‘Christian terrorism’ is a jarring, but accurate, term

April 8, 2010


A few words about Christian terrorism.

And I suppose the first words should be about “those” words: “Christian terrorism.” The term will seem jarring to those who’ve grown comfortable regarding terrorism as something exclusive to Islam.

That this is a self-deluding fallacy should have long since been apparent to anyone who’s been paying attention. From Eric Rudolph’s bombing of the Atlanta Olympics, a gay nightclub and two abortion clinics to the so-called Phineas Priests who bombed banks, a newspaper and a Planned Parenthood Office in Spokane, from Matt Hale soliciting the murder of a federal judge in Chicago to Scott Roeder’s assassination of abortion provider Dr. George Tiller, from brothers Matthew and Tyler Williams murdering a gay couple near Redding, Calif., to Timothy McVeigh destroying a federal building and 168 lives in Oklahoma City, we have seen no shortage of “Christians” who believe Jesus requires — or at least allows — them to commit murder.

If federal officials are correct, we now have one more name to add to the dishonor roll. That name would be Hutaree, a self-styled Christian militia in Michigan, nine members of which have been arrested and accused of plotting to kill police officers in hopes of sparking an anti-government uprising.

Many of us would doubtless resist referring to plots like this as Christian terrorism, feeling it unfair to tar the great body of Christendom with the actions of its fringe radicals. And here, we will pause for Muslim readers to clear their throats loudly.

While they do, let the rest of us note that there is a larger moral to this story and it has less to do with terminologies than similarities.

We are conditioned to think of terror wrought by Islamic fundamentalists as something strange and alien and other. It is the violence of men with long beards who jabber in weird languages and kill for mysterious reasons while worshipping God in ways that seem outlandish to middle American sensibilities. And whatever quirk of nature or deficiency of humanity it is that allows them to do what they do, is, we think, unique. There is, we are pleased to believe, a hard, immutable line between us and Them.

Then you consider Hutaree and its alleged plan to kill in the name of God, and the idea of some innate, saving difference between us and those bearded others in other places begins to feel like a fiction we conjured to help us sleep at night.

“Preparing for the end time battles to keep the testimony of Jesus Christ alive,” it says on Hutaree’s Web site. And you wonder: Who is this Jesus they worship and in what Bible is he found? Why does he bear so little resemblance to the Jesus others find in their Bibles, the one who said that if someone hits you on your right cheek, offer him your left, the one who said if someone forces you to go one mile with him, go two, the one who said love your enemies.

Why does their Jesus need the help of men in camo fatigues with guns and bombs? In this, he is much like the Allah for whom certain Muslims blow up marketplaces and crowded buses. Muslim and American terrorists, it seems, both apparently serve a puny and impotent God who can’t do anything without their help.

Sometimes, I think the only thing that keeps us from becoming, say, Afghanistan, is a strong central government and a diverse population with a robust tradition of free speech. The idea that there is something more is a conceit that blows apart like confetti every time there is, as there is now, a sense of cultural dislocation and economic uncertainty. That combination unfailingly moves people out to the fringes where they seek out scapegoats and embrace that feeble God. And watching, you can’t help but realize the troubling truth about that line between “us” and “Them.”

It’s thinner than you think.

— Leonard Pitts Jr., winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, is a columnist for the Miami Herald. He chats with readers from noon to 1 p.m. CDT each Wednesday on www.MiamiHerald.com. lpitts@miamiherald.com


barrypenders 8 years, 1 month ago

The Pitts needs to take the 'Blessed Ones' cue and not 'Fractionalize' Christians. For the Pitts though, the Goose does not have to do what is good for the Gander. Pitts needs to have the same 'Love' for Christians as the Arabic named president of the this country has for Muslims. The Pitts must be following Janey Napoleontano's cue of hating 'Right-Wing' Terrorists.

"That shift away from terrorism has been building for a year, since Obama went to Cairo and promised a "new beginning" in the relationship between the U.S. and the Muslim world. The White House believes the previous administration based that relationship entirely on fighting terrorism and winning the war of ideas"

"You take a country where the overwhelming majority are not going to become terrorists, and you go in and say, 'We're building you a hospital so you don't become terrorists.' That doesn't make much sense," National Security Council staffer Pradeep Ramamurthy said."

