Fundamental Breivik truths

As journalists began digging into the who, what, when, where, why and how of Anders Behring Breivik, the deputy police chief of Oslo faced a media scrum and served up the day's hottest sound bite."What we know is that he is right wing and he is a Christian fundamentalist," he said, the morning after the hellish attack on Norway's Labor Party and on the children that were its future.That was the English version of the quote that jumped into American news reports and wire service stories … [Read more...]

Nervous believers in Year 18

Religious folks sure get nervous when public officials talk about "fundamentalist" gunmen invading a school.Consider what happened recently after a staged emergency at Burlington Township High School in New Jersey. The police script for the drill called for armed men to crash the front doors, shoot several students and barricade themselves in the library with hostages. This document, according to the Burlington County Times, described the intruders as part of "a right-wing fundamentalist group … [Read more...]

2005: Is terrorism ‘religion’ news?

The suicide bomber struck at a sandwich stand in the busy outdoor market of the Israeli coastal city called Hadera, killing five people and wounding dozens more.Islamic Jihad claimed credit for the blast, which came a month after Israel's September exit from Gaza. Israeli leaders quickly released a statement noting that this attack followed remarks by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that the Jewish state should be "wiped off the map."The bomber was a Palestinian. News reports did not … [Read more...]

Passionate news in 2004

For headline writers, 2004 was the year of "values voters," stormy acts of God in Florida, gay marriage rites and countless clashes between "believers" and "infidels" in Iraq, Russia, Spain and other locations around the world.This may sound like the annual list of the top 10 news events released by the Religion Newswriters Association. But no, these events dominated the 2004 Associated Press survey of the top stories in the world -- period.In a typical year, at least half of the world's top … [Read more...]

Beyond the Brighton bombing

Twenty years ago the Irish Republican Army bombed the Grand Hotel in Brighton in an attempt to kill Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her entire cabinet during a Tory Party conference.Jo Berry, Harvey Thomas and Patrick Magee will mark the Oct. 12 anniversary with a reflective evening at the historic St. James' Church near Piccadilly Circus in London. Their goal is to talk about the lessons they have learned from one of the most shocking terrorist acts in the bloody history of the Irish and … [Read more...]

Passover questions for 2004

The lobby contains what security experts call a "mantrap."Guards monitor these bomb-proof doors, along with exterior video cameras and a device that sniffs the mail. Windows are laminated with plastic, so an explosion would not send glass shards slicing into offices. Massive concrete barriers could stop a truck.Welcome to the American Jewish Committee's home in New York. This isn't mere "ethnic panic." No, "lethal anti-Semitism" is on the rise, even in places long thought to be safe, noted … [Read more...]

Terrorism, fiction and the Truth

WASHINGTON -- One of the most sobering sights that novelist Joel Rosenberg has ever seen was the glitter of Manhattan outside the windows of a Learjet a few months after Sept. 11.Since this was a private plane, its passengers did not pass through a metal detector and have their ID cards checked. There were no security procedures at all."It was the middle of the night and we were flying right over Ground Zero," he said. "I remember saying at the time that there was nothing -- literally nothing -- … [Read more...]

Sept. 11 — Dreams of St. Nicholas

The first thing police found at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church was a piece of a wing and landing gear from American Flight 11.Then the World Trade Center's north tower fell on the humble, white-washed walls of the tiny sanctuary across the street. It took time for work crews to find much of anything after that.Eventually they found a paper icon of St. Dionysios of Zakynthos, but never found its frame or silver cover. They found an embroidered velvet cloth, but not the Bible it covered. They … [Read more...]