Posts Tagged “christian terrorism”

Rainbow flag on white background - harvey milk plaza, san francisco (2012) (8148105584)This is the sixth in a series of posts I plan about the recent Orlando gay-nightclub shooting, by an American Muslim who appears to have been influenced by ISIS and other violent Islamists. By now my readers will surely know a great deal about this horrific event. The topic of this post is:

Terrorism Isn’t Just an “Islam” Problem

A lot of Americans — especially on the Right — tend to view terrorism, especially when it occurs within the US, as solely the product of Islam. The only terrorists we’ve dealt with, they’d tell you, are Muslims. Thus, as they see it, terrorism an an Islam problem.

This has led to all sorts of idiotic tripe; for instance, Breitbart announced that fierce Religious Rightist Newt Gingrich called for a Congressional inquiry into “Islamic supremacism” (WebCite cached article):

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich called Tuesday for the creation of a congressional commission to examine the radical Islamic terrorist threat.

Gingrich said Tuesday in a Facebook video chat:

We can no more afford to have fanatic terrorists at home just because they’re American citizens, be allowed to run around, get organized and kill people, than we can afford to bring in thousands of unvetted and unverified Syrian refugees. So I believe the president is profoundly, fundamentally wrong. I believe the Congress should create a commission on Islamic supremacism and terrorism in the United States. I think we should start looking at serious new laws.…

Gingrich noted that he welcomes the “modern Muslim” who accepts the authority of “secular law” and the reality of “diversity,” but that adherents of Sharia law should be inadmissible to the United States.

Gingrich’s commission would surely resemble the anti-Muslim show-trials Rep. Peter King hosted a few some 5 years ago. Those never went anywhere, since they were never intended to do anything other than allow King and other Neocrusaders to grandstand. Also note the requisite bellyaching about the bogeyman of “shari’a law” in the Newtster’s Neocrusading comments. Perhaps he imagines this investigation somehow will prove his contention, a few years ago, that “radical Islamists” are “secular atheists” and vice versa. (In case you didn’t realize it, that would be a staggering contradiction: “Secular atheists” are non-religious, while “radical Islamists” are exceedingly religious. It’s literally not possible to be both at the same time.)

I’ve said it before and will say it again: Terrorism — both worldwide and in the US — is most assuredly not just an “Islam” problem. It’s a “religious extremist” problem! And extremism can be found within any religion.

The reality of terrorism in the US is that there have been Christian terror attacks in addition to Islamist attacks — not to mention ordinary, mundane, sociopathic attacks.

Many people refuse to believe there is such a thing as Christian terror, but there is! Among the most recent examples of it is the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooting, just last November (cached). There was also a guy who shot up Austin TX almost a year and a half ago (cached). There’s also a guy who was indicted for conspiring to kill Muslims in upstate New York (cached). Another guy conspired to kill Muslims and the president using some kind of radiation weapon (cached). And another creep tried to bomb the Kansas clinic that Dr George Tiller had worked at (cached).

Ultimately, any given American is much more likely to be attacked by a criminal with no religious motivation at all, or a Rightist with a potentially Christian motivation, than fall prey to a raging Islamist barbarian.

For Christianists like Newtie, or any other Neocrusaders, to scream and holler about how horrible and violence-prone Islam is, without acknowledging the violent militancy of some of their own co-religionists, is hypocritical. And hypocrisy is something that their own Jesus clearly, explicitly, and unambiguously forbid them ever to engage in. They should clean up their own religion before running around trumpeting about the faults of others. But of course, they will never do so.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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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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'... but it CAN'T be TERRORISM if Christians did it!' / PsiCop original graphicYesterday the world was treated to yet another story of yet another terror attack by a sanctimoniously-enraged Islamist — this time, on a high-speed train out of Paris, during which the attacker was subdued (WebCite cached version). This kind of shit is just horrific. Clearly there’s something about Islam which triggers this sort of raging terror.