Stimulus, PAD Idealogues Fractionalize Christians, and Posercare live unprecedented

Darwin bless us all

georgiahawk 8 years, 1 month ago

Barry, it is so easy to see when you are quoting someone, it is the only time there is a coherent sentence in your post!

Brent Garner 8 years, 1 month ago

Let me see, Pitts cites a minority--a very small minority--of lunatic fringers and implies that we have wide spread "Christian" terrorism. Let me see. If we compare this rate of terrorism Pitts cites with the rate of terrorism from those of Middle Eastern religious/ethnic extraction--remember, the Usurper has forbidden the term Islamic Extremist--we get an interesting picture. First, it would appear according to news reports from Arabic, European, and even leftist American media that the majority of clerics in the religion of peace--remember Islamic extremism is now banned as a referenced term--endorse, support, advocate the use of violence to spread the religion of peace--see previous reference to banned term--and/or advocate, endorse, support the use of violence to subjugate the non-believer. Compare this to the majority of Christian pastors, bishops, clergy and you will find that there is no similar outpouring of support, advocacy, or endorsement of violence in support of Christianity. Does Pitts live in the same world as the rest of us?

thebigspoon 8 years, 1 month ago

bk, just exactly what does "widespread" mean to you, and where, exactly, did you get the idea from this opinion piece, that "Christian terrorism" has to be "widespread to be wrong? If one act of terrorism (or radicalist action that harms anyone) is ok, but "widespreade" is not, just where do you draw the line? Isn't it time to quit responding to the man and respond to the question? The opinion here expressed by Pitts is simply that it's time to recognize ALL acts that further no cause other than violence, bigotry, intolerance and all the other non-productive actions taken by those who had a hard time poptty-training and feel a terrible inferiority to rational, thinking people of any race, creed or political thought. I do not agree at all times with all Pitts says, but, you must admit, he is unerrinhgly on the side of values that would make the world a better place to live and raise children. Any disagreement with that? The point is that there are these things happening in all parts of the world and we as a human race would be better offf if the weren't happening. The degree to which any person or group of persons practice these acts, in the long run, makes no difference, as they are all demeaning to the whole of humankind and to us as individuals.

Stephen Roberts 8 years, 1 month ago

My question is if the any of Christian terroritsts were black, would Pitts written this article??? My guess is probally not.

thebigspoon 8 years, 1 month ago

And you, commuter, are fomenting just the racist ideals of which Pitts speaks. What the hell difference does it make what color "terrorists" are.

And to answer your question more specifically, you might want to read some of Pitts' past pieces in which he decries the racism and bigoted actions of (gasp!) black people. Might be an eye-opener.

jaywalker 8 years, 1 month ago

Lunatics are everywhere. No doubt about it.

Bucker00 8 years, 1 month ago

I like how they use McVeigh consistently, even though in his disjointed manifesto he proclaims himself to be an atheist. But hey, Pitts has the truth he wants. This article is a joke.

geekyhost 8 years, 1 month ago

In an interview with Time: MCVEIGH: I was raised Catholic. I was confirmed Catholic (received the sacrament of confirmation). Through my military years, I sort of lost touch with the religion. I never really picked it up, however I do maintain core beliefs.

TIME: Do you believe in God?

MCVEIGH: I do believe in a God, yes. But that's as far as I want to discuss. If I get too detailed on some things that are personal like that, it gives people an easier way alienate themselves from me and that's all they are looking for now.

Seth Peterson 8 years, 1 month ago

Bucker is confused, he meant to say that McVeigh was a theist (tricky space bar I'm sure).

Bucker00 8 years, 1 month ago

As Ludus points out, that could be a point of confusion on my part. Do not remember the interview geek points to, but would be willing to admit my mistake. Still, he points to a very small majority. As has been pointed out, many of those willing to jump on this bandwagon do not want to use the same term in describing other religions/belief systems. Truly, Pitts had to handpick a very few individuals from a very large number. He's not willing to do so with another very much more radical, and significantly larger group from another group. I do not remember him proclaiming his belief in god as his reason for his actions. Unless you can point to where he has done so, the term "christian terrorist" still does not define him.
Terrorist; sure. I'll go along with that.

geekyhost 8 years, 1 month ago

Perhaps he should have said Terry Nichols, who was unequivocally a Christian. After all, that one name completely invalidated the entire argument that people can misinterpret religious texts and do horrible things.

