Christianity,  News

Frank Schaeffer Blames Norway Massacre on Evangelicals

Frank Schaeffer blames the tragedy in Norway on conservative evangelicals and warns that evangelicals will be perpetrating similar attacks in the U.S. in days to come. He writes:

In my new book “Sex, Mom and God” I predicted just such an action. I predicted that right wing Christians will unleash terror here in America too. I predict that they will copy Islamic extremists, and may eventually even make common cause with them…

The rise of the “Tea Party,” the refusal by far right Republicans to authorize a the debt ceiling extension, the extremist anti-government words of people like Michele Bachmann, all these things are predictors of the violent Christian, white, “all-American” extremism to come. Norway is just a first taste of what will happen here on a larger scale.

Wrong tone, wrong time, wrong analysis. Wrong everything.

(HT: David Koyzis)

Proverbs 15:1-5

1 A gentle answer turns away wrath,
But a harsh word stirs up anger.
2 The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable,
But the mouth of fools spouts folly.
3 The eyes of the LORD are in every place,
Watching the evil and the good.
4 A soothing tongue is a tree of life,
But perversion in it crushes the spirit.
5 A fool rejects his father’s discipline,
But he who regards reproof is sensible.


  • Roger Wolsey

    perhaps. maybe even probably. though he could be right and if so, it’d be wrong to dismiss it. that said, he could be projecting his (our) own fears and monstrosity … and/or setting up a self-fulfilling prophecy. i’m just sad.

  • Kelley Kimble

    For the past several years my goal has been to let my politics be a reflection of my faith, rather than crafting my faith around my politics. Francis Schaeffer’s book “How Shall We Then Live?” was so helpful to me in those early days after I became a Christian and came out of the pit of the life I had left to follow Christ. I do not recall even a hint of a suggestion that Christians should take violent action. Frankie is way off base, always looking for another way to insult his parents’ memory and plug his books.

  • Christianes

    I’m not sure about your title, Denny.

    “Evangelicals” are not all ‘right-wing Christians’ or ‘fundamentalists’, or ‘extremists’, although sadly its the extremists lately who have been receiving the most attention (but that’s another post, isn’t it?).

    Can you clarify the reason why you accuse this man of slamming all ‘evangelicals’ ?

    I just don’t see that he did that.

  • Tim Webb

    Dr. Burk,

    I hope that everyone will read the link to the article that Mr. Schaeffer wrote. Some of what he writes in the post is over the top, but much of it has more than a ring of truth. Like it or not, many evangelicals embrace an ethic that says America is a Christian nation, the Constitution is nearly God-given, as is capitalism, and militarism. And regarding the latter to the point of almost a ‘cult of the soldier — how many of you visited churches on July 4th that thanked those who have served in the military for serving “our country”? I thought our country as Christians is the heavenly Jerusalem!

  • Christianes

    We will learn the nature of the web site of the Swedish terrorist soon enough . . . as to the extent that the Swedish government chooses to share about it, we will find out.

    Perhaps its better to withhold judgement until we know more about the terrorist and his connections, if any, and his motivation in targeting a group of youth whose camp was a place to discuss labor politics.

    Currently, our labor class in this country is being massively targeted in some of our states by right-wing governors who seem to be using the same template, but the the targeting is not violent, only political.
    And currently the people targeted are taking ‘recall’ actions in some of those states.
    But all of this is permitted under our laws and in accordance with our system of government.

    What happened in Sweden, we just don’t know about in detail yet, so we cannot ‘assume’ yet that the philosophy of the terrorist is connected in any way to the political right in our own country.

    We shall soon know more. We all should be concerned for what has happened and for the reasons that it has happened, when violence like this unfolds.

  • yankeegospelgirl

    I’m tearing my hair out. I just knew this was coming. So the first time in years that we actually DO have a so-called “right-wing” terrorist, the lefties are all over it saying, “See? See? There really isn’t any reason to be especially concerned about Islam.” Grrrrr.

  • Tim Bertolet

    Tim Webb,

    It is unfortunate that there is sometimes a strange wedding of politics and religion in America. Some of it does go too far and makes too many spiritual applications to the glory of America. But there is so much rhetoric in Schaeffer’s essay that there really is no grain to pull out of from the chaff.

