Radicalized Christian Terrorism

BY Herschel Smith
14 years, 4 months ago

The report on Hasan and the Fort Hood shootings has been released, and without rehearsing the pitiful whitewash that it was, one comment by intellectual lightweight Togo West bears a little unpacking.

Mr. West, at a second Pentagon news conference with Admiral Clark, said the problem with “self-radicalization” in the military was not rooted in Islam. “Suppose it were fundamentalist-Christian-inspired,” Mr. West said. “Our concern is not with the religion. It is with the potential effect on our soldiers’ ability to do their job.”

Hmmm.  Not rooted in Islam.  “Fundamentalist-Christian-inspired” terrorism.  So.  Let’s have a test question after we set some boundary conditions.  First, let’s loosely define Christian as anyone who believes in the Trinitarian formula outlined in the Council Of Nicea and the Council of Chalcedon (and perhaps also who holds to basic Christian soteriology as taught in the historical confessions such as the Westminster Confession of Faith, Canons of Dort, Heidelberg Catechism, or for my Roman Catholic readers, the Council of Trent).

Next, let’s define religiously inspired terrorism as the belief that God has commanded that one’s faith must be promulgated by violence.  Now that these basic stipulations have been made our house is in order for the test question.  Can anyone name an instance of “fundamentalist-Christian-inspired” terrorism?  Anyone?  Even a single instance?

For the more stolid readers, leave the Crusades out of this.  They were primarily a defensive operation as a result of Muslim aggression.  Besides, give me something in the nineteenth or twentieth centuries, please.  And please don’t chime in with Timothy McVeigh.  In his last interview the day before his execution, he made sure everyone knew that he was an atheist.

We can begin.  Now that the test question has been posed, are there any takers?  Give me one instance of Christian-inspired terrorism.  Just one.  Maybe intellectual lightweight Togo West can give me his data.  I’m waiting.

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  1. On January 21, 2010 at 4:05 am, Aercdr said:

    Eric Rudolph: The Centennial Olympic Park bombing, Sandy Springs and Birmingham.

  2. On January 21, 2010 at 8:04 am, Herschel Smith said:

    He did it for reasons of white supremacy, not religion. Try again.

  3. On January 21, 2010 at 8:51 am, AnthonyB said:

    Herschel, I think you are wrong on that one. Eric Rudolph said:
    “I’m here today to be sentenced for my actions on January 29, 1998. On that date I detonated a bomb at an abortion mill here in Birmingham, killing the abortion mill’s security guard and injuring one of the abortion mill’s employees. I had nothing personal against either of these individuals, Sanderson and Lyons. I did not target them for who they were – but for what they did. What they did was participate in the murder and dismemberment of upwards of 50 children a week.”
    “My actions that day were motivated by my recognition that abortion is murder. Because it is murder, I believe that deadly force is indeed justified in an attempt to stop it. I do not claim this as a right but rather consider it the moral duty to come to the defense of my fellow man when he is under attack. This is an essential concept embedded in Western Civilization – that we are our brother’s keeper.”
    Eric Rudolph

    I think this makes him a Christian terrorist, not a white supremacist.

  4. On January 21, 2010 at 9:37 am, jparsons said:

    Rudolph was associated with the Army of God, which is quite openly Christian. The Army of God has also been suspected of making threats against abortion clinics (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2001/11/09/national/main317573.shtml, for an example)

    Also to be considered:
    -Paul Hill, who shot John Britton, an abortion provider
    -Actions of the Orange Volunteers in Northern Ireland (and don’t get me started on what Sinn Fein’s tried to justify)
    -The Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda

    Not in the last two centuries, but worth an honorable mention:
    -the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre
    -the Spanish Inquisition’s campaign against Jews and Muslims

    Racism can also be cited in ANY of these cases, but that’s true in most cases of religious terrorism– including Islamic terrorism (just ask the Malaysians, most of whom aren’t very impressed with the Arab-centric teachings of Wahhabis and al-Qaeda and who have gotten ignored and derided for it).

    By the time violence rises to the fore, usually a nasty mix of religion-AND-race-related identity politics is feeding the motivations of whoever’s doing it.

