McVeigh was tried and condemned, but before he was executed he revealed that his favorite book was "The Turner Diaries," a novel about a white supremacist war against the American government. The book was written by William Pierce and has been called the chief guidebook for the racist Christian Identity movement. Indeed, both the warped ideology of Christian Identity and the twisted novel served as the blueprints for McVeigh's crime.
In short, Timothy McVeigh was a Christian terrorist.
In Oklahoma City today, there is a very moving monument on the grounds where the Murrah Building once stood. And very close to that sacred ground you will find a number of Christian churches representing various denominations.
Curiously, nobody has demanded that these churches move someplace else because they represent all that McVeigh stood for. Given the furor in New York over the Muslim community center proposed a couple of blocks from ground zero, such outrage would stand to reason.
Like McVeigh, the 9/11 terrorists cloaked themselves in a sick interpretation of their religion, using Islam as justification for their atrocity just as McVeigh used Christianity.
Yet, nobody has suggested that McVeigh was anything other than a psychopath.
Certainly nobody has concluded that McVeigh represents all Christians. But in New York, the community center and mosque proposed by the Cordoba Initiative, a moderate and respected Muslim organization, has been branded as profane because it happens to be near ground zero.
Evidently, the 9/11 psychopaths represent the world's 1.5 billion Muslims, according to those opposed to the center like Newt Gingrich, who baselessly called the Cordoba Initiative "radical" and outrageously compared the community center to Nazis putting up a sign next to the Holocaust Museum.
Upping the ante, right-wing radio host Michael Berry said, "If you do build a mosque, I hope somebody blows it up."
Pamela Geller, who leads a hate group called Stop Islamization of America, has found a new home at Fox News, which welcomes any and all spewing anti-Muslim rhetoric.
While betraying our American value of religious tolerance, Gingrich, Berry, Geller and all the others condemning the community center are playing right into Osama bin Laden's hands says Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations.
"One of the great ironies is the people doing this mosque, this community center, want to develop an American version of Islam that competes around the world with the Wahabi - the Saudi intolerant version of Islam," Haass said in an interview. "So this issue is being watched around the world to ... see whether Muslims in America have rights."
And if the world sees that Muslims are treated differently in America, then the widespread perception that we are at war with Islam and not the terrorists is affirmed.
We can ill afford to antagonize the Muslim world this way says Richard Armitage, a former deputy secretary of state in the Bush administration who said recently, "When we change our own ideals and our own principles, they're winning, we're not."
In other words, persecute all Muslims for the actions of a few and we are no better than the Taliban.
Kevin Foley, an agnostic, is a public relations executive and writer who lives in Kennesaw.