After the horrendous bombing in Norway this week, there was a pretty big controversy surrounding whether or not the media should be calling suspected bomber Anders Breivik a Christian. On Real Time last night Bill Maher, unsurprisingly, had no problem labelling Breivik a “Christian terrorist” who “wanted to start a Christian onslaught against the Muslims” but then took it one step further, blaming religion itself for inciting people to violence.
“It reminds me that this, you know, this is not a problem with the Muslim religion, this is a problem with religion and Christianity is perfectly capably of coming out of it’s dormant phase and, once again, becoming the violent, blood lusty religion it was under the crusades.”
Maher went after Bill O’Reilly in particular, calling him a “pinhead” for saying that “nobody believing in Jesus commits mass murder.”
“What do you think the Crusades were? What do you think the entire 16th century in Europe was? What do you think the Inquisition was? The Klu Klux Klan is a Christian organisation. Tim McVeigh. I could go on.”
Maher, of course, ran into some opposition from his panel, including frequent O’Reilly guest Margaret Hoover, who admitted that you could call Breivik a Christian, with the difference being that “he isn’t connected to a global terror network.”
Hoover made the argument that it was, in fact, atheists who were the biggest perpetrators of mass murder, singling out The Great Leap Forward in China and Stalin’s Russia, calling it “ideology run amok.” Even Eliot Spitzer agreed with Hoover, noting that ” “It is fanaticism that is the enemy, not religion. Fanaticism in any ideology, and lack of tolerance, is when you get danger.”
Maher, who had made bashing religion pretty much the focal point of his entire career, countered that religion actually “gives people licence to commit crazy acts” and that, even in supposedly atheist countries, the state was the religion, like in North Korea where “the dear leader is the god.”
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