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Palomar Observatory

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Best of Families


I am not necessarily the sharpest knife in the drawer but if there is one thing I have learned in my fifty three years of life it is that if you walk on two legs, regardless of your creed or denomination, you are capable of the greatest and most despicable evil.

I have read accounts of early travel in Tibet by Alexandra David Neel and Heinrich Herrer where those gentle buddhist inhabitants would skin poor travelers alive. Catholics in Spain during the inquisition wrought torture of the cruelest variety imaginable. Arab and moslem marauders refined legendary killing and assassination techniques. God told the jews to slay all the Hittites, presumably even the nice innocent ones.

I don't care who you pray to, we humans have the capacity for some pretty vile behavior. Eric Rudolph, David Berkovitz. The Oklahoma City bomber Tim McVeigh. The BTK killer, a deacon if I remember correctly. Sadly, it happens in the best of families.

Having said all this, I find it really funny how fast christian and conservative pundits are trying to disavow any connections between themselves and Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik. Breivik says he is christian and conservative, I see no reason to doubt him. His 1500 page manifesto makes numerous references to his faith.
According to an article in today's Huffpo, Bill O'Reilly thinks that this is impossible. "No one believing in Jesus commits mass murder," he said. "The man might have called himself a Christian on the net, but he is certainly not of that faith...we can find no evidence, none, that this killer practiced Christianity in any way."
He said that the reason the media was calling Breivik a Christian was because "the left wants you to believe that fundamentalists Christians are a threat just like crazy jihadists are." O'Reilly called this notion "dishonest and insane," saying that no government was backing Breivik's ideology.
O'Reilly also said that the media "is pushing the Christian angle [because] they don't like Christians very much because we are too judgmental," and that the press want to "diminish" social and religious conservatives.
This is killing O'Reilly. He goes on: The second reason the liberal media is pushing the Christian angle is they don't like Christians very much because we are too judgmental. Many Christians oppose abortion. Gay marriage and legalized narcotics, secular left causes. The media understands the opposition is often based on religion. So they want to diminish Christianity and highlighting so-called Christian-based terror is a way to do that.
 Breivik identifies as a christian on his Facebook page. He writes that "Christianity should recombine under the banner of a reconstituted and traditionalist Catholic Church" or, later, under a new (traditionalist) European Church." He supports the creation of a new Knights Templar, a modern day crusade where christianity can conquer the moslem infidels.

The Wall Street Journal has a similar opinion published today (not necessarily noteworthy in terms of scholarship) by Bret Stephens, "What is Anders Breivik: The Oslo terrorist is neither Christian or conservative" that dances around and disavows the possibility that this man could be exactly what he says he is. Spiritual teflon in action. A self reducing prophecy, as soon as you engage in aberrant behavior we rip the epaulets off your shoulder and deny that you ever were a member of our club.

The long and short of it is that if a christian commits an evil act, he must not be a "true" christian. But if a lone muslim engages in an evil deed, it is perfectly allright to point a finger at the entire creed. I will take responsibility for David Berkovitz. But I think that you are going to have to cop for the Oslo guy.

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