Flap Doodle 8 years, 1 month ago

Just look at all the beheading videos Methodists have posted on the interwebs.

Graczyk 8 years, 1 month ago

Or those Presbyterians that tend to blow up in public places. I'm ever vigilant for that.

geekyhost 8 years, 1 month ago

How dare you bring reason and thoughtful opinions into this discussion!

Here, let me help: No true Scotsman would kill in the name of Jesus. And look at that red herring over there. Why it's a man, and he's made of straw. I bet he's a Muslim.

BorderRuffian 8 years, 1 month ago

No, I disagree. I think that Pitts falls under the standard Demolib trance that so many of our ultra-liberal Congress has fallen under. That is, we Americans OUGHT to hate and be ashamed of whatever it is we believe, and however it is we live our lives. Since this is (for a while longer, perhaps) a basically Judeo-Christian nation, and since anti-Semitism is too hot a potato (as it ought to be) to touch, it is therefore necessary that we espouse a national shame for Christianity. Pitts would do much better to promote the positive virtues Christianity brings to the table, rather than seeking out a few splinter groups and vilifying the rest of the Christians because of them.

geekyhost 8 years, 1 month ago

So you're saying you interpret the Bible in exactly the same way as every single other adherent? Because otherwise, I'm not sure why you'd have shame of Christianity instead of shame/anger/whatever at the splinter groups that perpetrate violence in its name.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 1 month ago

"Does Pitts live in the same world as the rest of us?"

I'm sure Pitts doesn't live in your world of hypocrisy, BK.

Paul R Getto 8 years, 1 month ago

Sadly, humans have proven over and over again any 'loving god' can be turned into an excuse for terror and murder. If the skygods were real, they would pop on down here and kick some serious ass.

yourworstnightmare 8 years, 1 month ago

Pitts is right on target. Terrorism is terrorism, whether employed by muslim or christian or whatever-ian.

This is a tough binky for christian right-wingerm cry babies to suck, so they scream like colicky infants.

Suck on christian terrorism, cry-baby right-wingers.

Teabaggers, rebel! Take to the street! Your president, Barack Hussein Obama, is a black man of Kenyan ancestry. Take your country back! Hutareeeeeeeee! Lame!

Sad trombones for christian right wing cry-babies: waaaa waaaa waaaa waaaaaaaaaaaa.

Flap Doodle 8 years, 1 month ago

Our Pantone 138 Kansas-heritage President.......

yourworstnightmare 8 years, 1 month ago


The president is near! The president is near!

DontGoThere 8 years, 1 month ago

I totally get what Pitts is saying and it makes sense. Terrorism is not the norm for Christianity nor is it the norm for Muslims... yet it's easy for "muslim terrorists" to roll off our tongue, not so easy for the other. Valid point and great job of "putting the shoe on the other foot".

And, this isn't a black or white thing... some people!

Ralph Reed 8 years, 1 month ago

@tanzer and DontGoThere. Good posts, both of you. Terrorism is terrorism, period. ** @Tom. Get off your anti- President Obama rant. At no point does Pitts mention President Obama.

Try and stick to the point of his opinion piece. There are Christian terrorists, you and I both know that. Pitts uses examples from the US simply because most people will recognize them. Have you forgotten about the KKK, as well as the IRA, the "New Arian Nation" groups, neo-Nazis, and so on all over the world? It appears that you have in your desire to twist every thread to an anti-President Obama rant.

trinity 8 years, 1 month ago

thank you, tanzer. yours was about the only coherent and logical post on this whole damn thread.

gogoplata 8 years, 1 month ago

Instead of going down the same stupid road, why not admit that they got it wrong the first time. Just call them terrorists. Does it matter if they are Muslim, Christian, Hindu, flying spaghetti monster, etc.

Ralph Reed 8 years, 1 month ago

FSM terrorists? That's horrible. Imagine the noodles, sauce and meatball pieces everywhere.

On the other hand, you're completely correct in calling them simply terrorists.

werekoala 8 years, 1 month ago

I get Pitt's point, which is that terrorist != Arab Muslim.

