When Texas Congressman Al Green (D) chastised Rep. Peter King (R-NY) in June for holding Homeland Security Committee hearings on the radicalization of Muslims in America, he demonstrated how little he knows about Christianity. Green asked, “Why not have a hearing on the radicalization of Christians?”
A television talk-show host and a guest quickly agreed. It seems they believe there are more radical Christians than radical Muslims. Of course, they made no mention of the Islamic terror attacks of 9/11 and failed to provide a single example of “radical” Christian violence.
Even Green himself said, “And if you agree that we have Christians…who become radicalized, they become part of Islam and they become radicalized as is being said, why not have a hearing on the radicalization of Christians?”1
So what Green actually said is that Islam is radicalizing converts to Islam—people who likely were never true, biblical Christians to begin with.
Yet the fact his comment was quickly used to skewer Christianity, rather than Islam, articulates the current war on American, Bible-believing Christians. Of course, Christians are concerned about the denigration of the moral and spiritual values that have undergirded this republic since its founding. And, yes, we wince when absurd bans prohibit singing the likes of “God Bless America” at public functions and mentioning God in public prayer or discourse.
But the issues go further. These incidents are ensigns of what will be contested in more radical terms in the future.
In 2003 an obscure essayist named Michael Webb wrote an online diatribe about the Christian “right.” Unfortunately, his verminous reasoning reflects core aspects of the forces being marshaled to destroy conservative Christianity:
Those points [abortion and gay rights] have been used to radicalize the radical religious right in the United States in the same way that Islamicists have long used the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza to radicalize their own people. In fact, we can draw many parallels between the radical religious right in the US and Islamic radicals in the Middle East.
Like most radical movements, both are unwilling to compromise or coexist with their adversaries. In their minds, the continuing presence of political or ideological adversaries can only be bad. Radicals feel they must persist in their struggle until the world is completely purged and free of the adversaries….There is no appreciable difference between Islamic fundamentalism and the radical Christian right.
Indeed, it isn’t too great an exaggeration to say that the Islamic Republic of Iran is a fairly clear model of where the religious right wants to take the United States. Only the details differ.2
We hear much these days from pollsters and political prognosticators who refer to the “evangelical vote” and its influence in the next presidential election. Who identifies these evangelical voters? The conservative Christian community has never voted as a monolithic block. Nor is it controlled by czars who dictate which levers to pull in the polling booths.
Individual believers vote just like other Americans: according to their personal convictions. And if this is radicalism, then all Americans have been radicalized.
The danger of real radicalism lies in how anti-Christian elements will react toward their Christian enemies if things fail to go their way.
- Robert Spencer, “Investigate Radical Christianity!” Pajamas Media, June 25, 2012 <pjmedia.com/blog/investigate-radical-christianity/>.
- Michael Webb, “On the rise of the radical religious right and the breakdown of democracy in the United States,” 2003 <http://sklatch.net/thoughtlets/pall.html>.