BreakPoint: Katy Perry Talks About Evil

Why Sentimentality Is No Response to Terrorism

I love Dr. Seuss, but in the real world, joining hands and singing a musical number is not an effective strategy against evil.

Just over a year ago, Omar Mateen, claiming allegiance to the Islamic State, gunned down 49 people at an Orlando night club. It was the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11. And in Europe, there have been terror attacks in Paris, Brussels, Nice, Berlin, and London.

Only one word describes the sort of carnage being perpetrated by radical Islamists: “Evil.”  These attacks, which deliberately targeted innocents, all in the name of God, are among the vilest crimes imaginable.

And it only makes it more troubling that these attacks continue to take place in a time when the West is least equipped with the moral framework necessary to describe them, much less respond to them.

I’m thinking of cringe-worthy responses by celebrities like singer Katy Perry, who said on a talk show after the Manchester bombing that “the greatest thing we could do is just unite and love on each other, and like, no barriers, no borders…we all need to just co-exist.”

Jodi Picoult one-upped Perry when she took to Twitter and compared the attack to Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” “When terror attacks happen,” she wrote, “I think of the Whos…singing after Xmas is ruined. It isn’t fear/hate that changes [the Grinch], it’s love.” No, I’m not kidding, she really said that.

It should be unnecessary to say this, but as one commentator noted, Islamic terrorists don’t carry out attacks because someone was mean to them. They do it because they’ve embraced a deadly ideology that teaches mass-murder is the will of God.

Another distressing response was a television spot produced by a Kuwaiti mobile phone company. The commercial, which aired during Ramadan, depicted a suicide bomber in an explosive vest being confronted by his many victims, who urge him to “bomb violence with mercy.”

Charred and caked with blood, the procession of men, women, and children, led by an Emirati pop star, pursue the bomber, chanting in Arabic, “We will counter their attacks of hatred with songs of love, from now until happiness.”

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful that entertainers in the Middle East are trying to undermine terrorism. But we should also admit that this mawkish ad is right in line with the West’s least effective responses. The creators of both seem to imagine that all the world needs now is love, sweet love. But what they’re selling isn’t really love at all. It’s just sentimentality.

Anyone who understands the supernatural and apocalyptic claims of radical Islam should see that calling terrorists to “bomb violence with mercy” is futile. Not to mention, Islam—particularly in its radical expressions—has no grounding for mercy in the first place. It’s a very different worldview than Christianity, where mercy is grounded in God’s character, and the life of Jesus Chris, God the son.

I remember at the Colson Center’s 2014 Wilberforce Award dinner, Canon Andrew White, the “Vicar of Baghdad,” told us that he once invited ISIS leaders to dinner. While this Christian minister knows what true love in the face of evil looks like, he’s not naïve. Which is why he withdrew the invitation after ISIS informed him they would come to dinner…in order to cut off his head.

In the end, love does more than call terrorists to “just like, coexist.” True love steps between murderers and victims, names evil for what it is, fights for justice for those whose blood “cries out to God from the ground,” and prays that killers would learn to call their own acts what they really are.

Evil is evil, but the secular West, with its atrophied moral vocabulary, refuses to recognize or name evil when it shows up. I can think of few better illustrations than this that ideas have consequences and bad ideas have victims.


Katy Perry Talks About Evil: Why Sentimentality Is No Response to Terrorism

Evil is real, as John reiterates. As believers we fight against evil in all of its forms, physical or spiritual. Christ called us to be as wise as serpents and as meek as doves, but also to defend the weak and to speak out for the oppressed. Let’s take every opportunity to do just that.


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  • Phoenix1977

    “Not to mention, Islam—particularly in its radical expressions—has no grounding for mercy in the first place. It’s a very different worldview than Christianity”
    Really? Please explain that to the Aztecs.

    • Robert Cremer

      The Spanish Conquistadors were not acting on the behalf of Jesus Christ any more than the radical Islamist are acting on the behalf of God regardless of what they say. The Conquistadors abused the name of God to their own ends for gold and glory.

      • Phoenix1977

        Exactly. Just as radical muslims have nothing to do with Islam.

        • AtTheCrossroads

          Actually, not even close. Not all Muslims act consistently with the teachings of their faith as presented in the Quran . . . and this is a happy thing since the world would be a much more violent, intolerant, and dangerous place if they did. Not all Christians act consistently with the teachings of their faith as presented in the New Testament . . . and this is a sad thing since the world would be a much more loving, fair, and safe place if they did.

