Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Leonard Pitts Jr.: An Evil With Many Masters

An Evil With Many Masters
by Leonard Pitts Jr. article link article link
Published on Wednesday, April 7, 2010 by The Miami Herald
(bold text emphasis added by MMr)

A few words about Christian terrorism.

And I suppose the first words should be about those words: "Christian terrorism.'' The term will seem jarring to those who've grown comfortable regarding terrorism as something exclusive to Islam.

That this is a self-deluding fallacy should have long since been apparent to anyone who's been paying attention. From Eric Rudolph's bombing of the Atlanta Olympics, a gay nightclub and two abortion clinics to the so-called Phineas Priests who bombed banks, a newspaper and a Planned Parenthood office in Spokane, from Matt Hale soliciting the murder of a federal judge in Chicago to Scott Roeder's assassination of abortion provider Dr. George Tiller, from brothers Matthew and Tyler Williams murdering a gay couple near Redding, Calif., to Timothy McVeigh destroying a federal building and 168 lives in Oklahoma City, we have seen no shortage of "Christians'' who believe Jesus requires -- or at least allows -- them to commit murder.

If federal officials are correct, we now have one more name to add to the dishonor roll. That name would be Hutaree, a self-styled Christian militia in Michigan, nine members of which have been arrested and accused of plotting to kill police officers in hopes of sparking an anti-government uprising.

Many of us would doubtless resist referring to plots like this as Christian terrorism, feeling it unfair to tar the great body of Christendom with the actions of its fringe radicals. And here, we will pause for Muslim readers to loudly clear their throats.

While they do, let the rest of us note that there is a larger moral to this story, and it has less to do with terminologies than similarities.

We are conditioned to think of terror wrought by Islamic fundamentalists as something strange and alien and other. It is the violence of men with long beards who jabber in weird languages and kill for mysterious reasons while worshipping God in ways that seem outlandish to middle-American sensibilities. And whatever quirk of nature or deficiency of humanity it is that allows them to do what they do, is, we think, unique. There is, we are pleased to believe, a hard, immutable line between us and Them.

Then you consider Hutaree and its alleged plan to kill in the name of God, and the idea of some innate, saving difference between us and those bearded others in other places begins to feel like a fiction we conjured to help us sleep at night.

"Preparing for the end time battles to keep the testimony of Jesus Christ alive,'' it says on Hutaree's website. And you wonder: Who is this Jesus they worship and in what Bible is he found? Why does he bear so little resemblance to the Jesus others find in their Bibles, the one who said that if someone hits you on your right cheek, offer him your left, the one who said if someone forces you to go one mile with him, go two, the one who said love your enemies.

Why does their Jesus need the help of men in camo fatigues with guns and bombs? In this, he is much like the Allah for whom certain Muslims blow up marketplaces and crowded buses. Muslim and American terrorists, it seems, both apparently serve a puny and impotent God who can't do anything without their help.

Sometimes, I think the only things that keep us from becoming, say, Afghanistan, are a strong central government and a diverse population with a robust tradition of free speech. The idea that there is something more is a conceit that blows apart like confetti every time there is, as there is now, a sense of cultural dislocation and economic uncertainty. That combination unfailingly moves people out to the fringes where they seek out scapegoats and embrace that feeble God. And watching, you can't help but realize the troubling truth about that line between "us'' and "Them.''

It's thinner than you think.

-- Leonard Pitts Jr.

Copyright 2010 Miami Herald Media Co.
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1 comment:

Montana said...

I love that they asked for “Public Defenders” (and they thought they could bring down our government), undercover FBI agent, sweet. Since their inception the Teaparty crowd (not a movement since they do have the numbers or clout) because they are haters not debaters or as others have dubbed them screamers not dreamers. The simpleton Tea baggers are the same whiners that were crying when the McCain/Bailin ticket lost. Now that their yelling and screaming failed to stop the health care debate and the bill from passing they are crying again. Lets face it the Republicans had eight years to deal with health care, immigration, climate change and financial oversight and governance and they failed. The Republicans are good at starting wars (two in eight years, with fat contracts to friends of Cheney/Bush) but not at winning wars as seen by the continuing line of body bags that keep coming home. Instead of participating in the health care debate of ideas the Republicans party turned inward to your old fashion obstructionist party. In my opinion the Republican Waterloo loss was caused by the party allowing a small portions (but very loud) of the republican party of “birthers, baggers and blowhards” to take over their party. I will admit that this fringe is very good at playing “Follow the Leader” by listening to their dullard leaders, Beck, Hedgecock, Hannity, O’Reilly, Rush, Savage, Sarah Bailin, Orly Taitz, Victoria Jackson, Michele Bachmann and the rest of the Blowhards and acting as ill programmed robots. The Teaparty crowd think they can scare, intimidate and force others to go along with them by comments like “This time we came unarmed”, let me tell you something not all ex-military join the fringe militia crazies who don’t pay taxes and run around with face paint in the parks playing commando, the majority are mature and understand that the world is more complicated and grey than the black and white that these simpleton make it out to be and that my friend is the point. The world is complicated and presidents like Hamiliton, Lincoln, and Roosevelt believe that we should use government a little to increase social mobility, now its about dancing around the claim of government is the problem. The sainted Reagan passed the biggest tax increase in American history and as a result federal employment increased, but facts are lost when mired in mysticism and superstition. Although some Republicans are trying to distant themselves from this fringe most of them, having no game plan/ vision for our country, are just going along and fanning the flames. For a party that gave us Abraham Lincoln, it is tragic that the ranks are filled with too many empty suits. But they now claim they have changed, come on, what sucker is going to believe that? All I can say to you is remember Waterloo.

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