Sunday, September 7, 2014

Charisma Provokes Outrage After Posting Anti-Muslim Commentary Piece (UPDATED)

As discussed in a prior post, Charisma News recently published a commentary piece by Gary Cass that demonized Muslims, lumped all Muslims together with ISIS, and called for Christian violence in alleged "self-defense". Cass, the president and CEO of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission, has made harsh comments about Muslims before. For example, Right Wing Watch reports that Cass was a recent guest on "On the Way with Paul Ridgeway", during which he claimed that "every mosque in an armory of Hell."

Christian and non-Christian observers reacted with outrage to the Charisma commentary, accusing Cass of advocating genocide. For example, in a September 7th post at Slaktivist, Fred Clark blasted Charisma for its "eliminationist rhetoric", calling Cass' column "a call for ethnic and religious cleansing".
A “Christian” publication printed this. “Christian” editors approved it. And a “Christian” audience is lapping it up — applauding and “amen”-ing throughout the comments.

In Jesus name, this is pure blasphemy. That comment section might as well just be 200+ posts crying “No, not him! Give us Barabbas!” This is the very definition of what 1 John calls “the spirit of antichrist.”

Cass and Charisma are not merely “Islamophobic” — this is the language of genocide. This is Hutu radio stuff.

It’s also gasoline and a lit match. Cass is trying to incite violence.

Charisma’s editors seem dimly aware of that. They have no qualms providing a platform for those who advocate ethnic and religious cleansing. They have no reservations about amplifying such violence voices and their call too cut down the tall trees.
In another post at Slaktivist, Clark accused Cass and Charisma of deliberately targeting Muslims for violence, an ironic stance for a "pro-life" magazine.
"Cass and Charisma are thus, deliberately, painting targets on Muslims. All Muslims. This isn’t merely the usual reflexive hawkishness that imagines itself a form of patriotism. Cass and Charisma aren’t advocating for military action against ISIS, but for the lethal suppression of every Muslim everywhere (including the millions of Muslims currently being attacked and killed by ISIS).

The goal is religious cleansing — not just of a territory or a nation, but apparently of the entire world. Cass is calling for a new Crusade, not just to retake Jerusalem, but to chase every Muslim out of everywhere — the Holy Land, Iraq, Iran, Indonesia, Dearborn. Where are they supposed to go? Where can they flee for safety?

Nowhere. That’s the point. Cass and his “pro-life” friends at Charisma want to kill one out of every seven people in the world."
Clark is hardly alone. In a September 7th post at Naked Pastor, David Hayward criticized Charisma for posting Cass' inflammatory column, admitting, "I’m disappointed in Charisma News for publishing such a fear- and hate-mongering post that pretends to end the violence by perpetuating it."

Writing at Friendly Atheist, Hemant Mehta expressed disgust at the commentary piece but added that he did not want it taken down. "I don’t want them to take this article down. I want them to leave it up as a perpetual reminder of how crazy these Religious Right types can be," he wrote.

Observers have condemned the commentary piece on Twitter and are calling on Charisma to withdraw the piece through the hashtag #takedownthatpost.

Cass' column relies on three well-documented techniques for justifying genocide:  us-versus-them rhetoric, dehumanization and accusations of violence necessitating "self-defense". It's vital that we counteract these techniques with facts. We must remind the Religious Right that Muslims are human beings with rights, that not all Muslims are extremists, and that Muslims have been oppressed and killed alongside non-Muslims by ISIS. We must hold Cass and Charisma accountable for promoting dangerous ideas about the Muslim community, especially at a time when religious tensions are running high.

Cass' commentary piece has revealed the hateful underbelly of the Religious Right. Law-abiding Muslims, like LGBTQ persons and feminists, have been targets of Religious Right hatred for a long time, and as Cass' column reveals, that hatred runs very deep. Genocide apologetics also have a long history among Religious Right figures, which may explain the convert-or-kill attitudes of Cass, Phil Robertson, and other far right voices. We must recognize this hate for what it is and condemn it.

UPDATE: The link to Cass' column at Charisma now brings up an error message. It appears that Charisma Magazine has pulled the commentary piece.


  1. I shouldn't be surprised anymore when hate rhetoric like Cass's that appeals to the lowest common denominator gets published and gets so much attention.

    Yet I still am.

    1. Agi Tater -- When the Religious Right's mask slips, it's horrifying. There is a current of hatred for the "other" that runs deep.


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