By Frank Schaeffer
The right wing propaganda machine and big time American evangelical religion turns stable people into jerks and a few unstable people into into killers. America has a right wing domestic terrorism problem exploding in our faces. Dr. Tiller is dead. Stephen Tyrone Johns is dead. His crime? He was a black man guarding a Jewish memorial. The reason for these killings? Religion gone bad.
James W. Von Brunn the alleged gunman who shot and killed a security guard at the Holocaust Museum must have been pleased: two for one-- a black man surrogate for the hated black president in a Jewish museum. So strikes the "Christian" hate machine that stretches from Fox News to the moron white underclass reading Ann Coulter and supporting the NRA.
According to USA today:
In a search of the suspect's 2002 red Hyundai, found double-parked outside the museum's main entry, was a notebook containing an anti-Semitic rant denying the Holocaust and declaring that "Obama was created by the Jews."
"You want my weapons - this is how you'll get them," according to the notes detailed in federal court documents.
Unlike members of al Qaeda, our terrorists aren't part of a conspiracy. It's worse: they are hard-to-stop lone actors energized by right wing media-driven hate and loony evangelical religion. These are the idiots who stocked up on guns and ammo when Obama was elected. These are the people who -- like Ann Coulter -- believe that Jews aren't "complete" because they haven't accepted Jesus. Even their economic theories have religious foundations in nutty American/evangelical theology.
A website maintained by a Brunn says that Brunn tried to carry out a "citizen's arrest" in 1981 on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors who he accused of "treason." He was arrested outside the room where the board was meeting carrying a sawed-off shotgun, a revolver and a knife. Police said he planned to take members of the Fed hostage.
"Mainstream" religious right Republicans have been saying the same thing as Brunn about the Fed for years, particularly the so-called "dominionists" who believe it's their job to reestablish God's dominion on earth. They preach Old Tenement-style vengeance and loony "gold standard" economics from thousands of "respectable" evangelical pulpits. They hate America and want a revolution in the name of God, "pro-life" beliefs, anti-gay hate, racism and far right Republican politics. They take the Republican anti-government propaganda to the next step and say that even paying any taxes is "unconstitutional." I know them well.
As I explain in my book Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back, the religious right has been awash in dangerous and violent people for the better part of 40 years. I knew the founders of this movement personally, people like the late Reverend Rousas John Rushdoony the father of "Christian Reconstructionism" and the modern Christian home school movement and his dominionist group.
Rushdoony (who I met and talked with many times before I quit the religious right in the mid '80s) believed that interracial marriage, which he referred to as "unequal yoking", should be made illegal. He also opposed "enforced integration", referred to Southern slavery as "benevolent", and said that "some people are by nature slaves". Rushdoony was also a Holocaust denier. And yet his home school materials are a mainstay of the evangelical home school movement to this day!
Rushdoony's 1973 opus, The Institutes of Biblical Law, says that fundamentalist Christians must "take control of governments and impose strict biblical law" on America and the world. That would mean the death penalty for "practicing homosexuals." Rushdoony was also a Holocaust denier, attacking the "false witness" that some 6 million Jews were murdered in World War II.
Many evangelical leaders deny holding Reconstructionist beliefs but Beverly and Tim LaHaye (of Concerned Women for America), Donald Wildmon (American Family Association) and the late D. James Kennedy ( Coral Ridge Ministries) -- served alongside Rushdoony on the secretive Coalition for Revival, a group formed in 1981 to "reclaim America for Christ." I went to the early meetings. I first met Tim LaHaye at one such meeting.
As I said our domestic terrorists aren't from any one group. They are drawn from thousands of unstable individuals driven mad by people like Rushdoony, Limbaugh, the evangelical dominionists, Fox News and James Dobson. Above all it is the "absolutes" of white evangelical America that spawn the hate.
