It was always going to happen eventually – UPDATED
Obviously this may be premature since the investigation into the horrible events in Norway has only just begun, but reports are starting to come out describing Anders Behring Breivik, the arrested man, as a Christian fundamentalist.
There are a few caveats to mention before we go on. He’s also been described as a nationalist and a right-winger and is said to hold anti-Muslim views. For all I know at this early stage all of them might be true or none of them at all. And of course they’ll have barely begun questioning him,
much less have charges ready1 and a trial is even further off. If he is charged1 and tried there is the possibility that he’ll be acquitted, and for all we know he could be released tomorrow with an apology and an admission that they’d arrested the wrong man – it happens to every police force now and then, as we all know.
However, assuming for the moment – and this is the Exile assumption, meaning it is uncertain but let’s just say, rather than the media assumption, meaning we’re not allowed to actually say we think he’s guilty but we do and we know you know we do – assuming for the moment that the right man was arrested, that he’ll be tried and convicted, and that these reports that he is a Christian fundamentalist turn out to be accurate, then we will have had what I’ve long thought would probably happen one day: an act of Christian terrorism.*
And if so I have no doubt that Christians in general will be appalled. They’ll say, quite rightly, that this man is in no real sense a Christian, that he’s twisted his beliefs to fit his hatred and that he is, at least on some levels, quite insane. And they’ll get no argument from me, but… it would still be a Christian terror attack, wouldn’t it? But also quite wrong to treat all Christians as being latent Breiviks, and sadly for Christians there will be people who’ll do just that.
The other day James Higham, occasional commenter here and one of the older kids at the Orphanage who makes sure the rest of us brush our teeth and so on, and also a Christian himself, said in response to my post on moderate Muslims speaking up:
… there are the Christian fundamentalists too I don’t like the look in the eyes of.
It’s the fanaticism which is the problem.
I think he’s spot on. A fanatic is a fanatic is a fanatic – what flavour of fanatic doesn’t really matter much if they’re setting off bombs and spraying bullets into crowds.
Of course, and as I said at the top, this could all be completely irrelevant if these reports turn out to be wrong, like the very early ones saying some Islamic nutters were claiming responsibility, or they’ve got the wrong guy. In the meantime I’ll repeat what I said earlier today, the one fact we can be sure of: this bloodshed was the work of a lunatic. I’ll add only that being mad doesn’t rule out being bad as well.
UPDATE – the same caveats apply to this as above, but I’ve seen mention in comments elsewhere that some stuff on the web supposedly written by Breivik refers to Atlas Shrugged and that there’s a possible ‘libertarian’ (massive quote marks) aspect to his politics. Don’t know if it’s true, and the only references I found in the document linked to referred not to Atlas Shrugged but to a URL with ‘atlasshrugged’ in it it might be a misunderstanding, but as a libertarian the thought doesn’t exactly give me a warm fuzzy any more than the religious link will Christians. Whatever else may be claimed to be a motive in the coming days the act was one of evil and insanity.
* Depending on their view of certain historical events some might say another act of Christian terrorism.
1 – Via the comments JuliaM informs me that the BBC are now reporting that Breivik has been charged with both the bombing and the shooting.