Thursday, September 21, 2006

Christian Jihadists

You have heard it said of old, Do not kill, and whoever kills will be liable to judgment. But I say to you, that every one who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment....
You have heard it said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also....
You have heard it was said, You will love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
~ Jesus Christ, Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:21-22, 38-39, 43-44)
For those of us living in the United State to realize that there are people out there teaching their children that God wants them to kill innocent people is more than a little disconcerting. The realization that even in this age of the global village precious few of them will ever have the opportunity to practice what is preached to them is not very reassuring. It is more than disconcerting to know that right here in the United States there are devout, mainstream Christians teaching their small children to be "warriors for Christ."

Jesus Camp documentary clips are so ubiquitous a link is sufficient. Becky Fisher, head of the camp, is quoted saying she wants to "see them radically laying down their lives for the gospel as they are over in Pakistan and Israel and Palestine and all of these different places." There is no need to wonder how this is different than Islamic jihadists because Fisher is clear that there is no difference. Kill and be killed for Christ.

Using Jesus to Justify Killing
I never cease to be fascinated by the ways Christian jihadists parse the words of Jesus to "prove" He really, really supported killing people in a Just Cause. (Just Cause being defined as "the reason I want to kill you.") A common twisting of Jesus' words, sampled here, is to take the "turn the other cheek" statement and perverting it so it only refers to personal insults. Throughout His Sermon Jesus was laying down impossibly strict rules along the theme of peace and love, even to those who hate you. Yet, here, He suddenly gets all trivial and is just talking about getting slapped on the cheek. The form of the Sermon is consistent - don't do the greater violence and don't even do the lesser violence.

It is ludicrious, of course, but these are fanatics who want God on their side while they practice their hatred. Whether they are Muslim or Christian, their bloodlust exceeds their faith. They are more than willing to twist the teachings of their religions into unrecognizable knots to justify violence upon anyone who does not share their perversions.

Walter Wink on Jesus' pacifism.
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts. ~ Bertrand Russell
Fanaticism is religion caricatured; bears, indeed, about the same relation to it that a monkey bears to a man; yet, with many, contempt of fanaticism is received as a sure sign of hostility to religion. ~ Edwin Percy Whipple
Fanaticism obliterates the feelings of humanity. ~ Edward Gibbon

1 comment:

PoliShifter said...

This has been a great series! Thanks!