No, not really. The new House of Representatives will not be investigating the radicalization of American Christians. If I were the tit-for-tat type, though, I’d say that Congress ought to be.
There has been a remarkable, dangerous radicalization of certain parts of the Christian community in the United States. The Hutaree militia, which was training to engage in a violent attack against the U.S. government, is one recent example of that. Congressional candidate Rich Iott’s involvement with a group of Nazi sympathizers is another. Many radical Christian leaders have been stoking fires of hatred, promoting campaigns to deny Americans of their constitutional rights, and to engage in open acts of violent resistance against the U.S. government.
Still, it wouldn’t be right for Congress to launch hearings specifically targeting radicalization within the American Christian community. That’s because Congress isn’t supposed to be selectively attack some religions while ignoring problems with other religions. It isn’t the job of Congress to police how Americans practice religion, and so, holding congressional investigations with the goal of reforming American Christianity would be wrong, a clearly unconstitutional attempt by Congress to take over Christianity.
For the same reason, the announcement by Congressman Peter King that he will launch investigations with public hearings through the House Homeland Security Committee into what King calls the “radicalization of the American Muslim community” is a big mistake. These hearings are constitutionally and ethically unsupportable. Yes, there are radical Muslims, just as there are radical Christians. Yes, there are Muslim leaders who support violent attacks against the United States, just as there are Christian leaders who support violent attacks against the United States. Radicalization of religion itself, however, is not a crime.
Conspiracy to commit or abet acts of violence is a crime. That’s what ought to be investigated by Congress, without religious bias.