10 (Biased) Examples of Christian Terrorism

 

jesusgunnedHere we go again, some clueless partisan will now explain how the kid stealing gumballs who will get whipped if he is caught by his folks is far worse than the crack dealer who thinks drive-bys are the best way to deal with competitors or witnesses and whose Mom and Pop will never admit is a nasty sucker instead of their misunderstood little boy.

SATURDAY, AUG 3, 2013 07:00 AM PDT

10 worst examples of Christian or far-right terrorism

Conservatives claim that all terrorists are Muslim, but most violent attacks in the US are carried out by white men

How racist! Did they count the white men who were Muslim terrorists twice?

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From Fox News to the Weekly Standard, neoconservatives have tried to paint terrorism as a largely or exclusively Islamic phenomenon. Their message of Islamophobia has been repeated many times since the George W. Bush era: Islam is inherently violent, Christianity is inherently peaceful, and there is no such thing as a Christian terrorist or a white male terrorist. But the facts don’t bear that out. Far-right white male radicals and extreme Christianists are every bit as capable of acts of terrorism as radical Islamists, and to pretend that such terrorists don’t exist does the public a huge disservice. Dzhokhar Anzorovich Tsarnaev and the late Tamerlan Anzorovich Tsarnaev (the Chechen brothers suspected in the Boston Marathon bombing of April 15, 2013) are both considered white and appear to have been motivated in part by radical Islam. And many terrorist attacks in the United States have been carried out by people who were neither Muslims nor dark-skinned.

When white males of the far right carry out violent attacks, neocons and Republicans typically describe them as lone-wolf extremists rather than people who are part of terrorist networks or well-organized terrorist movements. Yet many of the terrorist attacks in the United States have been carried out by people who had long histories of networking with other terrorists. In fact, most of the terrorist activity occurring in the United States in recent years has not come from Muslims, but from a combination of radical Christianists, white supremacists and far-right militia groups.

Given that Ft. Hood shooting by Maj. Hassan was classified as “workplace violence” you might be able to make a case as far as government records go; if you count the times Islamic fundamentalists with normative scripture to quote have been involved in violence as opposed to Bible Verse spouting Christians doing such things the count would be far more one-sided in the other direction. If we expand our focus world-wide there is no question, almost the only people involved with terrorism today are Islamists; the remainder are a radical and unsupported teaspoon in a bucket of Islamic aggression supported by most of the Imams outside the U.S..

Below are 10 of the worst examples of non-Islamic terrorism that have occurred in the United States in the last 30 years.

Well Virginia, at least one sentence in this piece was accurate, too bad the author could not keep to the ‘examples of non-Islamic’ part instead of turning it into a lynch-whitey-and-the-Christians-fest.

1. Wisconsin Sikh Temple massacre, Aug. 5, 2012. The virulent, neocon-fueled Islamophobia that has plagued post-9/11 America has not only posed a threat to Muslims, it has had deadly consequences for people of other faiths, including Sikhs. Sikhs are not Muslims; the traditional Sikh attire, including their turbans, is different from traditional Sunni, Shiite or Sufi attire. But to a racist, a bearded Sikh looks like a Muslim. Only four days after 9/11, Balbir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh immigrant from India who owned a gas station in Mesa, Arizona, was murdered by Frank Silva Roque, a racist who obviously mistook him for a Muslim.

But Sodhi’s murder was not the last example of anti-Sikh violence in post-9/11 America. On Aug. 5, 2012, white supremacist Wade Michael Page used a semiautomatic weapon to murder six people during an attack on a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Page’s connection to the white supremacist movement was well-documented: he had been a member of the neo-Nazi rock bands End Empathy and Definite Hate. Attorney General Eric Holder described the attack as “an act of terrorism, an act of hatred.” It was good to see the nation’s top cop acknowledge that terrorist acts can, in fact, involve white males murdering people of color.

Deceitful definitions are the hallmark of this list. Neo-Nazi (National Socialism) is a far Left mind-set, not a far-Right one. The Right thinks of itself as the “owners” of the status quo, the “traditional way things are done”; their problem children use its system to steal power and abuse it. Meanwhile the Left sees itself as the “champion of the underdog” to the point that they excuse virtually any crime or ‘gaming of the system’ that puts one of “their own” over on “the Man.” Sounds like divisive tribalism in PC clothing to me.

The #1 on this list is not about Christians or the far-Right, who tend to be theocrats seeking to own the system and not radicals seeking to destroy it. It is about a far-Left, Neo-Nazi loser who was about as un-Christian as they come as well as being rejected by virtually all of the mainstream Right, Middle and Left. This does not for a moment stop the Leftists from pulling him out as a straw man to use against their opponents in the theft of power from the people.

2. The murder of Dr. George Tiller, May 31, 2009. Imagine that a physician had been the victim of an attempted assassination by an Islamic jihadist in 1993, and received numerous death threats from al-Qaeda after that, before being murdered by an al-Qaeda member. Neocons, Fox News and the Christian Right would have had a field day. A physician was the victim of a terrorist killing that day, but neither the terrorist nor the people who inflamed the terrorist were Muslims. Dr. George Tiller, who was shot and killed by anti-abortion terrorist Scott Roeder on May 31, 2009, was a victim of Christian Right terrorism, not al-Qaeda.

