Hep-hep riotsI blogged just a few days ago that the Great Neocrusade — a movement within the Religious Right that I labeled as such a few years ago — had moved from being an instrument of propaganda and Christian apologetics, into outright violence. At the time I specified a number of anti-Mulsim attacks that had taken place, in support of this trend.

Sadly, I must report, this trend continues … and it’s accelerated. Here’s just a sampling of stories over the last couple days:

Even more sadly, it looks as though the violent Neocrusaders aren’t very discriminating. They’ve gone after people who aren’t even Muslims, apparently without even realizing it:

Two notes: This list is not exhaustive! There have been many more anti-Muslim incidents across the country. Second, I acknowledge some of these are victims’ reports, and have yet to be corroborated. Some might turn out to be hoaxes, or may not have been motivated by hatred of Muslims. I will do my best to check these over the next couple of months to verify them.

Yesterday I received angry, private correspondence from someone I presume to be a Neocrusader, accusing me of not realizing that Muslims attacked both Paris and San Bernardino — which I obviously know about, since I blogged about Paris and mentioned San Bernardino; of not “understanding” the nature of the problem and of people’s anger over it — again, I’m obviously aware of that, since I’ve blogged about Islamist terror on countless occasions; and of sympathizing with Islamist terrorists — which also is obviously untrue since I’ve consistently condemned them.

Look, I get it. I do. Really. Honest! Yes, I understand the rage Neocrusaders feel. But I don’t fucking care how much rage seethes inside them! They simply can’t act out on that rage. Grown adults are able to deal with their anger and suppress it, and I expect them to do so. What’s more, the idea that it’s somehow OK to attack innocent Muslims at will, because some terrorists who happen to be Muslim have attacked innocents, is “two wrongs make a right” thinking, and is quite fallacious.

Go ahead, Neocrusaders, be angry, if it makes you feel better to do so. Have at it! Enjoy yourselves. Be as sanctimoniously furious as you want! But … keep it to yourselves. Taking your anger out on others is illegal, and is itself a form of the very same terrorism that got you all enraged in the first place. The better course would be to grow up, suck it up, and fucking control yourselves for once.

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St Patrick's CathedralIt’s not just abuse of children that Roman Catholic hierarchs have been known to cover up. They tend to protect a lot of clerical misbehaviors. Anything that might make their Church look bad, can be something they don’t want to be widely known. An example of this was revealed in a parishioners’ lawsuit against a priest accused of embezzlement, his “boy toy,” and the archdiocese and archbishop whom they accuse of covering it all up. The (NY) Daily News reports on this ambling, sordid tale involving two parishes (WebCite cached article):

Father, forgive him.

A scandalous lawsuit accuses a Bronx priest of looting more than $1 million from a pair of city parishes — then spending the cash on a long-running S&M romance with a muscle-bound boyfriend.

The Rev. Peter Miqueli reportedly paid $1,000 per rough sex session with his hunky lover, who demanded the priest address him as “Master” — and drink his urine, the lawsuit said.

The sex-slave priest and his boy toy have shared a house in Brick, N.J., after Miqueli paid $264,000 cash six years ago, according to the suit.

Miqueli, 53, was also accused of stealing money donated to fix a church pipe organ, siphoning funds from a parish thrift shop and getting high on drugs provided by a Bronx parishioner.…

The suit was filed by parishioners from St. Frances de Chantal Church in Throgs Neck, where Miqueli remains the pastor, and from his old church, St. Francis Cabrini, on Roosevelt Island.

“These charges of theft and misconduct have been made for at least 10 years,” said lawyer Michael Dowd, who represents the two parishes.

“It is unbelievable that the diocese can’t come to a conclusion about the misconduct of Miqueli when there is money missing that may be a million dollars.”

The Daily News offers more details of the accusations, plus the plaintiffs’ assertion that Cardinal Timothy Dolan and the archdiocese helped Fr Miqueli cover up what he’d done. Dolan, you may recall, has something of a history along these lines; back when he’d been archbishop of Milwaukee, he paid off a few abusive priests so they’d quit, rather than turn them over to authorities. He may have viewed Fr Miqueli’s embezzled funds as a kind of “price” the parishes should pay in order to keep this scandal quiet, too.