It’s not just “lone-wolf” attacks of this sort, either; Muslims around the world have massed together, rioting, maiming, and murdering over things like apostasy and blasphemy. Not to mention, there are also many Islamist organizations (e.g. ISIS/ISIL/IS/whatever-the-fuck-you-want-to-call-that-savage-brood, the al-Nusra Front, Boko Haram, al-Shabaab, etc.) which are currently engaged in religiously-driven wars with virtually everyone around them.

So if someone wants to posit that Islam can’t compel violence, I beg to differ. The evidence clearly demonstrates that it can, and does, promote the worst sort of violence. I concede not all Muslims are terrorists, nor do I even think most are. Nor do I think — as a lot of Neocrusaders here in the US claim — that all Muslims everywhere are prone to violence and terror. No way.

But even having admitted there’s some sort of festering sore deep in the heart of Islam, that’s not to say terrorism and violence are unique to that religion. That also is demonstrably untrue. Nearly all religions have this problem. Yes, even Buddhism — which many think is as pacifist a religion as can be found. That presumption is absolutely unfounded (cached).

Among all of this, though, is a form of terror triggered by a religion which is much closer to home to Americans. And that is, Christian terrorism. Yes, that’s what I said: Christian terrorism. Rest assured, it really exists. Unfortunately it doesn’t get anywhere near as much attention as Islamist terror does. Yes, it’s true that Christian terror attacks are much less common than those of Islamists, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a problem that needs to be addressed.

There was the assassination of Dr George Tiller by a Christianist anti-abortion crusader (cached). There were attacks on Sikh temples (cached) and on Unitarian Universalist churches (cached).

“Oh, but all of those were just crazy criminals being crazy criminals,” one might say. “What could their Christianity have to do with it?” It’s true there’s criminality in these guys, and it may also be that some or all had mental illnesses. But non-terrorist Muslims could easily say the very same about Islamist terrorists. Neither of these objections really holds up to scrutiny. The ability to use a religion to rationalize one’s own murderous impulses, doesn’t say anything good about the religion; one would think a truly divine faith taught by the Almighty himself ought not be used that way.

“Oh, and these all happened years ago,” one might also contend. “They’re in the past.” One could easily say that, since the Wisconsin Sikh temple massacre took place 3 years ago, and the other attacks were in 2008 and 2009. But … that contention ignores the fact that there have also been much more recent examples of Christian terrorism.

For instance, Larry McQuilliams — a member of the (Christian) Phineas Priesthood — shot up Austin TX just last December (cached). An avowed Christian and former GOP Congressional candidate was indicted just a couple months ago for conspiring to kill Muslims in upstate New York (cached). Another Christian and KKK member in New York state was just convicted of conspiring to kill Muslims and the president using some kind of radiation weapon (cached). And just a few days ago, one Moises Trevizo tried to bomb the Kansas clinic that Dr George Tiller had worked at (cached). None of these occurred in the deep, dark recesses of history. They’re all recent developments. They happened; the attempted bombing in Wichita was, as I said, just a few days ago. And they matter.

But you wouldn’t get that impression from the mass media. It’s not that these stories have gone unreported … obviously they were reported, since I linked to news outlets’ coverage of them. The problem is, these Christians’ terror attacks don’t get wall-to-wall coverage, nor has there been any kind of impulsive response to Christianity because of them. That just doesn’t happen. And whenever these stories are reported, the connection with Christianity usually isn’t made clear. For instance, the just-convicted Glendon Scott Crawford is reported to have been a member of the KKK, but that organization — like all forms of white supremacy in the US — is a basically Christian one (cached) whose ideas are founded on a particular set of legends based on that religion (and forked off 19th century British-Israelism, which I’ve blogged about a couple times).

A reason for the mass media to understate the “Christian” impulses behind these attacks is both simple and obvious: Christianity is the country’s majority religion, meaning lots of readers/viewers/listeners would be offended to hear their faith provoked these incidents of terrorism. And offended readers/viewers/listeners don’t buy newspapers or magazines, they don’t keep reading articles on the Web, and they change the radio or television channel. Sadly, this means the media are pandering to Americans’ immaturity … because only immaturity can explain why one wouldn’t want to know that one’s own co-religionists are using the faith to justify terrorism. It’s time for people of every religion on earth to take responsibility for their faiths — whichever one they belong to — and start watching out for its integrity. But this takes courage, which is in short supply. More’s the pity.