Tiller had a long history of being targeted for violence by Christian Right terrorists. In 1986, his clinic was firebombed. Then, in 1993, Tiller was shot five times by female Christian Right terrorist Shelly Shannon (now serving time in a federal prison) but survived that attack. Given that Tiller had been the victim of an attempted murder and received countless death threats after that, Fox News would have done well to avoid fanning the flames of unrest. Instead, Bill O’Reilly repeatedly referred to him as “Tiller the baby killer.” When Roeder murdered Tiller, O’Reilly condemned the attack but did so in a way that was lukewarm at best.

Keith Olbermann called O’Reilly out and denounced him as a “facilitator for domestic terrorism” and a “blindly irresponsible man.” And Crazy for God author Frank Schaffer, who was formerly a figure on the Christian Right but has since become critical of that movement, asserted that the Christian Right’s extreme anti-abortion rhetoric “helped create the climate that made this murder likely to happen.” Neocon Ann Coulter, meanwhile, viewed Tiller’s murder as a source of comic relief, telling O’Reilly, I don’t really like to think of it as a murder. It was terminating Tiller in the 203rd trimester.” The Republican/neocon double standard when it comes to terrorism is obvious. At Fox News and AM neocon talk radio, Islamic terrorism is a source of nonstop fear-mongering, while Christian Right terrorism gets a pass.

The Leftist once again gives a pass to the evil of his own sides radicals. while denigrating the Right for the same thing. I think both sides can be guilty of this kind of condoning of crime.

Late-term abortion, the kind Tiller specialized in, is far from cut-and-dried in it’s ethics and morality regardless of your religion, or lack thereof. In a world where 6 month preemies routinely live and prosper the justification for late-term abortion over delivery and adoption start to look pretty damn self-serving. I do not agree in any way with the theocrats on the Right; the only place in the Bible where it even might be talking about abortion is so vague that both sides use it as a proof that their side is the correct one according to scripture. I certainly do not support an individual taking a persons life into their own hands absent a clear and present danger to a person’s life, limb or property. But, we do need to have a conclusive debate on just when a fetus becomes a baby; the present standard seems to be that until a baby breathes air, with permission of the mother, it is a piece of flesh and may be done with as the clinic chooses, i.e. let die and then disposed of or sent to the research labs.

I have always supported a woman’s right to choose, in the first trimester, have been iffy on it in the second and have never supported it except in the case of extreme birth defects or an actual threat to the mother’s life coupled with a likelihood that the baby will be dead or a victim of massive defects in the final three months.

A woman gets to choose, but how many times does society have to allow her to keep choosing? At what point does a woman-with-a-choice become a mother-with-a-responsibility? We would arrest a woman sharing her cigarette and whiskey with her newborn but, we do nothing save frown in disapproval if she does it a day before she delivers; even when the child is ‘wanted‘! This is an indefensible position.

Would I have been willing to shake Tiller’s hand? No.

Do I think he deserved anything but due process of law in his professional life? Again, unequivocally, no.

3. Knoxville Unitarian Universalist Church shooting, July 27, 2008. On July 27, 2008, Christian Right sympathizer Jim David Adkisson walked into the Knoxville Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee during a children’s play and began shooting people at random. Two were killed, while seven others were injured but survived. Adkisson said he was motivated by a hatred of liberals, Democrats and gays, and he considered neocon Bernard Goldberg’s book, 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America, his political manifesto. Adkisson (who pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and is now serving life in prison without parole) was vehemently anti-abortion, but apparently committing an act of terrorism during a children’s play was good ol’ Republican family values. While Adkisson’s act of terrorism was reported on Fox News, it didn’t get the round-the-clock coverage an act of Islamic terrorism would have garnered.

Here we have the classic partisan trick of taking some lone-wolf radical and pretending that they represent the mainstream of their opposition; all parties in America are guilty to some extent or another but, this list get nauseating inn how disingenuous it is in it’s attempt to tar the opposition with a brush of distortion and concealed facts.

4. The murder of Dr. John Britton, July 29, 1994. To hear the Christian Right tell it, there is no such thing as Christian terrorism. Tell that to the victims of the Army of God, a loose network of radical Christianists with a long history of terrorist attacks on abortion providers. One Christian Right terrorist with ties to the Army of God was Paul Jennings Hill, who was executed by lethal injection on Sept. 3, 2003 for the murders of abortion doctor John Britton and his bodyguard James Barrett. Hill shot both of them in cold blood and expressed no remorse whatsoever; he insisted he was doing’s God’s work and has been exalted as a martyr by the Army of God.

So, what he is saying Virginia is that the “Army of God” is far more radical than even the “Rev.” Phelps’ group of anti-gay “activists”? What exactly does this say about mainstream Christianity in relation to the normative schools of doctrine within Islam? Is there even a correlation?

5. The Centennial Olympic Park bombing, July 27, 1996. Paul Jennings Hill is hardly the only Christian terrorist who has been praised by the Army of God; that organization has also praised Eric Rudolph, who is serving life without parole for a long list of terrorist attacks committed in the name of Christianity. Rudolph is best known for carrying out the Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta during the 1996 Summer Olympics—a blast that killed spectator Alice Hawthorne and wounded 111 others. Hawthorne wasn’t the only person Rudolph murdered: his bombing of an abortion clinic in Birmingham, Alabama in 1998 caused the death of Robert Sanderson (a Birmingham police officer and part-time security guard) and caused nurse Emily Lyons to lose an eye.