  5. On January 21, 2010 at 9:42 am, Herschel Smith said:

    Oh good grief. Really? I’ve learned something. There are those who like to harbor Rudolph as a data point for radicalized Christianity.

    I know a Christian when I see one. He made no pretentions about religion for most of his time right up until the last. He “found religion” attempting to gain allies. He was a white supremacist, and before he “found religion” at his trial a crass man who wasn’t the least bit interested in anything God had to say.

    How sad that you have a felt-need to harbor the notion of moral equivalency. There are no Christian terrorists because there is nothing like that to be found in the Bible.

    Now. Go back to my definitions and follow them more precisely. You’re not even close yet.

  6. On January 21, 2010 at 12:03 pm, Warbucks said:

    Herschel, Right on! Your background is advanced warp-speed beyond my own in these matters. So I hold your opinions on these matters in high regard as you speak plainly and in understandable terms, a task I personally fail to achieve.

    I find in this later part of life, as often happens to us, the issues of world peace, just war, good vs. evil, tough love, and personal salvation, and the search for truth, fill my days….. with joy…. amazingly.

    I will NOT use elements of some of the Native American experiences as an answer to your challenge. In stead, let me share what I have come to believe is the key to building bridges towards world peace. The Ogalala Lakota Sioux harbor an old grievance of a defective treaty (Treaty of 1868) which collapsed through the powerful and unrelenting western migration and eventual occupation of their lands, a treaty overridden by eventually through our ever changing political will and, aka, Manifest Destiny.

    Black Elk,(1863 – 1950) Ogalala Lakota Sioux, was a spiritual holy man, visionary, and Native American, I hold in very high regard as a “man of knowing,” (as the term of enlightenment is used by the Yaqui Indian shaman, Don Juan, in “A Separate Reality – Further Conversations with Don Juan” by Carlos Castaneda). Black Elk was both a Catholic Priest and a tribal holy man who bridged his culture and our own.

    His greatest discovery and finding through his spiritual life (in my opinion) is what I have come to understand through similar experiences as the key to world peace… i.e. the very starting point.

    Here’s Black Elks own words worth spending as much time as needed in ones life to understand through one’s own personal direct inner awakening, especially we mainstream Christians. Black Elk says:

    “The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of men when they realize their relationship, their oneness, with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells Wakan-Tanka, and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us. This is the real peace, and the others are but reflections of this. The second peace is that which is made between two individuals, and the third is that which is made between two nations. But above all you should understand that there can never be peace between nations until there is first known that true peace, which, as I have often said, is within the souls of men.”

    In my opinion, this profound insight into reality is the lost insight that at least much of Christianity and fundamental Islam share together. Everything changes in ones life when such personal revelation and inner peace occur. That inner change is called by many names around the world, but they all speak to the same truth.

    A small group of us on the West Coast have been researching a means to experience this change. While the process is far from perfected I have posted the process on a website we formed called Peace and Conflict Resolution (sorry for the websites poor present condition… we’re working to clean it up with volunteer efforts). For lack of a better name we are referring to the process as “A-B-C-Personal Revelation and Internet Confirmation” which I’ve posted here:


    Black Elk should be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in my opinion… but what do I know?

  7. On January 21, 2010 at 12:37 pm, kartch said:

    The Mountain Meadows Masaccre.

    Before the Oklahoma City bombing it was the single largest terrorist attack in US history.

    September 1858 the Mormons killed between 130 and 150 people in the Fancher/Baker wagon train traveling through southern Utah on their way to California.

    Some might argue that the Mormons are not christian but having been raised Mormon I would beg to differ. The Mormons were a very violent christian sect that could not get along with their neighbors and had violent conflicts in Ohio, Missouri, Illinois and here in Utah.

    It is rare but it did happen. There is a reason I left that church.


  8. On January 21, 2010 at 12:44 pm, jparsons said:

    “There are no Christian terrorists because there is nothing like that to be found in the Bible.”

    The people of Amalek might have a problem with that statement, but since there aren’t any left, I’ll let it go. If you want to get into a contest of “Well, they started it,” most Muslim terrorists also like to say they’re compensating for the fall of the Caliphate/blowback from the Suez Canal/their own personal shortcomings which are somehow the fault of the heathen West.

