TOM THE DANCING BUG: Meet ISIS's Newest Recruits

No of course you aren’t. You just agree with them on some points – as do the objects of the original post (different points of course!) But you see the point – this is Godwin’s law all over again.

As a Christian, it is a great relief to hear you say it, bibliophile20.

Oh, don’t get me wrong: In a free association test, “Christian” still comes up with the association of “murderous, hypocritical bigot” with a further association of “waiting for an excuse for a pogrom”, but that’s cultural history and personal experiences for you.

I’ve been stalked by Christian missionaries who believe that converting a Jew is guaranteed admission into heaven for them.

I’ve had Christians come up to me in public and ask where my horns and tail are.

I’ve had Christians tell me to shut up about antisemitism, and that I’m so privileged these days because we’re not being massacred in gas chambers anymore and that I should just shut up and be quiet already, Christkiller.

Heck, more days than not, I get Christian Neo-Nazis in my inbox threatening to murder me, in exquisite detail, and using misquotes and prooftexting of the Christian bible to justify it. (This morning’s threats lacked imagination, so I had to give him only a 1/10, especially since it was mostly C&P’d from Stormfront, and I’d seen it before).

I run a Jewish experiences blog on Tumblr, and I have to manage a Block List of antisemites for the rest of the community to use to keep themselves safe from bigots–the majority of whom are Christians.

And don’t get me started on Messianics, or we’ll be here all day.

I’ve just met a minority of people that actually live the words that the Christian zombie god gave them–to do good works, to care for the poor, to be kind, to work towards a better world–enough to know that the minority are not singular aberrations. These days, I’m working on shifting that association into splitting into two classifications: True Christians and Loud Christians™.

But, getting back to the original point:

Yes, “Christian”, to me, is synonymous with hate, bigotry, authoritarianism, mass murder, oppression, hypocrisy, wannabe martyrdom, persecution complexes, and abdication of personal responsibility and moral agency.

And while I can say #NotAllChristians fall under that, I’ve also noticed that the individuals who it applies to almost never announce that they are Christian, but instead work to make a better world and let their actions speak for them.


I see what you did there :wink:

The tricky question, of course, is how you work out the shape of “true Christianity”. It’s easy to pick a version that seems nicer, or that conforms to a preconceived notion of what true Christianity should mean. But I’ve also noticed that these preconceived notions tend to be generic and could equally apply to “true Hindu” or “true Muslim”.
I don’t say this because I want to endorse any of the negative things you talk about here (!!), but because it is worth asking how we assess the true version of this (or any) faith.

For Real Christians vs. Loud Christians™, I use their own book in the sorting:

Matthew 25: 36-46
35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ 45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

I consider that to be a pretty decent sorting mechanism for determining the difference between the two categories of “Christian”, speaking as my perspective as an outsider to your religion.

(My criteria for determining “Who Is A Jew?” is even simpler: Would the Nazis throw you into the gas chambers with my great-grandparents? If yes, welcome to the family.)

Not my intent; I’ve given variants on this spiel before, and that’s always been my response–that the more someone insists, loudly and publicly, that they are Christian, the less likely it is that their deeds follow that statement. It’s more targeted at the Conspicuous Piety Christians–the people busy screaming about keeping the Syrian refugees out of the US while simultaneously building nativity scenes featuring a Middle Eastern couple that were denied shelter. for a current events example.


:+1: :+1:

A very good to quote, and a continual challenge. I am grateful (and troubled by) Christians who do a much better job of living it out.
Yet there’s also a danger in relying on just passage, though. The same Gospel has Jesus telling his disciples that he has been crowned king of the Universe and that they should be telling everyone about it (Matthew 28:18-20) – which might complicate your idea that true Christians should be only doers and not talkers.

Your call, but are you sure those are the guys you want defining you?

You asked, and I quote:

And I answered. More nuance than in the judgement of that categorization is beyond my purview. I’m an outsider to your religion, and a member of a tradition that emphasizes the importance of deeds over that of faith in the judgement of a person’s quality. So, yes, I am totally judging the entire Christian community in how well they conform to a statement of standards that is pretty much identical to my own ethno-religion’s outlook (unsurprising, given the context). I don’t see this as hypocritical, as Christians are generally fairly comfortable in doing the exact same thing to me.

I will call anyone who shares my history, my culture, and my adversity as sibling and family. This is just shorthand for it.


