This article has been updated and moved to my new site dedicated to discussing politics from a Biblical perspective. You can find the updated version here.
President Trump is absolutely right that we need condemn violent extremists of BOTH the “alt-right” and the “alt-left”.
Last year it was 21 police officers being assassinated or ambushed and this weekend a man drove his car through a crowd of protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia injuring 19 and killing one. All of these events are forms of terrorism and must be equally condemned.
We as Christians need to stand up against all forms of terrorism. Terrorism has no place in Biblical Christianity.
What is Terrorism?
Terrorism is when a person or group of persons attempts to bring about a desired political or social change by specifically targeting the civilian population of the region in which they hope to bring about a change. Terrorists attempt to “terrorize” the civilian population into pressuring their political leaders to make the changes they want.
It needs to be made clear that terrorism is not simply a person or group killing people in order to scare others into bowing to their demands. Terrorism also occurs in the form the threats or intimidation of the demands of certain group are not met.
So, for example – if a crowd of people march through the street peacefully advocating for societal or political changes this is not terrorism. However, if this same crowd marches through the street advocating for using intimidation or violence to force society to embrace their views this would be a form of terrorism. If a group of protestors actually engages in physical violence and intimidation including burning down buildings and looting this is most definitely a form terrorism.
Examples of White Terrorism
When the KKK and other white supremacist groups engaged in burning crosses on people’s lawns this was a form of terrorism against blacks. When the KKK and other groups have burned down black churches and engaged in lynching’s this was a form of terrorism against blacks. When whites stood at voting stations trying to scare blacks away from exercising their lawful right to vote this was a form of terrorism against blacks.
Most recently when Dylan Roof, an admitted white supremacist, killed 9 people at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston South Carolina on June 17th, 2015 this was a textbook case of White terrorism. Last weekend when James Alex Fields, an admitted neo nazi, used his car as a weapon to mow down counter protestors injuring 19 and killing one in Charlottesville, Virginia this was also a textbook case of White terrorism.
Examples of Black Terrorism
In the 60’s and 70’s when groups like the Black Panthers advocated for the assassinations of police officers (and many police officers were in fact assassinated) this was a form of terrorism. When blacks marched through the street peacefully advocating for change this was not terrorism, but when blacks rioted in various cities burning down whole city blocks these actions were textbook cases of Black terrorism. In fact, rioting by blacks has become an almost accepted form of terrorism by our current American culture over the last half century.
The threat of riots is also a form of terrorism. Think of how many times over the past half century that jurors on certain cases had to consider that blacks in their city or cities around the country might riot and people could be hurt or killed as a result of their verdict. That fear of a riot SHOULD NEVER EVER have to be a consideration for any juror in any trial.
Recent examples of Black terrorism include the Ferguson riots in which many businesses were burned out and looting took place. Black terrorism that was very reminiscent of the terrorism which took place in the 60s and 70s occurred last year. On the fourth of July 2016 in New York City, a black man named Alexander Bonds, walked up to a police car in New York and assassinated a female police officer named Miosotis Familia. Three days later on July 7th, a black man named Micah Xavier Johnson, an admitted Black Lives Matter supporter, gunned down 14 police officers killing 5 of them in Dallas, Texas. Then only 10 days later on July 17th, another black man named Gavin Long ambushed and then assassinated 3 police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In total, 21 police officers nationwide lost their lives to ambush style assassinations by mostly black assailants.
Examples of Muslim Terrorism
Whether it was the attacks of September 11, 2001 which killed almost 3000 people or the Boston Marathon Bombing which injured several and killed 3 people Muslim terrorism is perhaps the most rampant amongst an ideological group of people. We have almost become accustomed to hearing weekly on the news about bombs going off in crowded squares or men with cars or knives running into crowds and indiscriminately killing people all done to further the political ideologies of Radical Islamic terrorists.
Examples of Antifa Terrorism
“Antifa”, short for “Antifacists” groups have been around since the 1920’s and 1930’s but have had their numbers and financing swell since the election of Donald Trump and the could right be considered part of the “alt-left” in America. Antifa Groups believe that violence is warranted and justified against any groups they deem to be sexist or racist or in many terms anyone opposed to progressive and socialist ideologies.
Their goal is to use force and intimidation to shut down public meetings, speaking events or protests by groups which they deem to be opponents of their ideology.
Recent examples of Antifa violence include violence against a white nationalist demonstration in Sacramento, California on July 26th 2016 where 14 people were injured including 7 being stabbed. On Thursday, February 2nd 2017, 150 Masked Antifa protestors came to UC Berkeley to right-wing commentator Milo Yiannopoulos from speaking there. After the violence and property damaged they caused for fear of public safety the University canceled his speaking engagement.
At a Pro-Trump rally, on April 15, 2017 Antifa members again came to violently intimidate trump supporters. 20 arrests were made and 11 people were wounded.
White Terrorists meet Antifa Terrorists at the “Unite the Right” clash in Charlottesville
The most recent White terrorist and Antifa terrorist events actually took place at the same event on the same day in Charlottesville, Virginia this last week on Saturday, August 12th 2017. The “Unite the Right” event was organized to protest the removal of Confederate Statues and land marks in Southern States.
On Friday night, the first night of the event, men marched with white tee shirts and torchers toward a monument of Thomas Jefferson. Their march was a meant to be a reminder of clan marches of decades before. Fights broke out with student protesters at the base of the statue and were later broken up by police.
The worst part of the event though came the next morning on Saturday, August 12th. By that time many more Neo Nazis and white supremacists had arrived but also Antifa forces had arrived in force. The police instead of separating the Antifa and other protestors from one another for most part allowed them clash leading to extremely intensive violence with fights breaking out on both sides culminating in a neo-Nazi man named James Alex Fields, using his car to mow down 19 and killing one is very reminiscent of recent Muslim terrorist attacks.