    Also: Omarska and Kosovo during the last Yugoslavian civil conflict, as well as isolated events of Protestant and Catholic clergy in the Rwandan genocid.

    Why didn’t I think of either of those before? Because like most episodes of people killing each other for religious reasons, racism got mashed in there too.

  9. On January 21, 2010 at 1:24 pm, Herschel Smith said:


    No one has demonstrated that your so-called “isolated events of Protestant and Catholic clergy in the Rwandan genocid (sic)” were either reliable history as you tell it or Christian jihadism. You have utterly missed the point. I didn’t ask for examples of self-proclaimed believers who were involved in violence of some sort in some part of the world for sundry possible reasons according to something that someone believes really occurred.

    I have very little patience for this sort of thing. In the mean time, I suppose the TSA should profile all of those Baptist and Presbyterian terrorists who are ready to blow up aircraft. I don’t know about you, but that’s what I think about every time I step on a plane.

  10. On January 21, 2010 at 1:26 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    Really, is it that hard for people to follow instructions? Kartch. See post, viz. Trinitarian formula.

  11. On January 21, 2010 at 2:20 pm, Aercdr said:

    “I know a Christian when I see one.”
    “….self-proclaimed believers….”


    As a Christian and a veteran of Kuwait and Afghanistan, I have always found value in your site. Even when I have disagreed with you I appreciated what I had perceived to be your intellectual integrity. The arrogant disregard and slick sophistry that you have shown those of us who responded to your challenge is too much. Please unsubscribe me from the news letter.


    E-mail: John316

  12. On January 21, 2010 at 2:23 pm, jparsons said:

    “I didn’t ask for examples of self-proclaimed believers who were involved in violence of some sort in some part of the world for sundry possible reasons according to something that someone believes really occurred.”

    That’s what terrorism is, though, at least where Nidal Malik Hasan was concerned. He wasn’t fresh out of some al-Qaeda or Hizbollah training camp. He was a religious and racist loony who was sympathetic to al-Qaeda and had his delusions of grandeur and entitlement stroked by like-minded types like Anwar al-Awlaki. People like Richard Reid, Abdul Abdulmutalallab (the “underwear bomber”), and Hasan were all acting independently to “avenge” outrages against Muslims everywhere.

    Maybe the Army of God doesn’t want to blow up airplanes, but I’ll bet they sure make women going to Planned Parenthood for the morning-after pill or cheap contraception nervous. And if I were a Russian Jew around the turn of the 20th century (when local clergy and officials were more than happy to stir up anti-Semetic resentment to pump up their own popularity), I’d be jumpy everywhere I went.

    I’m not going to deny the fact that the Fort Hood massacre happened because political correctness made idiots out of everyone who could have stopped Hasan. But people misuse religion as an excuse for killing all the time. Why the Army felt they had to be jumpy about Hasan, who was obviously off the deep end, escapes me just as much as it does you.

  13. On January 21, 2010 at 3:13 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    jparsons, you still missed my point because you’re not listening. Let Rudolph go. He isn’t the data point you think he is. He was a johny-come-lately to the reasons you cite. He did what he did because of his racist views, not his religious (or a-religious) views. He had no particular religious views.

    I asked for examples of doctrinally-legitimate Christians who perpetrated violence in the name of God and for the specific purpose of expanding / propagating / promulgating the Christian faith because they believed that they were commanded to. You cannot give me any because there aren’t any.

    Don’t argue for the sake of arguing just to take up band width.

  14. On January 21, 2010 at 4:02 pm, jparsons said:

    I didn’t even mention Rudolph in my last post, but I’ll concede that he’s a Johnny-come-lately, not unlike Hasan himself, or Saddam Hussein. None of that changes the fact that Rudolph did throw his lot in with a group committed to carrying out attacks on abortion providers. Hasan was no different in his liasons (or lack thereof) with al-Qaeda. He thought he was justified in killing American soldiers; he would have like al-Qaeda’s blessing, but it apparently wasn’t necessary for him.

    I found it interesting that my mentions of Omarska, Paul Hill, the Lord’s Resistance Army, and the Orange Volunteers received no mention. I forgot to mention the Sandanista National Liberation Front, and operations by the IRA during Ireland’s War of Independence– apologies.