Rudolph’s other acts of Christian terrorism include bombing the Otherwise Lounge (a lesbian bar in Atlanta) in 1997 and an abortion clinic in an Atlanta suburb in 1997. Rudolph was no lone wolf: he was part of a terrorist movement that encouraged his violence. And the Army of God continues to exalt Rudolph as a brave Christian who is doing God’s work.

The Army of God is hardly an example of the kind of “Christian” that even the typical ‘radical Christian’ can accept as normative. In Islam, Sunni and Shiite, the norm is support of honor killings, gays executed, and apostates murdered, all with the sanction the Qur’an or ahadith.

Just imagine how much worse the Irish ‘Troubles‘ would have been if there had been hordes of Catholic priests and bishops running around IReland preaching support for the IRA’s violence. Of course the new Irish “converts” to radicalism would have found it confusing when they realized they had joined an atheistic, Marxist group (IRA)!

6. The murder of Barnett Slepian byJames Charles Kopp, Oct. 23, 1998. Like Paul Jennings Hill, Eric Rudolph and Scott Roeder, James Charles Kopp is a radical Christian terrorist who has been exalted as a hero by the Army of God. On Oct. 23, 1998 Kopp fired a single shot into the Amherst, NY home of Barnett Slepian (a doctor who performed abortions), mortally wounding him. Slepian died an hour later. Kopp later claimed he only meant to wound Slepian, not kill him. But Judge Michael D’Amico of Erin County, NY said that the killing was clearly premeditated and sentenced Kopp to 25 years to life. Kopp is a suspect in other anti-abortion terrorist attacks, including the non-fatal shootings of three doctors in Canada, though it appears unlikely that Kopp will be extradited to Canada to face any charges.

And which mainstream, normalized Christian sect is it that supports this kind of radicalism? Army of God? A group so radical that the groups considered radical by the mainstream think they are over-the-line is now normative Christianity?

7. Planned Parenthood bombing, Brookline, Massachusetts, 1994. Seldom has the term “Christian terrorist” been used in connection with John C. Salvi on AM talk radio or at Fox News, but it’s a term that easily applies to him. In 1994, the radical anti-abortionist and Army of God member attacked a Planned Parenthood clinic in Brookline, Massachusetts, shooting and killing receptionists Shannon Lowney and Lee Ann Nichols and wounding several others. Salvi was found dead in his prison cell in 1996, and his death was ruled a suicide. The Army of God has exalted Salvi as a Christian martyr and described Lowney and Nichols not as victims of domestic terrorism, but as infidels who got what they deserved. The Rev. Donald Spitz, a Christianist and Army of God supporter who is so extreme that even the radical anti-abortion group Operation Rescue disassociated itself from him, has praised Salvi as well.

So, the only praise this guy got was from a group that Radical Right groups consider too radical? How is this an indictment against any sect of mainstream Christianity? All of the major schools of Islamic jurisprudence endorse honor killing, the execution of gays and apostates as well as other doctrines equally abhorrent to the modern civilised human.

8. Suicide attack on IRS building in Austin, Texas, Feb. 18, 2010. When Joseph Stack flew a plane into the Echelon office complex (where an IRS office was located), Fox News’ coverage of the incident was calm and matter-of-fact. Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa seemed to find the attack amusing and joked that it could have been avoided if the federal government had followed his advice and abolished the IRS. Nonetheless, there were two fatalities: Stack and IRS employee Vernon Hunter. Stack left behind a rambling suicide note outlining his reasons for the attack, which included a disdain for the IRS as well as total disgust with health insurance companies and bank bailouts. Some of the most insightful coverage of the incident came from Noam Chomsky, who said that while Stack had some legitimate grievances—millions of Americans shared his outrage over bank bailouts and the practices of health insurance companies—the way he expressed them was absolutely wrong.

All of which adds up to his being more in tune with Leftists like Chomsky than with conservatives or Christians; another strawman; unless the author’s argument is that only white Lefties commit terrorism.

Of course, Virginia, there are bad people on the Right but, being Right Wingers they will work the system from inside rather than game it from outside.

9. The murder of Alan Berg, June 18, 1984. One of the most absurd claims some Republicans have made about white supremacists is that they are liberals and progressives. That claim is especially ludicrous in light of the terrorist killing of liberal Denver-based talk show host Alan Berg, a critic of white supremacists who was killed with an automatic weapon on June 18, 1984. The killing was linked to members of the Order, a white supremacist group that had marked Berg for death. Order members David Lane (a former Ku Klux Klan member who had also been active in the Aryan Nations) and Bruce Pierce were both convicted in federal court on charges of racketeering, conspiracy and violating Berg’s civil rights and given what amounted to life sentences.

Robert Matthews, who founded the Order, got that name from a fictional group in white supremacist William Luther Pierce’s anti-Semitic 1978 novel, The Turner Diaries—a book Timothy McVeigh was quite fond of. The novel’s fictional account of the destruction of a government building has been described as the inspiration for the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995.

I don’t know about their being “liberal” but, they certainly are NOT aligned with ANY mainstream grouping on either the Left or Right! William Luther Pierce’s own words show that clearly; the closest is the anti-semitism shared with the Left-of-Center Left and radical theocrats from the far Right.

Liars and hypocrites: those are terms that apply pretty well to every politician in the Western world these days, and the Republicans are no better than the Democrats.”

 

“…stop listening to the hypocritical cant of the liberals and the mindless ramblings of the conservatives.”

 

“..But when democracy instead becomes a threat to continued Jewish rule, they are just as fervent anti-democrats.”

