Radical Islamist and radical Christianist terrorism

I’ve seen some stories bouncing around drawing equivalencies between Islam-inspired terrorists and Christianity-inspired terrorists.

Three thoughts occur:

  • I get the impulse to equate the two. However, the threat from radical Christianist terrorism – both to the West and Islamic countries – is much smaller. That’s good, of course, but why it’s smaller is what really matters. At this point in time, radical Christianists mostly have to operate in stable, secular, liberal democracies that are committed to inclusiveness, have a robust political life, and don’t subscribe to visions of apocalyptic religious war. That kind of society effectively drains the swamp in which these sick ideologies breed. That kind of society needs to appreciated, cherished, and defended.
  • Fortunately, radical Christianist groups don’t have massive amounts of oil money to fund their operations.
  • Again, yes, radical Islamists are more dangerous, but we have to keep in mind that they are not an existential threat to the West. ISIS will not be rolling in Washington, D.C., or Paris or London to takeover the country. In the most horrific case imaginable, they might destroy a city, but they will not conquer any Western countries. The fact remains that they and other radical Islamist organizations are a far greater danger to other Muslims than us. We should temper our reactions to match this reality.

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