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Norway, Oklahoma City, and the notion of Christian terrorism

July 28, 2011

Immediately after Friday’s bombing and murders in Norway, the natural assumption was that Muslims were guilty of another atrocity.  Then, when the killer turned out to be a blond-haired Norwegian nutcase (pardon the redundancies), people started comparing the situation to Oklahoma City.  “This attack was probably more Norway’s Oklahoma City than Norway’s World Trade Centre,” said a local police official.

That comparison is seriously flawed but nevertheless became the motif for news coverage around the world.

Liberals quickly labeled the killer, Anders Behring Breivik, a “fundamentalist Christian” and were practically giddy with delight at having a chance to take potshots at one of their favorite targets: the religion of Christianity.  They started howling about premature assumptions by various conservative pundits that the killers were probably Muslim extremists.

“This was done by a CHRISTIAN!  Conservatives should be ashamed of themselves for assuming Muslims did it!”

First of all, let’s admit it: even Muslims themselves were assuming that Muslims did it.  After all, Islam’s extremists commit atrocities daily so it’s rational to assume that when a bomb goes off somewhere in the world with the intention of killing civilians, or a man makes a point of slaughtering innocent children, that Muslims are responsible.  99.9% of the time that assumption will turn out correct.

(For anybody who thinks the word “daily” is an exaggeration, click here to see the 2011 Islamic terrorism list: from January 1 through July 11—just 192 days—there were 1,010 acts of terrorism committed by Muslims, causing 4,946 deaths and 9,032 injuries.  That’s more than five acts of terrorism per day by Muslims acting in the name of their religion, causing more than twenty five deaths per day.)

If the statistics weren’t enough to support the early assumption that Muslims did it, the fact that several Islamic terrorist groups slithered out from under their rocks and eagerly claimed credit for the Norway murders… well, that pretty much persuaded anybody who was on the fence suspicion-wise.

There are three other problems with the orgy of liberal self-righteousness regarding the Norway event, with its comparison with Oklahoma City, and with the notion that both are examples of Christian terrorism:

One—Anders Breivik is not Christian

The one requirement for being Christian is accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  That’s it—a simple rule, impossible to misinterpret or redefine.  If somebody says they do, and we have our doubts, then as Christians we are taught to leave the measuring of the sincerity of their faith to God while we accept them at their word as fellow Christians.

There is no such dispute in Breivik’s case because minutes before leaving to carry out his dastardly acts he uploaded to the Internet a 1,500-page barfosity titled, “2083: A European Declaration of Independence,” which explains his reasoning for what he was about to do, and describes himself and his philosophy.  On page 1,308 of this manifesto he wrote the following words:
“A majority of so called agnostics and atheists in Europe are cultural conservative Christians without even knowing it.  So what is the difference between cultural Christians and religious Christians?  If you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and God then you are a religious Christian.  Myself and many more like me do not necessarily have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and God.  We do however believe in Christianity as a cultural, social, identity and moral platform.  This makes us Christian.”
Um, no, it doesn’t.  Although he ends this passage by calling himself Christian, he clearly means something else, something related to Western European civilization rather than religion, and he clearly describes himself as somebody who has not accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior.

By definition alone, then, Mr. Breivik is not Christian and to dissolve any further doubts he elsewhere mentions that “It is therefore essential to understand the difference between a Christian fundamentalist theocracy (everything we do not want) and a secular European society based on our Christian cultural heritage (what we do want).”  Also essential is that “science take an undisputed precedence over biblical teachings.”

Notice that the only mention of “fundamentalist Christianity” in the manifesto is to abhor it.

Two—Timothy McVeigh was not a Christian either

The comparison of Norway and Oklahoma City, based on the motif that both were Christian terrorists, breaks down even further when McVeigh’s religious beliefs are examined.  In a letter he wrote to the UK Guardian, he claimed to be an agnostic and defiantly stated that if it did turn out there was an afterlife he would “improvise, adapt and overcome,” and “if I’m going to hell I’m gonna have a lot of company.”

