Thursday, March 16, 2006


The Grievances of the Right

Yesterday, Red State Rabble posted a comment by Richard Thompson, chief counsel of the Thomas More Law Center -- you know, the outfit that lost the Dover ID case and cost the citizens there $1 million -- to the effect that Christianity is under siege from all quarters, especially from the federal courts, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the all-powerful "homosexual lobby."

"The ACLU and the courts are "basically cleansing America of religion and particularly Christianity," said Thompson.

Ed Brayton, who publishes the Dispatches from the Culture Wars blog, also picked up the story, writing:
The US is a nation where 95%, at least, of all government officials at all levels are Christian, yet we're still this close to throwing Christians into ovens. How does someone say something this idiotic with a straight face?
And, we all had a good laugh.

Perhaps, though, we shouldn't be so quick to laugh.

Compare Thompson's complaint about the ethnic cleansing of American Christians with this statement by white supremacist, David Duke, on his White Civil Rights website:
Whites today face the most extensive and intensive racial discrimination in American history. The government, the largest employer, blatantly discriminates against better-qualified Whites, and it forces educational institutions and private corporations to do the same. For instance, every one of the five hundred largest companies in the United States has some sort of program that discriminates against Whites and favors less-qualified minorities in hiring and promotion.
Now, lets be clear about something. RSR is not saying that Richard Thompson is a white supremacist, or that all Christian fundamentalists are racists -- though many are. What we are saying is that both groups share a false sense that they have been unjustly discriminated against -- both are nursing a grievance that can't be addressed by ordinary, rational means.

Timothy McVeigh believed that the government persecuted Christians and that whites were being discriminated against. He was influenced in his actions by The Turner Diaries, a book written by William L. Pierce, a National Alliance leader, under the pseudonym Andrew Macdonald. The book tells the story of a white supremacist guerrilla army, the "Organization," that seeks to overthrow the American government.

Likewise, Eric Rudolph, a Christian terrorist who committed a series of bombings killing three people and injuring to at least 150 others, saw his bombings as part of a guerrilla campaign against abortion and the homosexual agenda, which he believed were being sponsored by the government.

Not all fundamentalists or even all racists will necessarily resort to violence, but the imagined grievances they are nursing provide fertile soil for a right-wing terror movement to emerge -- the militia movement that McVeigh came out of and the KKK of an earlier era are both examples.

We should not forget that many of those on Christian right see war, terror, and insurrection not as things to be avoided at all costs, but as hopeful signs of the turmoil that will usher in the second coming of Christ.

When you think of it that way, it's not all that funny.


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