Jacoby on terrorists

Susan Jacoby spoke on religion and politics near me recently. The video isn’t exactly vira]l, but she makes some great points about how we speak about religious violence at around the 35 minute mark. She points out that if we call Malala a Muslim, should we worry about offending ISIS? Obviously not, in both cases, they claim the badge of Muslim, so there is no reason for anyone else not to use it. In all cases, when someone claims a religious motivation, they are claiming a version of it. Trying to sort out if they are right is a side conversation.
The reason we don’t often hear the term “Christian terrorist” when one bombs an abortion clinic is that the person is arrested and sent to jail. They are simply criminals. We can dismiss the individual’s religious reasons. But when religion is part of an organizations rhetoric and even their self-identified title, we shouldn’t dismiss it. And liberals are not excluded. She points out that Jim Wallis has accused politicians of having “bad theology”. But who is he to critique a secular leader with no religious requirement on the quality of their Biblical interpretations as they relate to public policy?

According to some state constitutions, there is, still, a religious requirement for elected officials. It is also abundantly clear that professing religious belief in some way, has helped many, (probably most of), our elected officials get elected. So I think that their stated religious beliefs and how those match up with their political statements and actions in office, are fair game for criticism.
I think that the more an individual professes or takes on a religious identification, the more important it is to use that label in critiquing their public actions.