Posts Tagged “neocrusade”

Husité - Jenský kodexThe Paris attacks a week ago have brought out the raging Neocrusader which lurks deep inside most Rightists here in the US. GOP presidential contenders have tripped over each other — not to mention themselves — trying to exhibit their Neocrusading credentials. They particularly have their knickers in knots over plans to bring around 10,000 Syrian refugees into the US (WebCite cached article).

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush has said the US should admit only Syrians who can demonstrate they’re Christian (cached). He hasn’t explained how they’re supposed to provide this proof. Plus, wouldn’t a committed Islamist terrorist be able to “fake” being a Christian in order to get into the US, assuming there’s a meaningful way to do so? (And no, don’t assume Islamists would never pass themselves off as belonging to some other religion; there are no safe assumptions one can make about them.)

Then there’s the Christofascist Ted Cruz, Senator from Texas, who likewise called for admitting only Christians from among the Syrian refugees vying for entry (cached). As with the Jebster, Teddie assumes it’s “safe” to admit any Syrian who says s/he’s a Christian, and he doesn’t account for any means to verify such a claim in any serious way.

But neither of these misguided Christianist notions holds a candle to what real estate mogul and leading GOP contender Donald Trump came up with. He’s declared that he wants Muslims in the US to carry special identification and/or be tracked in a special database (cached). Yes, that’s right, he’s proposing we treat Muslims in ways the Third Reich had treated Jews (cached).

Likewise embracing Nazi tactics is Rhode Island state senator Elaine Morgan, who wants Syrian refugees who end up in her state to be placed in special camps (cached). Gee, those sound like concentration camps or internment camps to me.

None of this should be construed as dismissing any possible danger from Syrian refugees. Of course it exists and is real, especially since at least one of the Paris attackers — all of whom were actually European nationals — had returned to Europe posing as a refugee and may have planted a fake or stolen Syrian passport he’d used to come into Greece posing as a refugee (cached). It’s undeniable that a terrorist might try to enter the US as a refugee. But the process of getting to the US is time-consuming — upwards of 18 months, and usually around 2 years (cached). While the vetting process is far from perfect, as administration officials admit (cached) — and Rightists love to use these admissions to justify their Neocrusading impulses — this scenario nevertheless forces enraged Islamist terrorists bent on massacring innocents to sit around and do nothing, somewhere in Europe, for around 2 years before they can reach America. This alone makes it an unlikely tactic for them to use. A much more efficient tactic would be for them to recruit terrorists from among people already in the US or Canada … which has actually been done (cached).

I very much understand the fear these Neocrusaders exploit. It has a basis in reality … but the measures being promised are far too draconian, and won’t guarantee Americans’ safety in any event. What’s needed is better intelligence, and better action on that intelligence, to better pinpoint who the terrorists are, where they are, what they’re up to, and whom they’re in contact with. Broad policies, such as blocking Syrian immigration altogether or applying a specious religious test to it, really aren’t going to be much help, if we’re not willing to apply the intelligence we already have available (which, as Edward Snowden revealed, is extensive).

Not to mention, the average American is much more likely to become a victim of domestic Rightist terror rather than Islamist terror. But that’s another story entirely … !

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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jesus-with-rifle-thumbNote: My next blog post addresses a point in this one.

America’s Christians have had enough, it seems, of not being allowed to force their dour metaphysics on the entire country, and they’re tired of terrorists and criminals insolently daring to attack them (as though no one else ever gets attacked). So they’ve decided to arm themselves and take the fight to save their Jesus to the streets! I have two such stories for you:

First, a bunch of angry Neocrusaders plan to show up — some packing heat! — at mosques around the country (as Raw Story explains) to show those horrific Muslim types who’s really in charge (WebCite cached article):

Anti-Muslim conservative groups have planned at least 20 rallies this month at mosques and other sites across the Unites States in coming days.

