Two threads seem to be emerging from conservative Christians writing about the Norway killings: Anders Behring Breivi wasn’t really a Christian, and he has a point about the danger of Muslim immigration.
As usual at The Washington Post, we’re interested foremost in the political implications, and in what seems to be a pattern, GOP presidential players are speaking sparingly about Islam. That was true for the Muslim center near Ground Zero, Congressman Peter King’s hearings on Muslim radicalization, the relationship between mosque and state in post-revolution North Africa, and now, on the musings of Norwegian mass-murderer Anders Breivik.
This time it’s Texas Gov. Rick Perry, reportedly a likely presidential candidate, who declined today to engage on comments by AFA leader Bryan Fischer, who writes that while Breivik’s use of violence was wrong, much of his “analysis of cultural trends in Europe and the danger created by Islamic immigration and inflitration is accurate … Breivik’s angst was caused by the presence of so many Muslims in Norway and Europe, which he correctly observes is leading to ‘cultural annihilation.’”
Perry is partnering with the AFA Aug. 6 to put on a prayer rally that the governor says is about the need during this trying era for Americans to “come together and call upon Jesus.”
Asked today whether he agrees with Fischer’s warning about the dangers of Islam, Perry didn’t directly address the question, saying only in a statement e-mailed to the Post that he “believes there is no justification for such a horrendous act of violence.”
A few days ago I asked Mark DeMoss, evangelical strategist and advisor to Mitt Romney, how prominent he thinks the subject of Islam would be during the campaign, and he said he doubted it will make the “short list” of top issues.
Yet some experts on radicals like Breivik are warning anew this week about what they see as the dangers of leaving anti-Islam rhetoric unaddressed in the political mainstream. Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center today said that chatter going on on far-right Web sites paints Breivik as either a hero or a victim of a set-up (or both).
Perhaps by nature of his office, President Obama has much more of a track record of speaking in real-time about hot-button issues regarding Islam.
Do you think that GOP contenders need to be a lot clearer on all this?