Friday, April 2, 2010

Simply Christians or Simply Terrorists: The Violence of Christofascism Comes Home To Roost

Both Progressive and Regressive Christians (aka Religious Right or Christofascists) are still reeling with the news about "Hutaree", its zeal, its militarism, its expanse and the fact that it views itself as 'Christian'. 

From Right Wing Watch:
"Many mainstream media outlets, like ABC and CNN, are irresponsibly reporting that those arrested in Michigan in the alleged plot to murder law enforcement officers are 'Christians,'" said Dr. Gary Cass of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission. "Even if they identify themselves as Christians, what they were allegedly planning is absolutely contrary to Christianity. They may have illicitly co-opted the Christian faith to justify their murderous intentions, but it is defamatory for the media to keep referring to them as Christians. They are simply terrorists."

So, were the knights of the Crusades 'simply terrorists'? Is Repent Amarillo really a terrorist group? What about Rev. Rod Parsley? Where is the dividing line? 

Dr. Cass is, of course, grasping at straws in attempting to distance himself and others of his Religious Right flock: it's rather counter-intuitive (much less, hypocritical) to say that anyone who identifies themselves as Christians are not Christians. Christians around the country have been saying that everyone should have the right to call themselves Christians. Also, a strange parallel of intolerance shows itself in the Christian view of the organization known as NAMBLA - National American Man-Boy Love Association. Christofascists point to it as an accepted and almost typical gay rights association - which it is not. They also extend its premise to all gays. What Cass is avoiding is this: militarism and potential violence exist in  today's American Christian landscape. Hutaree is an extreme (but real) version of Rod Parsley's vision of Christian soldiers. It's tone and rhetoric are equivalent to Repent Amarillo. It's hatred of non-Christians (Jews, "pagans," Muslims) is just as bad as Fred Phelp's hatred of gays or Father Charles Coughlin's anti-Semitism seventy years ago.

The dividing line, America seems to think, is between words and action. Christian pastors can spout all the military rhetoric they want. They are protected twofold: freedom of speech and separation of church and state. They have nothing to do with the actions taken by fringe groups. 

This is obvious, inane self-deception. Actions are almost always the result of words, especially when they take effect in the brains of an illiterate: the Elmer Gantrys egging on the Elmer Fudds.


"Jesus wanted us to be ready to defend ourselves using the sword and stay alive using equipment," reads. "The only thing on earth to save the testimony and those who follow it, are the members of the testimony, til the return of Christ in the clouds. We, the Hutaree, are prepared to defend all those who belong to Christ and save those who aren't. We will still spread the word, and fight to keep it, up to the time of the great coming."

Compare this statement to the one put out by Repent Amarillo:
A soldier for Christ wants to leave no man behind. We will fight unto death for the cause of eternal life through Christ Jesus. We will wage a good spiritual warfare until our King calls us home. May we leave this earth desperately clinging to one more lost soul.
The arrogance of today's Christofascists make them lax in regards to monitoring and censoring fringe groups like Hutaree. That inability to expel groups from more mainstream Christianity before violence starts may lead to a long period when Christian groups spend too much time and effort defending themselves, telling people what they are NOT than focusing on their real goals. This may seem a boon to secularists like myself. The problem with that is that people will have to die to achieve it. 

"Hutaree" is evidently a made up name which means nothing. It may, however, come to mean "violent but stupid Christofascists."

Just a thought.

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