Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Islamophobia versus Christianophobia

A Thought Experiment: let us imagine that for the past 20 years or so in many and various parts of the world we see young men proclaiming their devotion to Christ and the advance of Christianity as a prelude to murdering groups of unsuspecting Muslims they encounter in public places such as airports, workplaces, night clubs, etc.  In these massacres sometimes Christians are killed as collateral damage.  These men commandeer airplanes and crash them into skyscrapers.  They invade mosques and behead elderly Imams.  They make YouTube videos of beheadings, immolations, drownings – all preceded by the cry “Jesus Christ is Lord.”  Certain groups of them are also intent on setting up by military conquest a “Christian Republic” where Christian morality will be strictly enforced with severe penalties for adultery, homosexuality as well as apostasy. Let us assume that these Christian zealots are a minority of all Christians and the majority of Christian believers are law abiding people who have made accommodation with secular society.    

Let us also assume that many of these young Christian mass murderers are being incubated in many parts of Europe where Christianity flourished in its youth, especially Italy, the Iberian peninsula, but also in Protestant enclaves in Sweden, Norway and Germany. 

How then would the politicos,  New York Times, the Washington Post and the remainder of the commentariat, from the mass media syndicates and academia to the entertainment industry, have responded after a massacre on American soil, let’s say a mass shooting of 50 gays in a Florida night club by young man claiming affiliation with one of the major Christian terrorist groups?            

Allow me to speculate how they would not have responded.  Then President Obama would not have referred to the victims as “some random folks” killed by a disturbed person. The American people would not discover that all religions have their share of fanatics and that this massacre has nothing to do with Christianity.  In reporting the story, The New York Times would not omit the fact that before open firing the young man was yelling “Jesus Christ is Lord” and reciting Old Testament condemnation of sodomy.   The NYT editorials would not refer to those individuals who talk about Christian terrorists and the problem with Christianity as “Christianophobes” and remind us that the majority of Christians are peaceful and law abiding.   The Democrats would not be encouraging the immigration of millions of Christians from those incubating European countries.  Republican leaders would not be condemning as bigots those who urge a moratorium on immigration from those countries that are breeding terrorists.  Hollywood would not be making movies that feature Muslim bigoted vigilantes who kidnap and murder innocent Christians.

The following is the more likely response.  From Barack Obama, a press conference announcing the formation of a Federal agency to combat Christian terrorism and to conduct surveillance of Tea Party and other Christian extremist groups. Christians will then be barred from Federal employment.  From the NYT editorial staff, a piece that decries the inevitable culmination of Christianity as a religion of violence, oppression and hate. The Washington Post publishes articles predicting an escalation of Christian violence and warns non-Christian readers to arm themselves in anticipation of further attacks. From the Republicans, endless apologies for having been Christians and groveling petitions for forgiveness.  University presidents across the country announce the establishment of “Christian-free safe zones,” Students on the campuses demonstrate and demand that the universities require “trigger warnings” on the syllabi of courses with content that relates to Christianity.  From the DNC a declaration that public affirmations of Christian faith should be deemed as hate speech.      

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