          In your comment above, you were quick to criticize the Christian tsunami relief organization based on your second-hand-information-that-can-only-be-confirmed-if-you-speak-Dutch :o). How would you rate the non-govermentally-funded Muslim and Homosexual relief organizations that showed up?

          • Phoenix1977

            Perhaps you should try and read the Quran sometime.

    • AtTheCrossroads

      Genuine Christ-ianity is always grounded in and defined by the precepts, principles and patterns of the revealed will of Christ . . . in the Bible. When “Christians” act in ways that are contrary to the Bible (like “Christian” Spaniards in Mexico, or the “Christian” Nazi’s in Germany) the same Bible commands us to stand against them and challenge their profession of faith in Christ.

      You’ve got to get over this penchant for dredging up the past failures of “Christians” in order to undermine anything a Christian might say. I don’t think it would be fair to heap on you all of the atrocities carried out against innocent children by men who have called themselves “homosexuals”. It never advances the discussion of a topic to dismiss any opinion that comes from anyone that calls himself a “_______” (fill in the blank).

      This BreakPoint introduces an important discussion to have, especially for homosexuals. Bible-affirming Christians believe homosexuals need truth, grace and help to repent from a lifestyle that is (like every kind of sin) destructive to themselves, their families and society in general. Quran-affirming Muslims believe they should be killed:

      Sometimes the only way to protect the innocent from the violent is to violently respond to their evil lawlessness. The Bible authorizes this, while still calling Christians to love their enemies and pray for those who persecute them.

      • Phoenix1977

        And if those failures were just the distant past I might consider that. However, nothing changed because during the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami in Asia Christian relief agencies forced people in Thailand and Indonesia to convert to Christianity or they would receive no food, blankets or shelter. So the Spanish Conquistadors used the sword to forcefully convert people and in modern days Christians use starvation. So, if anything, the Christian methods have become more cruel.

        The “homosexuals” who commited crimes against children, like a huge number of Catholic priests, never called themselves homosexual. Church leadership called them that. But everyone capable of thinking for themselves know the very definition doesn’t fit: homosexuals are sexually attracted to adults of the same biological sex. Pedophiles are attracted to children. Church leadership decided to call the pedophilic priests homosexual to demonize gay men and women. The only people who fell for that were religious conservatives. The rest of society saw things the way they truly were. So your comparisson falls flat.

        • Gina Dalfonzo

          Phoenix1977, I’d be interested to see your source for the claim about the tsunami. The only source I could find when I looked it up was a Guardian article that mentioned Christian and Muslim groups using some “aggressive” tactics in the area and in one case trying to airlift orphans to a Christian orphanage, but it said nothing about withholding food, blankets, or shelter. Maybe I’m missing something?

          • Phoenix1977

            I’m not surprised you can’t find it. That’s because the source is not that easily accessible.
            My direct source is a befriended collaegue working for Medécines sans Frontières who was among the relief force withing days after the tsunami hit. He witnessed these things first hand and confronted the relief workers with their behaviour. They said they were under orders from their organisation, the Dutch Catholic relief fund “Kerk in Actie” (“Church in Action”). He reported this to the Dutch Federation of relief organisations which investigated “Kerk in Actie” and suspended it from the Dutch Federation. Investigation by the Dutch government (in particular the Dutch IRS) showed suspicion but nothing that could be proven in court so “”Kerk in Actie” did not lose it’s taks exempt status.
            All these reports are accessible through the Dutch government but are most likely all in Dutch.

          • Gina Dalfonzo

            Thank you. Unfortunately, I can’t read Dutch! But maybe someday someone will translate them and make them more widely available.

        • fred2

          A man who preys on boys is a homosexual pedophile. That’s no more controversial than using heterosexual pedophile to describe a man who preys on girls.

          • Phoenix1977

            Except only religious conservatives designate pedophiles that way. Everyone else does not, including judges, lawyers and psychiatrists.

  • Philip Brown

    Asserting that it is evil to kill innocent people in the name of God needs additional justification/clarification, for two reasons: 1) since all have sinned there are no completely innocent people, and 2) the assertion assumes the truthfulness of the Judeo-Christian Scriptures and the falsity of the Quran where it disagrees. The evil here is at least two-fold: 1) it is, according to Scripture, unjustified killing and thus is murder, which is evil because God declares it so, and 2) it falsely represents God as a party to the murder, when He is not and thus is blasphemy.