The media/Republican evangelical extremist leaders never kill anyone themselves of course, and they always "deplore" the violence. But it is their language and anti-American speech --"America is doomed!" or "God Hates Fags!" -- and hate that feeds these individuals. The worst anti-American propaganda pours from evangelical pulpits in the name of religion and God. It may be slicker than the "God Hates Fags" version popular on signs waved by the fringe of the fringe, but at heart it's the same.
The Web site attributed to Brunn says he wrote a book called Kill the Best Gentiles, about how to "protect your white family." Online writings of Brunn's claim the Holocaust was a hoax and "expose" a Jewish conspiracy to "destroy the white gene pool." His views and Rushdoony's on this subject are about the same.
"At Auschwitz the 'Holocaust' myth became Reality, and Germany, cultural gem of the West, became a pariah among world nations," Brunn says. Sounds crazy? Well what Brunn said is no more crazy than Limbaugh saying that President Obama is doing Osama bin Laden's work. It is no more extreme and unconnected to truth than Cheney saying our President is working to make America less safe. It is no more anti-American than any given ten minutes on Fox News these days as Fox has become the instigator of anti-government, anti-Obama vitriol night and day.
When there are tens of thousands of Americans sitting in evangelical churches every Sunday wherein the President is vilified as an abortionist, a Communist, a secret Muslim, and even as the Antichrist, when the former vice president accuses our President of what amounts to treason, all because President Obama won't allow the torture of prisoners, all because he has decided it is wise to build bridges of respect to Muslim countries, we've left recognizable political territory and entered the realm of violence-inciting hate and delusion.
Think only the fringe of the fringe are extreme? Sarah Palin has associated with and spoken at their conventions to the extremists in Alaska who follow dominionist "Christianity" and who want to cede from the union and regard America as the "fag-loving" enemy. They want to turn Alaska into a "Christian" and white country. Via Palin, the loonies are close to the heart of the Republican Party now.
These are the same sort of folks on the fringe of the "pro-life" movement who are waving huge signs wherein Obama's name is plastered on the picture of a dead fetus and the word "murderer" is scrawled in bloody letters over our President's picture. And since the far right now dominates the Republican Party, we are in a state of real danger that the loonies will become more and more violent in an atmosphere were the gap between their views and the views expressed by "mainstream" commentators -- Limbaugh, Coulter, Fox, etc., -- closes.
Read the signs that were being waved by pro-lifers at Dr. Tiller's funeral: "God Sent the Killer!" Read the anti-American conspiracy theories and screeds written by Palin's pals in the Alaska secessionist groups. Read the far right websites evangelicals get their "news" from.
Accoeding to USA Today:
Mark Potok, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Project, says since the election of President Obama, the nation's first black president, white supremacists have increased their activity and have been linked to several incidents of violence in the past several months. "There's been quite a spate of violence and clearly a ratcheting up in the angry talk," Potok says.
Until Republican elected leaders begin to denounce their far right commentators, until evangelical leaders begin to denounce the dominionists' vile views, until pro-life leaders turn in their fringe who vandalize property at clinics to the FBI, there is no reason to take the "respectable" leadership seriously when they deplore violence. They are part of the problem.
The more successful our brilliant new president becomes with the majority of sane Americans, both Republicans and Democrats, Jews, Christians, non-believers and Muslims, the more extreme his far right critics are going to become. And the more violence is going to become an every day occurrence. We are moving into a period of real danger to America -- danger from within, danger from the right.
Mark my words: some individuals amongst right wing evangelicals and assorted anti-Semites, gold standard nuts, homophobes, pro-lifers and people who call President Obama the "Antichrist" are going to make President Obama a target. Extreme actions are gong to keep following extreme words.
Let's hope the Secret Service is doing their job. Let's hope the FBI is investigating evangelical groups and their leaders, infiltrating pro-life outfits like Operation Rescue and others from who's ranks more domestic terrorists will come to strike at the heart of our open society.
Frank Schaeffer is the author of Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back and the forthcoming Patience With God: Faith For People Who Don't Like Religion (Or Atheism)