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Letter to the Media re Norway shooting reporting

Dear Editor,
Whilst reading the coverage of the awful events in Norway, I noticed a repeated phrase in media reports and comment, including that of the Daily Mail, to the effect that the shooter was a ‘right-wing Christian fundamentalist extremist’. Right-wing and extreme is without question, but the ‘Christian fundamentalist’ is factually false. A Christian fundamentalist would be one who holds to a ‘literal’ interpretation of the bible, holds a high regard for Christian doctrine and shares the more general evangelical emphasis on personal relationship with Jesus. The only supporting evidence I could see for this sweeping assertion about his ideology was a statement without backing evidence by a police spokesperson. Now that his manifesto has come to light, it turns out that this ‘fundamentalist Christian’ described himself as ‘not very religious’, explicitly denied the need for personal relationship with God several times, and held that ‘it is essential that science takes an undisputed precedence over biblical teachings’, along with calling for a ‘rationalist thought (a certain degree of national Darwinism)’. He also stated of his use of Christian culture that : ‘My choice was based purely pragmatism. All Europeans are in this boat together, so we must choose a more moderate platform that can appeal to a great number of Europeans’. By his own testimony, you can call him a right-wing extremist from a culturally Christian background, but it is factually false on a basic level to call him a Christian fundamentalist. I call on the Mail and other media to cease using this false and inflammatory rhetoric that slanders Christian ‘fundamentalists’
Yours sincerely

Nathanael lewis