To be clear, this is a lawsuit, and by itself, the filing proves nothing. Even so, there’s the possibility of corroboration … such as the emails sent to and from the archdiocese by the girlfriend of Fr Miqueli’s lover. We’ll see how this turns out.

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Schlacht von ArsufI’ve blogged for years about what I call “the Great Neocrusade,” an effort to outlaw Islam within the US — and once that’s done, perhaps then eradicate it completely from the planet. It’s a campaign ginned up within the Religious Right which has gone from being a “fringe” trope to the mainstream, having recently been overtly embraced even by Republican presidential candidates. Another of those candidates, Donald “it’s his own hair” Trump has decided Muslims should no longer be allowed into the country — until, he says, we’ve “figured out what’s going on, whatever the hell that might mean (WebCite cached article).

If you thought these folk were amped up after the Paris attacks, the shooting in San Bernardino appears to have sent them over the edge (cached). They’re simply not going to stand for those horrible terrorist Muslims living among them any more.

Someone left a severed pig’s head at the door of a Philadelphis mosque (cached). While that’s sickening and vile, though, it’s nothing compared to what else has happened. A Bronx middle-schooler was attacked because she’s a Muslim (cached). A man in Queens was beaten, also, because he too is a Muslim (cached).

In addition to all of the above there have been lots of death threats, often left in the form of voicemails. And a Muslim teen’s death in Seattle may have been an anti-Muslim hate crime, although that case isn’t yet certain (cached).

Yes, the Great Neocrusade has erupted beyond a campaign of mere words and of ridiculous legislative maneuvers that should never have happened, and is now being acted out, physically. Yeah, these are grown-ups we’re supposedly talking about.

Pardon me for pointing this out … but getting into a nationwide pissing contest with other religions over whose followers can be more violent, and whose deity can beat up who else’s deity, isn’t exactly the best way to show off one’s sanctity and righteousness. But then, what could a cold-hearted, cynical, godless agnostic heathen possibly know about such important, holy matters?

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'I'm never alone, they're always here, watching, waiting, listening, scheming ... I can't escape them, they're suffocating me, with their dark lies. I need to get out. Everyone's against me, there's no one I can trust, I'm my own worst enemy.' / PARANOIA - demotivational poster, via MotifakeIt’s been a while since I blogged about the Sandy Hook truther phenomenon. For the most part this trope has died down here in Connecticut, but elsewhere it seems to live on — in spite of how insane it is. Perhaps the strangest aspect of this movement is that, while many of the scenarios are contradictory — some propose that the shooting happened and people died but it wasn’t done by a lone murderous criminal, while others presume it to have been a staged event in which no one died — Sandy Hook truthers tend to stick together anyway (as though they have no idea their arguments differ substantially).

The only point in common that they have, is that they think it was ordered by President Barack Obama so he could justify confiscating everyone’s guns and/or nullifying the Second Amendment. (That he hasn’t even come close to attempting to do either of these, is irrelevant to them.) This unity of spirit, if not in detail, coupled with the insanity inherent in most conspiratorial thinking*, makes it a potentially dangerous movement.

Over the past month, some of that danger has reared its ugly head. A month ago, as the Connecticut Post reports, one truther tried to interfere in a race held in memory of slain teacher Vicki Soto (WebCite cached article):

A self-proclaimed “truther” was arrested after police said he tried to disrupt the Vicki Soto 5K race.

Matthew Mills, 32, of Brooklyn, N.Y., was charged Saturday with interfering with police and second-degree breach of peace. He was released after posting $2,500 bond.…

Hundreds were attending the third-annual race to raise money for educational scholarships in Soto’s name. Police said Mills approached Vicki’s Soto’s younger sister, Jillian. They said Mills shoved a photograph in the younger Soto’s face and began angrily charging that not only did the Sandy Hook tragedy not take place, but that Vicki Soto never existed.

