denigrated in any way, violence is actual or threatened. Christianity is attacked with impunity, and no violence results.
"Artist “Paints” Virgin Mary Using Feces. Art Museums Ransacked and Burned by Christians."
"Islamic Cleric Insults Jesus. Crowds of Christians Attack not only Mosques, but Worshipers Exiting Mosques."
"Crèche Scene Removed from Civic Center. Conservative Christians Threaten Lives of City Council."
Yet we still hear from liberals and progressives that Christianity is a “violent religion.” The specter of the Crusades (900+ years ago) is most often raised. Abortion clinic bombings are cited. Foreign wars are also raised as examples.
Some even try to characterize the current war in Iraq as a “Christianity vs. Islam” conflict. The initial casualties, including thousands of deaths, of the Iraq war were appalling, as is the case in all warfare. Now, though, the fact is that there is much more internecine violence between Muslims of different sects than there is Americans killing Iraqis. This has never been a religious war on our part.
One recent commenter to this site seems to believe that I, and people like me, somehow approve of violence done by Christians. I had mentioned to this writer that I wasn’t aware of any religious warfare today involving Christians. In addition to raising the Crusades, he says the following:
“The German Christians (representing many denominations) who supported Hitler's National Socialist agenda in the 1930s and 40s to exterminate Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, and others. The majority of the world recognizes this as attempted genocide.”The subservience of the nationalist German Church to Hitler is a terrible stain in the history of Christianity. But the genocide of WWII was not done in the name of religion or in the name of Christ. Hitler was a pseudo-pagan whose faith was best expressed in Wagnerian Opera, not Christian hymns.
Orthodox Christians held out against Hitler and everything he did. The Barmen Declaration, written in the mid-1930s, demonstrated that traditional Christianity resisted, sometimes even to death. The nationalist Church, coming out of the liberal tradition, wrote hymns to Hitler and included the Nazi salute as a church ritual. When one doesn’t have a clear faith, one can be vulnerable to any alteration.
This writer goes on to mention what he considers to be modern religious war, part of which was perpetrated in Jesus' name.
“Serbian and Bosnian Serb forces (Orthodox Christians) who perpetrated the ethnic cleansing of Bosniaks (Muslims) and Bosnian Croats (Roman Catholics) in Bosnia in the early 1990s. International courts are still debating the question of genocide.”Chrissie and I have traveled frequently throughout Croatia and have been in Bosnia. We have friends there who lived through the vicious warfare of the 90s and we’ve personally witnessed the damage to villages and, particularly, churches. I have in my home a piece of rubble that used to be part of an altar in a destroyed Croatian church.
The warfare there was between Croats and Bosnians, largely seen respectively as Catholics and Muslims. The source of their ancient anger, though, is not their religion. It is surviving nationalist hatred dating back to the middle ages. I am not aware that any Christians or Muslims justified that war by their faith.
“White supremacists who intimidate, abuse, and/or murder people of other races and religions in an effort to keep Christianity and the human race ‘pure.’”There are white supremacists who, sadly, cover themselves in a mantle of so-called Christianity. These people, though, are more related to the 1934-45 German nationalist Church than Christianity. They do act in the name of Jesus (something the German church didn’t), which is reprehensible.
As bad as their thinking is, I’m not sure that they’ve done much violence. They bear watching, but they are such a tiny minority that they really represent no one but themselves.
“…Muslims cannot be held accountable as a group for the actions of extremists and terrorists who call themselves Muslims.”I wouldn’t blame a Muslim neighbor for actions done by terrorists, but I would hold her or him accountable if they refused to decry such violence. I do blame Muslim leaders who call themselves moderate, yet do not speak out against Islamic terrorism. I'd also like to ask this writer, "Why do you hold Christians accountable for all the accusations you make, yet feel we cannot do the same with Islam?"
I'll say it for myself. I am opposed to any and all violence done in the name of Jesus. If Christians blow up an abortion clinic, they are wrong. If they kill an abortionist, they must face the full effect of the law. (I have actually written newspapers saying these things.) If they deny someone their legal rights in the name of Jesus, they are wrong. If they persecute someone because he or she is not Christian, they are wrong. If our nation says that it must invade another because Jesus calls for it, I'll join the picket lines in opposition.
But there really is religious warfare going on right now. If you found yourself in a city center, surrounded by thousands of people shouting “Jesus is Lord,” would you fear for your life? What if it were thousands of people shouting “Allah u akbar”? There is religious war today, but it is not being perpetrated by those who follow Jesus.
Tomorrow I’ll write further on this subject.
Keep praying—keep the faith,