As a student of history and working for many years in the legal field, I pay close attention not only to what people are saying but also the deliberate framing of issues by choice of words in order to accomplish their goals. These goals may have nothing to do with the issue that is being discussed but through massaging of the language and often through manipulating emotions, a crisis or tragedy can be used as a springboard to accomplish something that would have otherwise been unreachable, the infamous “never let a crisis go to waste” credo of a former White House Chief of Staff.
Given this practice, I am finding the word choices and issue shaping of the media, advocacy groups and certain parts of the government fascinating and quite a bit chilling following the Orlando Club Shootings that left more than fifty people dead by a man whose stated reason was adherence to radical Islam. While this is a terrible tragedy and should not be exploited for any reason or used for political purposes, it appears to me that there are forces at work trying to do just that in a way that should make all Bible believing Christians take notice and grab their Ephesians 6 Armor of God. Let me explain what I mean.
From a time shortly after the completion of the shootings itself, it has been clear to just about everyone involved that they were carried out in the name of Islam by an adherent to Islam who was influenced by the acts of the Islamic State and other similar Islamic terrorist organizations. Whether one believes that those advocating this brand of Islam are correct in their interpretation or not, the unavoidable truth is that Omar Mateen was one of millions who hold to this brand of Islam and that he was motivated to carry out the attacks as a result. Yet when the Islam aspect of the attack is discussed by the shapers of public opinion in government and media, the words Islam or Radical Islam are avoided like the plague and instead the buzzwords of “religious extremism” and “hate” are used in their place. Religious extremism leading to hate filled acts is decried on talk shows, in news conferences and on social media when it would be easier and more accurate to simply state radical Islam. “If we just could get rid of those pesky religious extremists we would all be giving each other lollipops all the time” is the message broadcast across all media.
This imprecision and ambiguity of language makes little sense in a world where the messages of policy makers are carefully drafted and screened and every word out of the mouth of a public official has been rewritten many times over. Vague and unclear are never acceptable in our fact driven world, unless the wording is vague and unclear deliberately to serve a goal that is not related to the actual incident but to an unrelated agenda. I would submit that is exactly what is going on here.
The world has already been subjected to a constant stream of accusations that those who hold to a worldview defined by the Bible are haters or are filled with hate. In many countries merely expressing the viewpoint that homosexuality or adultery is a sin like any sin discussed in the Bible will result in severe persecution including possible jail time. It seems that anytime the world does not like what the Bible says about a subject and what those who believe the Bible is God’s Word therefore follow, the charges of being filled with hate come raining down from those on the other side of the issue. The tolerant opposition who preach tolerance while demanding that dissenting voices be silenced. The Christianity that defined western thought for the past 2000 years is rebuked as being too extreme for the modern world and its adherents just bitter outliers to society’s march towards the future.
With this framework in mind, a press conference discussing the radical Islamic beliefs of Omar Mateen encouraged by the march of ISIS across the world or the San Bernandino killers or Major Hasan from Ft. Hood does nothing to link their murderous ideology to anything other than radical Islam. Radical Islam is bad and should be stopped is a simple conclusion to a terrible problem.
However, a press conference rebuking hatred incited by religious extremism gets one in business if the goal is to slanderously link radical Islam and Christianity and subtly attack Christians in America. Pay no attention to the fact that radical Christianity demands loving one’s enemy or even dying for one’s enemy as our perfect example Jesus did on the Cross for every single soul, including both killer and killed, religious extremism is the problem and must be stopped is the message we hear on repeat. It is ludicrous and silly and would be funny in a completely lacking in logic kind of way if not for the fact that it appears to be working.
Following the Orlando shooting, there have been numerous voices blaming Christians for the actions of a Omar Mateem despite the fact that his faith allowed murder of Christians in service of Allah. Thousands of Christians have suffered the same fate as the poor souls in Orlando over recent history and millions over the years and yet the voices keep saying it is the Christians fault. Despite no evidence to support the theory it is still repeated, Christian hate is what drove Omar Mateen, not the doctrine of Islam which he actually repeatedly and clearly admitted drove him. You simply cannot get any clearer motive – Omar Mateen was yelling “Allah Akbar” while killing people. Those voices are getting louder and louder and we know from the Bible that as we get closer to the end, persecution as a result will increase. Only God knows the timeline, but storm clouds are gathering on the horizon for the Church aided and abetted by those that deny truth in the name of intolerrant tolerance. Our response – the words of Ephesians 6 come to mind:
The Armor of God
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.