At the National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama informed Christians they should get off their “high horse” regarding radical Islamic terrorism, pointing out that “during the Crusades and the Inquisition people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.”
The President also reminded those listening that, here in America, Christianity was often used to support slavery and Jim Crow. In fact, such arguments are still used by the far-right Christian Identity Movement to support its beliefs and actions.
The President may be correct, and he may have made some great points, but the folks at Fox News see this as yet another Obama attack on Christianity. In fact, according to host Eric Bolling, Christians are entirely innocent of any wrongdoing.
In fact, Bolling says, no one of any religion besides Islam has committed atrocities in its name. The host ended Saturday’sCashin’ In by making the following assertion:
“Reports say radical Muslim jihadists killed thousands of people in the past few months alone. And yet when you take Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, whatever, their combined killings in the name of religion––well, that would be zero.”
Of course, Bolling willfully ignores many recent examples of Christian terrorism within our own borders. In December,Think Progress noted one such incident of Christian terrorism:
Larry McQuilliams was shot and killed by police after unleashing a campaign of violence in Austin, Texas, firing more than 100 rounds in the downtown area before making a failed attempt to burn down the Mexican Consulate. The only casualty was McQuilliams himself, who was felled by officers when he entered police headquarters, but the death toll could have been far greater: McQuilliams, who was called a “terrorist” by Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo, had several weapons, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, and a map pinpointing 34 other buildings as possible targets — including several churches.While the impetus for McQuilliams’ onslaught remains unclear, local authorities recently announced that he may have been motivated by religion — but not the one you might think. According to the Associated Press, police officers who searched McQuilliams’ van found a copy of “Vigilantes of Christendom,” a book connected with the Phineas Priesthood, an American white supremacist movement that claims Christian inspiration and opposes interracial intercourse, racial integration, homosexuality, and abortion. Phineas priests take their name from the biblical figure Phinehas in the book of Numbers, who is described as brutally murdering an Israelite man for having sex with a foreign woman, who he also kills. Members of the Phineas Priesthood — which people “join” simply by adopting the views of the movement — are notoriously violent, and some adherents have been convicted of bank robberies, bombing abortion clinics, and planning to blow up government buildings. Although McQuilliams didn’t leave a letter explaining the reason for his attack, a handwritten note inside the book described him as a “priest in the fight against anti-God people.”McQuilliams’ possible ties to the Phineas Priesthood may sound strange, but it’s actually unsettlingly common. In fact, his association with the hateful religious group highlights a very real — but often under-reported — issue: terrorism enacted in the name of Christ.
In July, 2013, Alternet reminded us of another example of far-right Christian terrorism in the form of a 2009 attack on an abortion doctor:
Imagine that a physician had been the victim of an attempted assassination by an Islamic jihadist in 1993, and received numerous death threats from al-Qaeda after that, before being murdered by an al-Qaeda member. Neocons, Fox News and the Christian Right would have had a field day. A physician was the victim of a terrorist killing that day, but neither the terrorist nor the people who inflamed the terrorist were Muslims. Dr. George Tiller, who was shot and killed by anti-abortion terrorist Scott Roeder on May 31, 2009, was a victim of Christian Right terrorism, not al-Qaeda.Tiller had a long history of being targeted for violence by Christian Right terrorists. In 1986, his clinic was firebombed. Then, in 1993, Tiller was shot five times by female Christian Right terrorist Shelly Shannon (now serving time in a federal prison) but survived that attack. Given that Tiller had been the victim of an attempted murder and received countless death threats after that, Fox News would have done well to avoid fanning the flames of unrest. Instead, Bill O’Reilly repeatedly referred to him as “Tiller the baby killer.” When Roeder murdered Tiller, O’Reilly condemned the attack but did so in a way that was lukewarm at best.
Despite that Christian extremism is, in fact, a reality, Bolling said that President Obama not only “crossed the line,” but that he “pole vaulted over the line.”
“I think President Obama went too far this time,” Bolling said, drawing the assertion from the “very core of” his Christianity. In a piece on FoxNews.com, Bolling demanded an apology from the President to Christians everywhere — even the terrorists.
Watch a clip of Bolling’s statements, below: