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christian terrorist
June 2, 2003 9:30 AM   Subscribe

is eric rudolph a christian terrorist? via atrios and who are these christian identity people?: "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," - sound familiar?
posted by specialk420 (35 comments total)

 
He's a terrorist.

Is he a Christian? Christ would disown this cretin.

There has to be a new name for these freaks who purport to do these violent acts in the name of religious beliefs when they are totally against the teachings of that religion.

Morons, maybe?
posted by jpburns at 9:39 AM on June 2, 2003


nobody asked me, but i think religion sucks all around
posted by H. Roark at 9:57 AM on June 2, 2003


Here's an idea: why don't we throw this terrorist in a naval brig indefinitely without a trial, lawyer, contact with the outside, and so on. Oh, wait; he's a white southern male, not some swarthy muslim.
posted by TedW at 10:01 AM on June 2, 2003


seems like there are a lot of people out there committing a lot of awful violent acts in the name of god. perhaps we all need to start looking in the mirrror.
posted by specialk420 at 10:04 AM on June 2, 2003


This is a nice article. The author seems more or less conscious of the interwoven narratives of terrorism and Islam, and the power of language to temper perceptions. These kinds subtle or messy cultural mores will have to be done away with if we are ever going to move on past this War on Terrorism [tm] mindset.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 10:06 AM on June 2, 2003


OK, that's one sensible comment, one bit of gratuitous religion bashing, and one race-baiting attempt to veer back to MideastFilter.

How bout an attempt to address the question?

Yes, Rudolf is a terrorist in that he used fear and intimidation and mass violence to advance his "cause." But whether he's a member of an actual organization or just some yo-yo who read a few pamphlets, remains to be seen. It's reported he was fond of Christian Identity(not for the faint of heart) ideology, but it's unknown whether they helped him out.

Whatever he is, he's also a scumbucket sociopath who, if there's any justice, will be strapped to a gurney awaiting a IV fulla potassium chloride before long.
posted by jonmc at 10:13 AM on June 2, 2003


Osama Bin Bubba, is just the person to show that terrorists are in Christianity as well. Not all Muslims are bad, but after 9/11 they had to contend with the accusations that they want to destroy all non-Muslims. Swap Taliban for Christian identity and they're the same. A sect of a religion, playing on hatred.
posted by mkelley at 10:13 AM on June 2, 2003


who are these christian identity people?

Here's an interesting example. The Southern Poverty Law Center identifies the Padanaram Settlement as under the leadership of a Christian Identity preacher, Daniel Wright (now deceased). But what little information or propaganda can be found on this community makes it sound bucolic and beatific. Kinda weird.

It's kind of funny to see Ashcroft having to denounce this man with the T-word. Didja notice his public statement didn't mention words like abortion and gay?
posted by Zurishaddai at 10:36 AM on June 2, 2003


jonmc seems to be on the right track-- there is a difference between organized terrorism, and lonewacko terrorism. For the former, ideology makes a difference insomuchas they have an organized support network that helps them carry out the attacks, and carry out new attacks. Rudolph appears to be the former.
posted by cell divide at 10:36 AM on June 2, 2003


cell, the corollary to your statement, one that I'm inferring from you, is that in the latter, lonewacko terrorism, ideology makes no difference? I think that whatever's motivating someone to undertake such extreme violence always makes a difference. Not that all Christians are terrorists, of course, but we need to examine how such an ideology was passed to this guy, how he interpreted it, and crucially, who else might be out there having similarly processed the ideology into an excuse for murder.
posted by soyjoy at 10:52 AM on June 2, 2003


I think the group he claimed to be affiliated was a white supremacy group.

