Congressman Al Green: ‘Why Not Have a Hearing on the Radicalization of Christians?’

The House of Representatives held a hearing on Wednesday regarding “The American Muslim Response to Hearings on Radicalization within their Community.” It’s basically a witch-hunt against Muslims, suggesting there are many radicals out there hell-bent on destroying America and they have the support of the wider Muslim community.

Of course, we know there are terrorists out there who are Muslim, but to suggest the problem lies with Islam and not the people who distort the faith to their own advantage is pointing the finger in the wrong direction. Does the Koran say awful things? Yes. Do most Muslims take those statements literally? Of course not.

But, by that same logic, aren’t there Christian radicals? Aren’t there some Christians whose warped religious beliefs could make them want to destroy our country, too? Why isn’t Congress talking about them?

That’s what Texas Congressperson Al Green wanted to know when he called for a hearing on the “radicalization of Christians”:

“I don’t think that most people oppose hearings on radicalization,” the congressman explained. “I do not, not — N-O-T — oppose hearings on radicalization. I do oppose hearings that don’t focus on the entirety of radicalization. And if you agree that we have Christians, as has been mentioned by more than one member, Christians who become radicalized… why not have a hearing on the radicalization of Christians?

“Don’t you marvel at how a person born in this country, born into Christianity, can become radicalized? Isn’t there any curiosity as to what happens to cause a person who is born into Christianity to become a radical? There’s just more to it than simply saying ‘The radicalization of Islam’ or ‘Islamism’.”

“I’m not opposed to the hearings. I just want to be fair. I want to be fair to Muslims. I want to be fair to people who practice Islam. And, to be fair, you have to go beyond just the ‘radicalization of Islam’. And that’s what we are not doing.”

He has a point. I’m far more worried about what Christian extremists are doing to our country.

An analysis (PDF) by Council on American-Islamic Relations of [Rep. Peter King's (R-NY)] first four hearings on Islamic radicalization determined that the chairman had “failed to produce the promised evidence to support his stigmatization of America’s Muslims.”

But don’t expect King to act on the suggestion. In his mind, Christians can do no wrong.

(via Raw Story — Thanks to Matthew for the link)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Jared Woody

    Excellent work by Congressman Green. This country has definitely developed a fear of Islam, not entirely without reason, but mostly fueled by xenophobia and ignorance. I think that the radicalization of Christians, Jews, even Buddhists, should be cause of concern, and if we’re going to look at radicalization then look at the whole thing. Points to the Congressman for recognizing hypocrisy and calling it out.

    • bruce boryla

      Just playing Devils Advocate here:  When you say,  “look at radicalization then look at the whole thing.”  Would you be offended or outraged if there were to included and mention Atheism by name?

      • DKeane123

        If there is anyone hell bent on destroying America – then yes yes yes.

      • Nick

        Ah, yes, because Atheism (capitalized) is also a religion, yes.

        Checkmate, atheists!!

        • Heintje_K

          Because only members of a religion can become radicalized, right?

          • MichaelD

            Radical just refers to going to ones roots its not actually a prejorative and many groups even label themselves radical. Radical feminism anyone?   To borrow from wikipedia ”
            The term political radicalism (or simply, in political science, radicalism) denotes political principles focused on altering social structures through revolutionary means and changing value systems in fundamental ways.” I think its safe to say that there are more then a few atheists that would like to change some of societies values and social structures.
            Radicals are only a problem if their methods of achieving that change are a problem.

          • Tom

            Think of a religious ideology as a polar vector from the origin on a graph of possible religious positions.  Radicalism in this context is really just one with abnormally high amplitude.  There’s possibly no theoretical limit to how strong these positions can get.

            Atheism is the origin.  Zero amplified is still zero.

      • Michael

        Do it. There’s enough rubbish spoken about the dangers of Militant Secularism in the UK (which seems to mean people who want to see a separation of church and state)

      • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

        It seems obvious that if you’re looking at radicalization arising from religious beliefs, you should compare that with any radicalization arising from the lack of religious beliefs. Atheists, in fact, are the obvious control group in any such study.

      • MichaelD

        Hmm I`be curious to see the radical atheists. Bring it on I say!

        • Frank Mitchell

          Just saying …

      • Au_catboy

         I would be pretty pissed off if they were to lie through their teeth and falsely accuse atheists of terrorism, while ignoring actual christian terrorists.  I wouldn’t be SURPRISED, of course, because that kind of shit is ridiculously common.  Christians have to be reminded of their imaginary god’s commandment against bearing false witness at least a thousand times per second, and even then they ignore it. 

        But if they could find any REAL atheist radicals, dangerous ones, not just people they’ll call radicals because they dare question the invisible man in the sky, then I think they should be treated exactly as christian or muslim radicals should be treated.  Then again, the “should” part there is hard enough to achieve to begin with, since that would require an actual investigation and trial, not just throwing some random person in a hole forever.

  • http://twitter.com/Buffy2q Buffy

    Excellent suggestion, but it will never happen.  It would be “persecution” or something like that.

  • Yulaffin

    Cue the death threats against Green in 3…2…1

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/FDGYHBEWVNGUG763L5X4TON3JQ Nazani14

    Not a bad idea, although there will be substantial overlap with the Dept. of Homeland Security report on right wing extremism done back in 2009.  Here in PDF form- only 9 pages, and rather prophetic:
    http://www.fas.org/irp/eprint/rightwing.pdf 

  • http://www.facebook.com/ekatherineallen Katie Allen

    Kudos to Congressperson Green!  If we’re going to look at American radical Islamists, then an in-depth study of radical Christians is definitely in order.  Start with the “Christian Identity” movement and move on from there.

  • Phil Bellerive

    Fascism will come wrapped in a flag and carrying a Bible. ~ Sinclair Lewis 1935

  • anon101

    I think there are good
    reasons to treat Islam differently than Christianity when it comes to
    extremism. The obvious one is that there are no Christian terrorists
    flying airplanes into buildings. The other thing is that Islam / the
    Koran are better usable for terrorism / extremism. This for a variety
    of reason e.g. Islam lacks the period of enlightenment, the Koran is
    a more streamlined book with less contradictions etc.
    But my main
    point is about the wording. Extremists / terrorists don’t distort,
    abuse or misuse their faith / religion. They use it. The
    interpretation of Islam by a extremists / terrorists is equally valid
    as is the interpretation by moderate Muslims. That is exactly the
    problem with religion.

    • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

      Christians are far from being lily white. Abortion clinic bombings and murders of physicians who deliver abortion services come immediately to mind.

      Also, you might want to look up the Dominionist movement in the U.S. They consider themselves “Warriors for Christ” which apparently means it’s okay to plan the executions of anyone they’re unable to convert to their way of thinking when the time comes.

    • http://www.miketheinfidel.com/ MikeTheInfidel


      the Koran is a more streamlined book with less contradictions etc”

      Heh. That’s funny.

  • bort138

    Islam in its’ current form is not compatible with Western civilization. Until Islam undergoes a reformation and the Koran is rewritten or modified it will continue to be a threat to the West. It irks me that many atheists in the West feel that it is okay to criticize Christianity but Islam or other religions are off limits. All religions are not equal. Let’s judge all religions for what they are and not what we want them or hope them to be. Extremists exists in all religions but only one has such strong links to violence and international terrorism. Until we can acknowledge that the problem is Islam and not religious fundamentalism it’s only going to get worse. Just look at what’s happening in Europe.


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