 

“… The government we have in Washington now … cannot and should not be reformed or repaired or salvaged. It should be pulled down and have a stake driven through its heart. Everyone who is a part of it should be dealt with in the same way. …… If you want to make an impression on anyone in Washington today, you must convince him that you are willing and able either to hurt him or to help him.”

Clearly this movement is not aligned with conservatives, liberals, Republicans, Democrats or anyone else interested in evolution of society over revolution by a disgruntled minority.

Especially disturbing is when a partisan just makes things up and puts them in the mouth of their opponent; unjustly and dishonestly hanging them with a rope they had nothing to do with making. The last one ion the list full of it, from start to finish.

10. Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City bombing, April 19, 1995. Neocons and Republicans grow angry and uncomfortable whenever Timothy McVeigh is cited as an example of a non-Islamic terrorist…

What I noticed was more of a confusion about why the LEft insists that an anti-government, self-declared agnostic must be conflated with conservative Christians. That hardly adds up to denying that any self-declared “Christian” is without faults.

…Pointing out that a non-Muslim white male [G DeW: WHY do you have to drag race into this? There are plenty of white Muslims in prison for terrorist crimes.] carried out an attack as vicious and deadly as the Oklahoma City bombing doesn’t fit into their narrative that only Muslims and people of color are capable of carrying out terrorist attacks. Neocons will claim that bringing up McVeigh’s name during a discussion of terrorism is a “red herring” that distracts us from fighting radical Islamists, but that downplays the cruel, destructive nature of the attack. [Emphasis added]…

There is one problem with this; There is no mainstream political organisation, Left, Right or Middle, that says any such thing. They all focus on the fundamentalist and radical mentalities.

It is well known on the Right that the majority of American Muslims have absolutely no faith in the representation of the national Muslim “advocacy” groups like CAIR and MPAC. The problem actually is not the perpetrators of terrorist acts, it is the numerous fundamentalist-minded Imams who are the initial radical element; using their authority as religious leaders to cherry-pick from actual scripture and doctrine only what they need to radicalize individual Muslims whenever they can.

“…Prior to the al-Qaeda attacks of 9/11, the Oklahoma City bombing McVeigh orchestrated was the most deadly terrorist attack in U.S. history: 168 people were killed and more than 600 were injured. When McVeigh drove a truck filled with explosives into the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, his goal was to kill as many people as possible. Clearly, McVeigh was not motivated by radical Islam; rather, he was motivated by an extreme hatred for the U.S. government and saw the attack as revenge for the Ruby Ridge incident of 1992 and the Waco Siege in 1993. He had white supremacist leanings as well (when he was in the U.S. Army, McVeigh was reprimanded for wearing a “white power” T-shirt he had bought at a KKK demonstration). McVeigh was executed on June 11, 2001. He should have served life without parole instead, as a living reminder of the type of viciousness the extreme right is capable of.”

Here we run up against the Leftist’s cherished fantasy that the KKK and all of the most violent and virulent racism from American history came from Republicans when the truth is that until the late 50’s and early 60’s when Federal court decisions made their legislative foot dragging on integration moot did the Left STOP being the ideology of the Black-hater, Jew-hater or indeed the “other”-haters they had always been; at least in public, there is no sign that the racism of the Left has done anything but morph into a more subtle and slimy form.

Before the Civil War the people in the North that most opposed abolition were Democrats; in the South the ones who supported it were Republican. During the Civil War (or The War, as Southerners like to refer to it to this day) The people in the North who opposed the war were Democrats. After the war was over the KKK was formed by, once again, Democrats.

In the 50’s it was Democrats who perpetrated the famous acts of violence against peaceful protestors; Gov. Wallace – Dem, Bull Connor – Dem, MLK’s assassin – Democrat… the list is endless. Republicans have their faults to be sure, any partisan grouping is going to have them running out of their ears but, if you hang someone, use a rope that they made, not one you crafted to lynch the innocent.

 

Dumbest (uncorrected) Choices in American History: Shortlist

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My list of REALLY STUPID CHOICES made in American history; just a short-list I am afraid:

Diet Food” that is more chemicals than food

Having the Soviet Union an “ally” in WWII – better to have let them go it alone; email for full argument

The Electoral College in the Age of Communication; direct election of all offices should be the norm; Political Parties are OBSOLETE and COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE

Public Sector Unions

Adding “under God” to the Pledge making it a point of division instead of unity

Lotus and Apple’s Patent-the-Universe Syndrome making the courts accept patents on things never meant for patent

Failing to live up to Dr. King’s vision and refusing to stop being prejudiced regarding race

Private campaign donations of any kind other than labor

Campaign donations by businesses

Supreme Court deciding that money= a right to a louder voice for YOUR ‘free speech

Dropping the no-partisanship requirements for radio talk-shows and ‘interview’ programs

Letting Lawyers advertise

Supreme Court declaring that nothing of value is earned by the recipient of a military award or decoration

Women’s, Chicano, Black “Studies” propping up people selected, distorted and lionized with blatant prejudice; taking away self-respect while pretending to help by ‘giving the poor things a hand’, and White Studies designed to rip on Western Culture for the same purpose – removing its self-respect – it seems non-whites are too dumb or clueless to run their own lives or stand up to whites and that whites are just intrinsically demonic – welcome to the enlightened world of PC education

Failing to settle on the point in a pregnancy where a woman’s choice is MADE and she must be held responsible for an infant rather than a piece of owned tissue. (6 month preemies regularly survive today and the Radical Right’s agenda on abortion would make women all but chattel)

Worrying more about which consenting adults, what age, color or how many may legally get ‘married’; ignoring the concept of duty, honor and responsibility anyone brings to their marriages

Bilingual Education as a policy

Helmets, knee and elbow-pads for tricycle riders

Peer promotion in school

Affirmative Action after 1990 – where was the transition to color-blind government?

