It’s Time To Confront Violent Radicalism
If I hear one more time that Islam is a religion of peace, I’m going to puke.
Yes, many Muslims are peaceful, but Islam in general has a serious problem with violent radicalism. Sunni and Shi’a factions often violent campaigns against each other, and against non-Muslims too.
Of course, Islam isn’t the only supposed “religion of peace” that regularly promotes violence. Christian Protestants and Catholics have largely stopped waging war against each other, after hundreds of years of violence, but Christian violent radicalism has turned outwards, against non-Christians, with many Christian leaders regularly promoting new wars, and even praying that soldiers on their side will be victorious in mortal combat.
The violent radicalism of Islam and Christianity converged this week when, after Muslim Omar Mateen slaughtered 49 people in a gay bar in Orlando, Florida, Christian preacher Roger Jimenez celebrated the attack, saying that homosexuals “deserve to die” and that “the tragedy is that more of them didn’t die.” Jimenez gave a sermon against LGBT Americans, telling his congregation that, “I wish the government would round them all up, put them up against a firing wall, put a firing squad in front of them, and blow their brains out.”
In response, Manly Perry, a Christian preacher in Texas, defended Jimenez’s call for the deaths of gay Americans, saying, “The Bible is very clear that homosexuals should have the death penalty.”
Yes, many Christians are peaceful, but Christianity in general has a serious problem with violent radicalism.
Let’s not stop there, though. Jews, Hindus, and Buddhists also have radically violent religious movements.
Religious people aren’t the only violent radicals, either. Atheists don’t like to talk about it much, but large-scale violent atheist political movements were a huge and brutal force of oppression in the 20th century. They called themselves Communists.
Yes, many atheists are peaceful, but atheist organizations have had a serious problem with violent radicalism.
Most Muslims, most Christians, most Jews, most Hindus, most Buddhists, and most atheists are not violent people. However, most Muslims, most Christians, most Jews, most Hindus, most Buddhists, and most atheists prefer to pretend that the violently radical aspects of their ideology are not there. They prefer to, despite ample available evidence, depict their ideologies as peaceful, and only criticize the violence of other groups.
It’s time for that to stop.
It’s time to confront violent radicalism, but we can’t confront violent radicalism by becoming violent radicals ourselves. The only coherent way to confront violent radicalism is to be radically nonviolent.
No matter how we choose to identify ourselves, we need to recognize that our beliefs can, if taken too far, be used to justify brutality against other people. We need to stand against those who use our own ideologies to perpetrate and to justify violence.
Go ahead and be as radical as you like. Radicalism isn’t the problem. Thoughts don’t hurt people. Behaviors do, and the act of confronting violence by people whose ideology you share may be the most radical behavior you’re capable of.