When terrorists attacked the World Trade towers, Americans rightly called upon Muslim leaders to condemn the acts, since the terrorists were followers of Islam. And there was a considerable amount of consternation when the condemnations weren’t forthcoming or when they were couched in guarded terms. My respect for those leaders who refused to condem the acts or who offered half-hearted condemnations plummeted; my respect for those who condemned the acts grew.
Now, a terrorist whose self-professed claim is that he is a Christian conservative with issues against Islam has made a horrible attack on government leaders, young adults, and teenagers in Norway. Christian leaders now need to do what we called upon others to do–denounce the actions in the strongest terms possible.
So let me join what should be a chorus of other Christian leaders in denouncing the terrible actions in Norway. The actions were horrible and vile. Violence in the name of God is as wrong (in my eyes, it’s actually worse) than violence in the name of Allah. It cannot be tolerated. It cannot be explained. It cannot be justified to even the smallest degree. And we need to say so in the strongest possible terms.
Anyone can call himself a Christian, of course, so we often find ourselves ashamed of those who go by the name “Christian.” I am ashamed when self-professed Christians commit violence in the name of God. I am ashamed when people using the name of Jesus hold signs proclaiming hatred of homosexuals. I am ashamed when people who use the name of Christ justify any type of racism. I am ashamed when Christians of various sects and denominations show hatred against each other.
Believers in Jesus need to tell the truth and act in love. And the truth is that the actions in Norway were despicable and should be denounced by all people of faith–especially, in this case, by Christians.