Worrying more about what actual people have DONE with their guns than trying to get law-abiding folk to not have any at all

Electing Andrew Jackson, Jimmy Carter, George W., and Obama

Forgetting that ALL countries do best with immigrants if they pick from the TOP of the pile instead of the bottom

Paying a private group to print/coin money like a product to be bought forgetting that money has no ‘intrinsic’ value’; dollars are just counters for the economic game; increasing or decreasing the supply by fiat to ACCURATELY reflect the production/wealth of a nation is the ONLY reason when deciding when or if to print more money, or let the cash pool contract

Deciding that political consensus and no working model or scientific theory that has been tested is sufficient when making decisions in haste that could wreck the world’s entire economy/infrastructure; in the 70’s it was the next Ice Age that was imminent… no models then either

Making an “eco-friendly” light-bulb containing hazardous amounts of mercury

Adults stealing Halloween from the children and making it another grown-ups party holiday

The Writer’s Strike

ANY serious university or college that “emphasized” sports to make money and enabled ‘tails’ that can wag Great Danes with ease

If You are Not Playing Fair, God is Not on Your Side; Clergy are Not Excused from Honesty

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Today we have two examples, one from the Left and one from the Right, of people making blatantly self-serving attacks on their political opponents while attempting to cloak themselves in the sanctity of God.  This is partisanship at its most nauseating.

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First let us examine the Leftist “religious” viewpoint:

Liberal Christians Give LESS to the Poor; Naturally We Must Expose The Conservative Reasons for Not Giving Enough! …HUNH?

I have often said that partisanship can make people believe anything about ANYTHING.  Here is a good example of someone so needy for rotten fruit to huck at his opponents that he “condemns” them for… what amounts to being BETTER at something than his own side!!!  To make matters worse he all but lies to do so, distorting basic facts and mixing and matching demographics at will to support his demonization of a group that has shown itself well able to expose its own demons; Conservative Christianity)  I just want to ask him one thing, who gored YOUR ox?

Richard T. Hughes

Why Conservative Christians So Often Fail the Common Good (Part 2)

In part 1 of this article, we posed this riddle: why do so many evangelical and fundamentalist Christians — people who clearly honor the Bible — so often disregard the two requirements that are central to the biblical vision of the kingdom of God, namely peacemaking and justice for the poor?”

From the start this piece is off track, as Jesus preached to individuals and taught PEOPLE how He wanted them to live. He did not preach to nations or governments, He never left precepts for RULING a society.  The author actually seems to have bought into the heresy of the far-Right, Christian Identity folks; “Godly” society must be established BEFORE Jesus can return.

“Why Focus on “Conservative Christians”?

Some readers quite correctly pointed out that conservatives tend to be more generous toward the poor than liberals, but to frame the issue like that only muddles it. The Bible never suggests that we adequately fulfill our responsibilities through “generosity” toward the poor. Rather, the Bible summons Christians to radical solidarity with the poor and radical opposition to those demonic, systemic structures — what the Bible calls “the principalities and powers — that sustain the rich and powerful at the expense of the poor and the dispossessed.”

Really? In my reality Jesus called for individuals to turn away from political structures and just GET ON WITH IT and feed the poor and live THEIR lives as their conscience commanded.   In fact He had harsh words for those who felt they could legislate morality into their “flock”!  He further advised in no uncertain terms that civil rebellion was NOT his way.

I also love the way the author dismisses out of hand the notion that actual ACTION to help REAL poor people, as opposed to working to create a government to force everyone to care for them, is somehow a lesser expression of Christian charity and Love.  You just Gotta love group-think Virginia!

“…Further, to claim (GDeW: You said before that it was correct, but now you call it a claim?) that conservatives are more generous than liberals sidesteps the fact that neither group is all that generous toward the poor to begin with.”

Are you following this Virginia? Conservative Christian give more to the poor but since neither Leftist nor Conservative Christians do enough in the author’s eyes, it is the CONSERVATIVES that must be brought to task…umm, yes, it is a bit silly. Lets see if our dear Mr. Hughes can pull it out at the end.

“It also sidesteps the fact that neither conservative Christians nor liberal Christians are called to compare themselves with one another.”

I was unaware of the fact that it called for them to ignore their own faults and attack the other! You seem to be of a different opinion Mr. Hughes.

“Instead, if Christians are serious about following Jesus, the only meaningful comparison is with Jesus’ picture of the kingdom of God, and when measured by that standard, American Christians across the board — liberals and conservatives alike — fall woefully short.”

As a student of history I am well aware that pretty much all Christians of this day and age fall short of what the fist generation of “Chrestians” recognized as their own brethren.  That said, I do not know of any major branch, original or modern, that promotes the idea of Jesus’ preaching that you must work for a GOVERNMENT to be formed in the image of the Jewish vision of a Messiah Ruled Society before a person could be considered a follower of His.

“Why, then, would I write a two-part article that singles out conservative rather than liberal Christians for a comparison with that biblical vision.”

Given that your vision is one that you made up instead of finding it in the words of Jesus, I would say that it is just so you can use God as a weapon in your ongoing partisan attacks against your fellow Christians.