    While Schaeffer takes on more than the ‘religious right’ the argument of the whole essay reminds me of the words of D.G. Hart, who is himself a critique of the religious right:

    [T]he Religious Right is simply in continuity with a swath of American Protestantism that many religious historians regard not as extremist but as mainstream, tolerant, and respectable. Granted, the Religious Right had the bad timing to show up after many Protestants had capitulated to some sort of secular America, and they did not always show an awareness of how America had changed not just religiously but demographically after the 1960s. (This was actually the point of the Religious Right’s complaints – they didn’t like what the nation was becoming. Since when is complaining so scary or unAmerican?) But to portray people who differ little from previous generations of Americans as those who nurture terrorist ideas and actions is to show a real ignorance of the field in which you are supposed to be an expert.

    This may be an odd point coming from a writer who regularly chastises the Religious Right. I have not changed my assessment of evangelical politics. I think it is flawed theologically and politically. But I sleep relatively well each night, despite my criticisms, because I know born-again Protestants, however mad they may be at me, believe in an important piece of Moses’ law – namely, the sixth (as Protestants count them) commandment.

    (Emphasis mine)

  • Jared Moore

    Denny, how can I hope for the salvation of my children if this man is the son of Francis Schaeffer? Can I not force them to believe? I unfortunately know the answer; but, “Oh God, save them: Caden and Ava!”

  • Matthew

    Maybe it’s just me but it seems like every time Franky Schaeffer’s name pops up with a sexy soundbite towing the liberal party line, he’s got a new book to promote. Maybe it’s just me.

  • David

    I suppose Frank Schaeffer will next be claiming that he was as important a figure in Norwegian nationalism as he was in the US “Religious Right”.

    Come to think of it, maybe he was.

  • Paul


    Any time someone STARTS an essay out with “In my new book…” you know that you can completely discount the message, because the message is only there to drive book sales. It doesn’t explain away the “too soon-ness” of the message, but it should certainly lessen its sting.

    YGG – the thing is, those Islamic extremists? They’re right wingers too. If by right wing, you mean Christian and/or conservative, you’d certainly have to come to grips with Tim McVeigh, for sure. Crazy people come in all stripes. Unfortunately, sometimes, they know how to make bombs that work.

  • yankeegospelgirl

    Paul, Tim McVeigh is just one case. He is not representative of the majority of Christian conservatism. How many Christian conservatives can you find out there who revere McVeigh as a hero of the faith?

    Compare with the *mass movement* that is global jihad, and the Islamic view of suicide bombers as “martyrs” for a “holy cause” they all share.

  • Paul

    Ryan and YGG – he was indeed however, clearly a conservative one. You missed the and/or that I threw in there. I know that McVeigh wasn’t a Christian, but, he was, once again, quite conservative in his views.

    And if you throw in all of the “militias” that have formed through the years, people insane enough to think it’s good to bring firearms to places where THE PRESIDENT is speaking, conservatives that think it’s holy to kill abortion doctors, etc, etc, etc, it most certainly is something on the level of a fraction of the people that are jihadists, or support them. But to say that there’s not a sociopathically nutty right wing fringe out there I think stops a smidge short of the truth.

  • yankeegospelgirl

    Even granting the existence of a loony fringe, it’s sheer idiocy to imply, as Frankie is, that Oslo is “only the beginning” of a vast conspiracy to slaughter innocent Americans and take over the country, or whatever wacky thing he’s trying to cook up.

  • Paul

    read the whole of my statement. I don’t disagree. We can not disagree every once in a while, Ms. YGG. Believe it or not. Shocking, I know.

  • Carbon Dioxide

    Remember when Mayor Bloomberg attributed the Times Square bombing to a conservative upset with the nationalizing of health care? Obama, the Democrats, and media proclaimed Republicans were responsible for the Arizona shootings. Some Republicans also agreed with them that political speech needed to be curtailed. Well the bomber turned out to be acting on Islam, and in the latter the courts have been working to determine the mental competence/sanity of the Arizona shooter. The Sheaffer article reads like a higher caliber of misdirection and lying than that of the mayor. His shock that someone would disagree with hard left positions could not be sincere. His criticism of and confusing born-again evangelicals witi Islamic terror cells would is comical unless it is a precursor to further Christian persecution, as if there is not enough of that. He shows little courage-Christians are safe targets. I think history shows that political ideologies and governments harness such groundless criticism to fuel religious persecution.

