Sunday, June 08, 2003

How about 'Christianism'?

Tristero has some further thoughts on the matter of using false nomenclatures to describe radical terrorists like Eric Rudolph and Osama bin Laden:
To oversimplify, Islam is the religion, Islamism is the political movement inspired by the religion. A closer analogy seems to be that Islamism is to Islam as fundamentalism of the Pat Robertson ilk is to Christianity.
In an analogy to Islamism, I would propose the term "Christianism" to describe a political ideology inspired by Christianity that advocates the replacement of a secular government with one that is profoundly informed by a self-styled "literal" interpretation of the Bible. By this definition, Rudolph is perhaps best described as a radical "Christianist," a man inspired by Christianity to effect social change through violence.

"Christianism" is without a doubt an ugly neologism. However, it is a mistake to describe as "Christian" people and groups like Robertson, Falwell, Christian Identity, and those who are even more radical in their mission to transform the US into an explicitly fundamentalist "christian" state. This confuses Christianity, a religious belief, with a purely secular agenda. Furtheremore, it is highly misleading to ignore the hijacking of Christianity and its symbols by the Rudolphs of the world simply by repressing any reference to their Christian inspirations and calling them "anti-abortion terrorists" or some similar name.

Go read the whole thing (as well as the rest of the blog, which has been very thoughtful this week).

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