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Onward Christian Soldiers

On his show, Bill O’Reilly takes strong exception to calling Anders Behring-Breivik, the man who has admitted to mass murder in Norway, a Christian (even though Breivik calls himself a Christian). According to O’Reilly “Breivik is not a Christian. That’s impossible. No one beliving in Jesus commits mass murder.”

I just have one thing to say to O’Reilly: The Crusades.

O’Reilly continues to rant, claiming “the primary threat to the world comes from Islamic terrorism” and “Muslim suicide bombers blow innocent people up almost every day.” O’Reilly totally ignores the fact that according to the FBI, 94% of all terrorist attacks in the US are not related to Islam at all. A similar report from Europol says that 99.6% of European terrorist attacks are unrelated to Islam.

I’m not trying to pick on Christianity, but when O’Reilly claims that Christians cannot be terrorists or commit mass murder, he blithely ignores places like Northern Ireland, where Catholic Christians and Protestant Christians (both of whom believe in Jesus) for decades cheerfully murdered each other.

UPDATE: Glenn Greenwald has an excellent column on how we have defined the word “terrorism” so that it only applies to Muslims.

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22 Comments

  1. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    Arguments like this are easy to respond to because they are word-for-word repetitions of logical fallacies.

    Copy, paste, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman , done!

    Yet somehow not quite as intellectually satisfying as pointing out the moralistic fallacy…..

    Tuesday, July 26, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Permalink
  2. O’Reilly is an old, white male who self-identifies as a conservative Christian. It should come as no surprise that his assertions should fall victim to bias.

    People like him have no qualms about identifying Osama Bin Laden as a Muslim because they do not identify themselves as Muslim and therefore feel no basic, self-preserving need to defend that which they do not identify with. This is a basic psychological attribute of those who do not have the ability to see the world outside of themselves. These people cannot “put themselves in your shoes,” so to speak.

    Tuesday, July 26, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Permalink
  3. A REGULAR READER wrote:

    Bin Laden was a Muslim as much as Hitler was a Christian. (I disagree in both cases.)

    Tuesday, July 26, 2011 at 11:01 pm | Permalink
  4. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    It also deserves to be noted that the majority of this flailing is because when the story broke, right wingers rushed to accuse these people of being Muslim.

    I wish I had taken screenshots of the comments, but on Fox Nation for instance easily 90% of the comments were talking about how he was a Muslim.

    And check out this gem! https://twitter.com/#!/EWErickson/status/94414102562226178

    But at this point the right wing machine no longer understands apology as a method of damage control. No, it only knows playing the victim, 24×7.

    Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 5:04 am | Permalink
  5. Hassan wrote:

    That is weird from O’Reilly. So when muslim commits a terrorist act then he is “Muslim committing terrorist act” and when a Christian does it, then it has nothing to do with Christianity? Although I believe he is right a person who follows teachings of Christianity correctly would not commit such crime, but the same goes for Islam and Muslims.

    Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 6:10 am | Permalink
  6. Dan wrote:

    Extremists are in every religion. They take a phrase from a holy book or writings, and twist it to their need.In Christianity it’s “the avenging sword.” Which ignores “do onto others…,” Love one another…” and “vengeance is mine saith the Lord.”
    People, being creatures of reason, can find reason to do anything… (Paraphrased from Franklin’s autobiography, chapter two)

    Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 7:18 am | Permalink
  7. Iron Knee wrote:

    Anyone who supports torture or the death penalty, or wars like the one in Iraq, or hatred of gays, should not be considered a true Christian. Right?

    Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 9:02 am | Permalink
  8. PatriotSGT wrote:

    IK – I agree with everything you said except “or wars like the one in Iraq”. Not in the same category IMO.

    Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 9:30 am | Permalink
  9. Sammy wrote:

    Patriot, I agree with everything you said, except the two sentences you wrote. ;-)

    Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 10:22 am | Permalink
  10. b wrote:

    How about the Germans in WWII (yes, I know they were following orders, but they were mostly Christians carrying out the orders.)

    How about the Inquisition? (And I don’t mean either Mel Brooks’ version or Monthy Python’s version.)

    Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 10:27 am | Permalink
  11. Falkelord wrote:

    @Patriotsgt
    “Iraq…Not in the same category IMO.”