Photo credit: PsiCop original graphic.

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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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Gustave Doré (1832-1883), The Crusaders war machinery, via Wikimedia CommonsThis issue isn’t really new. Wired magazine has been reporting on this particular issue for quite some time (cached). It seems anti-terror instruction in the US military has been taken over by Neocrusaders who’ve made any number of outrageous claims about Islam as a whole and are trying to inculcate hatred of Muslims generally among the ranks. I blogged about this particular influence within the FBI when Wired reported on it last year. But the influence of the Neocrusade in the military seems to be worse, more pervasive, and more extensive.

Last year the Pentagon began a review of its anti-terror training materials, and the results of that review are starting to emerge. MSNBC elaborates on an Al Jazeera report on aspects that have come to light already (WebCite cached article):

As the Pentagon reviews all military classes following the disclosure of one that advocated “total war” against Muslims, the news website Al-Jazeera reported Saturday that it had received materials from a similar course and that both were put together by the same group, a nonprofit that offers classes and workshops to military and government officials.

Al-Jazeera said [cached] it received course slides from an unnamed military officer who said “this bigoted conspiracy cabal is both disgusting and so deeply un-American.”

The slides leave the impression that Hamas extremists have infiltrated the U.S. government, media and education via U.S. Islamic groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Al-Jazeera said. …

The documents indicated the two courses were prepared by the consulting firm Strategic Engagement Group, Inc., Al-Jazeera said. The website for Strategic Engagement [cached] does include statements similar to those in the materials cited by Al-Jazeera, msnbc.com found.

I decided to nose around in Strategic Engagement’s Web site to see what they offer. The first link I clicked on was this PDF version of a Powerpoint presentation entitled “CAIR Is Hamas” (cached). It didn’t take long for me to discover that these people are spewing factual errors. For instance, slide 3 of the presentation says:

In the 1920’s, after WWI and the Turkish Revolution, Mustafa Kemal “Ataturk” became the leader of the new nation-state Turkey. He dissolved the nearly 700 old Islamic State (Caliphate) known as the “Ottoman Empire,” outlawed the wearing of hijab, the growing of Islamic beards, the call to prayer, replaced Arabic with Latin, did away with Shariah (Islamic Law) and replaced it with secular law, and built an army to protect secular Turkey.

First, while it’s true that Ataturk did establish a new, and secular, government in Turkey, his new state did not encompass all of what had once been the Ottoman Empire. That dismantled state was succeeded, in those other regions, by other less secular states, or they became colonies of western powers and only later became independent states. So it’s factually incorrect to state that “the Ottoman Empire” was succeeded uniformly by the “secular” state of Turkey.

Second, the Ottoman Empire was not really a “Caliphate.” While some of its rulers did use that title, sporadically, even when they did, it was not universally recognized across Islam. Moreover, that they did so, doesn’t really mean a lot: Ottoman rulers sometimes arrogated other titles, such as “Roman Emperor,” and that’s also difficult to take very seriously. The title that best applies to the Ottoman rulers was “sultan,” not “caliph,” making the Ottoman Empire a “sultanate” rather than a “caliphate.”

Third, Ataturk did not “replace Arabic with Latin.” Within Ataturk’s new state of Turkey, the dominant language had been Turkish, not Arabic, and it remains so. While Turkish had long been written mostly using the Arabic alphabet, it was less than ideal; Ataturk did encourage the use of a Latin-based alphabet instead. But it is simply not true that Turkey went from speaking Arabic to speaking Latin.

