Northwestern Univ. Historian Claims Christian Fundamentalism 'Greater Threat' Than Islamic Jihadists

Catherine Wallace. | (Photo: Screengrab/TEDx Talks)

A cultural historian at Northwestern University in Illinois has reportedly claimed that Christian fundamentalism is more dangerous to the United States than the rise of radical Islamic terrorism.

The Chicago Maroon, the independent student newspaper of The University of Chicago, reports that Catherine M. Wallace, a literary theologian who teaches writing at Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine, participated in a conversation at the Seminary Co-Op bookstore in Chicago on Tuesday.

Wallace, a liberal Christian who is the author of a book series on confronting Christian fundamentalism and has written for The Huffington Post, argued that Christian fundamentalists pose a greater threat than Islamic jihadis because they could eventually gain access to military armaments and the nuclear launch codes.

Forget the fact that the Islamic State terrorist group has spread to over 18 countries across the world. Forget the fact that over 110 Islamic terrorists have been arrested or killed in the United States since 2014. Forget the fact that dozens of Americans have been killed in terrorist attacks carried out by extremist lonewolves in the last year. According to Wallace, Christian fundamentalist access to military weapons and equipment is the No. 1 threat to national security.

"If [anything Islamic] wanted to attack an American city, they had to hijack an airliner," Wallace was quoted as saying, even though an Islamic State-inspired extremist didn't need to hijack a plane to kill 49 Americans at a nightclub in Orlando in June.

"If they want to blow up a concert, they need to put bombs on their own children and send young men in to kill themselves," she added. "[The] kind of radicalism [Christian fundamentalism] in control of nuclear codes was a much, much greater threat."

Wallace then went on to talk about the origins of Christian fundamentalism in America and its "racists appeal."

"The religious right in its most contemporary form has an origin in Southern opposition to desegregation and to the Civil Rights Movement … a transparently racist appeal," she stated, according to The Maroon.

Wallace asserted that Christian fundamentalism stems from the literal interpretation of the Bible, something she claims is more of a modern phenomenon.

"Nobody in the ancient world would have read the Bible literally," she stated, suggesting that literal interpretation is not how the leaders of the early Church designed the Bible to be used.

"It's the great anthology of Jewish storytelling," she argued. "It's brilliant, but these are very ancient stories."

Wallace said that if Christians would just view the holy book as just a collection of Jewish storytelling, then it would help Christianity lose its reputation of going against the grain of progressive policies and the sexual revolution.

Discussing her book series, she claimed that her books are designed to bridge the gap between the increasing secular society and Christianity.

"I wanted something that would be absolutely welcoming and accessible to anybody whether they have any religious background or interest," she said. "We're gonna meet on open, shared, common historical grounds."

The title of Wallace's books include: Confronting Religious Denial of Gay Marriage, Confronting Religious Denial of Science, Confronting Religious Judgmentalism, Confronting Religious Violence, Confronting a Controlling God and the The Confrontational Wit of Jesus.

On her website, Wallace claims that "Christianity has been hijacked and weaponized by an alliance between religious fundamentalists and political reactionaries."

"That dangerous alliance can only be stopped if critical thinkers in every tradition reach out and speak up in defense of moral values that all of us cherish," she added.

This is not the first time that a Northwestern University faculty member has made headlines. In 2011, a Northwestern professor came under fire after he allowed two students, who were engaged to each other, to give a live, in-class, sex show, which also included the use of a sex toy. As many as 100 students remained after class to watch the show.

Follow Samuel Smith on Twitter: @IamSamSmith Follow Samuel Smith on Facebook: SamuelSmithCP

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