That said, I don't think "terrorist" needs an adjective, most of the time. The vast majority of adherents to ANY ideology, religion, faction, etc are by and large decent people with certain opinions. Then there are the 1% of violent nutjobs. I think they're pretty evenly distributed, and the same guy who's born in Afghanistan and joins the Taliban would have joined Westboro Baptist Church or Aryan Nation if he'd been born in the US.

Basically, an ahole is an ahole; why argue over the flavor?

Jimo 8 years, 1 month ago

"Sometimes, I think the only thing that keeps us from becoming, say, Afghanistan, is a strong central government and a diverse population with a robust tradition of free speech."

In other words, the West is a post-Enlightenment world, which among other things separates religious and secular affairs (to some extent) by placing reason over religion as the organizing societal principle. (From that flowed the American and French Revolutions, market-based capitalism, the scientific method, and the conception of tolerance especially religious tolerance as a virtue.)

The Muslim world never has had such a similar event. Islam is an all-embracing guide to life including what we in the West would separate off as secular life (business, technology, politics, etc.). It is the extreme stress and contradiction from a foreign-derived sense of Enlightenment (modernism) grafted onto traditional (medieval really) culture of many traditional Islamic societies that leads to the prevalence of current violence in the Middle East.

The West's societal evolution however only came after centuries of violence and upheaval. (European history is filled with religious terrorism, whether the losers are branded heretics such as the Cathars, Bogomils, Arians, or some other variety of Gnostics, and ruthlessly slaughtered man, woman, and child, or the wastelands created by the reformation and counter-reformation.) Pitts' point here is only that there remains the occasional backlash in our own society, sometimes violent (often non-violent but still repressive such as the religious objection to secular marriage).

One can only hope the guide of the West (and for that matter some alternative Asian examples) can lead the Muslim world more quickly through its growth pains than over a few centuries.

feeble 8 years, 1 month ago

Recent actions by the Texas school board cast doubt on your thesis. For example, according to that board, Thomas Aquinas is an Enlightment-era philosopher, while Thomas Jefferson is not.

Religious extremism exists in all quarters of the globe. Consider Aum Shinrikyo, who gassed a Tokyo Subway. It is facile to label it as an middle-east vs west problem.

Seth Peterson 8 years, 1 month ago

Sometimes he doesn't even attack - he just runs, combine his initial post in response to this letter to the editor: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2010/mar... (where he does nothing but post quotes created by others, as if he had actually said something) together with his comment here and it's obvious he not only doesn't understand anything he comments on, but is also on the verge (along with Tom and Penders, as well as others) of being one of those referenced.

We are fortunate none of them have any actual ability to change anything and have can do nothing more than do maniacal rants while trolling on here. :)

As mentioned by others above - terrorism is terrorism, whether it is from those who have conflicting or similar views or were physical born at a location farther, rather than closer, to you, or whether it is directed by opposing groups/government or your own government or groups you include yourself in.

ferrislives 8 years, 1 month ago

TomShewmon, I went to your link and tried to find where it says that "Blacks are 50 times more likely to attack whites than vice versa.". The link you've provided doesn't prove that point. Please show proof of this statement, and also provide what crimes blacks are "attacking" whites with according to that proof.

I do see that blacks make up a huge majority of the prison population, but I'm curious to know what crimes all of those blacks have committed vs. whites. I'll bet a lot of them are drug related and petty crimes. I clicked a link from your linked site, and found this graph: http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/glance/race.cfm. For violent crimes, blacks and whites aren't that far apart according to this data provided by the US Dept of Justice.

Concerning the article itself, terrorism is terrorism, regardless of the "cause". It is funny that when a person is in a religion, they defend actions of their religions' terrorist act, while chastising other religions for doing the same. Isn't that the same logic that the Taliban and Al-Qaeda use? Pure hypocrisy.

bruno2 8 years, 1 month ago

"The President, the President!" Oops, the record's stuck, oops, the record's stuck, oops, the record's stuck...

Jay Keffer 8 years, 1 month ago

Then let's start calling what is happening in parts of the Catholic church a gay sex scandal. That's what it is.

