Media Shy Away from Using “Christian” and “Terrorism” Together

Total Posts:  2541
Joined  26-03-2006
08 April 2010 13:33

From the article: Teh Faith-Based Militia: When is Terrorism “Christian?”

  I quoted several people who agreed that the term “Christian terrorist” is practically taboo; even as the term “Islamic terrorism” was ubiquitous. The same double standard would have applied to militias. I don’t recall the term “Christian militia” ever being used, even if a group’s motives could be fairly described as religious.

  Chip Berlet, senior analyst at Political Research Associates, a progressive think tank in Somerville, Massachusetts, agreed that the press stayed away from reporting the Waagner trial in droves. “Once somebody claims a religious motivation for an act of terrorism,” he said, “most people, including reporters and editors, become unglued.” If Waagner had been a self-identified Muslim terrorist instead of a Christian terrorist, Berlet observed, “he’d have been lynched by now.”

  Ann Glazier, then the director of clinic security at Planned Parenthood Federation of America told me, “The notion of Christian terrorists is a place people don’t want to go. And the notion of there being more than one Christian terrorist is a place where people also don’t want to go.”

  Reporters and editors often “fear to offend,” added Berlet. “But if it’s fair to say if we can see the religious motivations in the Taliban, we ought to be able to see them in Waagner or [Olympic Park and abortion clinic bomber] Eric Rudolph.” He notes that although Waagner and his associates in the Army of God “represent a tiny fraction of the wider Christian right, people don’t know how to make sense of it.” And reporters, he says, “walk away from it.”