Police said the photo was of the Soto family, including Vicki Soto, sitting on a seawall in Stratford.

In case you didn’t know it, Sandy Hook truthers are obsessed with photos they think show the slain victims alive and well after the massacre. They don’t know what they’re talking about when they wave them around … and quite obviously, appearances can be deceiving … but those realities never put a dent in their sanctimonious outrage.

And just a couple days ago, truthers ramped up their war against the Soto family as News Corp Australia reports, by threatening Carlee Soto and publishing her address (cached):

The Sandy Hook “truthers” took their theories a step further this week when they tracked Ms Soto down, threatened her family and posted her address online. As she grieves her sister’s loss three years on, she’s faced with fear all over again.

On a memorial page dedicated to Vicki Soto, her family described how they were “scared to go home” after users on photo sharing site Instagram shared their home address.…

The family shared a number of messages sent to them. In one message, user @divinely_awakened_ wrote to Carlee’s husband Brent: “They’re coming after you. They know who you and your wife are. They know where you live.”

In another message, user @anon_perkeletic shared the family’s details with a message accusing Ms Soto of being an actor.

The truthers have long accused Carlee Soto of being a “crisis actor”; Snopes even has an article debunking that notion. Isn’t it time for people to just fucking grow the hell up already and stop letting themselves go out of control over insane ideas that aren’t even comprehensible, much less reconcilable with known fact?

* Yes, I know the old saw that some conspiracy theories are true. And yes, I’m aware that some are. But that doesn’t make any given conspiracy theory true. It just doesn’t, and I’m not stupid enough to fall for that contention.

Photo credit: Motifake.

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Facepalm (7839341408)By now my readers surely will have heard about the shooting in San Bernardino, CA yesterday that killed 14 and wounded 17 (WebCite cached article). Among all the yammering that’s been said about this horrific event, in the mass media and by officials, pundits and politicians, I’m not pleased to report that it’s been used as ammunition in the annual phantasmal “war on Christmas.” Raw Story explains how this connection was made this morning, on (you guessed it!) Fox News (cached):

Fox News legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr. warned that Wednesday’s mass killing in San Bernardino could be a “literal war on Christmas.”…

“I don’t want to come to any hasty conclusions at the point,” Johnson continued, “but if you look at the dots, if you start to connect them in a way that’s rational and reasonable — and not political — based on simple things we know about terrorism, simple things we know about criminal justice then it leads inescapably to that one horrible conclusion: terror.”

“Is it based on politics? Is it based on religion? Is it based on hate? Is it a literal war on Christmas?”

Is this guy serious? What the fuck? How much lower can these people stoop, in their effort to bolster the lie that there’s a “war on Christmas” in the US and that it’s about to be outlawed, as a way of wiping out Christianity and its followers? You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me!

P.S. I love how Johnson says he doesn’t “want to come to any hasty conclusions” … yet he proceeds to barge right ahead and do exactly that. Although I concede, based on reports that have come in all day today (cached), that this very likely is an example of Islamist terrorism. It wasn’t an entirely unreasonable assumption, but it’s still idiotic for him to make a point of professing not to make assumptions, but then go ahead and make one nonetheless.

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'... but it CAN'T be TERRORISM if Christians did it!' / PsiCop original graphicBy now, my readers know about the attack last Friday on Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs, CO (WebCite cached article). It doesn’t take too much to figure why this man attacked that particular facility. After all, after an anti-abortion group released a series of videos purporting to show P.P. personnel “selling baby parts” — which they weren’t actually doing (cached) — there have been attacks on P.P. facilities in many places (cached).

No one should be surprised that this would have happened. Within the Religious Right there’s long been a seething undercurrent of sanctimonious outrage that P.P. even exists at all. Of course those videos lit a few fuses around the country! How could they not? Surely that was what the group that created them intended. They had to know they’d be stirring up a latent fury.

