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NY Times Column Compares al-Awlaki to Jesus

BY Matthew Archbold

| Posted 5/13/10 at 11:04 AM

 

When arguing political points it is smart to leave out your “Jesus” metaphors no matter how brilliant you think they are, especially when defending alleged terrorist inspiring imams.

New York Times writer Robert Wright yesterday unwisely, I think, compared al-Awlaki, a dangerous imam who may have inspired numerous terrorist acts, to Jesus Christ.

Even leaving aside the constitutional questions (al-Awlaki is an American citizen), doesn’t Obama see what a gift the killing of this imam would be to his cause? Just ask the Romans how their anti-Jesus-movement strategy worked out. (And Jesus’s followers didn’t have their leader’s sermons saved in ready-to-go video and audio files; al-Awlaki’s resurrection would be vivid indeed.)

Mr. Wright can argue whether killing al-Awlaki is a wise foreign policy move or even a moral one. But the assassination of an imam leading fanatics to rally around his banner and committing hateful atrocities in his name is like Jesus in what manner exactly? Only a mindset that views all religion as dangerous could feel comfortable reading this comparison. To compare Jesus to a terrorist inspiring Imam and to compare Jesus’ resurrection to the playing of a video file seems like a pretty disrespectful reach.

But seemingly to Wright, Christians are often to blame for violence done in Islam’s name. A few months ago, Wright blamed Christian proselytizing for anti-Christian violence by Muslims. Wright recently wrote: “Even if proselytizing isn’t the prime mover, my guess is that it pretty consistently falls in the “not helpful” category from the point of view of world peace and, ultimately, American security. And some of it… is particularly antagonistic.”

If one didn’t know better one might suspect that Mr. Wright takes a rather dim view of Christianity. But for his ridiculous assertions, Mr. Wright will not have any fear of violence of any sort being perpetrated on him. He should focus on that and then maybe he’ll start seeing a difference between al-Awlaki and Jesus Christ.

I’m a bit surprised by the New York Times allowing this column though, not because Wright’s column disrespects Christ but because it places President Obama in the role of Pontius Pilate. That’s definitely a downgrade from the deification typical of the Times’ typical treatment of Obama.