The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Selling snake-oil to the Christian right?

with 3 comments

Many of my colleagues are pretty sure that Muslim extremists are planning all-out war on the USA. Some have attended conventions (with names along the lines of “Conference on the Christian Family) where well-known guest speakers made the case that Islam is inherently against us. Some have 20th-century eschatological views that hold war to be inevitable, and a necessary step toward the return of Jesus Christ. John Hagee, a preacher who advocates that view, has had considerable influence in Washington, D.C.

Now it appears that three of the better-known authorities may be hucksters. Consider these excerpts from a story called Snake Oil Sellers of the Christian Right? from the Inter Press Service, reprinted in CommonDreams:

WASHINGTON, Feb 21 (IPS) – The U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs came under heavy criticism earlier this month from Muslim and religious freedom advocacy groups after it invited to a conference three self-professed “former terrorists” with strong links to the Christian right. […]0222 06

Collectively known as the “3-X Terrorists”, Walid Shoebat, Kamel Saleem and Zacharia Anani are front line soldiers in the U.S. “culture wars” […]

To supporters, the 3-X represent “moderate” voices; they are self-professed Muslim extremists who converted to evangelical Christianity and are now exposing Islam for what it really is. To critics, they are frauds, accused of fabricating much of their past exploits as mass murderers in order to peddle their Islamophobia on the lecture circuit and on cable news networks, including Fox News Corp. and CNN. […]

The relationship between the evangelical Christian Right and 3-X runs deep, with connections to Reverend John Hagee’s Christian-Zionist Christians United for Israel (CUFI), as well as Focus on the Family, part of the para-church organisations that promote social conservative public policy in the U.S., and have maintained close relations with the George W. Bush administration. […]

Anani claims he has killed at least 223 people as a Lebanese militant during the early 1970s and was “almost beheaded” for converting to Christianity. A 2007 report in the Canadian Windsor Star cast doubts on his jihadi past; according to Tom Quiggin, a Canadian court-qualified expert of global jihadism, some of Anani’s accounts did not correspond with actual historical events.

“Mr. Anani is not an individual who rates the slightest degree of credibility, based on the stories that he has told,” said Quiggin, a senior fellow at the Centre of Excellence for National Security in Singapore.

Christian Right friends, I hope you’ll evaluate carefully what you hear. As you may recall, the USA based much of its policy toward Iraq on the false testimony of Iraqi nationals Ahmed Chalabi and Rafid Ahmed Alwan (a.k.a. Curveball), despite evidence that should have called their credibility into question. Hundreds of thousands perished, and there is no end in sight.

Some years back, a woman claiming to be a survivor of childhood Satanic ritual abuse toured churches telling her story and claiming to be the missing daughter of Anton LaVey, author of The Satanic Bible. Churches were moved, giving freely to help her put life together.

Later on, I came across a researcher who investigated claims made to churches, who knew the LaVey story well. His take: LaVey had no such daughter!

Eager to help, he publicized results of his inquiry rather widely, only to discover that the churches that had aided her had stern criticism for him! SRA stories (all of which were eventually found bogus) were the buzz in those days. People didn’t want to hear his “smears” on the story of this “poor, unfortunate woman,” who proved to be, of course, a con.

I suspect that today Muslim extremism plays a similar role: the dark secret that only true believers, who know the nature of things to come, can see. Suggesting otherwise elicits nods of pity: the speaker is sadly uninformed, perhaps seduced by liberalism, and playing into the hands of the enemy.

When will we learn? The spectacular story—the one that elicits sad clucking and ominous conversations, but can’t be independently researched—is usually way off the track. And there are plenty of people—some of good motive, some not—who will do their best to make it look true.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , Monte Asbury

Written by Monte

February 23, 2008 at 5:17 pm

3 Responses

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  1. The gullibility of the Christian Right is notorious. The people of the city we recently escaped used to have the worst sort of hucksters come through on what were essentially paid book tours. Maj actually saw as a patient the brother of one of these “authors” who had written a book about an alleged “dream” he’d had about going to hell. Turns out they’d actually been using illicit drugs when he’d had his vision; the brother had laughed about the fools who believed it all. (Though to give him credit he wasn’t a complete unbeliever himself. He figured there was a God, but that He just has a bigger sense of humor than most give Him credit for.)

    I used to receive fliers in the mail for speeches at the megachurches by folks touting the end-times; for Christians up north, the whole Armageddon thing may seem silly, but folks in the south, they take it very seriously. Some (like the neo-cons in office) seem intent on helping to fulfill the prophesy. I hope the rest of the Christian Right can get these people to see sense before they doom us all.


    February 27, 2008 at 11:32 am

  2. Thanks for your comment, Fred. Three responses:
    1. Most of the things you list could also be found in our own Bible. Annihilation of enemies with astonishing cruelty is one of the features of the Old Testament. Muslims could easily pick such passages from our Bibles and say “know your enemy” about us.
    2. Though indeed, our Bible “encourages love,” Muslims have known the “Christian” cultures as often murderous usurpers.
    3. The vast, vast majority of Muslims do not believe the Koran teaches that they should do these things, just as the vast majority of Christians (and Jews) do not believe the O.T. commandments to annihilation are still in force today.
    4. Even if the worst about Muslims were true, Jesus’ command to those who would follow him is “Love your enemies.” Let’s not dodge it, nor empower our nation to do so. Do you love Muslims, Fred?


    February 25, 2008 at 11:54 am

  3. Know your enemy. The Christian Bible encourages love in imitation of our all-loving God. The Muslim Koran certainly has other messages. Jews, Christians and nontheists, are conisdered Kaffirs, which means cruel, deceptive and hypocrite infidels or unbelievers (Koran 2:39) We are the worst beast in the eyes of Allah, the Islamic God (Koran 8:55). Our God is false and leads us to darkness (Koran 2:258). We are deceptive liars (Koran 3:23) and wrongdoers (Koran 2:254). We must not be taken as friends and Muslims must avoid us at all costs (Koran 3:28). They aren’t allowed to associate with their own children, parents or wives if they do not submit to Allah (Koran 58:22). Of course, they must fight us as neighbors and treat us harshly (Koran 9:123). They can’t befriend us unless we offer peace. A key element is that we must be killed wherever they find us. (Koran 4:49). They must fight without retreat or be condemned by Allah to the fire of hell (Koran 8:15-16) and/or be afflicted with painful doom by Allah (Koran 9:39). They can’t let us excape (Koran 8:59-They must seek out, ambush, seize and slay us wherever found (Koran 9:5). They fight us in Allah’s cause and slay us and get slain themselves (Koran 9:111). When they meet us, they must strike off our heads (Koran 47:4). They must fight, kill and slay us until the latter have submitted to Islam or subdued and humiliated and agree to pay Jizya taxes for not accepting Islam (Koran 09:05). Note the order of events! When they defeat us, they must capture the remaining women and children as slaves/captives and take possession of their homes, land and wealth (Koran 33:26-27). They claim to have the right to rape those captured women (right hand possession) through a divine revelation (Koran 70.29-30).

    Fred Conwell

    February 24, 2008 at 11:45 am

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