Centennial Olympic Park bombing (July 27, 1996)

So-called ‘faithful’ people do some awfully unfaithful acts of violence.

ATLANTA, USA – My dear mother – may her memory always be cherished! – gave me lots of good advice as I was growing up. To wit:

  • Study and work hard;
  • Eat your pierogies; and
  • Never engage in chats about religion or politics

Mom, I have tried to follow your wise words. I have definitely worked hard over the past 40 years to get where I am today. I still eat pierogies, although the ones I consume will never hold a candle to the ones you made! If you ever tried Olive (Olga) Gurski (nee Kozlyk) pierogies and halopchi (cabbage rolls) you have tasted heaven.

Just as I remembered them…

It is on the third part where I have failed. Not only did I engage in discussions on religion AND politics, but I made it my career! And I went ever further: I worked in counter terrorism where the two are inextricably linked. Sorry mom!

My specialty, Islamist terrorism, is an unholy alliance of religion, politics and extreme violence. There are those who maintain we should not call this ‘Islamist’ terrorism: they are wrong. It is what it is. Calling it something else does not take away from its reality.

But jihadis are not the only ones who kill in the name of ____ (fill in with your favourite deity). As I wrote in my most recent book, When Religion Kills, EVERY religion has its adherents who are convinced that their god is ok with, or worse, demands, violence. Today’s featured attack is a case in point.

On this day in 1996 a bomb went off in Atlanta’s crowded Centennial Olympic Park, jammed with Americans gathered to watch the 1996 games in the Georgian capital city. A woman who had brought her daughter along was killed and more than a 100 were injured. Several more bombs went off subsequently in the state and in neighbouring Alabama, killing a police officer and wounding scores.

Following a five-year FBI manhunt the main suspect Eric Robert Rudolph was arrested in North Carolina. He had stashed another 250 pounds of dynamite to be used in future attacks. His motive? Well, let him tell the story:

In the summer of 1996, the world converged upon Atlanta for the Olympic Games. Under the protection and auspices of the regime in Washington millions of people came to celebrate the ideals of global  socialism. Multinational corporations spent billions of dollars, and Washington organized an army of security to protect these best of all games. Even though the conception and the purpose of the so-called Olympic movement is to promote the values of global socialism as perfectly expressed in the song “Imagine” by John Lennon, which was the theme of the 1996 Games—even though the purpose of the Olympics is to promote these ideals, the purpose of the attack on July 27 was to confound, anger and embarrass the Washington government in the eyes of the world for its abominable sanctioning of abortion on demand. The plan was to force the cancellation of the games, or at least create a state of insecurity in order to empty the streets around the venues and thereby eat into the vast amounts of money that had been invested in them.

Rudolph was believed to be a member of the Christian Identity movement, which asserts that Northern European whites are the direct descendants of the lost tribes of Israel and which holds the view that those who are not white Christians cannot be saved. If that is not Christian extremism, I don’t know what is.

He is serving four consecutive life sentences for his crimes. A man who thought blowing up people was ‘Christian’. Go figure.

Phil Gurski

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