Norway, Anders Behring Breivik, and the Rise of Nationalism in Europe

I’ve posted on this before, but this is a but of a step up, at least for now. What many were assuming to be Islamic terrorists (at least some of the accounts I saw on Twitter and Facebook) was actually what Norway police are now calling a right-wing, Christian, nationalist who was highly critical of Islam. Oh, and he was a white guy.

Norwegian TV2 reports that Breivik belongs to “ring-wing circles” in Oslo. Swedish news site Expressen adds that he has been known to write to right-wing forums in Norway, is a self-described nationalist and has also written a number of posts critical of Islam.

A Twitter account for Breivik has surfaced, though it only has one post, this quote from philosopher John Stuart Mill: “One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100 000 who have only interests.” The tweet was posted on July 17.

On a Facebook account that Norwegian media outlets have attributed to Breivik, he describes himself as having Christian, conservative views. He says he enjoys hunting, the games World of Warcraft and Modern Warfare 2, and lives in Oslo. He also lists political analysis and stock analysis as interests. (here)

I post on this for several reasons. First, if this guy is as he is being position in the European press, meaning that the police in Norway are right, do we then treat conservative Christians the way we do Islamic Fundamentalists (or all Muslims)?

Also, the Arab Spring isn’t confined to the Middle East, or rather, the idea of revolution of the oppressed (albeit at times, oppression is a mental state), is catching on. We know of the rise of a more Euro-centric nationalism in the 90’s, and lately, the graves of the Nazi-dead have become shrines, so much so that Rudolf Hess’ body has to be cremated to prevent further adoration by Neo-Nazis. It is not uncommon in paradigmic shifts in culture and national make-up for traditional majorities to take issue with it, especially as they become the minority. Anyway, I think that the situations in Europe must be watched.

Let us keep the hurting in Norway in our thoughts and prayers.

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11 Replies to “Norway, Anders Behring Breivik, and the Rise of Nationalism in Europe”

  1. Anyone can call themselves a Christian. His actions make it hard to accept he is a Christian, if he has claimed he is. The Facebook and Twitter pages are now gone.

  2. “. . . if this guy is as he is being position(ed?) in the European press, meaning that the police in Norway are right, do we then treat conservative Christians the way we do Islamic Fundamentalists (or all Muslims)?”

    Islamic Fundamentalism is a global network . . . with a proven track record of terrorist attacks over many decades. I am unaware of an organized global “conservative Christian” terrorist movement.

    Therefore, even if the initial stories from Norway prove accurate, why would you equate the threat from “conservative Christians” with Islamic Fundamentalists, unless there is some other agenda at work? Evil takes many forms . . . and even though someone may call themselves a Christian (or a Muslim), that does not make it so, no matter what the press might report.

    It seems unfair to make a general assertion about “conservative Christians” (or obviously, any group) based on the actions of a few. One difference with Islamic Fundamentalism is that we are dealing with many hundreds of organized terrorists with a record of attacks spanning decades.

    In all cases, as the author points out, we must always be careful in drawing general conclusions from specific actions. When the Weathermen, an American radical left organization, were violent and exploded bombs in numerous public locations in the 1960s, most people, rightfully, did not equate their actions with the “Progressive Movement.”

    1. Another point which I was trying to make – Gez made another one.

      Hitler claimed Christianity, but I would doubt his devotion. My point is that ‘right-wing’ Christians shouldn’t be maligned like Muslims have been, or even Muslims shouldn’t be maligned because of a few… Things done in the name of religion doesn’t implicate the entire religion.

      I don’t think we should draw conclusions – nor should we allow the actions of a man, or even a few, who claim certain titles for himself – to force us into a reaction against all who claim the same title. Dan, these were my points that I was trying to make.

      1. The equating of Christians and Muslims with respect to recent events, even if only done rhetorically to make a broader point, is troubling to me.

        While you are right that we should not treat all Muslims (or any group) on the basis of the actions of Islamic Fundamentalists (or other radical groups or deranged individuals), there is a world of difference between the threat of Islamic Fundamentalism and any “threat” from “conservative Christians.” Events over the last 40 or so years demonstrate this fact very clearly.

        And as to what Hitler’s claim to Christianity was . . . he was, I believe, although raised in a Catholic home (at least nominally Catholic), vehemently anti-Catholic and anti-Christian. You are wise to doubt his devotion.

        My concern is that there are bloggers who are so anti-conservative that they would make these broad comparisons, based on this one tragic event in Norway. When this happens, we must quickly respond.

  3. Your simple assertion of “conservative Christian” is just simply… I honestly don’t have the wording right now. Really. To make it the simple phrase “conservative Christian” and how “we” are supposed to treat “them”…

    On the continuum of Christian theology, I would be “conservative” to your stance on probably a lot of issues… Lock me up?

    1. Oh, I do… I really do… I want, sometimes, to come across like that. Unlike you and others, not everyone thinks about being in another’s shoes. Already, in some news articles, he has gone from being a Christian, to being a conservative Christian, to now being a Christian Fundamentalist. We like our labels, don’t we? And often times, we label everyone, and for some reason, we do so not by the best of the bunch, but by the worst.

  4. It’s true. We like our labels, and it is downright disconcerting how the media is finding those labels so quickly. Hopefully this type of labeling fades like it did for Timothy McVeigh, but the odor hangs around. Remember Eric Rudolph? The media so badly wanted to label him conservative Christian until he finally just said, “Quit calling me that!” He made no claims to Christianity. Just his action against abortion doctors gave him that label.

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