Boston’s Marathon Apocalypse:  

Fanaticism, Murder, & the Shining Beacon on the Hill

A New Book by Chip Berlet -- Forthcoming from Write to Power Books



Apocalyptic Violence:

A Massachusetts Tradition
Since 1692








  There is no shining beacon on the hill...

There is a shiny gold dome capping the Massachusetts state capitol building atop Beacon Hill in Boston. It's just a short walk down to the site of the Boston Marathon bombing.

When the Tsarnaev brothers were announced as suspects, the search began for a motive. Most reporters missed the clues indicating the Tsarnaev brothers had been swept up in an apocalyptic mission based on a marginal and much disputed Islamic prophecy about the apocalyptic End Times--and the proper role for religious heroes.

Apocalypticism is an American tradition. President Ronald Reagan routinely used apocalyptic language to appeal to conservative Christian evangelicals, many of whom ponder whether we are living in the End Times. Reagan was doing this when he spoke of the Shining City on the Hill. This was a misquote.

The original quote is by Puritan minister John Winthrop, who helped found the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Winthrop spoke of a City on a Hill. Boston at the time was part of a religious theocracy which executed alleged witches and political dissidents. Punishing the wicked through purifying violence was part of preparing the way for the return of Jesus Christ to the New Jerusalem: Boston.

Winthrop was paraphrasing a quote from the Bible: "a City Upon a Hill," a phrase from Matthew 5:14 in the parable of "Salt and Light," taken from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount.

In Islamic sacred belief, Jesus of Nazareth is a prophet who helps prepare the way for the Mahdi, an End Times messiah. Terrorists in al Qaeda believe the Mahdi will establish a global Islamic Caliphate after the heroic warriors of Islam carrying the Black Flags of Khorasan recapture Jerusalem. A video on the Black Flags of Khorasan was posted on Tamerlan Tsarnaev's You Tube page.

What is Apocalyptic Aggression?

The merger of apocalyptic frameworks and conspiracy-based belief systems spawns aggressive confrontations that undermine civil society in a democracy.

Apocalyptic Aggression occurs when demonized scapegoats are targeted as enemies of the “common good,” and a confrontation seen as not just a political necessity but a sacred duty. Society is portrayed as split between the forces of good and the forces of evil. This dualistic worldview creates needless confrontations and in its most fanatical forms can lead to lead to discrimination and even physical attacks.

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Apocalyptic Violence has been a Massachusetts tradition since 1692.

Let’s review the historic record:

Salem Witch Hunts - 1690s

Embattled Godly Patriots – 1770s

The sermons by Boston pastor Jedediah Morse
by warning of the Illuminati Conspiracy - 1798

Boston, the Dirty Irish Catholics, and the Alien and Sedition Acts – 1798

Catholics and the Whore of Babylon -- 1834
(A mob of Protestants torches a Catholic School)

Freemasons as agents of Satan – 1850s

Civil War Recruitment as Apocalyptic Mission – 1860s
“Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord”

Porn Panic – The Devil’s Playthings Banned in Boston 1880s

Jesuits and Papists – 1880s

The Jews as Satanic agents: the Protocols - 1909

Subversion Panic: Boston, Sacco and Vanzetti, and the Palmer Raids - 1919-1920

Destiny Publishers in Haverill, MA. New Jerusalem revisited - 1937

The Red Menace and Boston’s Fanatic Cardinal - 1950s

The John Birch Society Hunts Reds for God from Belmont – 1959

Bircher Professor Blames the Jews (again) - 1966

John C. Salvi, III and his apocalyptic reasons for shooting reproductive rights workers - 1994

Apocalyptic al Qaeda terrorists board a plane in Boston on September 11, 2001

Keith Luke: A neonazi’s apocalyptic murderous rampage to stop Obama - 2009

Boston Marathon bombing - April 15, 2013