Wednesday, November 11, 2009

From Tiller To Ft. Hood

By Frank Schaeffer

By Frank Schaeffer

The killings at Ft Hood are a reminder of just why we don't want fundamentalist religion mixing with the US military. The words "religious freedom" can't be a one stop justification for stupidity: say ignoring clear warning signs from potential killers, be they abortion doctor haters or America-haters. Put it this way; what is more dangerous, gays serving in the military or radical fundamentalists be they Islamic or Christian in uniform? In other words do we want anyone in our military convinced of any certainty other than their oath to uphold our constitution?

Given our tendency to psychobabble everything to death the alleged Ft. Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan is being given what I'll call the NPR/Oprah therapeutic pass. We're told he was stressed, bullied, alone etc., etc. Excuses are being made for his actions. No one wants to look as if they are down on Islam, much less down on religion in general. How come?

Since when is religion off limits? Is that why the FBI was slow to act in this case as they were before 9/11 when they lost track of the terrorists hatching that plot in flight schools?

I'm a religious person and have just written a book defending religion (Patience With God--Faith For People Who Don't Like Religion Or Atheism). But the sort of faith I defend is the only reasonable faith there is: faith in uncertainty and the embrace of paradox. Life isn't long enough to ever know anything.

From the scandals of forced evangelicalism at the US Air Force Academy, to a military chaplaincy deliberately overrun by militantly fundamentalist Christians, to this post-Ft. Hood shooting soft peddling of the religion angle out of "sensitivity" to Muslims the codling of religion has to stop.

National security is more important than religious freedom. And there is a difference between the civilian world and the military world. The military not only has the right to bar some from service - say felons - but the duty to protect the rest of us from nuts that the military might send back into civilian life armed and dangerous. (And I speak here as the proud pro-military father of a US Marine who fought for our country in Afghanistan.)

This Ft. Hood killing spree had a recent foreshadowing in the murder of Dr. George Tiller. That too was a case of what seems to be religiously-inspired domestic terror. Operation Rescue and the Taliban et al have more in common than the mere religions that separate them. Killing for Allah or for Jesus all comes out the same.

The FBI seemed to have been equally reluctant to intervene when they could have, when Tiller's murderer was gluing locks shut on buildings and committing other acts of vandalism that the FBI was aware of before he killed Dr. Tiller. Now, in this case again - probably out of undue "respect" for religion -- the FBI held back on exposing the Ft. Hood alleged killer's connections with radicalized Islam when, according to ABC News, "alleged Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan had more unexplained connections to people being tracked by the FBI than just radical cleric Anwar al Awlaki." ("More Hasan Ties to People Under Investigation by FBI" Nov 11, 09)

Let's get something straight: at this moment of American history religious fanatics of all faiths are our biggest security problem. And it is time to change the national discussion on religion, that seeks to blame everything but religion for bad behavior by religious fanatics.

The religious fanatics whine and plead special deference and we give it to them. Why? From the Tea Bagger loonies - mostly right wing evangelicals - we that hear the mainstream media doesn't respect them. From the Muslim community we hear that the shooter in Ft. Hood was bullied, that he faced stress, and that Muslims in the military are picked on.

Enough excuses!

It is time to stand up and denounce loony religion and the insane actions it spawns. Dumb, vicious religion needs no excuses for bad behavior. From Sarah Palin's evangelical/fundamentalist lies about "death panels" to the Ft. Hood shooter's hate of America the religious right - be it Islamic or Christian - is to be feared not pitied.

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 Patience With God: Faith For People Who Don't Like Religion (Or Atheism)


Anonymous said...

I normally agree with you. And I do agree with you wholeheartedly about religious extremism being equally evil and dangerous no matter which religion it is.

But the one point I take issue with is comparing the Muslim community with teabaggers. It's not a good comparison. One is a minority group that has been abused and victimized in this country for 8 years. The other (teabaggers/Christians) is a spoiled, ever-favored majority group that is simply whining for MORE power, because there are still a few people left who refuse to obey them. They're used to getting their way, and suddenly it's not automatic. So they're having tantrums.

Comparing these two groups is like comparing African-Americans to the Klan. One is the bullied, the other the bully. The oppressed vs. the oppressor. Their grievances are not remotely comparable, and to understand someone's actions is not necessarily to condone them.