“First, conservative Christians are typically far more adamant than liberals in their claims that they are “Bible-believing Christians” who take the Bible seriously at every point.”

The passage above is a great example of a man so eager to demonize the opposition he does not even realize he is insulting his own side!  He is trying to hard not to “look mean” by calling Biblical Literalists byname that he implies that Liberal Christians do not believe the Bible seriously AT ALL.  Kinda makes you wonder why they would BE Christians if Hughes has them pegged rightly, doesn’t it?  Somehow I think that the average “Liberal” Christian deserves a bit more respect than that!

“ It is therefore fair to ask how successfully they live out a theme that stands at the center of the biblical text — the biblical vision of the kingdom.”

First off,it is a central Biblical theme that you do not stand hypocritically on the Temple steps and denounce the sins of others before you have examined your own!  And you certainly do not do it by putting words in the mouth of the central figure of your supposed religion that support your political goals!

“The second consideration is perhaps even more important. For almost forty years, the most visible representatives of the Christian religion in the United States have been conservatives, not liberals. I have in mind the electronic evangelists — those leaders of the Christian Right like Jerry Falwell, Jim Bakker, James Kennedy, Pat Robertson, and a host of others — who have been extraordinarily vocal about their vision of the United States as a Christian nation. Not once have I heard any of those preachers define the Christian religion in terms of either (1) peacemaking or (2) justice for the oppressed, the poor, the marginalized, and those who suffer at the hands of the world’s elites — themes that are central to the biblical vision of the kingdom of God.”

One wonders why Hughes doesn’t just do a piece on how televangelism corrupts preachers, given that he only lists the most controversial if not heretical of a class that polls have revealed to have about the same level of trustworthiness in the public eye as lawyers!  And even with that vetting for nuttiness I would bet that if you actually read their sermons you would find examples of these things; if you ignore Mr. Hughes’ fantasy about Jesus requiring His followers to build Socialist government institutions.

“To the contrary, these preachers have often gone out of their way to support the principalities and powers that oppress marginalized people. Various televangelists at various times, for example, have told the American people that God has chosen the United States for a destiny of dominance in the world, that Jesus’ followers should prosper and never be poor, and that Christians should rally to support America’s wars against the enemies of God. In a word, most televangelists of the Christian Right have preached a gospel that is radically antithetical to the biblical text, and by proclaiming this pseudo-gospel, they have discredited the Christian religion almost beyond belief. It is surely time to measure their preaching by the biblical vision of the kingdom of God!”

Am I confused Virginia, or did we start off this piece talking about how Conservative Christians giving more to poor folks really meant Liberal Christian were the cool ones? How did we get onto Televangelists? Many Televangelists are bad preachers = All Conservative Christians are failing their duty to God? Somehow, I do not think Mr. Hughes passed Logic 101.

“The Kingdom of God and the Common Good

… The kingdom of God is universal and those who promote that kingdom care deeply for every human being in every corner of the globe, regardless of race or nationality. But earthly nations — even so-called “Christian” nations — embrace values that are inevitably nationalistic and tribal, caring especially for the welfare of those within their borders. And while the kingdom of God exalts the poor, the disenfranchised, and the dispossessed, earthly nations inevitably exalt the rich and powerful and hold them up as models to be emulated. In fact, in the context of earthly nations — even so-called “Christian” nations — the poor seldom count for much at all.”

Which is probably why Jesus preached to people and not governments!!!  So intent on his political goal is he that even while describing it, Hughes misses the point of Not Of This World!

“In light of that comparison, it must be obvious that when I speak of the common good, I don’t have in mind the American dream of a chicken in every pot or three cars in every garage or the American notion that freedom ultimately means freedom to shop. In fact, I don’t have in mind anything uniquely American at all. Instead, when I speak of the common good, I have in mind what the Bible envisions for all humankind — life and not death. But when the principalities and powers define the common good, they typically mean the good life for some, and the good life for some invariably means poverty, hunger, nakedness, and finally death for all the others.”

And this is probably why the Bible envisions this perfect society needing DIRECT INTERVENTION by God to come about AFTER we have messed it all up for the last time (not MY view, but the Bible’s), not Mr. Hughes and his buddies legislating their version of “morality” upon everyone.

“One final introductory comment: several who commented on the first article also questioned the accuracy of my claim that the biblical vision of the kingdom of God is really all that central to the biblical text or, for that matter, to what Christians call “the gospel.” But the Christian gospel always has two central components — the unmerited grace that God extends to us and, in response, the unmerited grace that we should extend to others. I John makes this point as well as any other biblical text: “Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” (I Jn. 3:16) That is as clear a picture of the kingdom of God as one is likely to find.”

It is simply astonishing to see someone hold up a black book and declare it to obviously be white!  It is just sad when that person does it for personal glorification and to put down their opponents. It is simply disgusting when that person does it using God.

Where, Mr. Hughes, does the Bible tell us to legislate that grace so our neighbor is forced to dispense it in exactly the measure WE define as acceptable?  Pardon me while I go get reacquainted with my breakfast.  The fact that all that poison was just “introductory” to your “point” put my stomach over the top.

beat1 

Now let us move on to the Right-Wing side of the Pew and see how a “conservative Christian” shows his love by lying and distorting everything he can in order to “Save” his sheep:

Traditional Values Coalition Opinion Editorial For publication on or after Wednesday, October 31, 2001

New FBI Hate Crime Statistics Expose Homosexual Lies

By Rev. Louis P. Sheldon Chairman, Traditional Values Coalition

… This legislation begins with this somber comment: “The incidence of violence motivated by the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or disability of the victim poses a serious national problem.”