The word we are all looking for is nutjob. In his case, a dangerous one.
posted by konolia at 10:58 AM on June 2, 2003


I wonder if the DOJ views Rudolph's supporters as terrorist sympathizers. Wouldn't anyone who helped him hide and survive be guilty of supporting terrorism?
posted by homunculus at 11:01 AM on June 2, 2003


I don't know that you could necessarily call this guy a terrorist, simply because he might be a psychotic. Did he bomb people because he's a psychotic, or because of ideology? My personal opinion (and I'm not a psychologist) is that the doctor quoted in the article is right on: "I'm inclined to believe that people who are violent in their inclinations search out a religious home that justifies their violence." I'm inclined to believe that of anybody who joins a hate group - they're crazy, violent people, and since most people aren't normally crazy and violent, they need a moral basis to justify actions that their craziness makes them take. Christian Identity and other hate groups give them that moral basis, however bogus and wrong it is. Are there any non-Christian or non-religious hate groups? All the ones I've ever heard of were (self-described, anyway) devoutly Christian, and believed they were doing God's good work.

But that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.
posted by RylandDotNet at 11:34 AM on June 2, 2003


He must be a Christianist.
posted by Marquis at 11:38 AM on June 2, 2003


Homunculus: Yes. The fact that Rudolf had moral (and likely material) support is but one reason why it is naive to dismiss him (and McVeigh/Nichols, and so on) as lone nutjobs. There are a number of far-right christian groups that advocate the overthrow of the United States government. Just because these groups are poorly organized and funded is no reason to ignore the threat they pose to our country from within. Unfortunately our current government is too intertwined with the Christian right to risk offending them, and so it is non-Christians who will bear the brunt of the war on terror.
posted by TedW at 11:49 AM on June 2, 2003


i cant believe those flag wavers in north carolina. what if osama had blown up a family planning clinic? would he then become their darling?

th contradictions are astonishing.
posted by specialk420 at 11:50 AM on June 2, 2003


All the ones I've ever heard of were (self-described, anyway) devoutly Christian, and believed they were doing God's good work.

Well said. With that, I was going to go on to say what mkelley said, but I'll just link to his comment, as it's pretty much the same thing:

"Not all Muslims are bad, but after 9/11 they had to contend with the accusations that they want to destroy all non-Muslims. Swap Taliban for Christian identity and they're the same. A sect of a religion, playing on hatred."
posted by The Michael The at 11:53 AM on June 2, 2003


Wasn't it Jesus Christ who said "I come bringing not Peace, but instead a terror campaign waged against random, innocent civilians through the use of homemade fragmentation bomb designed to kill and maim."?

Then again, maybe not.
posted by troutfishing at 1:04 PM on June 2, 2003


Religion can be contorted to fit anyone's agenda. When are people going to realize that its significance is relative? For the people that supported the war on Iraq, the first question I asked them was "Do you believe Jesus would support the war?" A painfully large number of people said yes. These Christian Identity people have apparently invaded my own hometown area, but what they are doing is no different from what Bush is doing, from what Bin Laden is doing, or from what many organized religions are doing. People need to be tolerant and loving of each other because it makes everyone better off, not because of allegiance to some higher power. The basic ideals of most religions are the same, and people should try their hardest to do the right thing because it makes you feel good and it makes everyone better off. People shouldn't do the right thing because they believe they are above everyone else that doesn't go to church every Sunday, and not because it will get you into heaven.
posted by banished at 1:19 PM on June 2, 2003


Thar's no such thang as a Kursh-tun tar-ist. Only them muzz-lims are tar-ists. Kursh-tuns aint never done nothin' evil. Our Constitution was wrote by Kursh-tuns because Jay-sus said so.
posted by drstrangelove at 1:43 PM on June 2, 2003


This quote by James A. Aho seems to me to be the most relevant of the article:
"If Christians take umbrage at the juxtaposition of the words "Christian" and "terrorist," he added, "that may give them some idea of how Muslims feel" when they constantly hear the term "Islamic terrorism," especially since the Sept. 11 attacks.

