Saturday, November 20, 2010

"Christians Should Be Rewarded For Killing." Is Bryan Fischer Taking Christian Privilege Too Far?

When I was in the military, they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one.
 - Leonard Matlovich

While the culture war is heating up for Christmas, Bryan Fischer of American Family Association is branching out into the war in Afghanistan and dissing heroes who have saved lives. He had this to say about the awarding of the Medal of Honor to men who protected their comrades:
Christianity is not a religion of pacifism. Remember that John the Baptist did not tell the soldiers who came to him to lay down their arms, even when they asked him directly, “what shall we do?” (Luke 3:14).

War is certainly a terrible thing, and should only be waged for the highest and most just of causes. But if the cause is just, then there is great honor in achieving military success, success which should be celebrated and rewarded.
One of the few people who outwardly mocked a man for not paying a subscription fee to the fire department, (then witnessing his house burning down along with his beloved pets) and has Glenn Beck's aversion to the words "compassion" and "social justice," Bryan Fischer is still a force to be reckoned with since he broadcasts without censure from the network sponsored by the American Family Association. His last notable public appearance was at Tony Perkins' Values Voter Summit - that appearance becoming the imprimatur of sorts to his tasteless and violent rhetoric: he thinks all muslims should be deported because they all pose a threat to the US. He thinks all gays should be put in prison and has defended Uganda's infamous "kill-the-gays" bill. And now he thinks that good Christians should be rewarded for killing as many people as possible.

It goes without saying that Bryan Fischer should be considered "fringe" or "wingnut" because of his penchant for depicting a "Rambo Jesus" totally at odds with the conventional Jesus. But in recent years, the revision of the image of Jesus Christ has spilled onto more mainstream Christianity. In a time when terrorists are supposedly hiding behind every tree, people don't feel safe when they see their God dying ignominiously on a cross or holding a warm-and-fuzzy lamb. Bryan Fischer points out the valor of the knights of the Crusasdes lliberating Jerusalem from the "heathen." Muslims remember the Crusades differently. 

Fischer could also be accused of pushing the envelope regarding Christianity itself. What many people do not know is that the envelope had been on the table for a long time in the form of Christian privilege.

Christian privilege is the overarching system of advantages bestowed on Christians. ... At times overt and at other times subtle, Christian privilege is oppression by purpose and design, as well as by neglect, omission, erasure, and distortion.*

We're currently engaged in a comparatively mild annual skirmish brought on by Christian privilege: the "war on Christmas: the Christ Right has declared Christmas to be their exclusive holiday and to pay it proper respect we all MUST say "Merry Christmas" or be branded as atheists. Churches are also forcing government officials to display nativity scenes. 

But in his Right Wing militaristic stance, is Fischer going too far? Has he taken the image of Christianity and turned it on its side? To uneducated and naive people, he has done just that:  studies have shown that Christians are relutant to wage war (unless pressured by their Christian leaders). Unfortunately, they have no knowledge of history: Bryan Fischer's Crusades ushered in the concept of  a "just war," almost 1000 years ago, but before that Christians refrained from warfare and most of Rome's legions (after Constantine) were pagans. The early Christians (read: Peter and Paul and Mary Magdalene) were indeed pacifists.

There has also been a progression in Fischer's view that, if not stopped at the image of a "Rambo" Jesus, seems to be leading to even more deadly scenario: first, the protestation of the Ground Zero Mosque, then the recommendation of deportation of all Muslims, and the latest rant about "feminizing" the Medal of Honor. 

It all begs the question: what's next, concentration camps a la Manzanar?

*(Investigating Christian Privilege, by Warren Blumenfeld, 2006)