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.
Since all the recent POTUS are raging “Christians”, with God telling “W” to invade Iraq, it is as ridiculous now as in early christian years to expect their behaviour to reflect this faith. People are able to justify anything (remember slavery) and act in the most brutal manner, whether or not they are christians. Adolf Hitler complained to the Pope about the atrocities of the Croation Ustashi!!
You have to separate Old and New Testaments. Much of the Old Testament is just nationalistic propaganda, common in those days, where a god is supportive of whatever group is being talked about. The New Testament is the purported life and teachings of Jesus, a man who rebelled agaisnt Roman occupation and corruption in the temples. It was written down well after the fact minus earlier writings sensors didn’t want included, and this God is the spiritual one, teachings that can make one feel warm inside.
The NT was censored heavily though when the canons were codified.
Let’s not forget that Jesus is ‘quoted’ (as much as anyone could be in such an ancient piece of propaganda) as saying that all scripture, all of the Old Testament, should be followed to the letter in Matthew 5:18-19, Luke 16:17, Timothy 3:16 and John 10:35 to name but a few. At the same time, he’s ‘quoted’ (et cetera) as supporting slavery in 1 Peter 2:18, and as criticising the Jews for not executing bratty children in Mark 7:10 and Matthew 15:4-7. Even if the doctrine of hell and salvation weren’t the greatest moral obscenity ever conceived, these passages alone would be reason enough to abandon the Bible as a guide to anythnig except how not to write good fantasy fiction.
I agree with much of what you say. It’s a mish-mash of absudities, and the story changes depending upon the political needs of the time it was documented. Romans were first blame for Jesus death but then when Christianity began to seep into Rome and adherents wanted the religion to grow then there was a shift to blaming the Jews. There are all kinds of political angles. Did Jesus exist? Did the great wealthy land of David exist, excavations that go through that time period came up with zip? It looks all Canaanite except for the lack of pig bones. Was that because this particular faction knew of the numerous parasites that pigs can transfer to humans? Earlier stories left out of the Bible suggest Jesus was more a spirit, the inner warmth one gets from helping others. If he did exist he was a poor Jew and fought for peoples rights over occupation and a corrupt religious leadership. No matter how badly it fits together, there is something there about do unto others as we ourselves would like to be treated. Outside that it would be of use to have lived the times that each text was written to see why.
As for supporting the Old Testament, I read it as the Commandments and Jewish religious laws, not the whole book.
“obsessively played first-person shooter videogames such as World of Warcraft”
World of Warcraft is not a first person shooter.
I thought this as SOON as I read that. World of Warcraft is an MMORPG, (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) and it is a fantasy themed game. Not many guns, lots of elves!
I don’t think this terrible mass murder had anything to do with religion – although it may have been used by his handlers as a vehicle to induce his actions . Presently , I’m inclined to think it is politically motivated and an intelligence/police operation.
It should at least be considered that the guy was manipulated or encouraged .
Greg, you posit facts not at hand. There is no evidence that anyone was aware of this guy as anything other than just another name on a list (if he was even on a list).
To make the breathtaking leap that not only was “someone” aware of him, they were somehow manipulating him to achieve unspecified goals of their own, unsupported by any facts is to engage in conspiracy-mongering or the most disingenuous sort.
You should be ashamed of your inability to stick to the facts at hand.
MrPeach , I used words that reflect my initial opinion . Words like “may have ” or the recomendation that it should be “considered” that “perhaps” what was presented as fact (by the corporate media and others ) may not be correct – after all we have been lied to before . Recall that many of the past terrorist attacks and politcal assassinations can be Proven to have been encouraged and even finianced by law enforcement, Intelligence services and/or their proxies.
The timing of the Oslo attack , the targets , the perpetrator(s) , the delay of response , the arms supposedly involved ,etc.., etc…point in the direction (imo) that this was a political power play with numerous players involved and not the result of one “Christian killer” angry about the presence of Muslims in “his” country.
â€œPlease reread the Gospels,â€ opines David Smith, â€œAccording to them Christ talks about hating and killing people.â€ But he fails to provide a single text to support his vacuous slander of the Gospels. The Lord Jesus said, â€œYe have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you (Matthew 5:43,44).â€ Obviously, Smith has never read the Gospels.
I’ll see your Matt 5:43,44 and raise you a Matt 10:34,35
“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.”
It’s a twofer. Hate and violence.
For the record I have not only read cover to cover, and comprehended, different translations and versions of the Bible (Old and New Testaments I have read sacred texts from most major world religions.
In the future if you want to make things personal and attack the individual rather than their argument/point at least have the decency not to make false statements about them
This argument is no different than the Islamic takfiris’ (terrorists’) arguments: Cherry pick the quote that sort of supports what you want to do, and then interpret it without reference to any other quote in the text.
The quoted biblical text does not support murder of nonbelievers. It is subject to multiple interpretations, many of which have nothing to do with justifying murder. What does “peace” mean in this text? Is the term “sword” used literally to mean a weapon of war, or as a metaphor for the division of the faithful from the nonbelievers? What does it mean to “set against” nonbelievers? War?
Also, what about “turn the other cheek?” What of “Love your enemies.”
So, once again, selective biblical interpretation is twisted to support war and murder. Simply wrong. And it’s wrong weather it is used to attempt to support murder by Christians, or in an attack on Christianity as a violent religion.
What, have you not even read your silly book? Making claims that what is there isn’t there? Next you’ll be claiming that Jesus spoke against homosexuality and slavery.
Please reread the Gospels. According to them Christ talks about hating and killing people. Insisting that what Breivik did is incompatible with Christ and Christianity is both ignorant and delusional. Don’t, hovwever,take that the wrong way. I am not saying one leads to the other. That is also a false statement. It just means they can easily go hand-in-hand or not.