Imagine 2050 reported [cached] this week that a Facebook group [cached] called Global Rally for Humanity had put out a call for anti-Muslim demonstrations in “every country at every Mosque.”…

According to Imagine 2050, at least 20 rallies had already been planned for Oct. 9 and Oct. 10. Some of the organizers have encouraged demonstrators to show up armed, while others urged participants not to bring weapons.

An event in Dearborn, Michigan was billed as an “OPEN CARRY anti-mosque pro-AMERICA rally on 10/10!!”

I’m not sure what the point of this is, other than simple, raw intimidation. Yeah, that’s sure to make those insolent folk want not to be Muslims any more and convert en masse to Christianity! I guess. I mean, what else is a show of force good for? Wouldn’t you want to convert immediately if you saw a bunch of armed Christian ex-military marching around your mosque? </sarcasm>

Next, according to The Tennesseean, Tenneessee’s lieutenant governor Ron Ramsey declared, in the wake of the Roseburg, OR massacre (cached), that it’s time for godly Christians to arm themselves or be slaughtered (cached):

Ramsey, R-Blountville, made those remarks in a Facebook post Friday, one day after a shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., left 10 people dead. The suspect, 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer, reportedly asked victims to name their religious affiliation during the massacre.

In his Facebook post, Ramsey links to a New York Post article with the headline “Oregon gunman singled out Christians during rampage.” Ramsey groups the Oregon shooting with other recent mass shootings in the nation. “Whether the perpetrators are motivated by aggressive secularism, jihadist extremism or racial supremacy, their targets remain the same: Christians and defenders of the West,” Ramsey said.

You can read Ramsey’s Facebook post for yourself (cached). Ramsey, you may recall, has previously declared that Muslims don’t have any religious freedom in the US … but Christians (conveniently for him!) do.

What all of these folk forget are three very important things: First, while Islamist terror groups like ISIS/ISIL/IS and al-Qaeda certainly have gone after Christians, they also target other Muslims who don’t belong to the same wing of the same sect of Islam as they do. In fact, by most counts, Islamofascists have killed far more Muslims than anyone else.

Second, these Neocrusaders’ focus solely on Islam as the supposed sole source of terrorism in the world purposely ignores all the Right-wing and even Christian terror that takes place, even within the US! Yes, folks, it’s true: There are Christian terrorists … and for all you know, they could be your neighbors! Where’s the outrage about that? Why haven’t atheists showed up, armed to the teeth, to protest at churches? (Answer: They haven’t, and as far as I know aren’t likely ever to.)

Third, while reports say the Roseburg killer specifically went after Christians, his motives actually are as clear as mud (cached). He’d sympathized with the Catholic/Irish-nationalist IRA, for example, and had described himself as spiritual but not religious, which of course means he was in fact religious, and not some antitheist crusader[*]. What’s known about him is really all over the map, right now. It’s possible his intentions may never be discerned. At the moment, the most one can say about him with any certainty is that he was a criminal, a murderous sociopath … and that’s it.

Yet, even if it could be proven that he was a anti-Christian militant out to slaughter every Christian on the planet, he’s still the only American who’s espoused such a philosophy. That’s right: The only one! For Ramsey to tell his fellow Christians to arm themselves because there’s now some horrid campaign underway to kill them all — based solely on this one event perpetrated by one guy — is fucking ridiculous.

Yes, folks, the paranoid sanctimonious rage runs deep with these people. Watch out! These are good Christians who’ve decided enough is enough with all the “turn the other cheek” bullshit that their deity and founder of their religion had taught them. They’re not taking crap from anyone any more! They’re in charge again, and don’t you fucking forget it!

[*] The picture of the Roseburg, OR shooter just got murkier. It turns out that he may not have specifically targeted Christians, after all! See my next blog post for more.

Photo credit: Jordon Cooper, via Flickr.