I like this because it seems nicely inclusive, but did you really mean to imply that homosexuals, Roma, communists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, et al are honorary Jews?

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Roma, yes, as both of our groups were targeted for utter extermination in ways that the other groups were not, and, even today, the Roma are still persecuted in Europe without mercy. To this day, Jewish-Roma solidarity is a social factor in both of our communities, as, it is commented, “the Venn Diagram of antisemites and anti-romaniyites is a circle”. (And that’s not counting the individuals who are members of both communities).

However, keep in mind the context of that statement. Judaism, being an ethno-religion, with its own culture, has fairly stringent rules on “Who Is A Jew?” According to the strictest interpretations, Jewish identity is transmitted solely through the matrilineal line of descent. I, personally, have a different view, noting three axes of Jewish identity: Cultural, Ethnic, and Religious.

So long as someone has a legitimate claim on any of the three axes and (this is key) wishes to be considered as a Jew, I generally consider them to be Jewish (with the caveat of certain corner cases, and groups such as the Messianics).

As for the Nazis, anyone that was Culturally, Ethnically, or Religiously a Jew would have been in those gas chambers along with my great-grandparents (or worse; Mengele shot my great-grandmother to death in front of my grandmother for his personal amusement).

But, if and when someone comes to me that is a Patrilineal Jew, a person with a Jewish father but not a Jewish mother, but was raised as a Jew, and wishes to be considered as a Jew, even if the halakah says otherwise, as far as I’m concerned, they are a Jew.

Does that make sense?


Well, we had promised to protect Belgian neutrality. (And not through any great sense of altruism: it had been long-standing British, and before that English, foreign policy to disrupt continental powers seeking to strengthen their presence on the north-west European coast, going back at least as far as Elizabeth I’s support of the Dutch in their war of independence against Spain; I think Richard III took some time out from murdering the Princes in the Tower for an expedition in Brittany on similar grounds.)

Oh yes, it’s just the way you phrased it in the bit I quoted, it seemed like a great number of groups not normally considered Jewish would qualify. Interesting bit about the Roma. Is Jewish-Roma solidarity basically a European thing? Don’t seem to hear much about it in the U.S.

Yay for the making sense!

As for the solidarity, this is going to sound a bit blunt, but the reason you don’t hear about is because nobody is listening. Jews and Roma are the two great outcast groups, both of us being diasporic populations that kept getting tossed out of whatever lands we found temporary refuge in (although we may be witnessing the creation of a third such group in the form of the Syrian refugees; only time will tell there), and we only have each other for support.


I’m not certain that answers the question though. In the US, the Romani tend not to identify themselves as such, to non-Romani. Wouldn’t this interfere with Jewish-Romani solidarity in the US, or are they more willing to identify themselves to Jews than other Americans?

Typically, yes, Roma are more trusting of Jews over other outsiders, either in Europe or in the US, although I will note that this is from my end of the experience. I can’t speak for the Roma end. I can say, though, based on what I’ve been told by Roma, that when the Roma face persecution, on either continent, or online, the loudest voices of support from outside of their own community have been from Jews.

If you’re interested, I can recommend some Roma-run blogs, to give their perspective.


Sure, that would be cool. Thanks. (run by a Jewish-Romani woman)

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For no very good reason. There are always some British politicians who just want an excuse to go off and interfere with Johnny Foreigner, usually to distract attention from home problems. Thatcher, Blair, Cameron for a start.

Like I said, it was consistent with British/English foreign policy going back over 300 years: keep potential invaders off the opposite coast.

The point that all of the people shown in the comic agree with IS on is that we ought to be having a war between the west and radical Islam. Neo-conservativism and extremist islam have been feeding off each other for quite a while now. Movements exist on followers and money, and each is helping the other generate both. The connection isn’t fanciful. The CIA trained Osama bin Laden. IS is driving around in American Humvees. American interference in the middle east has created America’s middle eastern enemies, and fighting IS going to create another round.


Yes, I agree that some of the (proximate) strategic aims of Daesh and conservatives overlap. I would simply add that you can make similar connections for people on the other side of the political fence. If Reagan was partially responsible for Al Qaeda, and Bush(1&2) destabilised the region by toppling Hussein, well we should probably also recall that those on the left have also shown questionable judgment with support for the revolution in Iran, naive expectations about the Arab Spring, materiel support for the revolt against Assad, and so on.