Forty-five people were massacred in the United States yesterday

July 24, 2011 | By | 18 Replies More

Forty-five people were murdered in the United States yesterday (16,591 homicides for the year 2009). And another forty-five will be murdered tomorrow. And another forty-five every day of the year and next year and next year.

What happened in Norway was terrible. A Christian extremist named Anders Breivik killed 91 people.* It was clearly a massacre. Here in the United States, we have a massacre the size of Norway’s every other day, but we don’t call it a “massacre” because the killings aren’t as geographically clustered–but then again, many of them are clustered in the inner cities of America. And if we don’t call it a “massacre,” we don’t feel as compelled to do something to stop the killings.   Something simple like  calling off the “war on drugs.”

For anyone who objects that I’ve called the Norwegian killer a “Christian,” I’m willing to make a deal. Next time a Muslim inflicts violence in America, will you agree that you won’t describe him as a Muslim when you describe his conduct?  That would avoid a double-standard. Deal?


Category: Culture, Drug laws, law and order

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (18)

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  1. He certainly is a Christian extremist — part of his reasoning is the preservation of Western European Christian society, not unlike the rationale behind Islamic jihadists.

  2. Erich Vieth says:

    I'm hearing conflicting reports as to whether Breivik was a Christian. Early reports stated that he was clearly a Christian. This article from the U.K. Guardian suggests otherwise:

    And here's more on Breivik's version of Christianity:

  3. Karl says:

    Just so we're clear on this, a "secular" Christian as if it is possible to only be a "cultural Christian" has only a perverted illogical claim to say they are "Christian" in any way because Jesus told his followers to be as wise as serpents but as harmless as doves.

  4. Erich Vieth says:

    Official reports indicate that Breivick identified himself as a "Christian" on his Facebook page.

    On page 198 of his manifesto, he indicates:

    "This long-held position of the Church concerning the separation between State and Religion stems from the words of the Lord Jesus Christ himself, when he asked his followers to submit to their rulers: ‘‘Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.'' [Mathew 22:21]. The Coptic Church has never forcefully resisted authorities or invaders and was never allied with any powers, for the words of the Lord Jesus Christ are clear: ‘‘Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.'' (Mathew 26:52). The miraculous survival of the Coptic Church till this day and age is a living proof of the validity and wisdom of these teachings."

  5. @Karl: just so we're clear, if in order to be considered a Christian you must follow the teachings of Christ without exception, then I don't think there is such a person.

    • Karl says:

      @ Chip: People who like a certain culture in which to live does not mean they hold to the beliefs of the people that are responsible for the existence of that culture. If you were raised in a land that gave you legal sexual freedoms and then saw that that might be starting to swing the other way, what might you do? Breivick stated over and over again that he was a "Cultural Christian" He also stated repeatedly that he was an agnostic at best when it came to actually believing anything of a religious nature. Breivick like most any other sexual relativists would prefer to have a culture that can be molded by the whims of public opinion rather than one that has stiff hard and fast penalties for various sexual moral failures. Why does Breivick want the labor party to wake up to the threat of the constant increase in the influence of Muslim culture? Because Sharia Law does not look favorably in the least upon matters of moral failure whereas Christian Culture manages to be more compliant to the wishes of the sexually immoral. This is called religion by moral expediency, claiming a desire for the culture of tolerance, while being intolerant of others, that they know/fear would be intolerant of them.

  6. Karl says:

    @Chip: And to be a atheist one must not have any thoughts about a possible existence of a God, of any sort.

  7. erichvieth says:

    More debate on whether Breivik was a "Christian."

    I really don't care whether he was a "Christian." That tent is big enough to include a wide variety of people, both good-hearted and despicable. I do want to stop the anti-Muslim bigotry by the media and its pundits. The current episode should be (but probably isn't) giving Christians a bit of insight why it is so unfair to prominently label killers Muslim where there religion has little to do with their behavior.

  8. Karl says:

    He will be Christian if from his heart he repents of his sinful behavior and asks to be forgiven, even while knowing full well what the consequences are for taking personal responsibility for his attempts to blame others for his own twisted beliefs and thinking. That's how wide the Christian tent is, but no larger. Do some research on what it means to "call" yourself a Christian as well as what it means to ”call” yourself a Muslim. simply being raised in a culture that shows little resemblance to that of its foundesr ideals does not make you a member of that religious faith. In the same way right now I would not call most of what's happening in "America," remotely similar to the founding of this nation.