Jimo 8 years, 1 month ago

A "gay" sex scandal would require the participation of gays, would it not? While it's difficult to assign a sexuality to those who are supposedly chaste (and often are), our knowledge from the rest of humanity tells us that pedophiles and pederasts are overwhelmingly heterosexual in their adult sexuality (in excess of 90%) and that this tells us little to nothing about the gender of the children they have a sexual attraction to. (Indeed, quite a few pedophiles are attract to both genders.)

What's "happening in parts of the Catholic church" seems to be peculiarly Catholic. That is, what's "happening" is not that human beings disappoint, or that religious individuals turn out to be more typical than the exalted standards placed upon them, but that rather the Catholic Church seems to have a strangely difficult time prioritizing the interests of the children and dealing quickly, decisively, and definitively with the culprits. This is probably related to the Church's unique requirement of chastity, excessive hierarchical structure, and extreme cultural distaste for sexuality in general.

But, rest assured, making gays a scapegoat for the Church's own failure is an official element of the Vatican's own policy of denial, deflection, and digging-in ever deeper. Worked in Boston, don't you remember?

Jay Keffer 8 years, 1 month ago

To combat this issue, the Catholics should have screened out the gays. Guess the Boy Scouts were right after all.

Ralph Reed 8 years, 1 month ago

@HomeSlice. At the risk of sounding like I'm sniping at you but, "Don't look now, but your homophobia is showing." It's pedophilia, not a "gay sex scandal."

Paul R Getto 8 years, 1 month ago

"Pastafarians would never resort to such tactics" === Good points, and if they did, would it work? You can't hang someone with spaghetti and if you throw it at them, it just bounces off. Now, forcing another to eat at Olive Garden with their fake Italian food, that's terrorism!

monkeywrench1969 8 years, 1 month ago

Once again Pitts presents only part of the story. Just like the extremist Islamists (individuals who politisize their religion and conform it to fit their needs) he has simplified the Christian Extremists who commits acts of terror as just Christians. THose he factually cited to be Christian Terrosits were factually attached to a white power religion created/promoted in the late 1800's called the Christian Identity religion which believe in Jesus etc, but claim Jews are the descendants of Eve and the Serpent and the rest of non white races are from a less favorable union.

Christian Identity was created to try and legitimize racist views through a "higher power." Rudoplh and the other cronies (except for Hale whose group was based more on warped Darminian ideas) followed a preverted form of Christianity as do many of the Isamist Terrorists.

supertrampofkansas 8 years, 1 month ago

I don't know monkey. Sounds a lot like the "no true "insert whatever religion" excuse. You should see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman

yourworstnightmare 8 years, 1 month ago

Christian terrorists are every bit as much terrorists as Osama bin Laden. Scott bin Roeder. Timothy bin McVeigh. Eric bin Rudolph.

gogoplata 8 years, 1 month ago

Maybe they should be called White terrorists or American terrorists. We could call Roeder a Kansas terrorist. Maybe if they all shopped at Sears we could call them Sears terrorists. To be honest I'd just call Roeder a murderer not a terrorist. Calling someone a Christian terrorist is just as dumb as calling someone a Muslim terrorist. This is nothing but politically motivated BS.

thebigspoon 8 years, 1 month ago

Pendeers, you are a total idiot. Can you try to say something without the fake pomp and jsut say it? Try it just once and I'll be happy to leave you alone, but your lunacy is not going uncontested any longer. Believe it.

Flap Doodle 8 years, 1 month ago

Look at how the Mennonites rioted world-wide a few years ago over a cartoon of a guy wearing a black hat.

Corey Williams 8 years, 1 month ago

barrypenders (anonymous) says…

"I'm with Mahmoud."

April 8, 2010 at 4:49 p.m.


Flap Doodle 8 years, 1 month ago

Worth repeating: “ 28 March 2009 at 6:40 p.m. beobachter (Anonymous) says… Ok, I'm done, you don't need to ban my account, I won't be back.” ;)

Jay Keffer 8 years, 1 month ago

Same thing you say about any commenter on the right. Goose or gander?

jayhawklawrence 8 years, 1 month ago

Oops. Pitts fired a dud.

I know there is some sense in there somewhere but I hate having to guess what it is.

