Timothy McVeigh: The Lazy Journalist’s “Christian Terrorist”

If you’re tired of hearing Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh described by media pundits as a “Christian terrorist,” Jeremy Lott has you covered.

McVeigh has become part of the PC balancing act that analysts are expected to perform every time they are confronted with evidence of Islamist terrorism. Witness the flap over National Public Radio analyst Juan Williams’ recent firing because of impolitic remarks he had made about Muslims on FOX News. In his defense, Williams actually cited his casual smearing of Christians as evidence that he was not a bigot.

In an op-ed published in the Daily Caller, Williams explained that he had pointed out to Fox host Bill O’Reilly that we should rein in our feelings and be careful about holding the violent actions of individuals against their respective religions. To illustrate this, Williams had used a shoe’s-on-the-other-foot example. Take the Atlanta Olympic bomber “as well as Timothy McVeigh and the people who protest against gay rights at military funerals.” These people, said Williams “are Christians” yet “we journalists” do not typically “identify them by their religion.”

As it turns out, McVeigh’s religious beliefs were more in line with Voltaire than anything recognizably Christian — ironic, since that probably also describes the journalists who use him to illustrate the ‘dark side’ of Christianity.

We might call him spiritual but not religious. He claimed to be agnostic but not an atheist. McVeigh believed in “science” and not “religion,” he said. (In fact, he said his religion was science.) His murky metaphysical notions included some sort of Deistic creator who set things in motion, not the personal God of Christianity.

Head over to Patheos for the rest. Good stuff.

Brian Saint-Paul


Brian Saint-Paul was the editor and publisher of Crisis Magazine. He has a BA in Philosophy and an MA in Religious Studies from the Catholic University of America, in Washington. D.C. In addition to various positions in journalism and publishing, he has served as the associate director of a health research institute, a missionary, and a private school teacher. He lives with his wife in a historic Baltimore neighborhood, where he obsesses over Late Antiquity.

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