I'd still like to take this opportunity to thank you for your bravery, candor and insight. It is much appreciated, and always enlightening.

Frank Schaeffer said...

You make a good point and I thank you for reading my blog. To be clear: I am not comparing the whole Islamic community in the US to the Tea Baggers, but drawing a parallel between the special pleading that religion makes to somehow be judged by a special standard at the fanatical edges, say Tea Baggers and those saying the Ft. Hood killer had his reasons. Religion should get no special exemption from taxes or moral responsibility.

Robert D. Meek, Jr. said...

Excellent as always. I cannot add anything to this.

(P.S. - You Facebook entry is duplicated. FB hiccup, apparently.)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for clarifying that. Radical religious extremism of ANY stripe is dangerous. As far as I'm concerned, the IRA is no different from al Qaeda. And Hasan is no better or worse than Timothy McVeigh.

Which reminds me, we need to stop using the qualifier "domestic" when talking about terrorism committed by Americans. It suggests a kinder, gentler terrorist; a more benign form of terrorism, because it wasn't committed by a nasty "foreigner." Thoughts?

Laurie said...

OK, now I have figured this thing out, I will no longer be "Anonymous." Hi, Frank... I'm Laurie! :-)

Anonymous said...

We knew that the left would find a way to make this despicable act of terror the moral equivalent of Americans voicing their opinions in the public forum.

Frank, the low degrees to which you will stoop never cease to amaze me. But that's just your ilk. Unless you can name one instance of violence in the teaparty protests you should apologize for this despicable comparison. But you won't because you just don't have any class at all.

Your hate speech against religious or conservative Americans is the thing that should be outlawed. Frankly Frank, if you lived in my neighborhood I'd be frightend of you.

Anonymous said...

Dear Frank,

When are you going to chuckle and let us know that the "new" you has all just been a joke so that you could infiltrate the left like some kind of Borat movie. Remember Frank, just because they let you come to the party, doesn't mean you're in the club.

Laurie said...

BTW Frank, I still crack up when I think of your comment on Ring of Fire a few weeks back comparing... certain folks to the crazy uncle at the family picnic smearing egg salad into his hair. That entire interview was terrific.

Anon: He has nothing to gain by "infiltrating the left." Except of course if you mean he's doing it to sell books... which doesn't surprise me, because when you're motivated only by hatred and greed, it's only natural that you'd assume everyone else must share those motives.

Anonymous said...

Do any of you on the left even get that its people like Frank that are spreading hatred and profiling people with left-wing hateful epithets? Laurie just did it above with her comment of "because when you're motivated only by hatred and greed, it's only natural that you'd assume everyone else must share those motives"

She's assumimng based Frank's profiling that anybody who disagrees with the left's political or religious views is motivated by hate and greed or they are crazy. Are any of you even capable at this point of recognizing the hypocrisy of the left-wing?

You people complain about Fox News but you sound even worse in defending your views. Now you have MSNBC smearing Sarah Palin in SNL type parodies. This isn't news, this is character assassination under the guise of news. But you people do it and then claim you are loving, kind and tolerant. And Christian to boot

Laurie said...

Frankly, Anon, I'm tired of remarks like this. You're wrong. I don't need "Frank's profiling" to know you ARE motivated by hatred and greed. And you're total hypocrites. The list of people you hate is so long, I can barely catalogue it. It's all you do, talk about who you hate and why. "We hate blacks, we hate Jews, we hate Muslims, we hate, well, ALL non-Christians, we hate immigrants, we hate foreigners, we hate gays, we hate the poor, we hate..." and it goes on and on and on until there's no one left except straight, white Christian Americans.

For all your claims of Christianity, you adhere to none of Christ's teachings. NONE. Jesus Christ is disgusted by your hateful prejudices and love of violence (newsflash: the right to blow people away is NOT our most important right). You care about no one. You have contempt, not concern, for those less fortunate. You're horrified by the idea of helping people; generosity is "handouts." Your whole attitude toward healthcare is that you should only have it if you "deserve" it; if you don't have it, get a better job! Difference between real Christians and you? You say "I'm covered... who cares about everyone else!" We say "I'm covered... but what about everyone else?"

