Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Anders Breivik is a Christian terrorist

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Anders Behring Breivik
Anders Behring Breivik

And ’round we go again. There was a terrorist attack in Norway, perpetrated by (if not amongst other as-of-yet unknown entities) a deranged Christian. So, naturally, the ever-reliable US Christian-Right has been only too quick in its denunciation of Anders Breivik’s crimes against humanity self-professed religious beliefs. Because, of course, no True ChristianTM would ever commit mass murder. And because he never said he was “killing in the name of Jesus” (unlike all those Muslim terrorists who kill in the name of Allah!).

This game is as boringly predictable as it is mind-numbingly stupid, not to mention transparently hypocritical. For the first few hours of media hysterics over the then-burgeoning nightmare in Oslo, the media (particularly right-wing factions) was only too quick to lay the blame at the feet of Islam and its adherents, even before the Norwegian police itself had any idea who was behind the attacks. “It’s gotta be an Islamic terrorist! It has to be some Muslim (probably a brown one, eh?) who had to be chanting something with ‘Allah’!”

And yet, the very second we learn the culprit was a non-brown non-Allah-chanting non-Muslim, even a stoplight doesn’t flicker from yellow to red as fast as the Rightist punditry went from blaming it on one particular religion to fervently denying it. “No, it can’t be a Christian! Christians don’t kill! (Not in the name of Jesus, anyway!)”

Let’s get one thing straight: Anders Breivik is a Christian terrorist.

The point that everyone feverishly decrying the man’s Christian beliefs is missing (among others) is that it really doesn’t matter whether or not Breivik did what he did “in the name of Jesus” (or God, or any other substitute that falls within Christian cannon). One can be a Christian terrorist, or an Islamic terrorist, or an atheistic or Buddhist or Jewish or Taoist terrorist, without acting “in the name of” whatever supernatural entities they believe in. One only has to be a Christian/Muslim/atheist/Buddhist/Jew/Taoist. “<type> terrorist” can mean either what someone is acting for, or simply what someone believes in. That’s simple English grammar for you. Denying it isn’t merely dumb or dishonest; it’s ignorant to the point where it gives license to third graders to mock you.

And what is it that makes Anders Breivik a Christian? Himself. He has openly and (very) repeatedly stated that he considers himself to be a Christian. Ergo, he’s a Christian. People (and not just in this case, but in general, on all sides) need to stop bullshitting about whether someone is or isn’t of a particular faith. If you say you are a Christian, you are a Christian. If you say you are a Muslim – or an atheist, or Jew, or a liberal or conservative or anything else that revolves around ideology*, particularly a specific religious belief – then that is what you are. Anyone who claims otherwise is only kidding themselves, or trying to pass the buck by denying some potential religious or political affiliation with whoever it is they’re railing against.

Oslo perpetrator Anders Breivik is a Christian terrorist. By his own profession, he is a Christian; by his own actions, he is a terrorist. That is simply how logic and linguistics work. Denying this is denying reality. That’s really all there is to it. Of course, it does not mean that other Christians have any sort of an obligation to personally denounce the man specifically to prove that they don’t share his particular beliefs, no more than atheists need denounce the likes of Stalin for perpetuating mass murder under an anti-religious regime (not that anti-atheist cranks will ever grok that). It also doesn’t mean that they must be associated with the crazies in their group. Fringe dwellers are, by definition, not to be taken as part of the mainstream, unless they grow to the point where they can no longer be considered a “fringe” (such as with the Tea Party movement). But, until mass-murdering religious zealots become mundane occurrences, they shall always be relegated to the outermost margins of any given population.

People of any faith and caste can act in any way they see fit, for better or for worse. One is not precluded from doing evil by mere virtue of being Christian. It’s more than time that people stopped pretending otherwise. The fact that there aren’t as many Christian terrorists as Islamic ones means nothing about the beliefs; after all, Christianity is essentially merely a matured and pacified version of Islam. Both share equally disturbing and blood-thirsty roots and archaic tenets, which modern adherents simply ignore. Modern Christians (at least in the West) are simply better at cherry-picking which parts of their holy book they live by and disregarding the more unsavory bits than are militant Islamists. It’s really all about culture.

Anders Breivik is a Christian. That’s just how it is. Stop protesting it like insecure children who were told Santa doesn’t exist and deal with it.

* This is distinct from matters of accomplishments; ie. one’s claims of being an artist or LGBT rights advocate can be effectively disproved if they possess no creative bone in their body and work to oppose same-sex marriage.