Some will argue whether the would-be Christmas tree bomber intended to target Christians at the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony in Portland, Oregon last week. What’s beyond dispute is that the ideology that fueled his hatred, radical Islam, is targeting Christianity in a religious war meant to destroy the Judeo-Christian foundation of our country.
But the American jihadists are a little late to the war on Christianity. Radical Islam’s secular enablers have been driving Christianity from the public square for decades. Notice I said tree lighting – not Christmas tree. The tree in Portland has already been downgraded to a mere “Tree Lighting” by the liberal city fathers. There was no room for Christ on tree lighting night.
Mohamed Mohamud, a Somali-born U.S. citizen, was taken into custody late last week after FBI authorities alleged he had tried to ignite a phony bomb at the crowded public tree lighting in Portland.
Mohamud’s actions and statements make it clear he was a committed jihadist. As he plotted the attack, Mohamud reportedly told FBI agents posing as Islamist sympathizers, “I want whoever is attending that event to leave, to leave either dead or injured”; “You know what I like to see? Is when I see the enemy of Allah then, you know, their bodies are torn everywhere.”
When FBI agents arrested Mohamud moments after his fake bomb failed to detonate, he yelled the familiar Jihadist battle cry, “Allahu Akbar!” (“Allah is great!”)
Predictably, when asked about the incident, many of Portland’s political elites refused to discuss Mohamud’s faith. Portland Mayor Sam Adams said that the near-miss was a “reminder that we are not an oasis with a wall around us. We work hard to have a free and open community, but it’s a reminder that part of us must always be vigilant to prevent people from abusing those values of openness.”
He went on to say that he had “trust in Portlanders’ sense of fairness” in dealing with the would-be bomber, and that “bad actions by one member of any group does not and should not be generalized or applied more widely to other members of that same group. Otherwise, as the biggest racial group in Portland, we European-Americans would be in deep trouble.”
This is a nonsensical statement, and reminiscent of the statements of political, military and media elites after other home-grown terrorist attacks. It reminds me of General George Casey’s remark after Muslim soldier Nidal Hasan massacred 14 people at Fort Hood in 2009. Casey said that as bad as the massacre was, “it would be an even greater tragedy if our diversity becomes a casualty here.” Really General? Worshipping at the diversity alter is more important than preventing the deaths of 14 of America’s heroes.
With each act of terror, our elites sound off not against those who committed, or tried to commit, the heinous acts, but against the innocent who have done nothing wrong as the feared backlashes rarely materialize.
Last Sunday, two days after Mohamud’s arrest, a small fire was reported at the Salman Al-Farisi Islamic Center, which Mohamud attended. A few days later, hundreds of locals turned out in the rain for a candlelight vigil to show solidarity and support of the mosque. Local contractors and real estate agents are even reportedly offering their services to the mosque.
At the vigil, Mohammed Siala, an imam at the mosque, thanked the crowd for going “above and beyond” in organizing and attending the event. “All of you demonstrated your support and your care and your love,” he said.
I have nothing against the vigil itself, but where was the “support…care…and love” last spring when a series of church fires hit Oregon, including a large church arson in Portland? In fact, dozens of attacks have been committed against churches across the country over the last couple years, but few of them got much attention.
The Portland vigil underscores how far many Americans, not just secular elites but also religious leaders and others, will go to ingratiate themselves with Islam. Islamist attacks on America are routinely followed by more praise and accommodation for Islam, not less.
Needless to say, if an evangelical ever committed, or attempted to commit, an act of terror, America’s liberal elites wouldn’t fall over themselves to assure people that evangelical Christianity is a religion of peace, and people wouldn’t organize vigils at the perpetrator’s church to show solidarity.
And while planning to burn a Koran or publishing an unflattering depiction of Mohammed can provoke violent attacks worldwide, Christianity can be attacked without fear of retribution.
An exhibit at the tax-payer funded Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., opened recently featuring a number of crude pieces, including a model of a crucified Jesus with ants covering it.
Meanwhile in New York City, a group called the American Atheists has erected a provocative billboard featuring a picture of the Nativity and lettering that says, “You know it’s a myth. This season, celebrate reason!”
David Silverman, American Atheists’ president, said, “Every year, atheists get blamed for having a war on Christmas, even if we don’t do anything. This year, we decided to give the religious right a taste of what war on Christmas looks like.”
It goes without saying that the American Atheists would never conduct such a belligerent campaign against Islam, even though (or perhaps because) Islam is much less tolerant of atheism than is Christianity.
I don’t begrudge Mr. Silverman his First Amendment right to free speech. What I do resent, however, are those who refuse to recognize the menace of an ideology that’s assailing Christianity with much more than snarky billboards.