In any event, as soon as I’d heard a P.P. facility was the scene of an “active shooter” incident, I knew there were two possibilities: First, that the shooter knew someone there (either an employee or a patient) and that the incident grew out of some domestic disagreement; or second, that it was a furious Religious Rightist on a personal crusade to shut down P.P. and end its supposed practice of “selling baby parts” — which, as I said, they do not do (cached). It turns out that the shooter, Robert Dear, had a most recent address in North Carolina (cached), so the domestic angle would seem improbable at best.

That would make him an anti-abortion crusader. In other words, a domestic, Right-wing Christian terrorist. But … one wouldn’t know that from local officials or from mass-media coverage. The current mantra they’re all mouthing is that Dear’s motive is “unknown.” This is in spite of the fact that it’s also been widely reported that he’s been cooperating with police since his surrender. It’s difficult to believe they’d characterize him as “cooperating” if he hadn’t given them some idea of what he’d been trying to do.

As I’ve noted previously, they just don’t seem to want to acknowledge the reality of domestic, Right-wing terrorism in the US. The most that’s been said of Dear’s motive was mentioned in an AP report providing only one detail (cached):

The man who police say staged a deadly shooting attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic that offers abortion services said “no more baby parts” after his arrest, a law enforcement official said Saturday.

Even so, the same story repeats local officials’ insistence that there’s no known motive:

Police, however, have not disclosed a motive for Friday’s attack during which they say Dear stormed the Colorado Springs clinic, killing three people, including a police officer, before he surrendered to authorities.

It seems no one in the mass media or in law enforcement will dare put 2 and 2 together and just come right out and say what most of us already know: That Robert Dear is a domestic, Right-wing, anti-abortion Christian terrorist.

It’s long past time for Americans to fucking grow the hell up and admit the reality of domestic, Right-wing terrorism. It exists. It’s real. If you need yet another recent example of this phenomenon, look no further than the shooting that happened this past Monday at a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Chicago (cached). It doesn’t appear those shooters were Christian, but they are definitely Right-wingers, of their own sort (cached).

No, instead of admitting the US has a Right-wing terror problem, we have Neocrusaders stomping around the country, desperate to outlaw Islam. We have presidential candidates who want to shut down mosques and possibly even track all Muslims (cached), as ways of eliminating terror. None of that bullshit is going to help much, if everyone just lets the likes of Robert Dear off the hook, making whiney excuses for why we supposedly don’t know why he did what he did. The truth is, we all fucking know why he did what he did. To say otherwise is a fucking lie.

Photo credit: PsiCop original graphic.

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A Charlie Brown Christmas TreeIn a remarkable contrast to all the Religious Right’s bellicose whining about how Christmas is somehow being outlawed, alongside their ongoing effort to force every American to worship it with them, Pope Francis made some comments recently about that holiday which are very different. As Agence France-Presse reports via Yahoo News, he said that Christmas celebrations will seem hollow this year (WebCite cached article):

Christmas festivities will seem empty in a world which has chosen “war and hate”, Pope Francis said Thursday.

“Christmas is approaching: there will be lights, parties, Christmas trees and nativity scenes … it’s all a charade. The world continues to go to war. The world has not chosen a peaceful path,” he said in a sermon.

“There are wars today everywhere, and hate,” he said after the worst terror attack in French history, the bombing of a Russian airliner, a double suicide bombing in Lebanon, and a series of other deadly strikes.

“We should ask for the grace to weep for this world, which does not recognise the path to peace. To weep for those who live for war and have the cynicism to deny it,” the Argentine pontiff said, adding: “God weeps, Jesus weeps”.

The sermon threw a shadow over the start of the festive season at the Vatican, where a giant Christmas tree was unveiled.

As seems to be usual for him, Pope Francis once again bucks a lot of Catholic, if not overall Christian, trends … using the observance of a Christmas tree’s unveiling to make somber comments of this sort.

I hope all the “Christmas warriors” out there … led as they are by the (yes, Catholic!) Bill O’Reilly … will take note of what Pope Francis said. Maybe their caterwauling and whining about Starbuck’s coffee cups won’t seem so sanctimoniously important.

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