The first time I saw Anders Behring Breivik referred to as a "Christian terrorist," I had two reactions:
Reaction No. 1. "Wha-?! This nutjob may have called himself a Christian, but Jesus said love, not slaughter your neighbor."
And reaction No. 2: "Hmmm. Now maybe more Christians will understand how Muslims feel when they see the term 'Islamic terrorist' applied to every fanatic or psycho who claims to kill in the name of Allah. True Islam doesn't condone killing innocent people, either."
I see little difference between Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood shooting suspect, and Breivik, Norway's alleged mass murderer. In resorting to cold-blooded killing -- as both are accused of doing -- they distorted and slandered the religions they claimed to be serving.
So this reporter says call them alleged terrorists -- without the religious modifier. Then explain that they professed to be acting in the name of Christianity or Islam -- religions that actually stand for the opposite of injuring others.
The debate over whether or not to call Breivik a "Christian" terrorist or a Christian at all continues to rage in the media and on the Internet.
Religion News Service did a good article that put the issues in some historical and theological perspective.
"On Faith," a Washington Post site, offers various points of view on the question.
Fox's Bill O'Reilly (see video below) loudly objected to the media calling Breivik a Christian. But, disappointingly, he is just fine with continuing to call suicide bombers "Islamic terrorists."
And "The Daily Show's" Jon Stewart had some fun pointing out the inconsistencies -- and incomplete reporting -- from O'Reilly and others at Fox.
What do you think? (Thoughtful, not hateful, responses, please.)
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