  • Scott Buchanan

    When someone attempts to link a Princeton academic with a disaffected mass murderer under the rather nebulous concept of anti-government activity, you know that he’s not really interested in sober, unprejudiced analysis.

  • Darius

    The one who actually predicted this was Mark Steyn. The reason he gave, which appears to be the “reasoning” of this madman, was the multicultural absurdity of Europe in embracing a moral relativism where everyone is right and no one is wrong (except Christians). Steyn said in his book that if Europe didn’t properly address the Islam issue, there would be bloodshed. This attack is just the tip of the iceberg. Not only are extremist politicians getting voted into power all over the continent, many unhelpful laws are also being enacted to fight the spread of radical Islam. What Europeans don’t realize is that it is spreading because Europe has no moral compass or cultural certitude anymore and people need that, even if it is in the form of Islam.

  • Derek

    I’d be rich if I had a dime for every time I’ve heard that Timothy McVeigh was a right wing Christian.

    It isn’t true.

    And Paul is also wrong, he wasn’t even a conservative – he was an anarchist, not all that different from the hard left, anarchist Unabomber. McVeigh appears to have been driven by personal animus more than by an ideological agenda, similar to the suicidal pilot Andrew Stack, who was clearly left leaning, but had an axe to grind against the IRS.

  • Derek

    I forgot to mention Jared Lee Loughner, who many people on the left assumed to be a right winger on the basis that he targeted a Democratic politician. The left became very silent when his high school classmates started talking about his left wing rants and after The Communist Manifesto was discovered to be one of his favorite books.

  • Paul

    Derek –

    Anarchy is libertarianism taken to its logical conclusion.

    And I didn’t mention Jared Loughner for the very reason you mention.

  • Laura

    A response to the original post, not the string of responses…Yes, Frank Schaeffer is clearly off base in his assessment. It was hard to get through his long diatribe. Yet, I see a seed of legitimacy. Increasingly, I see that evangelicalism is a fear based, even paranoid, culture. Too many seem fearful and paranoid that our rights are being taken away, that America isn’t Christian enough anymore, etc. True, our country is in decline morally and the slide to secularism has happened faster than anyone imagined…BUT that doesn’t mean Christians should be so fearful and paranoid! The Bible repeatedly commands us to not be afraid. And suffering and hardship is the NORM for Christians. We are promised tribulation in this world. So, to get back to the original point…I think that all this fear and paranoia can indeed breed wackos who do crazy things. Lets work on not being so fearful.

  • David

    Laura, it is difficult to take seriously any critique of evangelicalism as obsessive and fear based when it willing to bracket everyone to the right of John Kerry as “far right” and in some sort of conspiracy with Timothy McVeigh.

  • Paul

    Actually, David, it’s pretty easy to see the wisdom of exactly that criticism. Look at most mainstream evangelicals, and they’re afraid that 3% of the population wanting to have property and household rights will destroy the other 97% of the country. Many of those evangelicals (certainly not all, by any stretch of the imagination) have somehow managed to work jingoism into our tenets of faith. See the similar ways in which plenty of evangelicals treat any number of subjects, and it’s easy to stick that obsessive and fear bumper sticker on the back of that Buick. It might not be fair, and it certainly doesn’t apply to every evangelical Christian in the US, but it’s definitely visible.

    As for the “anybody to the right of John Kerry is far right” comment, I actually see that as fairly offensive. Because maybe that’s the case to the non-Christian world. But inside of it, if you’re anywhere to the left of Jerry Falwell, you’re a liberal heretic who gets shouted down, and your faith gets called into question.

    In other words, please drop the stones while you’re in the glass house.