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On the heels of presidential candidate Ben Carson’s idiotic Islamophobic yammering, and my release of a static page on this blog explaining what the Great Neocrusade is and what’s wrong with it, the furious Christofascist Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council repeated that Muslims don’t have freedom of religion in the US. Right Wing Watch reports on his claim, and includes audio (WebCite cached article):

On his “Washington Watch” radio program yesterday, Perkins repeated his claim that Islam is not protected under the U.S. Constitution.

While discussing GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson’s recent statement that he would never support a Muslim candidate for president, along with the claims of Kim Davis’ critics that a clerk would never receive such praise from the Religious Right had she been a Muslim, Perkins railed against media commentators for “interjecting” Islam “into all of these discussions.” He said that the media is using Islam as a “wedge” to divide conservatives, suggesting that Kim Davis’ decision to impose her Christian beliefs onto her county office was different because Islam is not protected in the Constitution, while Christianity is.

“Religious freedom and our liberty is ordered liberty under the Constitution,” Perkins said. “And as Dr. Carson pointed out, and I know this is driving the left crazy, that Islam is not just a religion, Islam is an economic system, it is a judicial system, it is a compressive system which is incompatible with the Constitution. That’s what Dr. Carson said and he happens to be correct.”

This isn’t the first time Tony-boy has said something like this. I noted he said pretty much the same thing just about a year ago. He hasn’t changed his tune a bit since then, I see. But just as was the case back then, Tony-boy is a blatant fucking hypocrite, decrying Islam as “an economic system” and “a judicial system” in addition to being a religion. He conveniently ignores that his own Religious Right movement is simultaneously religious, political, economic, and judicial. For Tony-boy to say Muslims can’t be granted religious freedom because their religion has certain features, but not admitting to them within his own religion — which he says does enjoy religious liberty — is hypocritical. Which he’s not allowed to do, since his own Jesus clearly, unambiguously, and explicitly forbid his followers ever to be hypocrites, at any time or for any reason. He simply can’t do it!

As I’ve noted repeatedly, the problem here is that the Religious Right views Islam as its main rival, on a global scale at least. That it’s a small minority religion here in the US, and that it does seem to have a propensity for violent extremes at the moment, makes Muslims here a convenient and ready target. That doesn’t mean all Muslims are dangerous, even though Tony-boy and his fellow Neocrusaders keep insisting that’s so. They forget there is such a thing as Christian terrorism, too. So yeah, that’s another example of Religious Right hypocrisy … condemning Islam as a “terrorist” religion, but ignoring the terrorists within their own faith. Nice, eh? Fucking hypocrites.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Hat tip: Friendly Atheist.

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Godfrey in his siege tower at the Assault on Jerusalem, July 15, 1099. By Anonymous ([1][2]) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsI’ve just posted a static page on what I call the Great Neocrusade, a movement which comprises a large part of the Religious Right in the US and whose goal is to eradicate Islam from the country, and then the rest of the world. I first called attention to it — and gave it that name — some five years ago. Since then, this foolish and childish effort hasn’t abated one bit.

Along the way, Neocrusaders have done a lot of idiotic things, such as passing laws forbidding shari’a (or Islamic) law, even though the US Constitution already forbids imposing religious law on Americans. They’ve also done some much more harmful things, such as destroying mosques, and even threatening churches under construction merely because they appear to be mosques.

As a student of the Middle Ages, I know quite well how the original Crusades worked out. In short, they didn’t — at all! They were a sequence of expeditions that spanned two centuries, which collectively ended in dismal failure. Yes, I said a failure … in spite of the fact that the First Crusade had apparently succeeded, with the capture of Antioch in 1098, Jerusalem in 1099, and Tripoli in 1109. (The Crusaders also seized Edessa in 1098, but that had long been a Christian city under Armenian leadership, and they got it via betrayal rather than war. Woops!) Edessa had fallen by 1144, Jerusalem by 1187, Antioch in 1268, and Tripoli in 1289, and were at last driven from the Holy Land in 1303 with the fall of their last fort on the island of Arwad.

