Robert Spencer is one of the main voices within the Islamophobia industry. He’s been parroting for years how Islam supposedly poses an existential threat to Western civilization.
Obviously secularism, materialism, and individualistic hedonism couldn’t be the real threats!
As we know, the Islamophobia industry gets all the funding it wants in this post-9/11 era. Many governments have to demonize Islam in order to spread their liberal and Zionist geopolitics. So it’s understandable why Spencer is popular in some circles.
Spencer is also an unapologetic Christian. His many books are nearly-always just a poor rebranding of what is now outdated and disqualified dubious Orientalist “scholarship.” There’s even one in particular called Muslim Persecution of Christians.
Hindutva is as anti-Christian an ideology as you can get. And since Spencer is a proud Christian, and one particularly sensitive to the “persecution” of Christians, you’d probably expect him to take up a courageous and principled stance against them.
But that’s not the case. Rather, not only does he have a large following among Hindu nationalists – which seems to actually be the bulk of his following – but he himself casually adopts Hindtuva tropes.
Robert Spencer, one of America's most relentless and notorious Islamophobes, is tweeting about Indian history and being endorsed by Hindu nationalists.
Surprised? You shouldn't be. Spencer & Hindutva feature in the terrorist Anders Breivik's manifesto.https://t.co/XdwUP0k730
— Dr. Audrey Truschke (@AudreyTruschke) March 3, 2022
This relationship seems symbiotic, because if Spencer takes inspiration from the Hindutva, the reverse could be true as well. In fact, it is entirely possible that Hindu nationalists may have adapted their fantasy of “love jihad” based on Spencer’s works. A 2022 academic publication mentions about this concept:
The term “Love Jihad” is also associated with several other concepts such as population jihad, “grooming”, forced/unethical conversion in marriage, uncontrollable male sexuality/rape, and “The Great Replacement” conspiracy theory, as they relate to flows of gendered nationalist imaginaries of the Muslim “Other”. In some cases, these various terms are used interchangeably, while in other cases, only one of the terms seems to have taken on popularity. Despite internal variation and nuance, however, what all these concepts refer to is the notion of an alleged Muslim demographic takeover, pointing to globalization and changing religious demographics, the politics of fertility, and even the concept of “womb-fare” (Goldstone et al. 2012). Another similar theme includes tropes of Muslim hyper-fertility as it fits with notions of “stealth jihad” (a concept introduced by the anti-Islam activist Robert Spencer in 2008) and “stealth Islamization”—familiar tropes within European and North American anti-Muslim discourse. (…)
In 2003 a new language of “jihad” entered Hindu nationalist rhetoric, partly, but not only, inspired by contra-jihadist authors such as Robert Spencer and Bat Ye’Or.
So Spencer played quite a significant role in generating this conspiracy theory, which is deeply rooted in an inferiority complex towards Muslim virility.
But what we’ll be doing here is educating Spencer about what Hindutva, or Hindu nationalism, really thinks of his religion.
Hindutva’s Intense Hatred for Christianity and Christians
Hindu Nationalism in India and the Politics of Fear by Dibyesh Anand is one of the best book-length studies of Hindu nationalism.
The author looks mainly at the Hindutva’s hatred for Islam and Muslims, as compared to Christians. However this is mainly due to demographics. The Muslim religious minority makes up around 20% of the general population. They will of course be of greater concern to Hindu supremacists than the Christian minority, who only make up around 2% of the population.
Yet Hindu nationalists do very much show contempt towards Christians and their religion.
Anand begins with a generic definition of Hindutva, writing on p. 4:
Muslims and Christians, as religious minorities, are cast as “foreign” and those whose loyalty to India is suspect. Couching itself in cultural terms, Hindu nationalism is essentially a political movement seeking to purify culture and transform society in India.
So just like Spencer labels Muslims as being foreign to Europe, Hindu nationalists do the very same with Christians and India, and aim to “purify” the country of Christianity.
On pp. 14-16:
Despite the halfhearted claims made by some Hindu nationalists in the BJP that Hindutva is not anti-Muslim or anti-Christian but is universalist so long as Muslims and Christians accept to live on the terms set by Hindutva, even a cursory examination of the philosophy and ideology of all strands of Hindu nationalism shows that representation of religious minorities (Muslims and Christians) as inimical, foreign, anti-Hindu and, therefore, anti- India is an obsession for many. The Hindu samaj, sanskriti, and sabhyata (society, culture, and civilization) are under siege from Islam and Christianity—this is not a nightmare but a waking reality according to Hindutva (…)
Christians are said to collude in this war by seducing poor Hindus into conversion and by encouraging separatism in the north eastern regions. By stereotyping Muslim and Christian minorities as the irredeemable anti-Hindu, anti-India Other, Hindu nationalism generates a politics of fear.
