In all candor, I'm not much of a Christian. "Do unto others" and "love thy neighbor" is about all I can absorb, much less live up to. Maybe that explains why I don't understand people like this Eric Randolph character who just got life in prison for blowing up an abortion clinic in Birmingham, Alabama. Randolph also faces charges for bombing an abortion clinic in Atlanta, Georgia.
Described as "unrepentant," Randolph stated, "Abortion is murder and because it is murder I believe deadly force is needed to stop it."
I don't know whether abortion is murder, or if certain kinds of abortion constitute murder and other kinds don't. God hasn't clued me in on that yet. I am reasonably certain that God hasn't put me in charge of making those sorts of judgments for others, and I'm sure as hell that He hasn't authorized me to use deadly force on abortion clinics.
Curiously, Randolph also faces charges for bombing the Olympics and a gay bar in Atlanta. I wonder how he justified deadly force to stop the Olympics and homosexuality.
God didn't put me in charge of judging Randolph either. The reason I bring him up is to illustrate that the underlying causes of religious based extremism, violence, terrorism, or whatever we're calling it today are not exclusive to the Muslim faith.
I overheard an interesting conversation the other day.
Two guys are sitting at this bar, and they're talking about the war in Iraq. "More bombings in Baghdad today," the first guy says.
"Looks like we might have to kill all of them," the other guy says.
"That's one word for it," the other guy says, and finishes off his beer and orders another one. "If it comes to that, as a good Christian, I'm certain God will approve."
I'm not relating this incident to make any sort of blanket condemnation of Christianity (like I said, I am one, sort of), or of any other religion, for that matter. I just find it disheartening that all the history of religious violence we have to learn from, people of so many cultures are still so willing to justify doing horrible things in God's name.
Hope this didn't sound too preachy or anything.