This introduction to S. 625 is filled with lies and half-truths about the nature of hate crimes in America-yet this bill is being seriously debated-despite the facts. The recently released FBI hate crime statistics for 2000 shed new light on what Ted Kennedy alleges is a “serious national problem.””

And now Rev. Sheldon will put his own lies and half-truths on the table as a counter-balance!

“Most Americans are tolerant and compassionate individuals who do not wish anyone to be harmed. Unfortunately, homosexual activists have exploited this compassion in the promotion of the idea of “hate crime” legislation. A “hate crime” law typically includes enhanced penalties against an individual for his negative thoughts when he committed a crime against a person who is part of a protected class. For example, a common thug who mugs a lesbian for her purse will receive a higher penalty for his anti-homosexual thoughts or motivations than if he had mugged a woman simply for her money.”

I have my doubts about many, if not most, hate crime laws, however lying about them does not help! Claiming the label Reverend and then proceeding to lie is “just not done”!

A hate crime law does not criminalize the thoughts of the thug who HAPPENS to mug someone who is a lesbian, they only apply if the lesbian is attacked BECAUSE she is a lesbian. If a person mugs two women, one of whom is openly lesbian, and then verbally insults that woman for being gay and kicks her in the face, all the while not harming the “straight” lady, they HAVE committed a hate crime in addition to the “regular” crime.  I fail to see that the basic idea of making crimes that are committed ONLY because of prejudice a special class is wrong.

“Homosexuals have been successful in getting many states and communities to add “sexual orientation” as a protected category under hate crime laws. This creates what amounts to “thought crimes” and unequal justice under the law for those not given protected class status.”

I can’t see why, if you are gong to have a hate crime law, why ANY definable grouping should not be included.  The whole idea of “hate crime”is of a crime that WOULD NOT HAPPEN if the criminal did not see the victim as “acceptable to attack” because of their race,religion, politics, sexuality or WHATEVER. IF someone attacked and beat someone for being a street mime it should be classed a hate crime.  “Normal” crime is impersonal,it is about transferring money or property from one who has it to one who wants it but, hasn’t earned it.  Committing a crime not for financial gain, but solely to satisfy an inner need to dehumanize ANYONE, is what the hate crime ideology is all about at its core.

“The FBI’s newly released hate crime statistics should be welcomed news to homosexuals. The latest hate crime numbers have been posted on the FBI’s web site. …The FBI hate crime statistics show the following: In 2000, there were a total of 8,152 hate crimes reported involving a total of 9,524 distinct incidents. Out of a total of 8,144 single-bias incidents, for example, 5,206 were racially motivated and 1,568 were bias crimes against a person’s religion.

The FBI says the most common hate crime was that of “intimidation” with a total of 3,294 cases. A person who was “intimidated” was a victim of profanity, racial slurs, or verbal threats by another individual. In short, a third of these hate crimes were non-violent and amounted to name-calling.”

One wonders  if the good reverend has ever been seriously harassed or taunted or threatened in his life! He blithely dismisses as mere name calling things as serious as multiple, physically aggressive and verbally hateful people trailing someone down the street telling them in graphic terms just what they plan to do to that person, their family and anyone who is close to them…Remember, these statistics only refer to those verbal acts that were considered by the FBI to be CRIMES!

Virginia, what do you think of a reverend who thinks that a truck load of rednecks trailing a black schoolgirl and taunting her with rape and assault on her family is “name calling”? Good girl, I can’t fault your instincts. But, you should not use language like that in public. Ladies have better use of their vocabulary than that!  To be fair it should be noted that he also probably considers 15 Muslim youths chasing and screaming threats at a Jewish kid half their size to also be “name calling.” The Rev. only promotes Equal Opportunity Callousness I am sure!

“…Overall, there were only 1,517 hate crimes of bias committed because of a person’s actual or perceived sexual orientation in 2000. It is likely that at least a third of these were intimidation or name-calling. The FBI gathered these statistics from 11,691 law enforcement agencies encompassing a total of 237 million Americans-or 84.2% of the entire population.”

Here is a good example of how partisans use statistics dishonestly.  The number 1,517 is called “only’ and then several much larger,but irrelevant, numbers are listed to further diminish it in the reader’s mind. The good Rev obviously does not expect his audience to stop and THINK about the numbers he has revealed to be a veritable gospel for American homosexuals.

1,517 out of 8,144 means that more or less one out of every five incidents of ”single bias” against ANYONE was about that person’s sexual orientation!  Almost TWENTY PERCENT!  And this is measured against all the bias incidents against Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Jews, women, men, old folks, young folks, Republicans, Democrats and whatever other groups you care to name!!!  TWENTY PERCENT of this type of crime is committed against gays?  And the Rev feels that gays should rejoice in this “Good News”?

“No compassionate American is in favor of someone being verbally or physically assaulted because of his sexual preferences, but neither should we be subjected to thought crime legislation that provides special legal protections to homosexuals not accorded other Americans. Criminalizing a person’s views on sexual behavior should not be a matter of federal law.”

I agree that EVERYONE should have protection against bias motivated crime. But, this does not give the morally-ambiguous Reverend the right to lie and say that criminalizing bias-based ACTIONS (that in themselves are criminal) is criminalizing a person’s VIEWS!!!

