Terrorism is a global problem. It is everywhere – from east to west, from north to south. But despite being a global problem, the tag of terrorism is always put on a particular religious community alone. Unfortunately, the word terror has become synonymous with Islam. So, does Islam alone produce terrorists? The answer is, No.
There are terrorists in every religion, even Christianity. These six designated Christian terror groups notorious for acts of violence some of which mirror the atrocities committed by the Islamic State.
1. The National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) and allies – India.
India’s northeast is plagued by many insurgent groups having a large number of Christian members in their ranks. NLFT is one such group.
Its prime objective is the establishment of a Christian state in Tripura, and its subsequent secession from India. The terrorist group has been active in the state since 1989 and has carried out a number of killings. The Bagber refugee camp massacre of May 20, 2000 is one such incident.
2. The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) – Uganda.
Founded by Joseph Kony, officially the world’s most wanted man, the LRA was active in Uganda from 1987 to 2006. Since then, they have shifted base to Congo, CAR and South Sudan.
The group intends to establish a fundamentalist Christian state in its area of operations. Kony and members of the group have been found guilty of committing the same crimes the barbaric Islamic State is accused of – mass murder, child sex trafficking, employing child soldiers and rapes.
3. Concerned Christians – US.
Formed in the 1980s in Colorado by Monte “Kim” Miller, the group earned its moment of notoriety when around 14 of its members were arrested in Israel in 1999. The Israeli authorities said that the group was planning to destroy the historic al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, which has been a target of many anti-Muslim Christian groups or individuals.
4. Phineas Priesthood – US.
An unorganized sect comprising of lone wolfs committing acts of terrorism in accordance with the ideology set forth by the 1990 book, Vigilantes of Christendom: The Story of the Phineas Priesthood, by Richard Kelly Hoskins.
On November 28, 2014, a 49-year-old man named Larry McQuilliams fired more than 100 rounds at a federal courthouse, a Mexican consulate building, and police station in Austin, Texas, before he was gunned down. It was discovered that he was a follower of this group.
5. Eastern Lightning, a.k.a. the Church of the Almighty God – China.
A Chinese Christian terrorist group, the Eastern Lightning believes in the doomsday prophesy and holds that Christ will be reborn as a Chinese woman. The group has been involved in a number of incidents involving arson and murder.
A public outcry ensued when the group’s members killed a woman at a McDonald’s restaurant in China because she refused to give them her phone number. Though the main perpetrators were executed, the group is spreading its wings in Hong Kong.
6. The Army of God – US.
An American anti-abortionist group that has been designated as a terrorist organization for its violent attacks abortion clinics, doctors and medical providers.
Notorious members included Paul Jennings Hill (executed by lethal injection in 2003 for double homicide), John C. Salvi, and Eric Rudolph, who is serving life in prison for his role in the Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta in 1996. Of course, they are anti-gay.
But there is one group that sowed the seed of hate in Christianity. It was the Ku Klux Klan. Unabashedly extremist in nature, Klan members committed an incalculable number of crimes, including rape and cross-burning. Their targets were Blacks, Jews, Catholics and anyone who was a minority in post-Civil War America. Such was the terror of the Klan that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote a story, ‘Five Orange Pips’, pitting them against the genius of Sherlock Holmes.