As with Breivik, we don’t have to worry about his lack of sincerity or quibble about the manner of his acceptance of Jesus as Savior—we have his own words denying God.

Lou Michel, author of a book titled American Terrorist: Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing, wrote, “McVeigh is agnostic.  He doesn’t believe in God, but he won’t rule out the possibility.”

The sole justification for the mainstream media labeling McVeigh a Christian was that he was raised a Catholic.  He admitted falling away from the Church but in 2001 grudgingly stated to Time Magazine that “I do believe in a God, yes.”  That was in 2001, remember—six years after killing 168 people by blowing up the Alfred P. Murrah Building and mere weeks before his execution.

Funny how impending death concentrates a man’s attention on the existence of God.

Hopefully, Mr. McVeigh reconciled with God before he died, but we know he wasn’t a Christian when he committed his terrorist act.  We know that from his own words.

Three—the Oklahoma City bombing was perpetrated by Muslims

In the July/August issue of the magazine Scientific American Mind, there’s an article titled, “Lingering Lies,” that explains how the human mind tends to hold on to false facts even after they’ve been retracted.  According to a study from the University of Western Australia, “even if you understand, remember and believe the retractions, this misinformation will still affect your inferences.”  This is caused by the way our memory is constantly connecting new information to old information and tying everything together, “so that we may still unconsciously draw on facts we know to be wrong.”

This pernicious influence of false facts upon the human mind is the only possible explanation for the continued belief in the falsehood that Timothy McVeigh acted alone on the day he detonated his truck bomb in Oklahoma City.  This is simply and demonstrably untrue.  It’s not a debatable point, or dubious, or open to dispute between reasonable people, or an issue of evidence which is open to interpretation, or anything involving “gray areas”—Middle Eastern Muslims are responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing.

It is doubtful that anybody in local law enforcement in Oklahoma City, or anybody in state law enforcement in Oklahoma, or anybody involved in federal law enforcement still believes the official government line from the 1990s that Timothy McVeigh was alone that day, or was the primary culprit.  Even a cursory reading of Jayna Davis’s meticulously researched book The Third Terrorist is enough to convince the most skeptical reader that there was Middle Eastern complicity, direction, and financing of this terrorist act.

So what does it really mean when people compare Norway to Oklahoma City?  Well, they’re either ignorant, relying on “lingering lies,” or...

Or they know something about the Norway event.  Something the rest of us don’t know.  Maybe the “rightwing Christian nutcase acting alone” story is being used to cover up the truth in Norway, too.

From Reno, Nevada, USA       

July 28, 2011 - Why are you picking on Norwegians? For crying out loud, they just had a national tragedy and you're making fun of them! - Peter P., Oregon
J.P. replies: I still haven’t forgiven them for turning the Nobel Peace Prize into an international award for being the most politically correct idiot on the planet.  Al Gore and Barack Obama?  Please.  No wonder they have policemen without guns and a SWAT team helicopter that wouldn’t fly.

July 28, 2011 - I can't believe that garbage you wrote man. Usually I think you have something to say but the only thing your article did was to basically say that the Norweigian wasn't Christian. Nothing about the atrocity of his crime against humanity. I don't give a damn what the guys professed religion or view of civilization was and frankly it shouldn't matter to anyone who cares about the victims of his crime. It's obvious that you carry little sympathy for the victims of this horrible crime and instead are focusing on Muslims and how many terrorist acts they've committed. Evil is evil and all people are capable of acts of good and terrible acts of evil regardless of their professed spiritual views. You're acting shallow, insincere and petty. - Mahndisa R., Seattle

July 28, 2011 - I just love your [unfortunate use of "b" word edited out of this comment] JP. I also love the fact people are commenting and you rile up the liberals! GO JP GO! I am in harmony with most everything you write. =) - Amy B., Reno

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