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“It sure looks like Islamic terrorism,” John Bolton educated Fox News viewers. After all “there is a substantial immigrant population from the Middle East in particular in Norway.”
“Muslim extremists,” agreed Laura Ingraham later that day.
The quick verdict from the Weekly Standard: “part of the jihadist hydra.”
Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal explained in detail the motivations for the Muslim attacks. Norway “will forever remain guilty of being what it is: a liberal nation committed to freedom of speech and conscience, equality between the sexes, representative democracy and every other freedom that still defines the West.” At last, we knew not only what religion was at the base of the attack, but what the terrorists were thinking.
Later, when it turned out the attacker was a self-described Christian acting on a Crusade against non-Christian immigrants, the explanations from some of the same sources was a sort of ratchet logic. Collective guilt is always at work, it seems, but it only goes one way.
The Wall Street Journal explained their preemptive accusations by saying they were only partly wrong. “Coordinated terrorist attacks are an Al-Qaeda signature. But copycats with different agendas are surely capable of duplicating its methods.” It was a theme picked up by other sources.
Oh sure, the attacks were not actually Muslim or Islamic. But that was simply detail. As Stephen Colbert put it satirically, they were “Muslish” and “Islam-esque.”
One reporter decided to actually dig out one or two facts. He subjected pro-Christian writings by the killer to a close analysis. He concluded that, although the Norwegian killer was inspired by various anti-Muslim American activists, his writing seemed mostly to have mimicked the manifesto of the Unabomber.
As details filtered in, it seemed the killer had acted alone. He had detonated a bomb that killed a few and injured others, then traveled to a youth celebration sponsored by a pro-tolerance political party. He walked around the site, an isolated island, killing anyone he could find.
The outrage in the United States was palpable. As reports came, a sizable number of folks in the US were furious. At. The. News. Reports. Themselves. How dare the news media report that the lone terrorist was a Christian! As Ann Coulter sputtered, as nearly as one can sputter in print, Christians simply don’t do these things. To the madman, Coulter explained, “Christian” simply meant non-Muslim.
She concluded with a little joke. It’s too bad the killer “wasn’t a Muslim extremist open about his Jihadist views, because I hear the Army is looking for a new psychiatrist down at Fort Hood.” Get it? I don’t either.
The anger about the fellow’s religious identity may seem a little obscure, but we can speculate. It is probably not purely defensive. There is not a sizable segment of public sentiment bent on smearing all Christians as terrorists. However, the fact that occasional Christians kill large numbers of people does tend to disrupt the narrative of those who would smear all Muslims using the same logic.
I am sympathetic to the view that the man who walked casually through a campground filled with happy young people, taking aim and killing kids, could not have been a meaningful follower of the Prince of Peace. And yet I am amazed at those who cannot bring themselves to behave just as reasonably toward sincere followers of other faiths.
In point of fact, Norwegian bigot and murderer Anders Behring Breivik is, in a very important way, a co-religionist with Osama bin Laden, Timothy McVeigh, and Scott Roeder, the killer of Dr. George Tillman. They all were idealists in the sense that some ideal was more important to each than actual human life. Real people became mere collateral damage, the necessary price to achieving a higher goal. The ideal became more important than the lives of others.
They did not worship together to be sure, but they all followed the same basic dogma. With each killing, each step on the way, each step following, they all were members of the same deadly denomination, united by the same intoxicating communion of blood and flesh. And Oklahoma City, New York, Washington, Oslo, and one Doctor in Kansas City encountered that most perfectly dangerous of all the Lord’s creatures.
The one who knows that God is on his side.
This article is republished here with permission of its author and guest contributor Burr Deming. It originally appeared today at FairandUnbalanced.com. Graphics courtesy of MadMikesAmerica