    Also, in your original challenge, you wanted us to limit our responses to the 19th and 20th centuries. This leaves out, among other things, the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, the Albigensian Crusade, the Spanish Inquisition during the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, persecution of Dissenters under the reign of Mary Tudor, the Hussite Wars, or the English Peasants’ Revolt of the 14th century. I believe those all fit the description of “doctrinally-legitimate Christians who perpetrated violence in the name of God and for the specific purpose of expanding / propagating / promulgating the Christian faith,” though they’re not from the last three centuries. But apparently that’s not a criterion anymore.

    This discussion would be a lot easier for everyone if you stopped moving the goalposts around.

  15. On January 21, 2010 at 4:33 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    Sandanista National Liberation Front. Is that a joke? Mary Tudor. She wasn’t a Christian. Besides, wars over control and power (e.g., Tudor, IRA) don’t count by my definition.

    You still haven’t met the criterion. The goal posts haven’t changed. You just don’t like them because of your precommitments.

    You’ve had you say now. You’re no longer part of the discussion since you are just a troll.

  16. On January 22, 2010 at 8:04 am, SeaBix said:

    Nearly 15,000 documented and deadly terror attacks world-wide since 911…and counting. That is the Religion of Peace for you. Is there a similar daily accounting of Christian terrorism? Of course we often read about those evil terrorists (Southern Baptists, Episcopalians, Methodists, Lutherans, et. al.) and live in great fear of them boarding our airplanes or blowing up innocents.


  17. On January 22, 2010 at 9:42 pm, BruceR said:

    Mary Tudor… wasn’t… a Christian? Riiightt…

    Herschel, I’m sorry but you’re now officially trolling your own site.

  18. On January 23, 2010 at 12:00 am, Herschel Smith said:

    Bruce, Bruce, Bruce. Take a deep breath. One cannot do the things that she did and be a Christian. One can claim any number of things. I can claim that I am the king of Egypt, but claims don’t make it so.

    The proof of belief is a changed life. Not perfection, but change. As for Mary, the premise of her whole campaign of killing was power. Again for people who are too slow to catch on to this. Many Christians may be involved (for a season) in any number of untoward things, even with other people. The question is not whether some Christians are hypocritical. The question is not whether some Christians do bad things. The question is not whether there are those who claim to be Christian who are not. Please, for the sake of my sanity, folks, focus on the right question. I have said it so many times now it’s amazing that we’re still having to rehearse this.

  19. On January 23, 2010 at 7:26 am, JH said:

    New contributor to TCJ and plan on sticking around for a while. While searching for an answer to a tactics related question I found this site and could not help but continue researching more of TCJ. So far I have found this site to be informative, well-constructed and organized, and most resourceful. I commend Mr. Walker and both respect and appreciate his patriotism. So with that I would like to begin my first post on TCJ.

    In keeping with one of my life long goals – always utilizing research and basing my opinion off of fact – I would like to respond to the message from user “kartch” which was meant to be a response to Mr. Walker’s challenge of finding an example of radicalized christian based terrorism. First of all, I agree with Mr. Walker’s original post on this subject and find it disturbing that others in reply to his challenge would attempt to disprove his point with the examples given. Before I get off track, back to my response to kartch, I am a christian and more specifcally LDS, Latter-Day Saint, Mormon, or however others would like to refer. User kartch attempted to use the Mountain Meadow Massacre as an example of radicalized christian based terrorism and while doing so also attempted to deliver a one-sided view explaining why the above mentioned example should be sufficient to Mr. Walker’s challenge.

    Now for my rebuttal, I would like to invite kartch to closely research his/her words with a little more detail, and more importantly caution his/her from labeling an entire religion, and people based off his/her sketchy, blotted, and fragmented information. I won’t bother with providing links or other further historical analysis to prove the intent of my post, that kartch fails in his/her attempt to answer Mr. Walker’s challenge with the tragedy that did in fact happen at Mountain Meadow. Again, I would like to emphasize one of my earlier comments, that I will base my opinions based off of fact, I do not want this to come across as an emotional tirade but I had to defend my religion from kartch’s possible onslaught. My apologies to Mr. Walker, I will not be a future contributor of religious rhetoric, and despite any reply I may receive I will not use TCJ as a forum to discuss religion. I am purely providing a parry to the earlier mentioned post.

