Posts Tagged “colorado springs CO”

'... 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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CNN Insipid Beyond Belief blog!CNN has a relatively new religion blog. Maybe you’ve heard of it … but more likely, you haven’t. If not, don’t worry — you aren’t missing much. The kind of pablum this blog conveys is hardly worth your notice, and I mean that regardless of what your own religious viewpoint (if any) is. It’s just not that great.

An example of how deficient this blog is, is in its coverage of the once-disgraced but now proud-to-have-had-a-scandalous-past-because-it-makes-me-great evangelical preacher, Ted Haggard (a used-car-salesman-type creepy character I most recently blogged about here). In the space of just four days, this month, the CNN Belief blog has posted two stories on Ted Haggard: Haggard back in the pulpit (cached) and Status report: Ted Haggard’s new church (cached). This is after having posted some blathering tripe about him a month ago (Ted Haggard, Resurrected; cached) courtesy of Stephen Prothero, a religion professor.

What’s really amazing, if you pay close attention to these “reports” about the “resurrected Ted’s” incredible success, is that it’s all self-reported. That’s right. We only have Pastor Ted’s word on how great he’s doing and how great he is. There is no “investigation” here, none of the cutting-edge, incisive, insightful and analytical journalism one (presumably) expects of CNN.

Clearly CNN’s new “Belief Blog” is little more than a P.R. engine for Pastor Ted “I’m-not-gay-even-if-I-hired-gay-prostitutes-to-service-me” Haggard. Then again, CNN hooked up with Stephen Prothero, who’s on the record as demanding mandatory Bible classes in public schools.

Yeah. These are the kinds of people CNN is now carrying water for. An unrepentant cretin, and a militant Christian.

I guess we can chalk this one up as yet another journalism fail. Sigh.

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Ted Haggard, with his wife Gayle at his side, talks about the church that he is starting up during a news conference at their home in Colorado Springs, June 2.That’s the only way I can describe this. “Shamelessness personified.” Really. There aren’t words enough in the world to relate the colossal amount of hubris and chutzpah behind what Ted Haggard — the apparently no-longer-disgraced former pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs — has done. The AP (via USA Today) tells the sorry story of an unrepentant sinner (WebCite cached article):

Former megachurch pastor Ted Haggard said Wednesday that he will launch a new church from his Colorado Springs home, 3 1/2 years after he resigned from his ministry amid an embarrassing and devastating sex scandal.

Perhaps the prize moment of this article lies in this quote from Pastor Ted, who compares himself to none other than Jesus:

“This is my resurrection day,” he declared.

Yes, that’s right folks. Pastor Ted has declared himself “raised from the dead,” just like the founder of his own religion. What a marvelous touch. (Kind of reminds me of S.C. governor Mark Sanford, who compared himself with King David as a way of justifying his extramarital affair.)

Then there’s this little gem:

Without offering any specifics on the allegations against him, Haggard said his counselors told him he is heterosexual but that his behavior was influenced by a childhood incident when he molested by an adult male.

Haggard said he takes responsibility for his actions as an adult and does not mean to use the molestation as an excuse.

Gee, Pastor Ted … if you don’t mean to use this incident as an excuse, then … why the hell are you using it as an excuse!? Huh? Did you think no one would notice you doing precisely what you said you wouldn’t do!?

And Pastor Ted proceeded to nail the coffin lid down on what little remained of his own morality:

“I’m certainly not going to say no to people (who need help) because of my personal shame.”

I’m not sure how this is possible with Pastor Ted, since — by virtue of what he’s done — it’s absolutely clear that he has no shame at all!

An open question for any and all Christians out there: Have you finally had enough, yet, with these creepy characters? When are you going to kick them out of your midst? If you don’t, and if you refuse to stop them from speaking for you, then I can only assume they all speak for you.

Photo credit: Ed Andrieski / AP.

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I blogged early this year about disgraced evangelical pastor Ted Haggard’s then-new effort to rehabilitate his reputation, step behind a lectern again, and thump his Bible once more. He has continued this effort, and recently led a prayer group in his home in Colorado Springs. Along with that (of course) he made himself available for media interviews. In the course of one such interview, Haggard told a whopping, demonstrable lie. KMGH-7 TV in Denver has the story:

“I was always well aware of my own personal struggles, but my desire was to be more Godly,” said Haggard. “I was never a religious right, hateful, anti-gay guy — secretly running off, except right at the end. I’d say right at the end, before the crisis. That did develop a little bit stronger.”

There are many ways to show this to be a lie … i.e. that he was, in fact, always “right” and “anti-gay.” But one example is the following quotation by him, during an interview in late 2005 with Christianity Today:

“The biblical argument could be made, but not in this particular case. In Washington, D.C., our argument has to be the fact that the greatest benefit to society and to our culture and to the children of our nation would be to instill in our Constitution that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. It would be devastating for the children of our nation and for the future of Western civilization for us to say that homosexual unions or lesbian unions or any alteration of that has the moral equivalence of a heterosexual, monogamous marriage.

This is assuredly both “right” and “anti-gay.” And note, he was saying it not merely as a “Biblical” principle, but because that’s what he genuinely believed to be in the best interest of children and civilization.

Welcome, pastor Teddy, to my lying liars for Jesus club.

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We all know that the Religious Right has declared war on the so-called “New Atheists,” who (in their minds anyway) are led by the unholy trinity of Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens (who’ve authored Letter to a Christian Nation, The God Delusion, and God Is Not Great, respectively). Not too long ago the Oklahoma state legislature launched a full-scale investigation into an appearance by Dawkins at University of Oklahoma; some of them objected to his presence on the sacred ground of that institution.

It turns out that Hitchens has obstacles of his own, at another school, the U.S. Air Force Academy, as the Colorado Springs Independent reports:

A dozen Air Force Academy cadets listen silently as Christopher Hitchens, the internationally known writer, pundit and atheist, starts speaking Monday evening. …

Hitchens regularly fills large lecture halls across the country, but he seems unruffled by the strangeness of speaking at a campus Freethinkers meeting on the patio of a northwest Colorado Springs restaurant. The cadets, warned by Academy officials that Hitchens would not be allowed to lecture on campus, quietly arranged a more intimate gathering publicized only by e-mails and word of mouth.

Hitchens talks for more than two hours, gently questioning the young men and women about their experiences at the service academy stained five years ago by allegations of an institutional bias toward evangelical Christianity.

The Air Force Academy, you may recall, has had more than a little trouble over the years with hyperreligiosity, especially of the evangelical Christian variety: Being anything else is definitely frowned upon there. An investigation showed a great deal of institutional proselytizing going on, and the Academy’s leadership refused to stop it (see a story on this from the Washington Post). So an invitation for Hitchens to visit a freethinkers’ group at the Academy, was handled carefully, as the Independent goes on to explain:

Hitchens was invited to Colorado Springs by Kyle Southard, a second-year cadet active with a student-run Jewish congregation and the Cadet Interfaith Council. Despite feeling that the Academy tolerates many religions, Southard felt a “vast lack of understanding” about those without faith.

Hitchens was willing to visit on his own dime, but officials “recommended” that the students not ask for him to be invited to speak on campus, says Academy spokesman Lt. Col. Brett Ashworth.

That recommendation was made because of comments by Hitchens judged to be “degrading to others,” Ashworth says, and would have applied equally if he espoused evangelical Christianity. (Self-described former-terrorists-turned-evangelicals, who spoke on campus last year, were allowed as part of a terror briefing, Ashworth says.)

Uh huh. As if I believe this claim, given how poor the AFA’s record is on the matter of religion.

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