There was a question earlier in a comment thread: Speaking of religious extremists try to affect their nation’s politics, anyone here going to do a post on the recent terrorism in Norway? I keep checking but I haven’t seen any posts or even comments about it here.
Okay, first of all, we’re not a newswire, y’all. We all have day jobs—some of us work AND go to school—so depending on what our schedules are like, we can’t always put up a post as fast as we’d like, especially as we try to frame our commentary in a reasonably thoughtful way.
By now we’re all familiar with the dreadful reality of the attacks in Norway, so there’s no need to rehash the facts. Here’s my two cents’ worth of opinion: if you know anything at all about Western culture or history, an angry white man committing violent hate crimes is just about the least surprising thing ever. And the hypocrisy and cognitive dissonance coming from the right wing—about how Andres Breivik, a white Christian, is not anything at all like other religious extremist terrorists, even though that’s exactly what he’s like—is almost enough to make your head explode. But that right-wing hypocrisy is nothing new either; I wrote about that variety of right-wing hypocrisy earlier this year in a post about New York’s Congressman Peter King, who for years raised money and political support for a white, Christian terrorist organization but now grandstands about protecting America from the non-white, non-Christian terrorists.
White Christian have always been terrorists, in both the US and elsewhere. Peter King’s friends in the IRA—-plus their Protestant nemesis the Ulster Freedom Fighters—killed thousands of civilians in Great Britain and Ireland in the late 20th century. They were all white Christians. Timothy McVeigh and his co-conspirator Terry Nichols, who bombed Oklahoma City’s Murrah Federal building in 1995–the second deadliest terrorist attack in US history—were both white Christians, strongly influenced by the ultra-right Christian Identity movement. The Ku Klux Klan terrorized Americans for over a century with beatings, lynchings, assassinations, and bombings of school buses, homes, churches, and synagogues. All white, all Christian, all terrorists.
If you want some really, really good analysis of Breivik, McVeigh, Christian terrorists, and the fetid swamp of misogyny, religion, marginalization, racism, paranoia and alienation in which they exist, read this amazing post by Michael Kimmel over on Sociological Images.