In order to make her ‘case’ that Christian extremists are a bigger threat than radical Muslims, USA Today’s Mary Zeiss Stange has to shoehorn the following people into Christianity:
Eric Rudolph, who says he prefers Nietzsche to The Bible
Timothy McVeigh, who was born a Catholic, and received a Catholic sacrament before his execution, but in between described himself as a person whose only religion was science and as an agnostic. He was neither a professing Christian nor a member of any church so far as I know when he committed his crimes.
It’s interesting that Rudolph was also born a Catholic, and he also at one point expressed a possible desire to return to his Catholic roots, but both he and McVeigh acknowledged that would require a forgiveness of their sins- in other words, they knew their crimes were not sanctioned by their religious faith they most connected with insofar as they connected with any religion at all. For the most part, they lived without any perceived need for faith as an important part of their lives.
Scott Roeder, who killed abortion doctor Tiller. His family says he had a history of mental illness. His views also seem to be more political than religious in nature, and of course, his killing of the abortion doctor was roundly and loudly condemned by pretty much every Christian denomination in the nation.
Wade Michael Page who murdered several members of a Sikh temple. Her link to the story about him to support her claim that he’s a christian doesn’t mention religion at all, but only his possible connection to and interest in Neo-Nazi white supremacist music. Neo-Nazis are more likely to be atheist than to claim Christianity. Here’s another story about him which mentions his white supremacist ties, but I don’t see any indication that he was a man of any kind of religious faith.
The Millers- kicked off Cliven Bundy’s ranch for radical views, went on to kill two cops and a shopper at a local Walmart before cops shot them. Their religion? Unknown or nonexistent. None of the FB rants this story quotes from him include any reference to anything remotely religious. I can only find that they were conspiracy theorists with possible white supremacist connections.
Cliven Bundy- who hasn’t killed or even punched anybody. He’s a Mormon, but from what I can tell, a somewhat older variety of Mormon at that. I am not even sure the main Mormon church sanctions what he’s doing.
There are three things I can see that these people have in common.
None of them are faithful Christians or thought of themselves as Christians, with the probable exception of Mormon Cliven Bundy, who isn’t a murderer and doesn’t belong in this bunch at all.
All of them do seem to be white supremacists of some flavor.
Something called The Christian Identity movement embraced them or supported most of them after the fact. Stange did not present and I did not find any evidence that were any connections between them before their crimes or that they were actually members of the group before hand.
Put these killers (again, removing poor Cliven who doesn’t deserve to be listed as part of a group of murderers) and the number of their victims in the scales, and on the other side let us place the killers in 9/11 and their 3 thousand victims, the World Trade Center bombing a few years before, the Fort Hood shooter Nadal Hasan, the 1993 shootings at the CIA, I could go on. I could go on because there have been at least 75 separate Muslim motivated attacks on American soil in the last few years, and this includes several women beheaded by their ‘loved ones’ for being too westernized. And, of course, the two separate attacks in Canada this week were not commited by recent converts to Christianity.
Tom Blumer points out that:
Stange’s op-ed is not a one-off misstep by USA Today. She is one of about 33 people on its Board of Contributors, absurdly giving her a status equal to credible commentators like Jonathan Turley, Jonah Goldberg, Kirsten Powers, and Michael Medved. She’s a professor of religion at Skidmore College in New York. -
A professor of religion? It’s weird that a professor of religion is so ignorant of the history of one of America’s home-grown religions, the Mormon church. She writes:
In reporting this speech, the Associated Press noted that Bundy is a Mormon. But his God sounds a lot less like the Father/Mother God of Latter-day Saints than Christian Identity’s Creator God, who made only white men in his image, and thus theologically justifies the kind of racism reflected in Bundy’s widely reported musing as to whether “the Negro” was better off under slavery.
She is seriously confused. Mormon teaching apparently has a lot more in common with the ‘Christian Identity’s Creator God’ (who seems to be more pagan than biblical). Mormon theology originally taught that God is white and only whites are made in his image. Mormon teachings forbade the priesthood to blacks until 1978. It was taught until then that their black skin was a curse from God.
From the Book of Mormon, Alma 3: 6 “And the skins of the Lamanites were dark, according to the mark which was set upon their fathers, which was a curse upon them because of their transgression and their rebellion against their brethren, who consisted of Nephi, Jacob, and Joseph, and Sam, who were just and holy men.”