    Cultures put labels of American, Norwegian, Christian, Muslim, Atheist and Humanist onto people they consider different enough from themselves but all it really does sufficiently well is to isolate and disassociate people from each other who might otherwise get along fairly well were it not for the categorization of disdain one has for the other.

  9. erichvieth says:

    Stephen Prothero gathers evidence that Brievik was a Christian, and he urges other Christians to publicly denounce Brievik's actions:

    But Breivik does not just deny Islam. He affirms Christianity. He describes himself as "100% Christian" in his apparent manifesto. That work says he's a member of the “Knights Templar," which the document refers to as “a Christian ‘culturalist’ military order.”

    The manifesto refers repeatedly to martyrdom, calls Breivik the "savior . . . of European Christendom," discusses Quranic views of Jesus and quotes extensively from the Bible.

    In fact, in an extended section justifying violence in the name of self-defense (plagiarized, like much in the manifesto, from other websites), it quotes from Exodus, Samuel, Judges, Psalms, Luke, Matthew, Isaiah, Daniel, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians and other biblical books. "God will anoint you with his power to go into battle," the manifesto reads. "God can be a Man of War if He wants to be."

    Finally, key dates in the manifesto, including the date for the rampage itself (July 22), are linked to key dates in the history of the Christian crusades. "Celebrate us, the martyrs of the conservative revolution," a video attributed to Breivik reads, "for we will soon dine in the Kingdom of Heaven."

  10. James says:

    Absolutely NO DEAL.
    You may, though, call them "religious extremists".

    Religion: that set of rules by which I know I'm ok….and you're not.

    This very accurate definition always points the "religious" extremist toward murder.
    And also allows for every human-being's propensity to worship…be ye a Christian, tree-hugger, Muslim, athiest, whatever…often the object of worship is self.
    There is only one kind of Christian…the others truly are not, though they call themselves such. Scripture cites those who even cast demons out in Jesus' Name, (they would call themselves"Christians"), but whom Jesus did not know, and were therefore not His.
    Scripture also cites the most DANGEROUS INTERSECTION: "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it".

  11. Mike M. says:

    Be wary of confusing Christianity with the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. The former has very little in common with the latter.

    • Jim Razinha says:

      Beware of confusing the teachings of Jesus with the teachings of Jesus…the Bible does that well enough on its own.

      Still, that’s a good point. Jesus was not a Christian. That was invented by the followers Saul/Paul, Peter, whoever wrote those books attributed to Paul but weren’t written by the one called Paul who wrote Acts and others…

      And modern Islam is just as interpreted from the original texts as modern Christianity from its first four hundred years, yet the Western mind tends to lump the all Islam into a single entity while pretty much ignoring the same for the Christianity (Double Standard).

  12. Karl says:

    The original Knights Templar were basically mercenaries provided with the blessing of certain popes and kings through political/religious alliances that used “money from somewhere” to push back the forceful spread of Muslim ideology into lands that were seen by Muslims as targets for the spread of their religious beliefs and culture. This was historically approved by various leaders from Christian Cultures which to some degree also provided religious cover to enable military operations to defend non-Muslims from Islam – i.e. the forceful spread of Muslim ideology.

    Many see the true Muslim faith as such that its Laws and Religion form its Culture and must be interlinked. This is seen by most other religions as being in direct opposition to the principles of 1st amendment of the US constitution. Christianity is and never should be viewed as a military/political instrument, although its followers should not be forced to disengage from the formation of public policy simply because they are told their values and morals are not politically correct. If a news agency has to resort to the use of the concept that something is “politically correct” then that news agency is as lopsidedly biased as a nation under the control of Sharia Law.

  13. Karl writes:—“Many see the true Muslim faith as such that its Laws and Religion form its Culture and must be interlinked.”

    As many Muslims themselves see it so interlinked. However, consider this, which is suggestive at least. Islam is a bit over 1300 years old. What were Christians doing in 1300 A.D.? They were living as if their Laws and Religion formed their Culture. Europe at the time was collective known as Christendom, as much a political entity as anything else. Policy was set according to Papal validation. There was probably as much dissension about this among the Christian princes of the time as there likely is today among Muslim scholars and secular Muslims.