Undertaking a modern version of a Crusade … albeit not as overtly military as before … seems stunningly foolish — at least, to those who haven’t done what the Religious Right has done, which is to redefine the medieval Crusades as a glorious and morally-upright effort to save Christendom from annihilation (cached) by attacking Saracens thousands of miles away and who were no threat to them. Really, there’s no way a religion with as large a worldwide presence as Islam has could be eradicated from the United States. Not only is it unconstitutional even to try, it simply can’t work! No sane person ought to attempt any such thing.

But clearly we’re not dealing with people who are altogether “sane.” They’ve been driven mad by their rage, and they’re not capable of thinking clearly. They naïvely think that getting rid of Islam will get rid of terrorism and thus make them safe; but this reasoning ignores the uncomfortable reality that there’s terrorism within the ranks of Christianity in the US, which will continue even if the Neocrusaders somehow manage to toss all Muslims out of the country.

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Gustave dore crusades richard and saladin at the battle of arsufA high school kid — who happens to be an aspiring engineer — crafted his own digital clock, and brought it to school to show off his accomplishment. You’d think that would be a good thing. But if you thought that, you’re obviously not in the Neocrusading town of Irving, TX. There, only certain students (read: devout Christian students who happen to be white) could do such a thing without causing trouble.

You see, if you’re a Muslim student who does that … well, obviously your digital clock must be a bomb! As the Dallas Morning News reports, a Muslim student in that Neocrusading town was arrested for having done precisely that (WebCite cached article):

Irving’s police chief announced Wednesday that charges won’t be filed against Ahmed Mohamed, the MacArthur High School freshman arrested Monday after he brought what school officials and police described as a “hoax bomb” on campus.

At a joint press conference with Irving ISD, Chief Larry Boyd said the device — confiscated by an English teacher despite the teen’s insistence that it was a clock — was “certainly suspicious in nature.”

School officers questioned Ahmed about the device and why Ahmed had brought it to school. Boyd said Ahmed was then handcuffed “for his safety and for the safety of the officers” and taken to a juvenile detention center. He was later released to his parents, Boyd said.

The whole thing about leaping to conclusions and taking draconian actions in the name of “security” is, as I’ve blogged before, fucking ridiculous. Officials need to keep their heads on their shoulders and not leap to asinine conclusions without good reason.

Here’s a thought, people: A kid who actually crafted a bomb isn’t going to waltz into school with said bomb, then proudly show it off to people! Fuck no! He’s going to hide it somewhere and hope it goes unnoticed until it explodes and hurts as many people as possible. Just the fact that he showed it to people is — all by itself! — evidence that it’s probably harmless, no matter how malicious the thing it might otherwise appear to be. Granted, the cops let this kid go … after an unstated amount of time. But there was no need for this shit in the first place. None.

Note that, while Mohamed won’t be prosecuted for his “bomb,” the school has suspended him. And the clock police confiscated hasn’t been returned to him. So officials have actively punished him for something he never even did!

Even though Irving police demonstrated themselves to be idiotic Neocrusaders, the town’s mayor Beth Van Duyne (for reasons I’ll get to in a moment) continues to insist they did nothing wrong (cached). Yes, in spite of the fact that they were, very clearly, wrong in their assumptions.

Now … there’s a reason I called Irving, TX a Neocrusading town. Earlier this year, its mayor and a bunch of its people went fucking berserk because they thought “shari’a law” was being imposed on them (cached). (That, you see, explains Van Duyne’s unwillingness to admit her police department could have been wrong to arrest Mohamed over a clock they had no valid reason to suspect was a bomb.) In truth, there had been no effort to impose shari’a law in Irving … but that didn’t do much to prevent the freak-out. No place in the United States has been made subject to Islamic law. Nor is any such thing being contemplated anywhere in the country. But that hasn’t stopped sanctimoniously-enraged Christianists from believing it’s happened and enacting measures to prevent it (even though they’re completely unnecessary).

