Killing Christians and Jews
The gunman in Oregon performed a powerfully bigoted and hateful argument as a statement against Christians and Jews. The steadfast refusal of our intellectual culture to take seriously the global and American agenda of violence against Christians and Jews is important and immoral. Our society accepts violence against Christians and Jews as being a comprehensible response to overzealous and “privileged” communities both here at home and abroad. We need to take clear stock of social markers taking us down a path of intimidation that must be confronted and stopped.
Our society arguably crossed a political Rubicon on December 12, 2008. Less than one month after losing the presidential election, the much maligned governor Sarah Palin’s Christian church was burned around the entire perimeter with women and children trapped inside. Plainly sexist verbal assaults from feminist comedians that asked for Palin to be raped and brutalized were realized in a hate crime that earned no federal investigation, no serious social commentary from the media, and no prosecutions to date. No one has been arrested for the crime in Alaska against Palin’s church. The deliberate silence that would not have been practiced if Biden or Obama’s (if he had one) church had been burned with women and children inside, is part of a socialized stigma toward Christians deemed by our elite as socially and politically regressive.
In 2010, a Christian man in St. Louis from Iraq who had converted from Islam was pulled from his car and had a Star of David carved into his back by his attackers. His attackers deemed his poetry defending the dignity of Jews in the Middle East to be too offensive for their tastes. Our intellectual elite conflate their antisemitic and anti-Christian views by arguing that the conservative Christian defense of Israel is an attempt to force a nihilistic theological Armageddon on unbelieving adversaries.
Those antisemitic dispositions were on vivid display as the prime minister of Israel stated in stark and obvious terms how the international community has turned a blind eye toward Iran’s genocidal goals regarding the one Jewish state in the world. The American delegation of Samantha Power and John Kerry would not sit for the speech from Israel demanding greater accountability for these genocidal ambitions— even though Power has made a career castigating political bodies for inaction on these types of questions. Netanyahu stared down the United Nations for 45 eerie seconds of silence that mocked the international bodies protracted silence regarding violence against Jews and Christians globally.
In 2011, a gay activist gunman created a list of conservative Christian targets from the Southern Poverty Law Center website. He began his killing spree at the Family Research Council in Washington DC. He carried with him a backpack full of Chick-fil-A sandwiches. His plan was to shoot FRC employees, and as they lay dying, he would compel them to eat the sandwiches as a final communion for their deep dark sins of homophobia.
The recent Charleston shooting was committed in a Christian church and the gunman listened to an hour of Christian fellowship before killing those kindly gathered to love one another in the name of God. Our Facebook pages overflow with seething hate-filled rage against Kim Davis. The sources are invariably the Jacobin Pharisees of American life who constitute themselves as supremely tolerant. In reality, our culture has become shockingly intolerant toward Christians and Jews. Their elite diatribes were strangely silent when American civil clerks broke the law in favor of gay couples before the Supreme Court case in 2015 but now the jacobins loudly demand the Christian clerks “do their jobs!”
Though he is hardly a paragon of Christian theology, Donald Trump earns the growing ire and hate-filled contempt of our Jacobin elite who use the term of “equality” to rally for the destruction of individual liberty. South Park comedians delighted recently in offering the rape and killing of Donald Trump in the latest installment of fantasizing violence against American conservatives. The internet in 2012 took special delight in slandering Christian conservatives Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann.
It is socially acceptable among our intellectual elite to be contemptuous and hateful to individuals deemed inconveniently Christian. Law professor Stephen Carter complained of a “Culture of Disbelief” in the 1990s and now we have evolved into a culture of contempt with regard to Christian and Jewish belief. Our popular sports media is a convenient social marker. Craig James was removed from broadcast for political speech criticizing gay marriage. ESPN cut off a Clemson coach when he waxed too theological in his praise for football success. ESPN chose gender-bending Bruce Jenner for public honors over Christian hero Lauren Hill who struggled to play women’s collegiate basketball while raising awareness for a serious form of brain cancer. Whether removing Christians who do not see how much Jesus appreciates gay marriage and Planned Parenthood or remaining silent with regard to hate crimes committed against these groups, Christians need to watch their public steps according to this intellectual elite. Our punditry offer silence when they should condemn violence against Christians and Jews while demanding silence among the advocates within those same targeted communities who defend orthodoxy. The idea that the constitutionally established free exercise of religion protects speech against the ideological mascots of our elite is now deemed absurd and offensive.
Christians who continue to turn the other cheek toward this hatred are unwitting accomplices to the increasingly popular fantasy of killing Christians and Jews. Our silence conveys an acceptance of what is unacceptable— the killing of the innocent in order to reify the powers of the intolerant. It is painfully obvious from comedic outlets, to college classrooms, to popular sports broadcast, to international political forms, that it is ok to speak of Christians and Jews in ways we would not speak of other groups. It is equally acceptable to silence and shun those who speak in defense of these groups. Now is the time to end silence surrounding this new American habit adapted to please our secular pharisees.
Ben Voth is an associate professor of Communication Studies and director of debate and speech programs at SMU. Voth is an advisor for the Bush Institute, a Dedman Church-State fellow, and the debate fellow for the Calvin Coolidge Foundation.