One definition of the word ‘radical’ as defined by Oxford Languages is “representing or supporting an extreme or progressive section of a political party.” Therefore to ‘radicalize’ someone is to “cause (that person) to adopt radical (extreme or progressive) positions on political or social issues.”
Five years ago, in an article by “The Atlantic,” Franklin Graham was quoted as saying the following with regards to Vladimir Putin’s LGBTQ+ policies:
“Putin is right on these issues,” Graham said. “He has taken a stand to protect his nation’s children from the damaging effects of any gay and lesbian agenda.”
Graham’s agreement with the vile and repugnant politics of such an individual should be a huge red flag for his followers and those who identify as Conservative Christians.
The same article states that “Graham proclaimed that all Muslims should be barred from immigrating to America and treated like the Japanese and Germans during World War II” because of their potential to be radicalized.
Maybe it’s just me, but that seems racist.
In another article in “Sojourner” magazine, Graham disagreed with Pope Francis’s assessment “that all religions, including Catholicism, have ‘fundamentalist’ splinter groups that can commit violence.”
Since when did God become a ‘religion?’ God is not a religion! Religion is a man-made institution predicated on extreme beliefs in illusions of separation. Many religious people go to church and profess their love of God every Sunday and then in the same breath proclaim their hatred of ‘sinners.’
Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. 1 John 4:20
The more articles I read from varying perspectives about Reverend Graham, and other evangelicals like him, the more I began to ponder the term “radicalize.” While the idea that those who unwaveringly identify with the doctrines of conservative Christianity are Radicalized Christians is not a new idea, it is overwhelmingly pertinent to our current times especially with regards to our upcoming election.
Perhaps you disagree by using the following logic: “These folks have not killed innocent people in the name of Allah, like radicalized Muslims.”
What about hating and ostracizing a group of people so much that it causes individuals within that group to take their own lives due to agonizing desperation?
When discussing the theory of radicalized Christians with my son, he said:
“Then they will quote scripture at you while completely ignoring the context that shows it means the opposite of how they are using it or the fact that they are guilty of the very thing the verse is condemning. They will find the smallest reason not to like a Democrat or basically anyone Trump tells them not to like. They’ll baselessly attack Biden for being a pedophile, but the mountains of evidence that Trump is and more, will just be brushed aside.
They’ll believe the craziest conspiracies and monumental lies at the drop of a hat, but fact-based rebuttals are just the ravings of brainwashed sheeple.
The amount of projecting they do is ridiculous! But they don’t debate; they shout their peace and then plug their ears and scream ‘LALALA’ when you try to reply.
And, for as much as they’ll preach ‘love your neighbor’ and ‘stop all of this hate’ when they see attacks on Trump or Republicans, when they see BLM posts or Biden posts or Bernie posts they turn into giant f***ing hypocrites and start name calling and spewing hateful rhetoric.”
In their book, Ten Words That Will Change Everything You Know About God: Seeing God as He Really Is, Dr. Jim Richards and Chaim Bentorah say the following about Jesus:
“Jesus never made a well person sick, and He never used harm, guilt or fear to influence people to follow Him. He demonstrated the love of God. His only harsh words were to the religious leaders who distorted God’s image and led believers into captivity.”
I’m not sure this is the same Jesus radicalized Christians follow. Personally, I think God would say to Franklin Graham, evangelicals, and their followers …
“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love” and “he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.” 1 John 4: 8, 21
“He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”