Drancy imamEver notice how, whenever Westborough Baptist Church comes out to spew their bullshit or some anti-gay nut kills a person who is LGBTQ, Christian leaders come out of the woodwork to say “This has nothing to do with Christianity” and explain that the Christian faith is based on love, not hate? No? That’s because they don’t have to. So, why do Muslims have to do that?

I’m referring, of course, to  the statement of Muslim leaders and activists in the wake of Wednesday’s attack at the offices of Charlie Hedbo, a French satirical newspaper, that left 12 dead and 11 wounded. The assault was carried out by two brothers, French nationals of Algerian descent, with ties to Al Qaeda. During the attack, they were heard saying “Allahu Akbar” and “The prophet is revenged”, the latter because Charlie Hedbo has skewered Muhammad, a central figure in Islam, more than once. So, yeah, it’s pretty well established that these guys were Muslim radicals. But, does that mean that all Muslims bear responsibility for this attack?

Of course they don’t. Muslims around the world are no more responsible for these heinous acts than American (or western) Christians are for acts committed by radicals who claim the same faith we do. But, for some reason, white people Christians westerners seem to think they do. And, if they don’t “speak out against the violence”? Then, they are complicit and should be dealt with accordingly. Let’s get one thing straight: the Muslim guy you work with or who lives down the street from you is no more responsible for the Charlie Hedbo murders than you are for Eric Rudolph setting off bombs all over the place.

While we’re on this subject, I’ve heard some people reference the celebrations of people in Palestine other countries after incidents like the 9-11 attacks as if that somehow shows that all Muslims everywhere are murderous radicals who want to “take away our freedom”. Right. If that’s true, then all Christians believe the murder of doctors and the bombing of abortions clinics are justified because some Christians made statements to justify Rudolph’s actions, saying he did what he did to “save those babies” (I actually saw a woman say that on national television). Or, that all Christians believe LGBTQ people should be herded into concentration camps because Christian leaders didn’t automatically issue a statement distancing themselves from this guy.

The truth is, there are multiple reasons we Christians shouldn’t be pointing fingers when it comes to violence. Like the fact that Jesus said “Don’t judge, so that you won’t be judged”((and, let’s be honest, this all about judging Muslims)). Or, as I have already pointed out, the fact that our hands aren’t exactly clean on this score. Our history of violence is long and storied; it spans centuries and was not only condoned, but encouraged, by church leaders((see Crusades, European religious wars, English Civil War, Ireland)). To paraphrase a certain old saying, people who live in glass houses ought not be chunkin’ rocks.

I’m going to throw out a crazy idea, here: when religious whack jobs do something terrible, maybe the responsibility is theirs and theirs alone. Blame does not automatically accrue to every person of that religion/creed/belief, especially if they had zero involvement with the act. You might do well to remember this is a two-way street. So, if we’re going to make Muslims apologize for every shitty act their radical elements carry out, Christians should be just as busy doing the same. And, we all have more important things on our plates than this bullshit.