  • Derek

    No… anarchists are not the same as libertarians. Libertarians believe that one of the proper and necessary functions of government is to protect its citizens and property. Anarchists on the other hand, believe in violating property and believe that violence is often necessary in order to create the destabilization they seek to inflict upon fellow citizens. For this reason, terrorism is the natural conclusion to the anarchist – not to the libertarian.

  • Paul

    Derek, you just explained why libertarianism is actually a pipe dream:

    On the one hand, you say that libertarians believe that a function of government is to protect it’s citizens.

    On the other hand, libertarians believe that “government should be small enough to drown in the bathtub.” Kill off your government and you’re left with anarchy. Because anarchy doesn’t necessarily mean unrest – it means a lack of leadership. If someone could go back and ask Ayn Rand about her thoughts on how objectivism jibes with an anarchist state, she’d probably love the idea.

  • Nate

    “Look at most mainstream evangelicals, and they’re afraid that 3% of the population wanting to have property and household rights will destroy the other 97% of the country.”

    First Paul, those 3% don’t simply want property and household rights. They want to indoctrinate the 97% into their philosophy. They want an entire nation radically changed and their behavior legitimized beyone dispute. Furthermore, when a sizeable number of judges agree with those 3% they become a force to contend with. Hence the public school systems teaching the 3% philosophy to elementary students, California dictating to their elementary students the 3% philosophy, etc.

    The 97% are worried for a legtimate reason because its not 97% anymore as the propaganda machine of the 3% has convinced a much more sizeable number that their cause is rooted in human rights and not in personal pleasures.

  • Darius

    Spot on, Nate. Though I would say 97% of Americans aren’t worried about tyranny (probably more like 55% and the rest benefit from tyranny), but I recognize that you were merely using Paul’s numbers.

  • Darius

    True, but about half of the population benefits more from it than is hurt by it. And really, everyone is hurt by it in one way or another (besides some politicians). Tyranny is never good.

  • Derek

    Once again, you’re making straw men. You lack credibility on this topic simply because you either don’t understand what you’re talking about or want to make up your own definition of what a libertarian is. Libertarians do not believe in NO government. They believe in a certain TYPE of government.

  • Stephanie

    This, from a lengthy comment by JARED MOORE; “But to portray people who differ little from previous generations of Americans as those who nurture terrorist ideas and actions is to show a real ignorance of the field in which you are supposed to be an expert.”

    But the right wing whack jobs are NOT the same as their predecessors. They have had this false ‘patriotism’ shoved down their throats, until they think they can rewrite the constitution and declaration of independence. Add to that the gun toting philosophy of these same radical groups, and the fact that they think that the USA, WAS founded AS a christian nation and the constitution was a direct result of some prayer meeting. Even though this is all untrue and the founding fathers were as godless as the godless liberals, they think otherwise. Ergo, they are not the same, these republiCANTS, have been fanning the flames of hate and anger for 4 decades now. These evangelicals, are simply NOT the same as their predecessors. If they could have their way, I think many would opt for the crusades in the holy land again and for crusades right here in the USA.

  • Stephanie

    Anything for the common good is not TYRANNY. Anything that proposes to take from the common, or to subjugate the common, is Tyranny. Taking from the common, to give to the imperialist, is Tyranny

    What many ‘unknowing’ folks think is ‘bad’ or ‘tyranny’ is based o.n LIES they are told, and LIES they believe. They them selves then tell lies, ie; Obama is going to take all our guns, Obama is going to raise our taxes when he in act lowered them. Or the really big whopper of a lie, Obama care is going to take away our health care, or our choices for health care. .

  • Paul


    your lack of understanding of the party you’re aligning yourself with is laughable. You’re talking about a party that has been on record as saying that they’d sell off the National Park System to the Sierra Club so that they wouldn’t have to deal with it.

    Their certain type of government would be so small and so weak as to not exist (see how we did under the articles of confederation for proof). There’s no way that the constitution as it stands with all of the current amendments could reasonably stand under a libertarian government that got all of its wishes.

    Not to mention, we’ve seen what happens in corporate America when we scale back regulation. We want more of that? According to the tea party we do, but considering that most of those folks don’t believe in education, you can’t really trust their history.

  • Derek

    I never said I was a libertarian. You have a real bad habit of jumping to conclusions. Ron Paul wouldn’t get my vote unless he was running against Obama or a left wing idealogue.