    “All Scotsmen love haggis”
    “My grandfather is a Scot and he doesn’t like haggis”
    “Only TRUE scotsmen love haggis”

    Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 10:53 am | Permalink
  12. PatriotSGT wrote:

    So Sammy, does that mean you disagree with my agreement, which is like a double negative except its a double positive that in turn equals a negative. :~

    Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 10:54 am | Permalink
  13. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Get back to class Falkelord. :)

    Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 10:55 am | Permalink
  14. ebdoug wrote:

    IK, I agree with you 100%. And this is one of the things that has been bothering me since March of 2003. Bush, before he was elected, was Baptized a “Born again Christian” He then invades Iraq that had nothing to do with 9/11 and by the end of 2006, 600,000 Iraqis lost their lives. The Christians now fear for their lives in Iraq. “And I hollar why?”
    As far as the Crusades go, I saw a David Attenborough movie of Christians from England going on Crusade to wipe out the Muslims, The English brought back the Plague and wiped out 1/3 of England. I’m wondering who won that one? But the Barbarian English learned nothing.
    Many of the slaves captured/brought to this country and sold into slavery were born to Muslim families. Let’s see: Who brought the Muslim Religion to this country in the 1600s? Why it’s the English! I am by the way 99.4% English. A tiny bit of Huguenot got in there.

    Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 11:33 am | Permalink
  15. Iron Knee wrote:

    Re: comments 8 through 13 — you guys are totally cracking me up.

    Patriot, it doesn’t matter if you think Iraq was justified or a good idea or necessary or whatever. I don’t think anyone who invades another country and lies about it can be considered a good Christian in any sense. Just sayin’. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

    And B, there are LOTS of examples. I tried to limit myself to the Crusades, but The Troubles slipped in there. You mention the (Christian) Nazis exterminating the Jews and Gypsies and the Inquisition. How about the Salem Witch Trials? The Spanish conquest of the New World in the name of bringing Christianity to the heathens (by the sword)? There are plenty more. O’Reilly’s claim is just plain ludicrous.

    Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Permalink
  16. David Freeman wrote:

    I never met a Klansman that didn’t call himself Christian. Dr. Tiller’s murderer was a god fearing Christian. The Westboro Baptist assholes who protest at soldier’s funerals are Christian.

    On the other hand, every pagan I know (and I know a few) is kind, compassionate and steadfastly non-violent. Most atheists that I know are ethical to a fault if that’s possible. Every Mormon I know is an outstanding person.

    Most Christians are probably good people but most of the assholes in our country pollute the flock.

    Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Permalink
  17. PatriotSGT wrote:

    I agree David – there are an heck of alot of great christian people out there who try and do good. We just never get to hear them in the news because they are not interested in publicity for their deeds and don’t have time to spout off. There are nut jobs in every group and they were never really part of the group just joined for the label.

    As a whole groups bring people together, but that same belonging causes division amongst the larger group of the human race because everybody’s group is better then every other group.

    Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Permalink
  18. Iron Knee wrote:

    Those people who think they belong to the best group are very annoying to those of us who actually do belong to the best group. :-)

    Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Permalink
  19. David Freeman wrote:

    Yes, IK, and thank goodness there is some fluidity between groups. I went to a 30 year high school reunion some time ago and was very surprised that the cheer leaders were now very nice, interesting people. They were surprised that I was still a geek but tolerable now.

    Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Permalink
  20. ebdoug wrote:

    So therefore; Muslims were behind the Oklahoma City Bombing of 1995? I’ve been so mistaking all these years. And my book about the lead up to World War II, meantions bombings in the United States in the 1930s. Probably Muslims Assassinated Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth was just a front.

    Thursday, July 28, 2011 at 8:57 am | Permalink
  21. ZJD wrote:

    I actually agree with O’Reilly in one regard: it is misleading to label Breivik a Christian. By all accounts (including his manifesto) he was not practicing and recognized Christianity as a cultural underpinning, more so than a religion he would adhere to. I think he was labeled a Christian because that was the most convenient label to use at the time. I mean, if the media reported simply that an “Extremist” bombed Oslo, people might naturally ask, “What kind of extremist?” “Umm…”

    He better fits the label of ‘cultural supremacist,’ a nutcase standing against the incursion of Islam and wiling to kill his countrymen to… I don’t know, I’m not crazy enough to figure out his motivation.

    So yes, I do agree with O’Reilly for the first few sentences of his spiel. Then, of course, he flies off the handle and makes ridiculous claims about the historically impeccable record of Christians (The Crusaders, Inquisitors, Conquistadors and Nazis spring to mind in contrast) and some nonsense about the “librul media” covering the story as they did because they have an agenda against Christmas… or something.

    Friday, July 29, 2011 at 7:15 pm | Permalink
  22. Iron Knee wrote:

    ZJD, I agree with you. But the thing that makes it hypocritical is how willing and quick O’Reilly and Fox News are to paint any act of terrorism as being caused by Muslims. Many people have made the point that Osama bin Laden is not a “true” Muslim, and they have as equally valid a point as O’Reilly does about Breivik not being a “true” Christian.

    O’Reilly just likes to play the victim card.

    Friday, July 29, 2011 at 11:59 pm | Permalink