The aftermath of the Manchester Bombing, coupled with Memorial Day this week got me thinking about an argument Bill Maher has been making for years. He tells us time and time again that the most violent religion on earth is Islam. He also voices his opinion that Muslims are the most radical and extreme. I would argue however, especially in the case of interfaith violence, Christians are more violent.
It’s easy to understand why someone might get the wrong impression. All you have to do is turn on a western media outlet. When the Manchester Bombing occurred, we witnessed wall to wall coverage of the attack. We saw every detail pertaining to the perpetrator and his background. In addition, we were shown stories about the victims, including all twenty-two of their names.
Very little attention was paid to the attacker’s motivations, other than he was a terrorist and/or an Islamic extremist. However, when an attack occurs in a predominately Muslim nation, particularly when the U.S. or a western nation is involved, we hear nothing. All we get is a statistic: the body count.
We rarely hear the name of who drops our bombs and they never mention the operative of a drone. The victims are never named unless there was a known terrorist among the dead. In these cases, however, the motivation is always the same: we’re fighting terror!
I recently saw an interview on Democracy Now that featured Intercept Journalists Jeremy Scahill and Glenn Greenwald. It was titled “What if all victims of war received the media attention of Manchester victims?” It is an incredible interview I recommend you watch, but it also got me thinking about the wider conflict from a religious point of view.
Most people point to the 9/11 attacks as the starting point for the War on Terror. The attacks were brought on by American Imperialism in the Middle East and by American troops being allowed to operate within Saudi Arabia during the first Gulf War.
The 9/11 attack was orchestrated by fundamentalist men, mostly from Saudi Arabia, who had been funded by the CIA to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. You could argue the attack was religiously motivated, but it wasn’t. If it had been, the targets would have been religious institutions, not the seats of America’s military and economic power.
On the other hand, you have born again Christian George W. Bush. A man who refused to negotiate with the Taliban to release Bin Laden. Then, two years, he later publicly acknowledged that God told him to invade Iraq. Just like the 9/11 attacks, the wars may have been religiously motivated, but they likely weren’t driven by it.
I don’t think Barack Obama spoke to God, but he’s still a Christian. And in the eyes of the Muslim world, you had a Christian president who expanded the war on terror to seven different Muslim countries. In fact, Obama dropped 26,171 bombs on these countries in 2016 alone. It’s easy to see why even a moderate Muslim would get upset with a Nobel Peace Prize winning drone striker in chief.
Now I know what you’re all thinking. Regardless of America’s Christian leaders, Muslims are still more violent on an individual basis, more radical, more open to attacking civilians, so on and so on. It’s all bullshit folks. I’m not even referring to Christians bombing abortion clinics or federal buildings. I’m talking about inter-faith violence.
If a Muslim wants to kill Christians in the west, he first needs to join a terrorist organization. He then needs to plot and fund his own diabolical scheme. If he succeeds without blowing himself up, he then needs to go into hiding for the rest of his life, face jail and/or possible execution. He is also denounced in the press for the terrorist he is.
If a Christian wants to kill Muslims, all they must do is join the American Army. They will receive a free education, free room and board, and a decent salary. The new soldier will often be allowed to carry out operations from a safe distance where he/she can blow people up without much consequence, as long as they follow orders. The soldier is then allowed to return home to their loving family where they are treated like a hero.
What is the difference? Radicalized Muslims who seek revenge on Western countries are limited to civilian targets. They can’t attack fighter jets, drones, tanks or battleships after all. Christians however are free to unleash hell, and they do it everywhere they can. It doesn’t matter if these Christians are radical or not, they kill legally. A killer is a killer, extremist or not.
For example, between 2001 and 2013, the United States had bombed eight different wedding parties. While radical Muslims may chant “allahu akbar!” following a terrorist attack, you just know there are Christian rednecks shouting “USA, USA!” when they bomb a wedding. I fail to see the difference. To many American Christians, Jesus and America are one and of the same anyway.
Since the latest rendition of the War on Terror was introduce by Bush in 2001, it is now estimated that up to four million Muslims have been killed as a result. These numbers are fast approaching holocaust-like proportions. But nobody pays any mind to it. We are supposed to believe Christians are less violent and less savage.
There are many political elites who will state American violence comes from the control of oil or good old fashioned American imperialism. What they don’t consider is America’s hate for Muslims. Fear and hate played a crucial factor in Trump’s election win, whether it was for terrorists or refugees or Muslims in general. This was, in large part, thanks to his Christian base.
In a way, at least from a foreign policy perspective, Bush and Obama’s wars paved the way for Trump supporters. All three of them are Christians. To say Christianity doesn’t play a motivational role in American foreign policy would be very dishonest. And this mixture of religion and policy is potent: it has killed millions of innocent people.