    The fact of the matter is, libertarians are NOT the same as anarchists – not in fact, not in principle and not even philosophically. Someone needed to call you out on this ridiculous assertion so that less knowledgeable people don’t accept them as factual.

  • Paul


    of course it’s not a straight up vis a vis comparison, and if you notice, no one else is jumping in here to “call me out” as it were. Probably because they get it when someone’s making a comparison to prove a point. And sometimes, I guess some people (hi Derek) just don’t.

    The fact of the matter really, is that libertarians would be just as dangerous for the country as anarchists would.

  • JohnnyM


    I am calling you out. Your view of Libertarians is grossly misinformed. They are fiscally conservative and socially liberal. They are for small government and smoking pot 🙂

    I am not a libertarian, simply because I dont agree with their social philosophy, but they are nowhere near anarchists.

    Not to go off course, but the problems we have faced over these past few years, is not one of too little government regulation, but of too much (Bush included). I would recommend the book “Free to Choose” by Milton Friedman to see how regulation and government involvement via agencies like the FDA, Dept of Energy, Dept of Education, etc actually do more harm than good.

  • Darius

    They are for small government and smoking pot

    JohnnyM, maybe you were just joking, but that’s not really fair. Libertarians, at least of the Christian variety, aren’t in favor of smoking pot, they just don’t want the government telling people what to put in their bodies. Otherwise, you’re correct, Paul doesn’t have a clue about libertarianism (or much of anything besides jazz, for that matter).

  • Darius

    Yeah, I thought it might be, but it’s also a common misconception of the libertarian movement. Wanting something to be legalized doesn’t necessarily equal condoning that behavior.

  • Paul


    Were you a card carrying member of the libertarian party? No? Good, because I was. I know more about those folks than you could ever hope to know, even though I tend to think that you view Ayn Rand’s writings the way that 45 year guys that live in their mom’s basement view questionable websites. It is CLEAR that Jesus Christ is not your god and that “conservative” ideology is.

    And the thing is, because I spent 3 years paying dues to those people, I realized how full of hot air they are. That while they talk about fiscal conservatism, their version of it is completely unsustainable. You cannot have a responsible country without economic and environmental safeguards, yet the call for the effective repeal of both. You cannot have a responsible country without a safety net, yet they call on the free market to provide that safety net, which, of course, it is not in their best interest to do. Plenty in their quarters call for the abolition of the public school system. Which might work nicely in the posh area that Darius lives, but will guarantee decades of illiteracy in impoverished neighborhoods where profits cannot be realized. There’s a reason why libertarianism resonates with potheads and people with behavior disorders, and it’s that it’s a half baked ideology. I was a pothead when I was a libertarian. What’s your excuse Darius?

    Basically, in a nutshell, libertarianism can only work if everyone is vying to be the nicest guy on the planet. But, now, look at its proponents. People who think Jim Crow should have been a states right issue. People who think that all rich people earned their riches and all poor people earned their just desserts (I know libertarians that think like this). There’s not a nice one in the bunch. Libertarianism, especially of the fiscal variety, will destroy America. Which would probably help bring about the end times, which might be the goal for some. At which point, ingenious thinking, guys!

  • Brian


    I’m not a libertarian. and I think civil rights was brought into federal law more than it needed to be. It isn’t that the federal government had no role in civil rights, enforcing things like the right of blacks to vote without intimidation was absolutely necessary and proper. But African Americans make up a big proportion of the population of Southern states. 38% of Mississippi is black. Shortly after the Voting Rights Act of ’65, Jimmy Carter was elected governor of Georgia in ’70, winning with a 19% margin. He went on to declare that the era of segregation int the South was over. Today, Barack Obama only got into office with black and hispanic support. There were and still are serious Constitutional issues with federal involvement that I can’t dismiss as frivolous; even though I support civil rights legislation in principle.

    My biggest disagreement with libertarians is that I think in their attempts to come to some ideological symmetry within current political debates they lose sight of the real nature of issues. In some cases they come to positions that I think are anti-libertarian, because they don’t understand the legal implications of what they’re proposing.

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