2017-03-06 12:59:46 UTC
Nearly 80 percent of Christians dont think a terrorist acting in the name of
Christianity is Christian. But more than half say terrorists acting in the name
of Islam are Muslims.
Shortly after September 11, 2001, then President George W. Bush spoke directly
to Muslims. We respect your faith, he said, calling it good and peaceful.
Terrorists, he added, are traitors to their own faith, trying, in effect, to
hijack Islam itself.
Recently, TODAYs Matt Lauer reminded Bush of his words. I understood right off
the bat, Matt, that this was an ideological conflictthat people who murder the
innocent are not religious people, Bush explained.
Those words epitomize an important, but controversial question: is someone who
acts violently in the name of a faith truly a member of that faith? According to
recently highlighted data from the Public Religion Research Institute
(PRRI)which focuses primarily on Christian responses to that yes/no
questionpotential answers may result in a double standard. Christians are
more likely to say that other Christians acting violently are not true
Christians, while failing to provide the same latitude for Muslims.