Let’s assume, if only for a moment, America is correct in its desire to avoid calling Robert Lewis Dear’s Denver Planned Parenthood shooting rampage last Friday an act of fundamentalist right-wing Christian terrorism.
Even though I’m not aware of any atheist Pan-African left-wing separatists populating the threat matrix of people who want to destroy Colorado Planned Parenthood centers — as well as the people in them — let’s assume that Dear fits into America’s preferred label for a fundamentalist right-wing Christian terrorist: a “troubled person” or “Madman”
Yes, I have problem with how America can’t even say “A troubled person who presents a strong case for Second Amendment abuse” but let’s run with the simple title of “troubled person.”
We all should be concerned with how America — even after approximately 300 mass shootings in the country this year alone — has done virtually nothing to help those who are troubled, and the government has accomplished even less to prevent these deadly social time bombs from having access to guns.
The viewpoint is as ineffective as you calling a house on fire a “Very hot house that needs to cool down” and then watching the structure turn into ashes.
But let’s stop playing games and instead talk about the decades-old enabler for murderous behaviour like Dear’s: the Americans’ tacit or blatant support for fundamentalist right-wing Christian terrorism.
Allow me to say this before you start yelling at your phone screens — I’m fully aware of the West’s history of tacit or blatant support for fundamentalist Islamic terror groups around the world, but I’m making this post a quicker read through narrowing its scope.
And scope is also the reason why I’ll start with the Ku Klux Klan, even though I can go back further in history.
Founded just after the Civil War, the Klan remains active as a religious organization that has murdered or terrorized African descendants, Jews and anyone else considered un-American — in the name of God. The burning of crosses is no ritual coincidence.
Throughout American history, there have been periodic bouts of government ignorance, indifference, endorsement or concern with respect to the Ku Klux Klan’s existence and activities, which may partially explain why the terror group — and others like it — are able to thrive today.
The terrorist group’s early muscle was provided by Civil War veterans, government officials and peace officers, in addition to everyday town folk. In some cases, fundamentalist right-wing Christian terrorist violence against African descendants enabled state and local governments to maintain its desired level of societal control.
Woodrow Woodson, the 28th President of the United States, not only praised the Klan, but he also held a screening for the KKK glamour flick Birth of a Nation — a White House first for any film.
In an astonishing instance of ideological and tactical integration between the public sector and fundamentalist right-wing Christian terror groups, the State of Mississippi launched a covert program — with the objective of destroying the civil rights movement — during the 1950s and 60s. The myriad of operations conducted by the state-sponsored terror campaign included passing the names and locations of civil rights leaders and supporters to terrorist groups like the Ku Klux Klan.
Lynching, a murder tactic used by the Klan and other terrorist groups, is a terrorist act. But whatever name you have for it, Congress was so ambivalent about its support for terror groups where it never passed an anti-lynching bill.
Even a shallow meditation on lynching’s history would raise an embarrassing but recurring question of why yet another legislative act was needed to protect rights which were assumed to already be defined in the US Constitution.
More important, the shameful takeaway is that Congress’ failure to act against lynching can be seen only as tacit approval of terrorism at high levels of the federal government.
Even today, we see instances of public servants being exposed as KKK members. See this, this, this and of course this for starters.
Modern politicos are not much morally better in their manipulation of Christian fundamentalist group think. I dare any member of the Party of No Brains to call these acts of Christian fundamentalist terrorism — which outnumber domestic post-9/11 Muslim terrorist acts by a margin of nearly 3-to-1, by the way — for what they really are.
The truth is — these politicans will never do it. Christian fundamentalist kookery, including the murderous variety, are important support pillars to the reelection campaigns of many elected officials.
The remaining politicians are too afraid to publicly identify fundamentalist right-wing Christian terrorists by name.
The media also appears intimidated. Mass murderer Dylan Roof is still labeled as a “Troubled man,” despite his written desire to kill African descendants as his contribution to a desired “race war.”
And early indications by the media show that Robert Lewis Dears “No more baby parts” comment fits the mental models of fundamentalist right-wing Christian terrorists who are hell bent on terrorizing Planned Parenthood centers.
But, assuming history is an accurate guide, the media will not ready to slap the “Terrorist” label on Dear.
Some of you may know by now that I don’t typically spend my time discussing labels (see my take on isms and schisms, as an example).
But I think the identification of fundamentalist right-wing Christian terrorists is important to changing the public dialog regarding racial hatred, as well the managing the activities of these terrorists and their relationship with select politicians.
Terrorists are subject to a different set of law enforcement tools such as federal seizure of financial assets and the disclosure of school records inclusive of medical and counseling history.
You could have stopped reading the last paragraph after you reached “assets.” Elected officials remain in office with votes, and fundamentalist right-wing Christian terrorists are voters as well as campaign donors.
Therefore, I don’t see any monetary motivation for politicians to blow away parts of their support base.
Which is why American citizens need to take the moral initiative and not only begin calling Dear and his breed terrorists, but also force elected officials to do the same.
There’s no room in a civilized society for crashing planes into buildings or shooting people because a difference in beliefs.
What do you plan to call Robert Lewis Dear?
song currently stuck in my head: “feel what it is” – jimmy edgar
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