The problem is that Christians in the US view Islam as their chief rival religion, and they’re incensed that there Muslims actually exist. It infuriates them to have to see Muslims or any evidence of Islam’s existence within the borders of their precious “Christian nation.” They can’t understand why Muslims don’t simply abandon their religion immediately and convert en masse to Christianity. They view Muslims’ refusal to do so as a direct attack upon their persons — and they fly into a towering rage over Muslims’ insolence. It’s childish, of course, but you can’t tell them that. They think they have a special religious license to remain infantile.

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SiegeOfAcre1291For years now I’ve blogged about a Right-wing movement in the US I’ve called “the Great Neocrusade.” It’s a modern incarnation of the medieval Crusade, during which western European Christians ventured to the Levant in an effort to drive Muslims out, under the principle that their presence there was an affront to their Jesus which couldn’t be tolerated. (At least, that’s what the Crusade became. Its origin was in Pope Urban’s approval for Latin Christians venturing east to assist the Byzantines, but that scenario didn’t last long and the Crusaders embarked on their own mission, distinct from Byzantium’s, soon after their arrival. And about a century after the Crusades’ launch it would become a campaign against Byzantium itself).

As it stands within the American Right, the Neocrusade is an effort to drive Islam from the new Christian “holy land.” Neocrusaders are predominantly Christians — most of them being of the evangelical Protestant sort — but there are some Jews who’re part of the movement too. Their effort is predicated ostensibly on the threat posed by Islamist terror, which to be sure is horrific and should be fought using every means at our disposal to do so. That said, the Neocrusaders’ main contention — i.e. that Islam is inherently violent and all Muslims therefore are potential terrorists — is quite simply not true. What’s really going on is that these folk view Islam as the chief rival of their own religion, are incensed that it exists at all, and want to get rid of it in order to show the power of their own faith. All the crap about terrorism is mere pretense. That’s not to say Islamist terror isn’t real — just that they know better than to stomp around claiming every Muslim is a terrorist; they just say that in order to rationalize what they’re doing.

For the most part this Neocrusade manifests itself in the form of rhetoric and occasionally votes (such as outlawing “shari’a law” even though it’s not now, nor will it ever become, the law of the land in the US).

So it’s rare that Neocrusaders actually take up arms against Muslims in the US, but it nearly happened just in the last few months. The Web site Heavy.Com reports a Right-winger and failed Congressional candidate from Tennessee named Robert Doggart admitted he’d planned to stage an attack on a mosque and schools in Hancock, NY (WebCite cached article):

A Tennessee man, who made a failed bid for Congress last year as an independent with extreme right wing beliefs, has admitted in federal court to planning an attack on a Muslim community in New York.

Robert Doggart, 63, was recorded on a wiretapped phone talking about his plan to travel along with members of a private militia to an area near Hancock, New York, known as Islamberg, to burn down a mosque, school and cafeteria, while gunning down anyone from the community who tried to stop them.

“Our small group will soon be faced with the fight of our lives. We will offer those lives as collateral to prove our commitment to our God,” Doggart said in a Facebook post, according to court documents. “We shall be Warriors who will inflict horrible numbers of casualties upon the enemies of our Nation and World Peace.”

Doggart was arrested April 10 by the FBI on charges that he solicited others to violate civil rights, attempted to damage religious property because of the religious character of the property and made threats through interstate communication.

Two weeks later, Doggart pleaded guilty to interstate communication of threats. A judge has not yet signed off on the plea agreement. He was released on $30,000 bond to home confinement after the agreement was made and faces between 0 and 5 years in federal prison, along with a possible fine of up to $250,000.

The Heavy article describes Doggart’s plot in detail and includes court documentation of the case as well as of Doggart’s background. There’s a lot of detail there and I can’t hope to do any of it justice; I’ll just suggest you check out the article and find out what happened.

