A cold-blooded killer dons an ominous full-face leather mask, a black leather jacket, and a Nazi-style armband bearing a three-bar Russian Orthodox cross. This is what a true terrorist looks like, according to the official Facebook page for the film, The First Purge: allegiance.
An old Russian Orthodox priest gathers his gold embroidered robes about him and utters a sermon that contains a secret code designed to activate Russian sleeper cells living covertly in the United States, thus setting off a perilous chain of events on both sides of the Atlantic. This is a key part of the plot in the film, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.
Why demonize and dehumanize Christians in this way? Members of the Orthodox Church are not the ones who have been flying planes into buildings and going on murder sprees in grade schools. So why demonize Orthodox priests? Why depict a three-bar cross on the arm of a terrorist?
This may be Hollywood’s way of jumping on the bandwagon with other left-wing liberal media sources, promoting an agenda that is biased against Christians — especially white ones. A number of these media outlets have cited dubious studies, with some of them claiming that “most terrorists in the U.S. are right-wing, not Muslim.”
These liberal-leaning studies tend to have major methodological flaws, merely tallying the number of “attacks”, instead of focusing on the number of actual human casualties. Thus a relatively minor act of vandalism gets put in the same category as a mass murder in a public place. With such an approach, it is no wonder that their data is skewed.
Alex Nowrasteh has studied terrorism and is a policy analyst at the Cato Institute. He explains the reason why we need to focus on actual casualties, and why merely tallying attacks is problematic:
“My terrorism research focuses on deaths committed by terrorists because that is the easiest and the least ambiguous metric to analyze the damage committed by terrorism. . . . Attacks could be as minor as a pipe bomb left by a bulldozer that explodes at 2:30 a.m., or as deadly as the 9/11 attacks that killed 2,983 people and caused billions in property damage, so counting the number of attacks by ideology does not reveal much.”
And when the proper methodology is followed, the results are predictable. Politifact reviewed the data, and their report demonstrates that Islamic terror attacks on U.S. soil have been much more deadly than any alleged attacks from other groups.
Even more problematic is the left-wing habit of not considering the relative numbers of populations. Consider two different groups of people. The first group is 100 times more likely to commit terrorist acts, but the second group has 100 times as many people. A town might have 1,000 people from group #1, and a full 100,000 people from group #2. Because of the skewed population, the two groups would commit approximately the same number of terrorist acts, even though group #1 is much more dangerous.
In America, there are around 2 million Muslims, and more than 200 million white (non-Muslim) Americans. So even if it were true that the second group committed twice as many terrorist acts as the first group, we would also have to note that the second group is 100 times larger than the first group. That would make group #2 about 50 times less dangerous than group #1.
But the anti-Christian narrative remains popular in the left-wing media, and also in mainstream movies. There are forces at play who want to eradicate Christianity from public life, and they are willing to propagate any lie necessary to achieve this goal. They can’t lock us up or kill us, so they start by using propaganda to dehumanize us.
As Professor William Donohue has observed,
“One of the common threads of any genocide is its justification. In order to be able to execute it on a mass scale, a lot of people have to buy into it and agree that it’s the appropriate thing to do. And so any genocide begins with the dehumanization process.”
Of course, this approach is not new. During the years of Communism in the Soviet Union, atheist leaders promoted propaganda against Christians, making it easier to justify their persecution and extermination. And in WWII Germany, the Nazis were famous for using propaganda to dehumanize their victims as well.
Today, anti-Christian propaganda is widespread and is present in more than just movies. Flawed studies twist data, making it appear that right-wing Christians are more dangerous than Muslim extremists. These studies are given wide exposure by biased left-wing media outlets like Newsweek, Huffington Post, and Vox. Compared to all this propaganda, films like The First Purge and Jack Ryan are only the tip of the iceberg.
Current events are still at the propaganda stage. Newsmakers and filmmakers are still working to demonize and dehumanize Christians. Society may hate us, and the workplace may be getting more and more hostile toward Christians. But today, thankfully, no one is trying to exterminate all Christians. Yet.
— Fr. Joseph Gleason
Rostov the Great, Russia
Find out why my family and I moved to Russia . . .
Jonas E. Alexis has degrees in mathematics and philosophy. He studied education at the graduate level. His main interests include U.S. foreign policy, the history of the Israel/Palestine conflict, and the history of ideas. He is the author of the new book, Kevin MacDonald’s Metaphysical Failure: A Philosophical, Historical, and Moral Critique of Evolutionary Psychology, Sociobiology, and Identity Politics. He teaches mathematics in South Korea.