Bobby Blarns and Islamic Terrorism

The following account is fictional.

A devoted Christian man, Bobby Blarns, pledging allegiance to the Ku Klux Klan, a Protestant sect determined to restore traditional Christian values to American society, perpetrated a mass murder at an black community center. Forty-nine black people are dead.

You might suppose that his allegiance to the KKK tells us something about the motive behind the shooting or that, at least, we might consider the possibility. But we are told by politicians and pundits that, on the contrary, we must resist wondering whether belief and association had anything to do with the shootings. The media decries “Christophobia” at the suggestion that the shooter’s ideological commitments had anything to do with his crime. There is nothing in the Judeo-Christian tradition, the politicians tell us, that would cause anybody to kill members of another group. Indeed, Christianity is a “religion of peace.” And, although the KKK claimed responsibility for the attack, it’s unclear whether Blarns was really associated with that organization.

Make nothing of the shooting of blacks at an office party last year by a devoted Christian couple. Or that time when Christians knocked down those skyscrapers killing nearly 3,000 people. Or that time a Christian shot up military recruitment facility killing four recruiters. Or that time a Christian soldier killed 13 people and wounded 30 others at an Army base while shouting: “Jesus is the way and the truth and the light!” Or all the abortion clinic bombings and shootings at the hands of Christians. Only to Christophobes do these events suggest pattern and cause. Tolerant and reasonable people know better.

Back to the real world.

We should be thankful that Christians in the United States are not shooting up gay bars and knocking down skyscrapers. At the same time, we should acknowledge what lies behind abortion clinic bombings: religious zealotry. We must recognize that Christian terrorism does exist. But we also must recognize that it pales in comparison to Islamic terrorism.

But I have to wonder: if Christian terrorism were on the scale of Islamic terrorism, would anyone doubt for a moment that progressives would be out in force calling it what it is and rightly condemning it?

Since 1990, there have been eleven fatalities in attacks on abortion clinics or abortion doctors, attacks clearly motivated by the Christian teaching that abortion is murder. Progressives had no problem identifying the problem: Christian zealotry. Muslims Syed Farook and Tashfeed Malik killed fourteen people at an office party last year. Muslim Omar Mateen killed 49 people at a gay bar this year. Both attacks were motivated by Islamist teachings. Yet we are told to avoid blaming their belief system for these attacks.

When I was out there naming Christian doctrine as a motive in the abortion clinic attacks, nobody complained. Nobody around me was going on about my “Christophobia.” I didn’t once hear that accusation. But when Muslims motivated by Islam six times more people in just the last two years (and since 1990, the toll from Muslim terrorism exceeds 3000 persons—and that’s just in the United States) those who identify a motive are accused of “Islamophobia” for suggesting that an ideology is playing a role in terrorist violence.

These are the same people who believe a New York Businessman taking about restricting immigration from countries with a history of terrorism is “fascism,” but bombing the actual fuck out of Muslim countries in Yemen, Libya, and Syria represents the work of a “successful and scandal-free president.” The same people who claim to stand up for women, homosexuals, and other oppressed groups, but who then wear the symbol of oppressive modesty in solidarity with a totalitarian culture.

I am a person of the left, a socialist who believes in gender and racial equality and who opposes religious oppression. It’s a lonely place to be these days.

Published by

Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

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