Christian nationalists, like confessed Norway mass-murderer Anders Breivik, insist that a violent defense of Christendom is needed to shield Western Christianity and its culture from encroachments by Muslims. But Gary G. Kohls writes that such ugly intolerance is an affront to Jesus’s teachings of peace and forgiveness.
By Gary G. Kohls
Newspaper reports have provided intensive coverage of the horrific details of the mass murderer in Norway, with pictures and multiple interviews of the survivors and witnesses of the massacre of 80 or more defenseless adolescents at a summer camp for left-wing Labor Party youth.
The reports indicated that scores of young people had been methodically stalked and shot to death by a 32-year old (politically and theologically) professed Conservative Christian named Anders Breivik – a nationalist, a racist and a pro-violence xenophobe.
Breivik was a loner whose diplomat father divorced his mother when he was an infant and had very little to do with him after that. Breivik became a baptized Christian when he was 15, completed his compulsory military service (where he learned to handle firearms), went to college, joined a gun club, obsessively played first-person shooter videogames such as World of Warcraft, became a Mason and then, up until the shootings, lived with his mother in a wealthy suburb of Oslo.
He had started a small farm but this was a front operation to justify the purchase of 6 tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer that he used to make the bomb that he detonated at the federal building in Oslo.
Despite having a master’s degree in business administration (MBA), Breivik apparently failed at every business enterprise he attempted.
The police reports coming out of Oslo on July 22 stated that the shooter was a right-wing Christian Fundamentalist. The confessed murderer’s Facebook page listed “Christian” as his religion and “Conservative” as his politics.
Breivik had been an active member, both as a youth and as a young adult, of the far-right-wing Progress Party (a political party, interestingly enough, with a platform quite similar to America’s Tea Party).
According to Wikipedia, Norway’s Progress Party began as a conservative anti-tax party advocating tax cuts (even to the point of abolishing the income tax), cutting government spending and privatizing schools, teachers and government functions like the civil service.
The party was vehemently anti-immigration, against federal tax subsidies and called for the abolition of Norway’s state-sponsored, commercial-free public radio and television networks. The party also espouses increases in police power, law and order, a strong national defense and free-market conservative principles. Sounds like a match to me.
Quoting from the UK’s Telegraph.uk.com, Breivik at one time had “called for the formation of a ‘cultural Euro-Tea Party’, referring to the grass-roots right-wing organisation in the US supported by Sarah Palin.”
Tea Party rallies in America are famous for the presence of angry white men carrying handguns accusing President Barack Obama of being a left-wing socialist – or a right-wing fascist.
According to a video that Breivik released just before his murder rampage, the major issue for him was the multiculturalism and socialist leanings of the ruling Labor Party- what conservatives in Norway regard as a too-generous immigration policy, especially for Muslims.
The frightening video can be accessed at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/norway/8657669/Norway-shootings-Anders-Behring-Breiviks-YouTube-video-posted-hours-before-killings.html
One blogger commented about the story, “A bitter, white, right-wing, fundamentalist Christian gun-nut who hates liberals and babbles about Islam and Marxists. Good thing we don’t have anybody like that in our country.”
It should come as no surprise that many political observers have compared the Progress Party of Norway to the neo-fascist Freedom Party of Austria (FPO), the British Nationalist Party (BNP) and LaPen’s National Front Party of France.
The extreme right-wing agendas are essentially the same and the parties enjoy substantial numbers of supporters.
Breivik’s 1,500 page manifesto, which he titled “Knights Templar 2083,” made frequent references to the Christian Crusades and the infamous Knights Templar, a Roman Catholic order of warrior monks, that, for 200 years (from 1119 CE to 1312 CE), was the most fierce military killing machine in Christendom.
The Knights Templar initially exerted their power against Muslims in the Middle East following the First Crusade which began in 1099 CE.
The “holy warriors” of the First Crusade, incidentally, were the ones that drew first blood against Islam and started the centuries-long feud that is still ongoing today. The First Crusade ended with a wholesale massacre and torturing of tens of thousands of Muslims and Jewish “infidels,” both of whom had been co-existing nicely in Jerusalem.
The final act of the First Crusade was a literal bloodbath at Jerusalem’s Temple of Solomon. Witnesses described the blood from the victims of the slaughter being ankle deep.
When pilgrims to the Holy Land during later Crusades to retake Jerusalem needed armed protection from the Muslims who wanted revenge, the Vatican organized ”the Poor Knights of Christ of the Temple of Solomon” (aka the Knights Templar) and the pope at the time gave buildings on the Temple Mount to the Templars.
Known for their white tunics bearing a red cross, the Knights Templar eventually acquired immense wealth and political power, becoming international bankers and allies of kings and popes. They are often regarded as the world’s first multinational corporation,
The Templars were also highly trained professional killers who lived by the sword and typically died by the sword. Eventually, rivals broke the organization up and its members were convicted of heresy, some burned at the stake. What happened to the legendary wealth of this secret group became the subject of much speculation.
At any rate, the story of the mass murderer Breivik, today’s self-styled Templar, will have much to teach us in the coming months. His politics of hate seems to be fairly well described, but his theology of hate still needs clarification.
Certainly this killer is a pseudo-Christian or at least not a follower of the teachings of Jesus in the gospels. But there are many professed Christians out there who espouse the same disdain for multiculturalism, tolerance, the Golden Rule and Jesus’s clear teachings about forgiveness, mercy, nonviolence and the unconditional love of friends and enemies.
So we need to be diligent. There may be more psychopathic, pro-violent types with pseudo-Christian beliefs out there than we care to acknowledge.
Gary G. Kohls is a founding member of Every Church A Peace Church.