Monday, June 02, 2003

The Washington Post got my attention this morning by uncharacteristically asking hard questions about Olympic bomber Eric Rudolph, who is also wanted for the bombing of two abortion clinics and a gay nightclub. Since his actions are religiously motivated and since Rudolph is suspected of affiliations with radical, violent Christian movements, is it apt to characterize him as a "Christian terrorist," the way we dub suicide bombers and the like "Islamic terrorists"?

Read this excerpt from a letter Rudolph allegedly wrote and see for yourself if you think it is fundamentally different from the ideology of Hamas and co.:
We declare and will wage total war on the ungodly communist regime in New York and your legaslative bureaucratic lackey's in Washington. It is you who are responsible and preside over the murder of children and issue the policy of ungodly preversion thats destroying our people.

As far as I'm concerned, there's no debate as to whether or not this constitutes "Christian terrorism," but the term will of course meet with resistance. James Aho, an Idaho State sociology prof, eschews the term "Christian terrorism" as an oxymoron, instead favoring "religiously inspired terrorism." For the same reasons, he dislikes "Islamic terrorism" and notes:
If Christians take umbrage at the juxtaposition of the words "Christian" and "terrorist," ... "that may give them some idea of how Muslims feel" when they constantly hear the term "Islamic terrorism," especially since the Sept. 11 attacks.


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