"Religiously inspired terrorism is a worldwide phenomenon, and every major world religion has people who have appropriated the label of their religion in order to legitimize their violence," ...,
posted by moonbiter at 2:03 PM on June 2, 2003


Unfortunately our current government is too intertwined with the Christian right to risk offending them

Look, you would consider me part of the Christian Right, and I would be anything BUT offended at getting some of these hate groups dealt with in the appropriate manner. And I doubt anyone else in my category would be offended either.

I am trying to be nice here, and I am not singling you out at all, but comments like these really make you (plural) look ignorant and ill-informed. Seriously.
posted by konolia at 2:14 PM on June 2, 2003


I think the analogy of the current administration's relationship to Christian ideologues compared to, say, the House of Saud's relationship to al-Qaeda is not entirely inapt, albeit to a lesser extent. I doubt that, for all the Bush administration's Metafilter-touted evilness, they surreptitiously supported Rudolph or the groups he's affiliated with.

The relationship between the Christian far-right and the Republican party is not altogether cozy, any more than the relationship between the Democrat and (to use an admittedly bad example) Earth First is unlikely to be. Surely there are sympathizers, but I imagine that the Republicans (and the Democrats) are somewhat embarassed by the antics of their overly-devout wing. But they are, for better or worse, under the tent.

In any event, I don't think that Rudolph's religious beliefs will be enough to prevent him from being well-prosecuted. If the administration were to quietly drop the charges and let him loose, that'd be a different story and one more appropriate, but that's not going to happen.

I hope to see the day when politics and religion will are separated completely, for that will be a god day for those who seek reason and forethought. However, it's likely another millenia will pass before that day comes. Humans are contentious creatures, and we simply cannot stomach the idea that there is nothing more after we die.
posted by UncleFes at 2:20 PM on June 2, 2003


I was discussing the Rudolph case with our crime expert-in-residence and he made a convincing argument that Rudolph is a serial-killer plain and simple and was motivated by, like all serial killers, sex. He referenced other bomber cases like that of Mark David Hoffman who, during his trial, started touching himself in a friendly manner when the bomb evidence was presented. Even Unabomber Ted Kaczynski would get tactile satisfaction by building and dismantling his bombs over and over again. Ted had a history of sexual confusion and at one point started the process to undergo a sex change operation. The idea is that their public explanation is just a convenient veil.
posted by sexymofo at 2:27 PM on June 2, 2003


This guy said he read the bible, never heard him say a denomination. Not sure which bible he read, as most say to follow the laws of the land. Abortion is not a forced law. His brother was gay, the reason I suspect he bombed a night club. The guy is delusional plain and simple read his resume, tells it all.
posted by thomcatspike at 2:50 PM on June 2, 2003


I'm (partially) with RylandDotNet on this one. It reminds me a bit of this case*; in each, however, I think it's not so much the Christian ideology itself that should be foregrounded, but the way it might be filtered and interpreted by someone of abnormal psychology.

*Sensationalist Journalism Advisory.
posted by Sonny Jim at 3:26 PM on June 2, 2003


sexymofo... as long as we're on the topic of motivations and personality characteristics, I think it's important to note that a lot of these terrorist types, the snipers, mcveigh, this rudolph guy, bin laden, etc. were all in the military.
posted by banished at 3:48 PM on June 2, 2003


There has to be a new name for these freaks who purport to do these violent acts in the name of religious beliefs when they are totally against the teachings of that religion.

fuck that! i don't hear any clamoring for a new name for islamic terrorists. let them be known by the disease which corrupts them!
posted by quonsar at 3:51 PM on June 2, 2003


Terrorists - Islamic, Jewish,Christian - are murderers, pure and simple. Insight into their motivation will not bring back the dead, who do not care for our distinctions.

Fair trial, then lock 'em up till they repent, it's more deterrent & punishment than anything else.
posted by dash_slot- at 4:52 PM on June 2, 2003


I don't know why I posted this over here. But here it is here.

