In a recent essay, Rev. Susan Russell compares Muslims who “behead journalists” with Christians “who blow up women’s health clinics.” In doing so, she disingenuously attempts to make readers believe that Islam and Christianity are equally susceptible to violent extremism.
“Yes,” Russell writes, “there are Muslims who advocate murder for ‘infidels,’ behead journalists and discriminate against minorities.” But, she continues, there are also “Christians who blow up women’s health clinics, burn crosses on lawns and lynch their African-American neighbors–using their religion as an excuse for their violent extremism.”
Along with claiming that the Koran is no more violent than the Bible, Russell, a member of the National Clergy Advisory Board for Planned Parenthood, seems to find vandalism to abortion clinics as disturbing as public decapitation on global television.
There are a number of problems with Rev. Russell’s logic of moral equivalence.
To begin with, abortion clinics have little to do with the euphemism of “women’s health” and everything to do with killing unborn children. Destroying property whose sole purpose is the elimination of innocent human life is hardly on the same moral plane as the slaughter of journalists or humanitarian workers who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Second, Christians have universally denounced vandalism of clinics as unworthy of the Christian message, something we have been waiting for the international Muslim community to do in the case of ISIS terrorism, mob lynching for “blasphemy,” and random mass-killings of civilians and children by radical Islamists.
Third, those involved in abortion clinic vandalism have been so few and isolated that they in no way constitute a “branch” or even a sect within Christianity. According to the National Abortion Federation, since 1979, there have been 41 cases of bombings of abortion clinics, involving a single death. By contrast, ISIS has been responsible for systematic public executions, horrific torture, and mass atrocities, so much so that the UN has declared ISIS guilty of “war crimes,” which continue unabated to the present day.
On a more personal note, Rev. Russell should think twice before blithely paralleling the crimes of radical Islam with those of modern Christianity. As an active lesbian, she should be aware that her marital state would be grounds for imprisonment or execution in a number of Muslim countries. Iran, for instance, has executed more than 4,000 lesbians and homosexual men since 1979, according to estimates by the Iranian homosexual rights group, Homan.
One can sympathize with Rev. Russell’s unwillingness to tar all Muslims with the same brush. On the other hand, comparing the crimes of radical Islamists with those of modern Christians is an exercise not only in futility, but in disinformation.