Mike Ford 8 years, 1 month ago

let's see, the pilgrims massacred the Wampanoag and Pequot people because they felt they were destined as god's people to take the property of "SAVAGES?" A militia from Pennsylvania massacred Moravian Munsee chirstian converts by tying their arms behinds their backs and beating 94 men, women and children to death on March 6, 1782, in the Gnadenhutten Massacre. I know people whose ancestors were murdered there who live here in Kansas currently. Methodist minister and Colorado militia leader John Chivington massacred hundreds of Cheyenne and Arapaho people flying a white flag of triuce on the Colorado prairie at Sand Creek in 1864. Euro-American Christian Supremacy was always used as an excuse to steal lands, rape indigenous women, and convert the culture out of Indians to make them "White" people like they did at Haskell from 1884 to 1925. There have always been Christian terrorists. Ask any Lakota, Dakota, or Nakota person who went through Catholic boarding schools from the 1880's to the 1960's. The Fathers and Nuns were the Christian terrorists who tormented and molested kids for decades. Read Tim Giago's "Children Left Behind" for the documentation of these statements. Indigenous peoples have known Christian terrorists since Christopher Columbus, Father Serra, and the Catholic leaders who terrorized the Pueblo people who would not convert and destroyed their kivas. We know all to well what Christian terrorists are capable of.

ferrislives 8 years, 1 month ago

Well your post happened in the past, so I've already forgotten about it!

All kidding aside, here's a quote for you:

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana

jonas_opines 8 years, 1 month ago

So I suppose you're also recommending we forget about 9/11, right? That's almost a decade old now.

Mike Ford 8 years, 1 month ago

the past exists into today because the guilty want to forget it. I'm Choctaw and I'm a minster's kid. the past that is to be allegedly forgotten only benefits a culture that doesn't admit culpability and practices the silencing of memories to try and become less complicit over time. Until you've set and listened to the missionary David Ziesberger's diary accounts of the Gnadenhutten Massacre of March 6, 1782, in Gnadenhutten, Ohio, with an 85 year old descendant of a Christianized Native American who was murdered that day and realize that a specific tribe exists because a couple of parents decided to send their kids away prior to that massacre you have no idea. The two kids who survived this massacre did so by clinbing over the bodies of their dead relatives and walking 200 miles to Fort Detroit. One of the survivors was a kid who survived being scalped. I've sat with this decendant and read about a tragedy that was referenced by Teddy Roosevelt as a stain on American History a century or so after it happened. These people were her christian Native American ancestors beaten with their arms tied behind their backs by militiamen from Pennsylvania. A culture that forgets this history is doomed to repeat it.

Chris Golledge 8 years, 1 month ago

The past should not be forgotten, but I'm wondering who is alive today who is guilty of a massacre that took place in 1782.

tomatogrower 8 years, 1 month ago

Probably no one, but the group that Mr. Pitts was discussing in his column was planning a massacre. And there are those on this forum who would have you believe that this is an isolated incident, that they do not reflect Christianity, and they are right about the second part. And that is what Mr. Pitts is saying, if they could pry open their closed minds long enough to read with comprehension. Neither do the radicals in Islam represent Islam. Let's just call all terrorists low life, immoral scum, and stop listening to their rantings about religion or politics. They are nothing by criminals, and should be treated that way by anyone who is human.

Chris Golledge 8 years, 1 month ago

Jaywalker had it 4 posts in.

Black, white, Christian, Muslim, Jew, who cares? Somewhere, at some time, someone who can be labeled as belonging to some group has done something awful to someone else belonging to some other group, for no other reason than that.

I do have a problem with how broadly the terrorist label is applied. Seems to me that a lot of who we are calling terrorists are just partisans, people feeling strongly enough about some cause to kill others, without the benefit of having the endorsement of some government.

jayhawklawrence 8 years, 1 month ago

Life in America before the white man was no Garden of Eden with tame lions walking around.

Maybe the white man was better at writing stuff down.

Almost everybody was fighting and killing somebody to survive.

There is plenty of blame to go around.

jayhawklawrence 8 years, 1 month ago

Pitt's article uses poor examples and poorer logic.

There is plenty of blame to go around when you bring up the past.

I think there is a limit to how much people should keep rehashing past wrongs.