And you want to talk hypocrisy? For the past 8 years you were fiercely pro-government, and insisted that anyone who protested or even questioned the president was unpatriotic and guilty of treason. Now suddenly being anti-government and protesting IS patriotic. For 8 years no one with an anti-Bush t-shirt or buttom was allowed near a rally, or they were arrested. Now it's OK to show up to see the president loaded for bear. For 8 years you supported record deficits being run up for stupid wars and corporate welfare. Now suddenly it's totally against your beliefs to run up deficits... even if it's to HELP people instead of KILL them. And you conveniently ignore the fact that this ludicrous deficit was INHERITED. Obama did not start out at zero.

You screamed "bomb Iran!" for years, until you needed a "government stifles freedom, we hate the results of this election" prop. Then suddenly you were dramatically expressing your solidarity with the brave Iranian people, the same people you wanted to bomb off the planet for being Muslims a week before.

You whine incessantly about how the government should stay out of your lives. Out of YOUR lives. But when it comes to who has a baby or who marries who, you insist the government should intervene in our lives and make personal decisions for us. In your bizarre world, everything YOU don't personally believe in should be illegal for EVERYONE.

This goes beyond right and left. This is a certain segment of our population that claims they're being bossed around, yet insists on everyone else being bossed around. They claim they're "victims of hate," but spend every waking moment hating anyone who doesn't look or think like them, and threatening/perpetrating violence on them.

And learn to read. I said this person insisting that Frank is only pretending to have these views to "inflitrate the left" is assuming Frank is motivated by hate and greed, i.e. selling books. I didn't say "anyone who doesn't agree with the left is motivated by hate and greed." If you're going to attribute something to me, be accurate. But that's not your side's strong suit, is it? After all, passing around photos of 15-year-old rallies and claiming they were taken at YOUR rally is so typical of you all that it didn't even surprise anyone. Sad.

I'm sorry Frank for hijacking your page, but I can't take this nonsense anymore. Sick of these lying, hypocritical loons who couldn't care less about anyone but themselves and their own interests... which unfortunately have their basis in maintaining the "purity" of "their" country. Sounds too blood-chillingly familiar to me.

Anonymous said...

Uh - I'm not the "Anonymous" that has Laurie all riled up. I am relatively new to Frank's blog so I must have missed something - past history maybe? Because based on the other Anonymous' comments that I see here, I can't for the life of me understand Laurie's amazing diatribe. So Laurie, you figured out how to un-anonymous yourself. How do I do that? God Bless - John

Anonymous said...

Laurie just proved my point about the left beyond any shadow of doubt.

Anonymous said...

John, there is no past history. I'm new to this blog too.

Laurie - you assumed about that person based on your own preconceptions and religious/political profiling. There wasn't one thing that person said that could possible be construed to mean he thought Frank was motivated by greed. Also everything you said in this most recent post to me is also based on your political and religious profiling of those who disagree with your views.

Frank is spreading hatred. His diatribes against the right are hateful and un-Christian. He knows better but he chooses to not do better. There are many on both sides who are guilty of this. He IS in fact making quite a bit of money off of his hateful profiling the right. Whether that is his motive, I couldn't say.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Somebody needs to get a life, Laura. I am a conservative fan of Frank. I like the way his ideas, while often strident and passionate, challege my assumptions. Years ago I worked on a locked pychiatric unit. The thinking of the far fringes, whether left, right, religious or secular, is amazingly similar, and it is mostly psychotic paranoid delusional. Right now I have an aquaintence in my life, a pentacostal conservative like Palin, who seems to have made me his mission. In his sick world, the purpose of FEMA is to build death camps to kill us all. Google FEMA camp and you can see the video, complete with black helicopter flyovers. Then note the affiliated video about how Jesuits secretly rule the world. Back in the 70's it was The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Same hate, probably same haters, different target group. I laughed when I watched the Jesuit clip. I have known many Jesuits in my life, and while they might be the original good ol' boys' club, their main worry these days, given their advanced average age, is how they will deal with the decline of their order and the need for future long term care. My point, the far christian right truely is as crazy for god as Frank says. They truely are a terrorist potential fringe. It's hard to reason with them when God is downloading special messages in their other ear. My fundamentalist FEMA camp friend is afraid that the government is watching him. For all our sakes I hope they are.

