Timothy McVeigh was not a ‘Christian’ terrorist

Timothy McVeigh was not a ‘Christian’ terrorist

Lofton, John

Across America

It’s a big lie that’s been repeated many times since the terrorist attacks of 9/11. But it’s demonstrably not true. And the fact that it is not true was easily discoverable with just a little research. The big lie? That Oklahoma bomber and mass murderer Timothy McVeigh was a Christian. Here are just a few of the folks who have told this big lie:

* Objecting to Muslims and Islam being blamed for terrorism, Louis Farrakhan, head of the Nation Of Islam, has said, according to the,Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service (9/17/01): “Timothy McVeigh was from a Christian nation . . and nobody said the Christian Timothy McVeigh, they said Timothy McVeigh.”

* The Boston Herald (10/07/01) quotes convicted rapist/boxer Mike Tyson as saying: “Religion can’t be defined from one single person’s action. Timothy McVeigh was a Christian.”

* The Providence Journal-Bulletin (9/18/01) quotes Reem Alkurdi, a Muslim, as saying, Timothy McVeigh was a Christian-American.” But, nobody is blaming “all the Christian-Americans.”

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (9/18/01) quotes Suleiman Badwan, a Muslim, as saying: “Don’t target me. . . . Tim McVeigh was a Christian … and he still blew up a federal building.”

* The Denver Post (9/16/01) quotes Imam Tali Eid of the Islamic Center of New England in Quincy, Mass., as saying, “‘[A]t the time of McVeigh I haven’t seen any minister or priest’ having to defend his faith because McVeigh was a Christian.”

* The Manchester Union Leader (9/12/01) quotes Shuja U. Saleem, who’s on the board of the Islamic Society of Greater Manchester, as saying that even though McVeigh was a Christian, “nobody points a finger at Christianity.”

* The Minnesota Daily student newspaper (9/25/01) quotes Sarah Schadegg as saying, “Timothy McVeigh was a Christian but we didn’t label him the Christian bomber.”

* The Canadian newspaper The Record (9/24/01), in Kitchner-Waterloo, quotes the mayor of Kitchner, Carl Zehr, as saying, “We don’t condemn Christianity because Timothy McVeigh was a Christian.”

* The Los Angeles New Times newspaper (9/20/01) quotes Naji Harden, president of the Islamic Center of Hawthorne’s board of trustees, as saying, “The bomber of the Oklahoma federal building was a Christian, but we didn’t hear people singling out Christians.”

* An article in USA Today (11/7/01) says, of many Muslims interviewed, that “several mentioned Timothy McVeigh. The media, they say, did not call McVeigh a Christian terrorist, but simply a terrorist.”

* Nationally syndicated editorial cartoonist Mike Peters, whose cartoons appear in many newspapers, drew one cartoon labeling Timothy McVeigh as a Christian.

8 And in Reason magazine (12/1/01), Abdulwahab Alkebsi, a Muslim from Yemen, is quoted as saying: “Let’s call bin Laden what he is: He is a terrorist. It has nothing to do with Islam-just as much as you don’t want to call Timothy McVeigh a Christian terrorist or a Christian killer.”

OK. Get the point? Of course. Because it’s impossible to miss the point: Just as we ought not to blame Christianity because mass murderer Tim McVeigh was a Christian, so we also ought not to blame Islam because some terrorists are Muslims.

But is the point true? Was Tim McVeigh a Christian? No, he was not. And, as I say, even the most basic research would have exposed this big lie.

For example, there is the book American Terrorist: Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing (ReganBooks, 2001) written by Lou Michel and Dan Herbeck, who are staff reporters for the Buffalo News in New York. In this book, Michel and Herbeck tell how McVeigh committed adultery, was a thief and used illegal drugs-acts that are, to put it mildly, not fruits of the Christian Spirit. Ditto, his mass murders, incidentally.

He Believed in ‘Science’

Michel and Herbeck also tell how during the Gulf War McVeigh lied about attending church: “On Sunday mornings, the recruits were required to either attend church services or spend an hour cleaning the barracks. McVeigh, an agnostic, chose to clean the barracks until he found out that nobody took attendance at church. One Sunday, he signed up for church and just slipped away from the rest of his platoon. He found a field of tall grass and lay there, a little worried about snakes, but enjoying the opportunity to relax in solitude. The following Sunday, McVeigh signed up for church again. This time, he sneaked into an old abandoned barracks to kill time.”

Another story. Michel and Herbeck tell how McVeigh once “paid a visit to the local Seventh Day Adventist Church, but he found that service bored him … McVeigh had never been inclined to criticize people for their religious views, but he concluded that organized religion wasn’t really for him. He believed that the universe was guided by natural law, energized by some universal higher power that showed each person right from wrong if they paid attention to what was going on inside of them.”

But the smoking gun is a quote by McVeigh himself regarding what he believed. Michel and Herbeck say that McVeigh would tell friends, “Science is my religion.” To worship at the altar of science is, of course, idolatry and not Christianity.

Finally, in an interview, Lou Michel told me: No, Tim McVeigh was not a Christian-“though he acknowledged the possibility of a higher power. But, he didn’t accept Jesus Christ as his personal Savior, so far as I know.”

Michel notes that, at the end, McVeigh did pray with a chaplain and receive the anointing of the sick, known as the last rites in the Roman Catholic Church. “But,” says Michel, “I think he was just covering his bases.” He didn’t ask for the last rites until they were offered to him.

Whether McVeigh really repented and had a true conversion no one can know. But either way, the event happened long after he had committed-as a non-Christian-his act of terror in Oklahoma City.

With science as his religion, the terrorist Timothy McVeigh was much closer to being a Nazi than a Christian. When a Dr. Nyiszli asked the Nazi butcher Joseph Mengele, in Auschwitz: “When will all this extermination cease?”, Mengele answered, “My friend! It will go on, and on, and on.”

To be sure, many times the Nazi analogy is too quickly invoked or misapplied. But, when it comes to those, like McVeigh, who claim their cause justifies mass murder, the comparison is accurate and deserved.

Mr. Lofton is the editor and publisher of The Lofton Letter, a Christian newsletter.

Copyright Human Events Publishing, Inc. May 6, 2002

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