. . .they just caught themselves a Christian terrorist didn't they? They'll hem and haw and come up with excuses. But we simply have to not let it be forgotten that terrorism is terrorism. It's time we returned the definition of terrorism back to its rightful place. No, we do not smear Christians with this fact that Rudolph is Christian. In fact he hasn't even been tried. Therefore, in the eyes of American Judicial Beneficence, he is still innocent. Funny how lies, hatred, religious zeal, fear and violence all get tied up together and bite the rightwing flock of sheeple on the ass in due time. To assume absolute morality is one thing, but when it's built on a fraud as hollow as theirs, it has got to be a tiresome labor of perpetual damage control for the elite who benefit from a largely uneducated and misled public.

Cognitive dissonance's very meaning lies in the words "Christian Terrorist". But what's fair is fair. You wanna lump me in with communist, America hating, terrorist-aiding, needs-to-know-when-to-keep-his-mouth-shut traitors (whatever the fuck that is)? You wanna lump all Muslims (or anybody with Middle Eastern phenotypes) in with 9-11 terrorists? You wanna lump Mexicans all in as stupid, lazy, illegal alien criminals looking to make a living on six bucks an hour? This climate is of the rabid Christian Right's making and now it's gonna bite you on your fascist asses.

(and no this rant is not directed at anybody in particular -- people don't like it when I throw the word fascist around)
posted by crasspastor at 4:55 PM on June 2, 2003


Konolia, I have no idea whether or not I would consider you part of the Christian Right; it is not people like you who I am concerned about, but those who put signs of support and/or sympathy for Mr. Rudolph in their places of business, as cited in homunculus's link, as well as those who might have supported him during his time on the lam. These are presumably members of the Christian Right who do not share your sense of justice (which I appreciate, by the way). I will not go on to enumerate the many ways in which the current administration, particulary Ashcroft, is linked to the Christian Right, unless you (or anyone else) does not believe they are political bedfellows. However, you are right if you state the relationship is complicated and not always friendly; I tried to show that in my links.

I also do not believe that they will go lightly on Rudolph when it comes to trial. The point I am trying to make (and others seem to appreciate) is that this terrorist who has already killed or injured dozens will get his day in court, while Jose Padilla and others, who may not have actually acted on their terrorist impulses, will not. As a Christian, as an American, how do you explain this discrepancy? Is it appropriate?

I only wish I were ignorant on these matters
posted by TedW at 7:20 PM on June 2, 2003


crasspastor, helluva rant. The operative question in the Rudolph case, I think, is whether his religious zeal prompted, to whatever degree, his violent acts - or whether the religious zeal was just an attempt to justify those acts.

Because many anti-abortion zealots seem just a few steps short of actual violence. I live in the same county as the guy who runs The Nuremberg Files anti-abortion web site; it's extreme, yes, but realistically not that many ideological steps past where a great many people congregate.

For if abortion is a crime against humanity, don't those who perpetuate it need to be dealt with in an appropriate manner? I believe a lot of anti-abortion activists think this way - we're lucky only a tiny minority of them act on what the rest of them infer.
posted by kgasmart at 6:07 AM on June 3, 2003


"Thar's no such thang as a Kursh-tun tar-ist. Only them muzz-lims are tar-ists. Kursh-tuns aint never done nothin' evil. Our Constitution was wrote by Kursh-tuns because Jay-sus said so."

I almost take offence at that, simply because I live about an hour or so from where he was caught. Almost. We might have a slight twang and draw to our speaking, but that doesn't make us less intelligent.
posted by mkelley at 6:10 AM on June 3, 2003


I agree with mkelley -- the way to fight hatred, discrimination, stereotypes, etc. is not with more of the same.
posted by dagnyscott at 7:52 AM on June 3, 2003


who's going to help with santa's sleigh now ?
posted by sgt.serenity at 2:55 PM on June 3, 2003


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