There are two things about this case I find disappointing: First, the judge has let Doggart out on bond, in spite of the fact that he’d admitted, in court, to having planned a terror attack. That decision is mind-blowing. Had Doggart been, instead, a Muslim who’d admitted involvement in a terror attack, there’s no fucking way he’d be free right now. Second, the mass media haven’t picked up this story, not even (to my knowledge) news outlets local to Hancock NY or southeastern Tennessee. I hadn’t heard of Heavy.Com before finding this story, and ordinarily wouldn’t have used them as a source for a blog post, but primary-source material is included, so the report is substantive. The other outlets mentioning this are all Left-wing in nature.

Maybe all the good ol’ boys back in Tennessee would prefer not to mention this, so that might explain why Doggart’s local media are running silent, but I can’t imagine how or why the New York state or eastern Pennsylvania media don’t consider this news (Hancock is in Delaware county, abutting the Pennsylvania state line). Unless this story turns out to be untrue — which I admit is possible, but given the evidence contained in the story it seems extremely unlikely — the media are doing a disservice to ignore it as they are. Perhaps they’ll finally pick up the story … I certainly hope so. The reality of Christianism in the US is that it definitely is capable of terrorism, and this is one example of it (albeit one that was nipped in the bud). There have been other Christian terror attacks, such as the rampage in Austin TX last December by a member of the Phineas Priesthood (cached).

Hat tip: Raw Story.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Idaho Capitol BuildingAmerican Neocrusaders continue to obsess over the idea that what they call shari’a law” will be imposed on the US in the very near future. Toward that end, they repeatedly contrive all sorts of maneuvers they think will protect them from Islamic law’s relentless creep into American life. That they don’t even know what shari’a is, that it’s not uniformly recognized by all Muslims, or that no religion’s law-code can ever be forced on Americans against their will, isn’t enough to dissuade them. They’ve gone as far as to enact state constitutional amendments forbidding it, which is every bit as ridiculous and extreme as it sounds.

But they also use lesser measures to throw hurdles in its path. One of the latest examples of this comes from the Idaho state legislature. On top of the inherent ridiculousness of trying to prevent a form of law from being enacted which can’t ever be enacted here, as the Boise Weekly reports, Christianists there actually derailed productive and effective legislation (WebCite cached article):

A bill that would have helped Idaho track and enforce child support payments stalled Friday in the House Judiciary and Rules Committee over concerns that it would allow Sharia law into the U.S. Court system.

Senate Bill 1067 [cached] would have brought Idaho up to date with federal regulations, allowing the Gem State to use the government’s system for tracking and enforcing child support payments.

The Christianists’ objection has something to do with the fact that this bill would align Idaho with federal law, which recognizes the Hague Conventions, to which the US is a party. This, apparently, is the mechanism by which “shari’a law” would be imposed on Idaho:

Amendments to the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act include agreements with the Hague Convention on International Recovery of Child Support and Family Maintenance, which has among its members Muslim-majority countries such as Bosnia and Albania.

That was enough for [GOP state Rep. Sheryl] Nuxoll and others to see an inroad for Sharia law into Idaho’s justice system.

Quoted by the Associated Press [cached], Nuxoll told House committee members, “There is no specific language in the bill that would protect the rights of those dealing with parentage, child support and support orders from a foreign country that would contradict our laws here. There are other countries listed in the treaty—France, Belgium— that have recognized Sharia courts as quasi-courts. So I just feel that you should be aware of those facts.”

The problem with the failure of this bill is that the state of Idaho will remain hamstrung in its efforts to recover back child support from delinquent parents. All because a bunch of delusional Christofascist wingnuts think passing it will lead to shari’a law in Idaho. What a fucking joke. Well done, Christianists! You must be so proud of yourselves! You protected your state from an affliction that can never come its way. My hat’s off to all of you for that major accomplishment.

Hat tip: Raw Story.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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