If you’ll forgive me, John, the good apple/bad apple analogy is a bit simple. We’re so much beyond that right now. As someone alluded to with his meme, it’s not simply a matter of branding, but an endemic ideological virus that is seeded in Christian doctrine and dogma and fueled by Balkanized pockets of increasing fundamentalism and fanaticism taking root throughout the country.
Calling oneself a Christian means very little anymore because the label is so diverse, generic and all encompassing as to be rendered practically meaningless to anyone but an individual’s specific definiens.
Perhaps, in the same way that an Anglican Bishop and Peruvian shaman might nod their heads in agreement of G-d’s existence, but when you break it down they are talking about completely different concepts.
We might look at it in the way that most moderate Muslims regard their more malignant branches and ideologies. We can argue about the historical differences and doctrinal roots of such malignancies, but the one thing they share in common with Christian extremism is they are both born out of a gradual usurpation and suppression of liberal education, science and religious tolerance.
Islam itself flourished from the 8th Century to the 13th, even to the point of surpassing Western civilization in its advancements of art, architecture, science, and medicine until the dark day Hamid al Ghazali (1058-1111) declared:
“Scientific deduction is the work of Satan”, and the Word of God in the Qur’an was the only source and vehicle of truth. Scientific thought leads to “loss of belief in the origin of the world and in its creator.”
(How the decline of Muslim scientific thought still haunts http://www.thenational.ae/thenationalconversation/comment/how-the-decline-of-muslim-scientific-thought-still-haunts via @TheNationalUAE )
“And thus, the authority of the general community, the Sunna, (consensus) which Mohammed the Prophet had declared would always be right– cracked down. And so it was that, just when the light of Greek learning was beginning to be carried from Islam to Europe- from circa 1100 onward- Islamic science and medicine came to a standstill and went dead.”
(Excerpted from Joseph Campbell’s Lecture “The Impact of Science on Myth” at the Great Hall of The Cooper Union Forum)
This is going on right now in vast portions of our country where fanatical Christian doctrinaires are taking over local school systems, regional, state, and now, the federal, Executive, Legislative and Judiciary branches of government.
So, to follow your analogy one might be a good apple or a bad apple Christian, but in a democratic republic threatened by religious extremism who gets to decide which is which?