I know, as a southern male reared in a Christian home, that the worst curse that can be laid upon you is when some silver haired old lady says, "Bless your heart." I'm not thinking that's what Texas Democrat Al Green had in mind though.
In House Homeland Security Committee hearing on Wednesday, June 19, the Representative apparently decided that no hearing on radicalization was complete without discussing the "radicalization of Christianity."
Pull quote: "If you agree that radicalization exists within all religions to some extent, would you kindly extend a hand into the air?" He then noted "all the hands are raised."
This is so chock-full of fail, I may not have time for any other quotes. Let's start with the idea that radicalization exists within all religions "to some extent." First off: no. To date, I have never heard of a "Radical" Hindu. At least, not in the United States. So if they do exist, they're hardly an appropriate topic for a US Congress Committee hearing. And you know those darn Radical Unitarians and Lutherans are just itching to force you to a Church Social.
Which brings up the next point. When he says, "to some extent," that's a cop-out line. It's a line that says, "I know what I just said is complete cow manure, but I can plug in this little phrase and anyone who disagrees with me will look out of touch." So let's be clear, here. To what "extent" does Radicalization exist within Christianity?
Oh, certainly you can point to actually deranged people like Tim McVeigh and say "They're radical Christians!" Except they aren't. You could point to people who bomb abortion clinics or kill abortion providers and say, "They're radical Christians!" Except they aren't.
Suppose a Muslim, crying "Allahu Akbar!" blew up an empty mosque- or one in which one of the five daily prayers was being said. Could you really call that "Radical Islam?" Not without some stretching. That's just barbaric, probably sectarian, violence.
However, when Muslim screams "Allahu Akbar!" and proceeds to shoot the predominately Christian crowd which is around him, you can make a better case. It's made easier by the fact that Islam teaches conversion by the sword and to kill all "Infidels." Christianity makes no such claim.
To date, I have no knowledge of someone screaming, "God Loves You, and Jesus Died for all your Sins!" and proceeding to blow up a bomb. Maybe I just missed it somewhere.
The difference between "Islamic Radicalization" and "Christian Radicalization" is in what it means to be a "Radical" Muslim or Christian. A Radical Christian is going to annoy you because they'll often seem so syrupy and "nice." They'll say things like "God Bless You" for no readily ascertainable reason. They'll say, out of the blue, "I'm praying for you." In short, a Radical Christian, if you notice their Radicalization at all, will mostly just seem to be socially awkward.
A Radical Muslim, on the other hand, is likely to try to kill you. A Radical Muslim is liable to strap a bomb to his chest and blow it up in as crowded a location as possible. Radical Islam is responsible for the deaths of more than 3000 Americans on September 11, 2001, as well as the continued persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt, among other atrocities. Radical Islam believes that Israel has no right to exist, and that it is an Islamic Religious duty to either convert or kill every non-Muslim in the world.
Enough of the moral equivalency crap. The reason the House Homeland Security Committee doesn't hold hearings on Radical Christianity is the same as why they don't hold hearings on Radical Hinduism, or Radical Budhism: such people may exist, but not in enough numbers to be an existential threat to US National Security. Radical Islamists, however, are gaining a foot-hold in actual governments in the Middle East, which is much more worrisome.