    Until next time… JH

  20. On January 23, 2010 at 7:55 am, JH said:

    My utmost apologies, lol… I was thinking of an entirely different Herschel when I kept referring to Mr. SMITH as Mr. Walker. Football fans may understand the confusion. Anyways, once again sorry for my lack of proof reading, that won’t happen again!

  21. On January 23, 2010 at 8:02 am, JH said:

    Wow… Apologies for not sourcing the correct author in my previous post on this topic. Football fans may understand the confusion. I will never again make the mistake of referring to Mr. Herschel Smith as Mr. Herschel Walker, very poor proof reading on my part, won’t happen again…

  22. On January 24, 2010 at 5:02 am, Aristekrat said:

    I think it would certainly be fair to name any abortion bombing or killing as Christian terrorism. Admittedly, that is not near the problem that exists in Islam, but I disagree that is because Christianity is inherently peaceful and Islam is violent. At one time Christianity was not at all peaceful; surprisingly no one has mentioned the reformation and the wars of religion that lasted an extraordinarily long time, tore Europe apart, and were monstrously violent. That violence ultimately exhausted Europe and led to the Peace of Westphalia, the first harbinger of secularism. As secularism (and nationalism) ascended so religious violence in Europe dropped. Are you comfortable with the idea that the greater prevalence of religious violence in Islam might not be due to Islam being a more violent religion but because western civilization has embraced the (now) leftist doctrine of secularism and Islamic countries have not?

    Further, it should be noted that the following argument is very similar to what contemporary muslims say about those who do reprehensible things in their religion’s name: “As for Mary, the premise of her whole campaign of killing was power. Again for people who are too slow to catch on to this. Many Christians may be involved (for a season) in any number of untoward things, even with other people. The question is not whether some Christians are hypocritical. The question is not whether some Christians do bad things.”

  23. On January 24, 2010 at 11:42 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    Post updated with:



  24. On January 25, 2010 at 2:11 pm, BruceR said:

    Herschel, if you’re going to exclude not only all those who do not assiduously follow the tenets of their own faith (including prohibitions against murder and suicide), but also all those who may have met their own days’ standards for religiosity but fail your own standards today, well, you rule out just about everybody, in any religion or philosophy. Which yes, means that you’d be right, that there has never been a Christian terrorist. Or a Muslim one.

    In the case you cite, which is well outside your timeframe, I grant, you exclude Bloody Mary because the 284 people she had executed specifically to preserve what she saw as the Christian faith in England and save all the other English from hellfire, cannot be counted as a Christian precisely because in your eyes, today, executing those condemned heretics seems sinful. I do not shrink from condemning her acts here, either. But surely you can see there can be no act in the name of God, any God, which could meet as high a standard as you’ve set here.

    I could as easily say, “find me the Muslim as moderate about his faith as you are about yours who will not condemn Maj. Hasan’s acts as sinful.” Because if their moderates in their minds do not enfold Maj. Hasan in the ranks of the faithful, which I do not believe they do, the same way a moderate Christian will generally shun a Bloody Mary, then neither sinner counts in the measure against their faith.

    To which you could undoubtedly rejoin, well, those moderates cannot be representative of all Muslims, which they certainly are not. To which I would necessarily have to say, neither are you representative of all Christians. And this Christian, whose vote in the congregation is presumably the equal of your own, thinks Srebrenica and Sabra/Shatila are two perfectly good recent examples of what self-professed Christians can do with the tolerance of, if not in the name of, their faith, when they think they are the ones who have the whip hand of history. Our hands are not clean. Cleaner than most, maybe. But hardly snow-white.

  25. On January 28, 2010 at 11:03 am, Warbucks said:

    The current spiritual evolutionary change underway globally does not seem to change the definition of at least two core values of a Christian. i.e. “to love your brother” and “to do unto others.” But the rest of our baggage appears to all be up for discussion: Are you and I gods under construction that are in various stages of perfection? Is God everywhere, are we of that essence too? Can the divinity of Christ be attained by each of us? What is reality?