“Out of 11.6 million crimes committed against persons and property in 2000, only 1,517 were hate crimes directed at homosexuals-and a third of these were undoubtedly name-calling. This should be good news to homosexual activists, but it undercuts one of their primary objectives: The passage of federal hate crime legislation that will add homosexual behavior as a protected class status under federal civil rights laws.”

I guess that it is possible to admire the economy or language in the above passage, it is impossible to find morality in it. First the Rev pulls the TOTAL person and property crime number out (not the much smaller, but RELEVENT, single-bias number) and compares it to 1,517, next he applies his “name calling” dismissal to further reduce the importance of that number. Finally, he slaps homosexuals in the face by calling this number good news and uses the sum of his hypocrisy to “prove” that the numbers “undermine” the need for hate crime laws, ESPECIALLY regarding homosexuals!  Tums anyone?

“…The FBI’s recent statistics showing how few hate crimes were committed against homosexuals in 2000 are irritations that will undoubtedly be ignored by activists. The truth has undercut their claims of an epidemic of hate crimes against homosexuals, but that won’t stop them from attempting to gain special rights under federal law for their preferred sexual behavior.”

I guess the Rev follows the old “Big Lie” theory; tell it with a straight enough face and tell it often enough, and people will believe ANY nonsense!  Notice how he tosses in the gibe implying that gays CHOOSE to be as they are!

Left or Right, it does not really matter. Those who seek power for power’s sake will show themselves as morally empty,no matter what “God” they claim to follow.

 

Taliban and “Religious Right” Can Truly Relate

In this partisan time let me preface my thoughts by saying that I am NOT a Democrat or Leftist. Nor am I an atheist or anti-religion. Anyone who has read even a few of my articles will know that I attack partisanship anywhere, Left or Right.

I have great respect for Mr. Cooper of NewsRealblog. I find his writing and analysis to be almost always intelligent and insightful. Then there are those times when he tells us that following his sub sect [Conservative] of his sect [Protestant] of his religion [Christianity] somehow makes people immune to groupthink.

In addition I do NOT have a shred of respect for either party in the mentioned video. I have not even watched it.

I am writing here about Mr. Cooper’s response to the simple statement:

Matthews: “The group in this country that most resembles the Taliban, ironically, is the Religious Right.”

Mr. Cooper might be surprised to hear it but the majority of Americans would more or less agree with that statement. When it comes to their views on Constitutional secular government and their visions of a “godly” society they [the Religious Right and Taliban] are like twins separated at birth.

The paradox of the partisan mentality is their ability to believe the unsupportable. They believe that all criticisms of the opposition are likely to be true but that none of the accusations leveled at their group ever are. When it is put that way everyone agrees that partisanship is bad. What partisans will never agree to however is the idea that they themselves are partisans. After all, how can you be a partisan when you are right?

One thing I have always admired about the Jewish religion is that it teaches one to accept criticism, even by enemies as a grace. They are taught to be thankful for an opportunity to think about how they can be a better person. I hope Mr. Cooper will take my response in this spirit.

Let me ask Mr. Cooper a question. Which present day American group’s tactics most resemble the Taliban’s? Of the groups active today who other than Fred Phelps’ minions would even come to mind? The terrorist tactics of the 60’s and 70’s have passed from virtually all politically active groups in America. What remains is Phelps’ scare tactics of Hellfire and emotional intimidation. And from where does the Phelps fringe emanate? The Religious Right.

Mr. Cooper tried to show that the Taliban are known for things the Religious Right is not. Unfortunately the examples he chose remind non Religious Right folks more of the ways in which they do resemble each other.

Cooper: “The Taliban are known for wanting government to uphold the strictest form of Sharia law. They even add additional laws to it. They are especially known for their degradation of women. Women are kept in oppressive attire and wife-beating is legal.”

Can it be that Christian Conservatives truly cannot see the shadow of the Christian Right-wing in those words? Is it not an open fact that the “Religious Right” as embodied in the statements of its leaders seeks a world that is very similar to the Taliban’s?

Pat Robertson has lamented many times about Christians not being allowed to interpret the Constitution to dominate all others in the name of Christ. When did Jerry Falwell ever shy from seeking to make his personal religion the law of the land?

If you narrow your focus to only look at America then yes, Virginia the native group that stands out as oppressive towards women and children is the Religious Right.

Let us pause and define another term; Religious Right. This is no more a synonym for Christian Conservative than Obama is for “liberal”. The Religious Right is unyielding, partisan and does not question the “truth” they wish to force on the rest of us any more than the Taliban do.

The only real difference between the far Right and the far Left is the source of their “truth”; God or Man. The only real difference between the Taliban on one side and Phelps and his less obnoxious brethren on the other is how violently they impose their worldview. Both are inimical to a secular, Constitutional society.

Please do not take the wrong message from my words. The Christian version is not as vicious as the Taliban because of the core message of Christianity and the influence of Western Enlightenment thinking. But, they both seek theocracy in their own words.

Any ideology can be used for evil but historically Christianity has shown itself to be able to bounce back from the edge. In contrast Islam and Marxism are designed to PROMOTE aggressive partisan behavior. It is the people who use Christianity or Islam or Marxism to be tyrants that are evil. We should not obscure the similarities of those that seek to misuse power.

Should I not be sad when Christian Conservatives, who embrace all The Constitution stands for, turn a blind eye to the religion some evil-doers use to justify their goal of tyranny?