I wonder if Spencer knows about any of this?
The Hindutva’s hatred for Christian conversions is so intense that in a well-known atrocious incident, a missionary and his two young sons were burned alive by a Hindu mob. And the group behind it was none other than the Bajrang Dal, the militant wing of the current ruling party – the BJP.
Christian converts are usually derogatorily mocked as “rice bag Christians.” In fact, this has become a viral meme shared by Hindu nationalists. They believe the only reason that a Hindu would convert to Christianity is for material incentives, such as a “rice bag.”
I wonder if Spencer agrees with them about his religion being so cheap?
Anand also reminds us of the 2008 anti-Christian pogrom in the state of Orissa, when hundreds of Christians died at the hands of Hindu nationalists. Thousands more were also injured and had to flee after their houses were destroyed.
So Hindutva pogroms clearly don’t only target Muslims.
In fact, on pp. 20-21 Anand shows that even when Hindu nationalists target Muslims, they always have the Christians in mind as well. And on some occasions, Christians become the prime targets:
Combing through leaflets, speeches, books, and online sources produced by different Hindutva personalities and organizations, let me give a general picture of the Hindu nation under siege from internal and external hostile forces. The disproportionate focus here is on Islam and Muslims because they are represented as the enemy number one. As a saying among Hindutva sympathizers goes, “ pehle kasai, phir isai ” (first the butcher—pejorative term for Muslims—and then the Christians). On rare occasions, Christianity is seen as equal or a greater threat. For instance, an ideologue writer Paliwal reminds his readers that in independent India, “the tactics, strategies and modes of operation of the Christian missionaries have been more subtle, cunning, fraudulent, and indirectly of far reaching consequences than that of the Muslims” (2003: 31).
Is Spencer aware that his “phull sapport saar” admirers would like to “deal” with his fellow Christians as well, after finishing off the Muslims?
But perhaps this is just the situation with the ignorant Hindu nationalist masses? The Hindutva ideologues would surely be more “moderate” in their approach?
Golwalkar, who died in 1973, is one of the most read Hindutva ideologues. He served as the chief of the RSS, the most influential of the Hindu nationalist organizations, and close to the BJP.
In his Bunch of Thoughts, a clumsy patchwork of various uninspiring essays and speeches – yet still considered “the Bible of Hindutva,” he bashes Christians quite profusely. In fact, you can see a little of him in Spencer when it comes to his treatment of Islam in the West:
Such is the role of Christian gentlemen residing in our land today, out to demolish not only the religious and social fabric of our life but also to establish political domination in various pockets and if possible all over the land. Such has been, in fact, their role wherever they have stepped-all under the alluring grab of bringing peace and brotherhood to mankind under the angelic wings of Jesus Christ. (…)
Wherever they have stepped, they have drenched those lands with the blood and tears of the natives and liquidated whole races. Do we not know the heart-rending stories of how they annihilated the natives in America, Australia and Africa? Why go so far? Are we not aware of the atrocious history of Christian missionaries in our own country, of how they carried sword and fire in Goa and elsewhere?
Another influential Hindutva ideologue was Sita Ram Goel, who died in 2003. He was a former communist. He penned many booklets of mediocre quality – often just quotes from historical texts, with his own unimaginative and incendiary commentary. And many of his works directly target Christianity.
One particularly violent charge against Christianity is found in his book Jesus Christ: An Artifice for Aggression. The title is programmatic enough. We can’t exactly quote the entire book, but let’s see for instance how he accuses Jesus (peace be upon him) of being responsible for the Holocaust. He writes on p. 70:
Apart from the various other features in which Adolf Hitler reincarnated Jesus Christ, the Holocaust in which millions of Jews were slaughtered in various ways was directly inspired by the Jesus of the gospels.
Surely Spencer would be disgusted by such comments?
And these are the most-read Hindutva writers!
We could easily quote many other authors, such as Savarkar.
After educating Spencer on Hindu nationalism, we advise him to man up; to have just a minimal amount of respect and honor towards his faith; to not pander to a group of people who wish to see his religion wiped out; and give up this superficial alliance for the sake of opposing Islam.
In fact, Spencer needs to read his own Bible. Paul of Tarsus says in 2 Corinthians 6:14-16 (in the authoritative translation of J.B. Phillips, an Anglican clergyman who was close to C.S. Lewis):
Don’t link up with unbelievers and try to work with them. What common interest can there be between goodness and evil? How can light and darkness share life together? How can there be harmony between Christ and the devil? What business can a believer have with an unbeliever? What common ground can idols hold with the temple of God? For we, remember, are ourselves living temples of the living God, as God has said: ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be my people’.