Christian Terrorists?

The Christian Century, May 4, 2010 | Go to article overview

Christian Terrorists?


The Christian militia group known as the Hutaree, whose leaders were arrested by the FBI during Holy Week, is fond of quoting Christian scripture. Its Web site features this line from Jesus in the Gospel of John: "Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." The mission of the group is spelled out: "Preparing for the end time battles to keep the testimony of Jesus Christ alive."

According to the FBI, the group was planning to kill police officers and then attack the resulting funeral processions in an attempt to provoke an end-time battle. The word Hutaree, the group says, means "Christian warrior."

To the vast majority of Christians, the Hutaree represent an appalling distortion of Christian beliefs. Christians cringe to see quotes from Jesus used to support paranoid antigovernment violence. They also cringe to see this fringe group labeled as Christian--as several major news outlets characterized it. What's Christian about it? Columnist Eugene Robinson wrote that in the case of the Hutaree he would "put the word Christian in quotes because anyone who plots to assassinate law enforcement officers ... is no follower of Christ."

The discomfort is understandable--and educational, for it gives Christians a chance to experience the incongruity many Muslims feel when the media refer to Muslim terrorists. …

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