I hardly need to investigate these Neocrusading wingnuts any further, given their loose command of basic history. Listen, I get it. Really I do. I get that the United States has been attacked by Islamic terrorists who feel compelled to kill others — and themselves — out of a violent religiofascistic impulse. I also get that there are immature, violent Muslims who are prone to explode in insane fury at the slightest provocation. I concede there are still some dangerously fanatical Muslims out there who think their religion orders them to maim and kill. That’s very much in evidence, and only a fool would say otherwise. What concerns me are these two basic premises of the Neocrusade:

  1. Islamofascist terrorists are not the “fringe” of Islam, they are its heart; which means that all Muslims, not just some, are murderous fanatics.
  2. Only Islam has any murderous impulses; other religions, particularly Christianity, do not.

The former premise is just not true, as witnessed by the fact that there are plenty of “moderate,” non-terrorist Muslims around the world, who at this moment are fighting the terrorist element of their religion. And other religions, including Christianity, most certainly also have their own terrorizing, murderous extremists. Eradicating Islam completely — which is the Neocrusade’s ultimate goal — cannot and will never end terrorism. To assume so is not only irrational, it’s delusional. The cold fact is that nearly any religion, anywhere, is capable of inciting violence and even terrorism in its followers. None is immune to it. The sooner we understand this, the better off we’ll all be.

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It only took 37 minutes for the jury to reach a verdict in the case of Scott Roeder, the Christian terrorist who assassinated Dr George Tiller while he was in church (of all places!) in Kansas earlier this year (as I blogged about on a number of occasions). CNN reports on it (WebCite cached article):

A Kansas jury deliberated just 37 minutes before convicting an anti-abortion activist of first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of an abortion provider.

The jury found Scott Roeder, 51, guilty of gunning down Dr. George Tiller, who operated a clinic in Wichita where late-term abortions were performed. Roeder, 51, faces life in prison when he is sentenced on March 9.

Apparently Roeder himself sped this verdict along:

A day earlier, Roeder told jurors he had shot Tiller in the foyer of Reformation Lutheran Church as Sunday services began. Testifying as his only defense witness, he said he believed he had to kill Tiller to save lives. He said he had no regrets.

“There was nothing being done, and the legal process had been exhausted, and these babies were dying every day,” Roeder said. “I felt that if someone did not do something, he was going to continue.”

Of course, this trial was a magnet for exactly the kinds of marvelously tasteful, mature, rational and logical protests one expects of the pro-lifers and the Religious Right:

The trial drew activists from both sides of the abortion debate to the courtroom, and a van plastered with slogans and photographs of fetuses was parked in a prominent spot in front of the courthouse.

As I’ve blogged before, pictures of aborted fetuses are objective, logical proof of absolutely nothing whatsoever. They may be emotionally-compelling, but an appeal to emotion (or as I call it, an argumentum ad motum) is meaningless and even fallacious.

Roeder’s claim to want to protect “babies” from Dr Tiller, was refuted by trial testimony:

Jurors heard emotional testimony from church-goers who rushed to Tiller’s side and attempted to administer mouth-to-mouth resuscitation as he lay in a pool of blood. Others, meanwhile, followed Roeder into the church parking lot, where he threatened to shoot them.

If all Roeder had wanted to do was to stop Tiller, what reason did he have to threaten anyone else in Tiller’s church, once he’d killed the doctor? Answer: None!

Given the interest in this case, and the fact that Roeder has had many supporters, one thing is sure: This is not over. A lengthy and intensive appeals process will likely begin soon. The Kansas state bench is stacked with many conservative judges, and it’s conceivable this case might be retried, or the verdict vacated, or something else. The Religious Right is not likely to let this case die. Not only that … it remains to be seen if any of Roeder’s accomplices — such as Cheryl Sullenger of Operation Rescue (WebCite cached article) will be prosecuted for their roles in Tiller’s assassination. My own guess is that Roeder is the only one who will ever be charged.

Oh, and … memo to people who continue to insist that Christians are never terrorists … guess again. As of today, Scott Roeder is now a convicted Christian terrorist. See it right here (video courtesy of CBS News):

It’s time for Christians to stop acting as if the extremists in their own midst are somehow not quite as bad as other types of murderous extremists who belong to other religions. Are we finally clear on that?

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