President Trump was absolutely RIGHT when he condemned violence on “many sides”
In one of his first statements on the violence in Charlottesville President Trump stated:
“We condemn in the strong possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides”
He was criticized by many in the press and even his own Republican party for not simply denouncing the White supremacists by name in his first statements. Most Americans, because of one sided reporting by the press, thought all the violence was coming from the White supremacist side and that was actually quite false. Some on both sides have argued that if it were not for the lack of police getting between the two groups and especially Antifa agitators looking to gin up violence the tragic death of Heather Heyer would never have occurred.
I thought this was a great statement by President Trump condemning White Terrorism and hate groups:
“And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including KKK, Neo-Nazis, White Supremacists, and other hate groups are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans. Those who spread violence in the name of bigotry strike at the very core of America.”
However, I believe this statement does not go far enough. If you are going to name the names of groups involved – then you MUST name all groups involved on both sides. Where was the condemnation of Antifa groups that came to agitate and incite violence? I realize President Trump was under a lot of political pressure but if you going to name names – you need to name both groups involved in the violence.
I am so glad that as I was writing this article President Trump had the courage to speak out against the alt-left that was also was responsible for the violence that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia.
This was his statement in a press conference today according to CNN:
“”I think there is blame on both sides,” Trump said during a contentious back-and-forth with reporters in the lobby of his Midtown Manhattan building.“What about the ‘alt-left’ that came charging at, as you say, the ‘alt-right,’ do they have any semblance of guilt?” Trump asked. “What about the fact they came charging with clubs in hands, swinging clubs, do they have any problem? I think they do.”He added: “You had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. nobody wants to say it, but I will say it right now.””
“George Washington was a slave owner. So will George Washington lose his status? Are we going to take down statues to George Washington?” he said. “How about Thomas Jefferson, what do you think of Thomas Jefferson, do you like him? OK good. Are we going to take down the statues, because he was a major slave owner? Now are we going to take down his statue?”He added: “You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?”
Hate is not always wrong – it is what we hate and how we direct our hatred
As Bible believing Christians we know that we are to love our brother but hate and rebuke their sin:
“Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.”
Leviticus 19:17 (KJV)
“But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ”
Ephesians 4:15 (KJV)
So, hating sin is righteous, but hating people is never encourage in Christianity.
If we were to translate this for non-Christians the concept would be this:
You can hate the ideology and actions of a person or group of persons and even condemn those ideologies and actions but you should never hate the person or group of persons themselves.
So practically speaking I can hate the underlying ideologies of the KKK, Neo-Nazis, Antifa and Black Lives Matter but still love them as people. I preach vehemently against these ideologies but hold no hatred for their persons in my heart.
In the political and spiritual worlds, we need to fight with words and ideas not fists, knives, guns and bombs.
“3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (KJV)
Is there a time to fight with fists, knives guns and bombs?
I just said in the political and spiritual world of disagreements and debates and in trying to push for what we think is right we should never resort to physical violence.
But that does not mean there is never a time for violence. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 3:8 that there is indeed “a time for war” and King David said “Blessed be the Lord my strength which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight” in Psalm 144:1. Even the right and responsibility of a man to defend his home and his family is stated by the Prophet Nehemiah when he said “fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses” in Nehemiah 4:14.
So, when is violence justified whether on a national level in sense of nations going to war or the case of individuals and families?
The answer is when someone threatens the freedom or safety of our family we every right to defend ourselves and our families. If someone were to come and try to kidnap my wife or children to use them as slaves I have every right to engage in violence against them to stop them. If a nation threatens the safety of our nation our national leaders have a right to call us to the defense of our nation.
But just because my local, state or federal government passes policies or laws that I feel are unjust or immoral does not mean I have a right to act in violence against them until they change the laws to what I think are just and right. Now there may be times that we as Christians may or even should practice civil disobedience to those laws – but we do not have the right to go and terrorize the citizens of our area until they pressure the governing officials to change the laws and policies to our liking.
While the right of self-defense is Biblical – terrorism is NEVER right. It is never right to use various means to terrorize the civilian population of any region to try and pressure the people to pressure their leaders to change laws and policies to please a certain group.
While there are those on the right like the KKK and Neo-Nazis who try and intimidate or terrorize opponents of their views the fact is in America the vast majority of intimidation and terrorism from a political perspective comes from the left.
Conservatives, especially conservative Christians, cannot speak their views on college campuses or in their places of work without being intimidated into silence by leftists. Especially in places of learning like colleges, schools and other public venues where we should be able to openly and freely discuss things that even cut to the core of our society. We should be able to openly and honestly discuss differences regarding faith, race, culture, views of equality, marriage and gender roles but far too often these subjects are completely shut down in our society.
In a follow-up article to this I am going to delve a bit into the topic of White nationalism. As preview of that article we will be discussing the concept that White nationalism does equal Neo-Nazis and the KKK. The Neo-Nazis and KKK and other violent White groups are white nationalists for sure – but not all White nationalists advocate for violence or are like Neo-Nazis or the KKK.
We will talk about White nationalism as a form of nationalism called “Ethno-nationalism”. I realize for many of my readers they might be scratching their heads saying “why is he getting into this – this is Biblical Gender Roles after all?” and the reasons are simple.
I have said before that for most of my life I have been a student of history, theology and human nature. On the subject of human nature, I have always been curious as to why we as humans behave the way we do and what ways we behave that are natural or right by God’s design and which ways are contrary to his design and I think as Christians we cannot avoid the subjects of racism and ethno-nationalism.