    What appears to be happening is a true scholarship of understanding emerging among Christian churches in general as to the shared essentials of their respective Christian faith. Essentials apparently need to have some important criteria: can we freely accept them without violating our believing systems? Does accepting them serve an important recognized function among us?

    In large part this “emergence” is being facilitated by the internet. In addition, there exist efforts to recognize essential common beliefs bridging perceived religious differences among Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. The process can only be described as a perceivable trend but still lost in the fog of wars among us. There are Islamic scholars that curse (admonish) Islamic youth to go back and study Islam before the Prophet Mohammad. This of course implies an effort at Islamic Reformation, something you speak out on as a Muslim at risk of pain of death.

    As to Christians in general, we seem to be stripping away the non-essentials of our Christian faiths that divide us, and working, often outside and around the clergy, to mold a new tolerance for each other as to what we can agree upon. Again this is mostly an internet, media based push coming from many forums.

    In addition there is a huge spiritual change agent, I believe, which is occurring in the US, through western medicine.

    Modern western medicine may be filling a larger role of spiritual pathfinder better than the churches as it relates to the Godhead experience and its implications on the Axial-ecumenical, spiritual change of western society.

    Modern medicine, it appears may be the single largest unaligned, nondenominational amalgamator and change-agent to the ethical and spiritual predispositions over millions of its members, by purposeful non-controversial design.

    Large medical organizations such as Kaiser Permanente, and John Hopkins Cancer Center, as well as higher profile “new cancer centers” with specific focus, for example, through the guidance of their scientifically focused staff of now fully integrated culturally diverse doctors, are filling the entire spectrum of “what works” on healing the human body, based on the evidence of results.

    Cultural diversity among the Medical Doctors and Staff has brought and is forming “spiritual diversity” and slowly (as it must be) recognizing and integrating spiritual components to healing; often such new spiritual healing components are buried under scientific names so as not to cause emotional discomfort to anyone, in or out of medicine. These organizations also supplant medical treatments with self-help meditation cd’s incorporating every advanced inward focusing imaging and spiritual affirmation technique discovered by the ancients throughout the Axial Age of human development (800 – 200 b.c.e) and pre-Axial ancients. Relaxation, meditation, contemplation, techniques geared to awaken the individual from general health maintenance to end of life settlements are included without the patient asking as “additional things to consider doing to reduce anxieties and prepare for operations.”

    Much of what is taught on these supplemental aids offered by modern medical organizations in the spiritual realms are techniques a little non-profit I currently manage, are gently guiding you to learn at your own pace as a healer participating through Miracle Prayer Chains.

    The most advanced of these techniques which we do not teach but are accessible through various clinics and retreats throughout the US and other countries, is nothing short of a clinically controlled shamanic experience of a lasting reduction of the high level anxiety brought on by incurable cancer diagnosis, conducted through John Hopkins Cancer Center and other centers as well.

    When the dying person is brought to a so-called “Godhead Experience,” through a 5-meo-dmt induced altered state, they return changed and accepting, relaxed and anxiety free or with vastly reduced anxiety levels which last several weeks or months and which ironically also improves the patient’s likelihood of healing – even as their soul may be withdrawing from this physical world. The potentialities harbored in these proven successful medical practices unaligned with any designated religion as they currently remain, are enormous and under the radar of religious based bombastic-distracters. They are enlightening thousands of influentials who carry their enlightenments back into daily living, their churches, friends, and families. It’s one thing to read death loses its “sting,” but it’s entirely another thing to experience the meaning of the scripture first hand through an awakened personal experience. What makes the western medicine so powerful as a change-agent is a combination of the impact size (everyone) combined with no need to push dogma other than your good health.

    Peace and Conflict Resolution.Org (http://www.peaceandconflictresolution.org) believes that the personal revelation process we found through the A-B-C-Personal Revelation and Internet Confirmation process was a gift of discovery intended for the world as a means for each of us to validate for ourselves that reality is a system of consciousness and we are more than our physical selves.

    Definitions may last for thousands of years but they often, slowly, eventually morph as our collective agreement settles to a new center of understanding.

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You are currently reading "Radicalized Christian Terrorism", entry #4415 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Religion,Religion and Insurgency and was published January 20th, 2010 by Herschel Smith.

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