I think I would have to grade Pitt's paper a D.

independant1 8 years, 1 month ago

Yeah, those christians are out of control but don't worry, the government has them under constant surveillance.

Flap Doodle 8 years, 1 month ago

Is "...jarring but accurate..." about the same as "...fake but accurate..."?

georgiahawk 8 years, 1 month ago

We need to rehash past wrongs until we learn not to repeat them!

kimmydarling 8 years, 1 month ago

He thinks Obama is a secret muslim out to destroy America.

That or he's thrown a clot

kimmydarling 8 years, 1 month ago

He has an arabic name! HATE HIM!

Just like anyone with a german name has nazi sympathies.. anyone with a french name thinks Napoleon was just keen! Spanish name? ALL for the inquisition!

YAY! Ethnic stereotypes for everyone!

thebigspoon 8 years, 1 month ago

Penders, just say something. Quit hiding behind a facade of superior intellect--you ain't got one.

Ralph Reed 8 years, 1 month ago

First, let's define terrorism as, "The calculated use of unlawful violence or threat of unlawful violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious, or ideological." Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms. US Department of Defense 2005.

@ jayhawklawrence. Given that definition, Pitts does not use poor examples nor is his logic faulty. You say there's plenty of blame to go around when you bring up the past. All of his references happened in the past two decades - one generation; some quite recently. I contend these are not in the past and that they are good examples. You say he uses poor examples. What would you cite as examples, or are there none because of the poor logic?"

I know Wikipedia is not definitive, but it is a quick reference. Given what they say about the Hutaree, I consider them a textbook example of the definition of terrorism. (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hutaree) For that matter each of his examples fits the definition above.

Pitts says, "Many of us would doubtless resist referring to plots like this as Christian terrorism, feeling it unfair to tar the great body of Christendom with the actions of its fringe radicals." Isn't that what we're doing with Radical Islam?

thebigspoon 8 years, 1 month ago

Penders, that makes no sense and is simply your way of denying that anyone has a thought worth having. Quit it and have a normal conversation.

Flap Doodle 8 years, 1 month ago

There was a thing called WW II going on at the time. You may have heard of it.

Ralph Reed 8 years, 1 month ago

@MacHeath. I agree that no terrorist calls themselves terrorist; it's usually the victims, targets or media saying that. Given definition of terrorism I provided at 0947, The examples you cite were not terrorist acts; they were in fact, acts of war. The only difference between armed battles and your examples is that during WWII, civilians became a strategic target. They had not been so before. However, had the outcome been different in 1945, those acts would probably be called "crimes against humanity," much like I've heard the London Blitz being called. (Who writes the history?) Your statement, "Pitts usually starts with a valid point, then goes off the deep end." would be an interesting discussion, but your provide no evidence. Could you provide evidence over time to support that statement? Without that evidence, your statement is simply a baseless opinion.

monkeywrench1969 8 years, 1 month ago

These individuals are part of CHristian Identity terrorist sects. They had end of the world scenarios and single out specific races as targets. The Turner Diaries were a blue print for these terrorist acts and were written by a person influenced by the Christian Identitiy movement.

All religions have some form of radical element who name the actions and their politics in the name of God.

Ralph Reed 8 years, 1 month ago

@monkeywrench. The only thing about your post is that I've not heard of Radical Buddhism, Paganism, Naturism, etc.

jonas_opines 8 years, 1 month ago

Some radical Buddhism in Japan in the 1600s.

Ralph Reed 8 years, 1 month ago

I'll disregard the sarcasm. Here's what I have for a definition of terrorism; I stated it above at 0947. First, let's define terrorism as, "The calculated use of unlawful violence or threat of unlawful violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious, or ideological." Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms. US Department of Defense 2005.

The dictionary is a public document. No, I haven't published, but the DoD has.

kimmydarling 8 years, 1 month ago

Hmm, what was lawful about the broad stroke imprisonment of US citizens (as most were) simply because of their ethnic background? Was it lawful because at the time people were afraid of them?

Would you call it lawful now to imprison Arab Americans as a whole just because a bunch of rednecks think they're going to do something to hurt America, regardless of their past or current activities and associations?