    Time seems a palliative to the worst aspects of such dogmas. Given the speed and depth of communications and the ease of international affiliation today, I doubt it will be another seven centuries before such observations about a whole people will be little more than academic.

    The pitfall here, of course, is that all of Christendom agreed with itself in 1300 A.D. and so it is equally doubtful—in fact demonstrable—that there is as little homogeneity among Muslims.

    BTW, the Knights Templar were specifically given the mission to secure and defend all roads to and from the Holy Land. Legend has it that they stabled their horses in the ruins of Solomon’s palace. They were eradicated as part of a sizable money grab by Phillip the Fair and the Pope, who hung them out to dry. FYI.

  14. NIklaus Pfirsig says:

    Actually, Karl, the Knights Templar originated as a monastic order (The Poor Fellow-soldiers of Christ ansd the Temple of Soloman) As a monastic order, they were sworn to poverty, and their mission was to protect the Christian Pilgrams from Europe from bandits in the “holy land”.
    After rising to power, the mission of the Knights Templar became corrupted

    Part of the problem combining church and state, is that instead of religion bringing virture to the government, the combination brings corruption into the church. Note, that I make a distinction between church and religion.

    Position of power and authority are very attractive to those who crave authority without responsibility. Our democracy was originally desingned to include checks and balances, the checks equate roughly with the constitution and laws, and the balances are implemented through regulation.

    Those of us with an irrelgious veiwpoint see the obvious comanalities in the religious fundamentalist movements. Secular Abrahamic faiths stress a seperation of the spiritual and the worldly, fundamentalism goes the other direction, emphasising a total integration between the two concepts. Most of the Moslems I personally know say that Islam is a personal lifestyle choice, profess a belief that peace is the responsible path. Most Christians profess the same about their beliefs.

    But those at the fringes are the problem. These are the minorities working for some form of religious nationalism, the big three being Zionism, Islamism, and Dominionism. Hard core Zionists believe they have Gods mandate as the chosen ones to rule the earth. Islamists believe most people are too greedy and worldly to be trusted in government, that only the most pious and religious have the right to rule, and Dominionists believe in a world ruled by a Christian government.

    Although they all claim to profess a way of peace, and all follow the commandments of Moses, including “Thou shalt not kill”, like cigar store lawyers, they can always find some exemption to their own taking of lives, including arguing that their opponents are less than human, to describing ethnic purges as “preemptive defensive” actions.

    Breivik is clearly a Dominionist, (A Christian Nationalist). His actions and words attest to that.Just as zionists are a minority among Jews and Islamists are a minority among Moslems, Dominionists are a minority among Christians. They are, however, a very dangerous minority.

  15. Karl says:

    Breivik is clearly portraying himself as something he wants the world to think he is. To atheists he must certainly appear to be a Dominionist. To a Muslim he is the anti-Muhammed because the return of Jesus is suppose to be one in which the Muslim’s worldview is validated by the strict enforcement of the Laws of Allah, not the vanquishing of the Muslim worldview. I see Breivik as a monumental militant sexual freedom advocate who was happy when Christianity stopped ostracizing the sexually immoral, but not so happy at the thought that Christianity will not fight to defend the rights of the sexually immoral to not worry about the future.

  16. Karl says:

    Christians originally called themselves “people of the way” or the “called out ones.” People from Antioch in Syria began calling the followers of the teachings of Jesus Christ “Christians” which was originally meant as a derogatory term, that pointed to how they were basically different from the rest of the people from the culture in which they had been raised.

    The term Christian taken in this context is actually never seen simply as a person of any specific cultural heritage. It is a person that recognizes the pull of pride in themselves and/or in their culture to influence them in ways that can cause them to express attitudes of bias towards others or to justify actions that are the result of anger towards others.

    Christians are no different from other people in this regard, they just hopefully come to recognize this pride and repent of it before it results in others being justified in calling them hypocrits. When Christians don’t see this in themselves, there are often real personal issues as well as real societal consequences that need to be dealt with in ways both taught and modeled by Jesus.

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