Scarborough: Like Radical Islam, 'Ultrafundamentalist' Christianity Could Also Lead to Violence

February 16th, 2015 8:01 AM

Joe Scarborough says he doesn't want to be "torn to shreds online" for analogizing the threat of radical Christianity to that of radical Islam.  Simple solutionstop analogizing the threat of radical Christianity to that of radical Islam.

On today's Morning Joe, Scarborough twice suggested such parallels, analogizing radical Islamists to "ultrafundamentalist Christians who believe every single word of the Bible has to be interpreted in the exact ways which could also lead to some violence." A bit later, Scarborough circled back, saying "it doesn't matter what faith you're in," that a literal reading of scripture attracts the outcasts of society, for better or "for much worse."

Note: although Scarborough says "I'm not comparing religions here," that's exactly what he did, saying the literal interpretation of any scripture can attract outcasts "for better or much worse."  And earlier he expressly singled out Christianity, in its "ultrafundamentalist" form, as posing the threat of violence.

Note Deux: It's a shame that Scarborough muddled his message with his gratuitous slam of "ultrafundamentalist" Christianity.  His essential point was actually a good one. Commending an excellent article by Graeme Wood, Scarborough was arguing that in contrast to those like President Obama who claim that ISIS has nothing to do with Islam, in fact ISIS represents a very real branch of Islam.

The US ambassador to Denmark was also interviewed.  Rufus Gifford was the Finance Director of President Obama's 2012 campaign. Following the lead of the president who appointed him, Gifford, when asked by Mark Halperin who the enemy is, couldn't bring himself to mention Islam in any form.  Instead, he spoke only of the threat of "radicalization" and "extremism."  For good measure, the oh-so-diplomatic Gifford referred to the man who murdered two people in Copenhagen yesterday and injured others as the "gentleman."

In addition to being an Obama fundraiser, Gifford's ambassadorial credentials consist of having worked for Davis Entertainment, an independent film production company whose oeuvre includes such immortal works as Little Monsters and Aliens vs. Predator.  Come to think of it, perhaps that was some relevant experience.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: What your article, Graeme, pointed out was that Westerners, who say they're just getting petty thiefs and robbers and assaulters from across the planet don't understand and they will say, this isn't Islam, this is as far from Islam as possible. You say this actually is a stripped down and pure Islam as it gets. It's what, a very crude way to put it is this would be the ultrafundamentalist Christians who believe every single word of the Bible has to be interpreted in the exact ways which could also lead to some violence . . . I'm not comparing -- I am not comparing religions here so I don't want to be torn to shreds online today. But I will say to a lesser degree, it doesn't matter what faith you have, a more fundamentalist, a more stripped down, raw version, a more liberal [sic, presumably meant "literal"] reading of the scripture will be more likely to attract the broken, the disillusioned, the outcast of society. And again, sometimes for better, in this case for much worse. 

MARK HALPERIN: Mr. Ambassador, who's the enemy that the United States and Denmark is now fighting? How would you define them? 

RUFUS GIFFORD: Look, I mean, for me, this is -- I'm from Boston, guys. I mean, we saw this similar situation come up in Boston. This is the gentleman -- and we're learning more and more from -- on a day-to-day basis but this someone who is a Dane, born and bread in Denmark, similar to what I think, what we saw in Boston. Of course, you don't want to make comparisons right now but the enemy, it's not to oversimplify it. The the enemy is radicalization. The enemy is extremism. And we do have to fight that through a variety of different sources and forces.