Seriously, war does not exclude one from terrorism. THe US DOD can define it as they wish, it doesn't mean the rest of the world agrees. We can say that dipping people in oil during a time of war is a kind and gentle act of polite questioning, doesn't make it true.

ter·ror·ism    /ˈtɛrəˌrɪzəm/ [ter-uh-riz-uhm] –noun the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, esp. for political purposes.

jayhawklawrence 8 years, 1 month ago

Since some people are trying to say things that Pitt did not write and imply that he did, then I guess I can do the same thing.

I believe there are people on this blog who would go so far as to say that the terrorists who crashed planes into our NY skyscrapers on 9/11 were somehow justified because they were making a preemptive, defensive attack on a nation that harbored Christian terrorists.

If you believe that kind of thing, then I think you should look for another country to live in.

Pitts is reaching so far out in left field to make his point he fell out of the bleachers.

Stephen Johnson 8 years, 1 month ago

I think we can call Pitts "Rip Van Winkle", because he's clearly been sleeping over the past 10 years. I guess if you give an idiot like Pitts a platform, you shouldn't be surprised at the nonsense they spew.

Ralph Reed 8 years, 1 month ago

@MacHeath I should have been more definitive. I should have said "modern" warfare. Besides, isn't talking about Hannibal the same thing that JHL didn't like at 0447?

@JHL. You said, "I believe there are people on this blog who would go so far as to say that the terrorists who crashed planes into our NY skyscrapers on 9/11 were somehow justified because they were making a preemptive, defensive attack on a nation that harbored Christian terrorists."

Isn't that a bit of a stretch and coloring with a broad brush? And, on what do you base your allegation? In that same vein I contend there are people on this blog who would go so far as to advocate an overthrow of our government, not just the current administration, but our system of government.

markbr52 8 years, 1 month ago

Quoted from the article "Sometimes, I think the only thing that keeps us from becoming, say, Afghanistan, is a strong central government and a diverse population with a robust tradition of free speech."

What did the group do? So far it is only speech. Censored speech. Kind of silly to talk about free speech and what is happening to this group in the same sentence based on what has been published.

Jacq 8 years, 1 month ago

It was not only speech. It was a plot, actually, intended to be carried out. Thankfully someone does not need to die before their would-be murderer is arrested.

yourworstnightmare 8 years, 1 month ago

Its tough binky-sucking for cry-baby right wingers.

A black man of Kenyan ancestry as president. Christians committing acts of terror.

A black president and christian terrorism is enough to make a cry-baby right winger throw his rattle from his crib. Tough binkies indeed!

independant1 8 years, 1 month ago

Never was a nation founded and maintained without some kind of belief in something…and that is religion. Never mind what kind. But it’s got to be something or you will fail at the finish. (Will Rogers)

jayhawklawrence 8 years, 1 month ago

It is the silence of Islam in speaking out against extremism that confuses Christians.

It is the existence of schools that teach children to hate and kill Americans that disturbs us.

When Leonard Pitts compares modern radical Islamic extremism and the enslavement of millions of people under its tyranny in an article as narrowly focused as this one, it just isn't right.

I am very disappointed.

yourworstnightmare 8 years, 1 month ago

Agreed. Islamic motivated terrorism is more prevalent, but it doesn't mean that chrisitian terrorism isn't just as real.

Why are not all xtians speaking out and protesting against the killing of Tiller? Why are catholics not up in arms and in protest over institutional and condoned child abuse in the church? Xtians speaking out against hutaree? Against McVeigh? Against terror directed at abortion clinics?

There are islamic groups speaking against terror, just as there are isolated xtian groups speaking out against the things listed above.

thebigspoon 8 years, 1 month ago

And this drivel means what in relation to this article? Whole sentences, please, that go somewhere and mean something.

Ralph Reed 8 years, 1 month ago

@MacHeath re: your 0222. The dictionary I used is a Department of Defense dictionary, not Department of State. It varies little from standard definitions. Dueling definitions adds little to a discussion. I defined something so you would no from where I was speaking. BTW, Websters online dictionary defines terrorism as, "the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion", (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/terrorism). This isn't any different than my definition. Not having ready access to the OED, I commend you for having one, I've searched elsewhere and have found definitions similar to Websters', above.

The Department of Defense Dictionary is found here, http://www.dtic.mil/doctrine/dod_dictionary/

Commenting has been disabled for this item.