  • Leo

    Yes, we need to call these acts what they are: evil. Yes, we need to understand the motivations and ideologies of the perpetrators. Yes, we need to act to defend the weak and oppressed and bring the perpetrators to justice. But in fairness to these entertainers, we also need to remember that the perpetrators of these terrible acts are human beings made in the image and likeness of God. They are redeemable. Calling this “futile” or “naïve” seems to indicate a lack of faith. As Tertullian said, “the blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church.” Violence begets violence, especially when we are careless and end up killing innocent women and children. There’s much to be said about the Coptic response:

    • Joel Stucki

      Hmmm. I think what makes it sentimental is not the idea that people are redeemable, but rather the implication that redemption is wrapped up in neat little packages. Simply saying “we all need to coexist” is not false in and of itself, but it is disengaged from the messy reality of actually coexisting. That is sentimentality. It’s a Thomas Kinkade painting in a Picasso world.

  • Robbert Yoshimaru

    I’m somewhat familiar with the history of the downfall of the Byzantine Empire to Islam. Looking at the tactics that Muslims have used over the Centuries, I wonder if North America has learned anything at all.

    • fred2

      You learn the truth of Islamic conquest off your not taught it in school due to PC teachers and school boards.

  • jason taylor

    Who says we will “coexist” without banners or borders? Is there something about humanity that makes it so virtuous that it only needs territorial claims to be murderous? Or perhaps Katie Perry has imagined what it would be like if thieves had none to keep them in check. And how the heck are we going to “just unite(like a Slime Mold?) and love each other”. Perhaps Katie Perry can arrange that? Or maybe she thinks no one has thought of that before?

  • Perry LaHaie

    Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you and overcome evil with good will change the world.

  • AtTheCrossroads

    Wow, sorry to have missed such great discussion. Thank-you for reinforcing my point, Phoenix, in respect to dismissing what someone says by associating them with others going by the same name. So if your second-hand-information-that-can-only-be-confirmed-if-you-speak-Dutch :o) is true, it is a great example of a group practicing a form of Christianity foreign to the clear teaching of the Bible. In contrast to the Quran, the Bible gives no basis for a “forced conversion”, neither at the point of a gun nor the promise of a meal, period. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God, not as a result of works that no man should boast”. Continuing to use such examples to dismiss those whose viewpoints you are unable or unwilling to argue against may make you a “Rules for Radicals” superhero, but to those with eyes to see it’s just a grown-up form of playground name-calling.

    And though you found it impossible to resist the temptation to link my comment about atrocities committed by “homosexuals” to Catholic priests, it really had nothing to do with them. So let me lay out your default argument against anyone who calls himself a Christian and my rebuttal against this kind of pre-judicial dismissal of the ideas of all “______” (Christians, homosexuals, or whatever).

    Your argument: “Because people calling themselves Christians have done terrible things in the distant or not so distant past, I am free to dismiss any ideas put forth by Christians that I disagree with.”

    My rebuttal: “Even though people calling themselves homosexuals have done terrible things in the distant or not so distant past, I have no right to impute their faults and failings to every other person who calls himself a homosexual, nor to dismiss what they say on this basis.”

    What part of this do you find fault with?

    • Phoenix1977

      “What part of this do you find fault with?”
      Well, for one I would challenge you to come with examples which homosexuals did something terrible. And second I would challenge you to link it t their sexuality.

      The funny thing in the Quran doesn’t condone forced conversion either, just as the Quran doesn’t condone violence to others. The Quran does, however, state violence is tolerated to protect Islam from it’s enemies but only if Muslims are attacked first. Some extremists state the very existence of non-Muslims is such an attack but the majority of Muslims does not have that same viewpoint.

      And for the rest, you don’t have to believe me. I truly don’t care. Fact is Christians thought they could get away with taking advantage of vulnerable people and are now suffering the consequences of those actions. That’s good enough for me.

  • jason taylor

    No Perry, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” will not change the world. Only a few people actually love their enemies and an unbearable amount use claims of love as a mask for their hate. The idea of loving one’s enemies has been around for 2000 years. At least. And while you can say it will change the world in this or that manner(Scandinavians do not indulge in feuding and piracy any more though there was enough time-lag between religion change on that one to be skeptical of the effect of the teaching to love one’s enemies), the world remains surprisingly similar to what it was. For loving your enemies to change the world it would require everyone to love their enemies at once and be convinced that their enemies love them. If one refuses to buy in the whole idea is wrecked.

    And is that really surprising? If you love your enemies to change the world, you are not loving your enemies. You are only loving the world. You love your enemies because you love your enemies. Period.