Catalyst House

The inconsistencies of terror & religion

Western democracies proclaim that in politics they keep church and state separate but in reality this is not always true. How many of our nation’s policies and laws have religious overtones and are a result of the majority party’s religious affiliations?

It seems virtually impossible for any average politician to act contrary to his or her religious background.



The same rule applies to terrorists. In reality terrorists are quite simply mass murders. But when an individual commits murder we don’t associate religion with the act because the murder is an act of passion and not an act motivated by religion.

Terrorism, like politics, has its roots in religious beliefs and individuals, or collectives, are motivated by their warped understanding of their religion. But, whether this justifies branding a nefarious act of terrorism as “Islamic” or “Christian” is debatable. We all know that religious scriptures are ambiguously written so that anyone can interpret them to mean whatever they want it to mean. This should not be construed to mean that the essence of any religion is evil. Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, misinterpretation of religion is the act of an insane individual or a group.

So, just as we do not brand political actions by the religious affiliation of the politicians who help enact a law — for example, we do not say “Catholic Anti-Abortion Act” — we should not brand terrorist actions by the religious affiliations of the perpetrators. For instance, the greatest act of terrorism was perpetrated by Adolf Hitler when he subjected the Jews to the holocaust. That was clearly a religious act yet no one ever called Hitler a Christian terrorist. And rightly so. This is what we should have done after 9/11, but we did not.

It is questionable whether Bin Laden and his gang attacked the United States on 9/11 because they hated Christians. I think our administration and media turned the 9/11 attack on us into a religious war by branding it as an act of “Islamic Terrorism.” Having done this, it may be logical for the Norway killer to be termed a “Christian terrorist.”

Two wrongs will not make a right but when we have wronged one side we must be fair and wrong the other side as well. One reason why much of the world sees the United States as arrogant is because we function above the general law. What applies to the rest of the world does not apply to us. Booker T. Washington said: “To hold someone down in the gutter, we need to be in the gutter too.”


Catalyst House