Last week, as new co-host on ABC’s “The View,” Rosie O’Donnell said, “Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America where we have a separation of church and state, where we have a democracy.”
Some were upset at her comments, calling them reckless and irresponsible, and some even asked for an apology.
Does she owe anyone an apology? No. The First Amendment aside, her comments were not unfounded; radical Christianity, as with any radical element, does pose a serious threat to our country. And let us not pretend radical Christianity does not exist in America; it is particularly evident in the “leaders” of Christianity.
After Sept. 11, 2001, Jerry Falwell said, “I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians… all of them who have tried to secularize America – I point the finger in their face and say, ‘You helped this happen.'”
Pat Robertson once said feminism encourages women to “leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.” In the last year alone, he has called for the assassination of the president of Venezuela and said of Islam, “I believe it’s motivated by demonic power.”
In August, Mel Gibson was pulled over for drunk driving. While being placed under arrest, he commented, “F***ing Jews… The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.”
He apologized and said it was just the alcohol talking. But when was the last time you got drunk and started accusing groups, toward whom you bore no ill will, of facilitating violent crimes?
It is crazy-talk. Yes, it is their First Amendment right, but their comments were the result of religious intolerance. People put so much stock into their religious beliefs that they alienate other people, groups and ideas. Logic, reason and truth take a back seat to emotion.
In 2002, ABC canceled “Politically Incorrect” because host Bill Maher said, “We have been the cowards, lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away. That’s cowardly. Staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, that’s not cowardly. Stupid maybe, but not cowardly.”
A few weeks ago, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was asked why the city was still a mess. He responded: “It’s all right. You guys in New York City can’t get a hole in the ground fixed, and it’s five years later, so let’s be fair.” Pressured, he apologized.
These men weren’t professing radical views. They were stating rather incontrovertible truths: a coward lacks the courage to do dangerous things (and hijacking an airplane is generally seen as dangerous), and there are still two gaping holes in lower Manhattan. But it made some people feel uneasy; it didn’t make people feel warm and fuzzy inside — yet both men, on varying levels, were forced to recant their stated truths.
Rosie O’Donnell was not bashing Christianity when she said radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam. In the trailer for “Jesus Camp,” available on Youtube.com, a minister asks a group of young children, ” How many of you want to be those who would give up their lives for Jesus?” Another declares, “This means war! This means war! Are you a part of it or not?”
Evangelicals, who make up the largest bulk of American Christians, could have dire consequences for the future of America; even moderate evangelicals are unrelenting on abortion and gay rights, taking a “with us or against us” stand.
Can you honestly say that isn’t as threatening as radical Islam?
Ryan Speaker is a senior history major. His column appears Mondays in the Collegian. Replies and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.