Are Conservative Christians Fueling Terrorism?

Chattanooga City Council member Chris Anderson tried to pin the terrorist act in Orlando on local legislators and other political figures because of their support for sexual mores in line with historic American and Christian values. His assertion is like that of others who immediately tried to blame those murders on conservative Christians. For those who know their history, such an irrational accusation is nothing new.

First, so there is no confusion regarding my response to Mr. Anderson, let me reiterate that the shooting was an act of terror by a Muslim who takes seriously the Koran’s call for individual Muslims to engage in violent jihad against infidels of various stripes. It was murder. It was wrong and would be wrong regardless of what drew the victims to the place where they were murdered.

That being said, Mr. Anderson’s reaction and that of others—blaming some calamity on Christians who don’t go along with current cultural values—is nothing new. If you’ve ever read The City of God by St. Augustine, then you’ll know what I’m talking about. In fact, the parallels are striking.

Here is how the Bishop of Hippo described the blame game that started with the fall of a debauched, utterly pagan Rome:

“Rome having been stormed and sacked by the Goths under Alaric their king, the worshippers of false gods, or pagans, as we commonly call them, made an attempt to attribute this calamity to the Christian religion, and began to blaspheme the true God with even more than their wonted bitterness and acerbity. It was this which kindled my zeal for the house of God, and prompted me to undertake the defence of the city of God against the charges and misrepresentations of its assailants.”

In defense of the Christian worldview, St. Augustine responded to two different wrong-headed assumptions by the blame-the-Christians crowd, both of which are pertinent here.

First, he spent several sections in his work refuting “those who fancy that the polytheistic worship is necessary in order to secure worldly prosperity, and that all these overwhelming calamities have befallen us in consequence of its prohibition.” While the issue then was the fact that Christians didn’t go along with the polytheistic religious beliefs of the culture, the problem now according to folks like Mr. Anderson is that Christians aren’t going along with what we might describe as the “polysexual theology” and its fundamental tenet, tolerance.

Back then the point was that if Christians hadn’t upset the gods of their culture, the Goths wouldn’t have prevailed against Rome, whereas the point now is that if Christians would just be tolerant and not talk so much about homosexual behavior and bathrooms, then the Muslim in Orlando would not have been provoked to do what he did.

The Romans were wrong then, and Mr. Anderson and his ilk are wrong now. But the second point Augustine made further drives home this fact.

St. Augustine pointed out that the Romans who blamed the Christians refused to “admit that such calamities have at all times attended, and will at all times attend, the human race, and that they constantly recur in forms more or less disastrous, varying only in the scenes, occasions, and persons on whom they light … .”

Similarly, there have been public shootings of multiple people in recent years, and not by conservative Christians. More to the point, since Mohammed, Muslims have practiced mass violence against “infidels,” including, in particular, against homosexuals.

Mr. Anderson and those like him need to realize that the homosexual community’s real problem is not conservative Christians, who have never advocated that its adherents randomly execute God’s vengeance for Him on those with whom they disagree. To the contrary, Christianity says that vengeance does not belong to the individual Christian.

The fact is that, like the Goths who invaded a Rome that was rotting from within, radical Islam is invading our country for the same reason. The homosexual community might want to worry more about that than about Christians who advocate for marriage between a man and a woman and the designation of bathrooms on the basis of biological sex.


David Fowler served in the Tennessee state Senate for 12 years before joining FACT as President in 2006. Read David’s complete bio.

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