More on the Mormon church’s history with racism here:
Joseph Fielding Smith (10th Mormon president/prophet) elaborates:
“There is a reason why one man is born black and with other disadvantages, while another is born white with great advantages. The reason is that we once had an estate before we came here, and were obedient, more or less, to the laws that were given us there. Those who were faithful in all things there received greater blessings here, and those who were not faithful received less…There were no neutrals in the war in heaven. All took sides with either Christ or with Satan. Every man had his agency there, and men receive rewards here based upon their actions there…The Negro, evidently, is receiving the reward he merits” (Doctrines of Salvation published 1954,1:61,65,66)
Another racist belief found in The Book of Mormon(3) concerns Native Americans, where the shade of one’s skin color determines a person’s righteousness:
“…after they had dwindled in unbelief they became a dark, and loathsome, and a filthy people, full of idleness and all manner of abominations.” (I Nephi 12:23)
“…Behold, they had hardened their hearts against him…wherefore, as they were white, and exceeding fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticingunto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them. And thus saith the Lord God: I will cause that they shall be loathsome unto thy people, save they shall repent of their sins.” (2 Nephi 5:21-22)
“And the skins of the Lamanites(4) were dark…which was a curse upon them because of their transgression against their brethren…therefore they were cursed; and the Lord God set a mark upon them. And this was done that their seed might be distinguished from the seed of their brethren, that thereby the Lord God might preservehis people…” (Alma 3:6,8)
“And then shall they [Lamanites] rejoice…and their scales of darkness shall begin to fall from their eyes; and many generations shall not pass away among them, save they shall be a white and delightsome people” (2 Nephi 30:6, 1830, 1920, and 1977 editions)
The Book of Mormon (the most correct book(5) in all the earth, according to the Mormon Church) was officially altered in 1981. 2 Nephi 30:6 now reads, “a pure and delightsome people”. (The other above referenced verses remain the same.) The word “pure” in 2 Nephi 30:6 is also found in the 1840 edition. Regardless, “pure” is not in the original edition, and it does not agree with 2 Nephi 5:21-22 which is about the same subject, and the word “white” is used.
And also here:
This is from a speech by Mark Peterson at BYU. I found it athttp://www.realmormonhistory.com/god&skin.htm I remember seeing a quote from BY saying basically the same thing, that Negros will only be allow in heaven as servants.
“Think of the Negro, CURSED AS TO THE PRIESTHOOD…. This negro, who, in the pre-existence lived the type of life which justified the Lord in sending him to the earth in the lineage of Cain with a BLACK SKIN, and possibly being born in darkest Africa–if that negro is willing when he hears the gospel to accept it, he may have many of the blessings of the gospel. IN SPITE OF ALL HE DID IN THE PRE-EXISTENT LIFE, the Lord is willing, if the Negro accepts the gospel with real, sincere faith, and is really converted, to give him the blessings of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. If that Negro is faithful all his days, he can and will enter the celestial kingdom. He will go there AS A SERVANT, but he will get celestial glory.”
(Race Problems as They Affect the Church, an address by Apostle Mark E. Petersen, delivered at the Convention of Teachers of Religion on the College Level, Brigham Young University, August 27,1954)
Noah’s son Ham married Egyptus, a descendant of Cain, thus preserving the negro lineage through the flood. (Abra. 1:20-27.) Negroes in this life are denied the priesthood; under no circumstances can they hold this delegation of authority from the Almighty.” (1966 edition, page 527, under NEGROES; this statement has been taken out of the 1979 edition and has been replaced with the 1978 revelation.) In past Mormon theology a black skin is a sign of God’s displeasure.
[...] We understand that when God made man in his own image and pronounced him very good, that he made him white. We have no record of any of God’s favored servants being of a black race…every angel who ever brought a message of God’s mercy to man was beautiful to look upon, clad in the purest white and with a countenance bright as the noonday sun. (Juvenile Instructor, Vol. 3, page 157, October 15, 1868)
Stange calls ‘hate based Christian extremism’ a pervasive reality. But she makes no sense and doesn’t really offer any evidence of the connection between Christianity and the white supremacist movement, nor of the pervasiveness of this ‘hate based Christian extremism.’
None of her list of Christian terrorists even claimed to be Christian themselves (again, excepting Bundy who has killed nobody, and I presume would consider himself a Christian, although both the Mormon church and mainstream Christianity have long maintained that Mormonism isn’t Christianity).
It’s odd that she connects any of them with Christianity (or each other), but it’s particular strange that she does this with the Millers, a couple who committed 3 murders before dying in a hail of police gunfire themselves. I can’t find any mention of any church or religious connection. I do find that Amanda Miller’s family repudiated the couple even before the murders, one of them writing, “We won’t help either of you because it is disgusting what you two believe in and stand for.’
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2653674/I-begged-not-marry-Father-tells-hard-working-violin-playing-daughter-22-transformed-white-supremacist-launched-Las-Vegas-killing-spree.html#ixzz3H62jeuoV
They started their short lived killing spree a few months after being kicked off of Bundy’s ranch for being too extremist- hello? Here’s the ‘connection’ between Cliven Bundy and the Millers:
Miller was kicked off the Bundy ranch after a few days because he made other protesters uncomfortable, according to Ryan Payne, who helped coordinate between the Bundy family and militia members who came to support them. The concerns: Miller was a felon in possession of a firearm; he made troubling statements Payne said he couldn’t specifically recall but that departed from the movement’s principle of “defense” of Bundy’s ranch; and he was “just a little bit off.”
They were considered wackos and were ejected from Bundy’s circle, in fact, they may have been the only ones kicked out according to one interview with Bundy’s son, so you can’t really logically or honestly claim the two as joined at the hip in ideology and religion.
A jihadist often gets his (or her) inspiration as a result of participating in Islamic services at a publicly recognized mosque and fraternizing with its members. The roster of Christian churches advocating a murderous crusade against non-Christians is somewhere between zero and almost zero. – See more at: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/tom-blumer/2014/10/23/exquisite-timing-usat-runs-op-ed-beware-christian-extremists#sthash.4vFj4lVU.dpuf
How many of the Muslim killers we’ve read about were kicked out of their mosques for their extremism? Answer? Also Zero.