Anonymous said...

Anon above - I agree with your assessment regarding "The thinking of the far fringes, whether left, right, religious or secular, is amazingly similar, and it is mostly psychotic paranoid delusional."

I think that Frank displays this himself and if people were objective they would find this to be true.

Di said...

the anoms might not have appreciated your rant but I did. I was cheering the whole time.
You nailed it. :-)

Anonymous said...

Of course you would Di. You are just another left-wing nut job like Laurie (and Frankie) Ranting is your specialty. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

As is it yours, Anon.

Anonymous said...

How would you rewrite Frank's commentary to eliminate the "hatred" you claim to see there? Or is ANY criticism of the Right "hateful," "unreasonable," etc. by definition?

Anonymous said...

"as is yours anon" How do you know anon? Are you psychic?

I would rewrite it by starting with the truth. He assigns motives that aren't there based on his own hatred of the right. His vision is totally clouded and not objective at all. He used to be far right and now his reaction is far left. He's become a hate-monger for the left and it is totally hypocritical since he says he hates hate-mongering.

Anonymous said...

For instance, this comment:

"Let's get something straight: at this moment of American history religious fanatics of all faiths are our biggest security problem."

That's quite a statement to leave totally unqualified. There's no clarification here. What is he talking about? I personally know of only one group of fanatics are are a security problem. But Frankie's hyperbole here is untruthful. Yes there are Christian fanatics but but the truly dangerous ones really are few and can be written off as isolated cases of true mental instability. None of the incidents that I know of have posed a national security problem.

He lumps the Ft. Hood killer in with the murder of Tiller the abortionist. One was done in a church, the other at a military installation. One was one man acting alone, the other was part of the jihadist movement that has vowed to destroy this nation.

Frank is mixing metaphors all over the place trying to prove a point about something that simply hasn't yet happened. He says its all just a matter of time but I disagree. Christians and religious people in this nation are the most peaceful and law-abiding on the planet and statistics will prove this out. Frank hates their beliefs, he hates that they go to the polls and vote their beliefs. They are within their rights and are obeying the law. Where does he get off lying about them by accusing them of lawlessness?

Randy said...

Anon: Heres your proof and there's more

He is not targeting every Christian and religious person but you are blinded by your own right wing ideology.

Anonymous said...

Randy - Both links you posted above are regarding Kentucky militia groups and they are one and the same article - word for word - by the same writer.

Nothing is said - not one word - about Christians or religious people being involved in these groups.

But perhaps your left-wing hatred of Christians has blinded you so that you are unable to even read the articles you post but still post them because you are so sure they say just what you think they say so that you don't even have to bother to read anything beyond the headlines.

This is how all the lies are fed to you, headlines that grab you and shake you and fill you with fear and hatred toward people who have never harmed you and wouldn't even think of such a thing.

Anonymous said...

I take that back - the article does say on page 4 that "many are Christians." But you would likely find "many Christians" in a movie theater or a sports arena. That isn't an indictment upon Christians since at least 80 percent in this country claim to be Christian.

I guess if I were a radical left wing fear monger, I'd be afraid to walk into Walmart too.

Randy said...

Did I say I hate Christians NO! This is the misrepresentation that you Religious Rightwing nutjobs sling. Not all Christians are FAR RIGHT!

I did not say it is an indictment of all christians just worshippers of Palin and all those who spread conspiracy and hate in the name of God!

Anonymous said...

YOU are spreading hate in the name of God. All this blog and most of the liberals spew on here is HATE.

I don't see how Frank claims to be a Christian with all the hate flowing from his lips.

That's not a spirit filled life.

Randy said...

You are the hater ANON. The beam in your eye just hit your neighbor over and killed him.

Anonymous said...

Randy - there's a lot of really poison smack on this blog regarding Christians. Why shouldn't we feel defensive when we are all attacked with Frank's broad brush of disdain? Frank isn't right and his posts, articles, books and tv interviews are only making things worse.

He isn't a peacemaker, he's a war-monger.

destined to speak up said...


Randy said...

You are not listening. He is not targeting all Christians. He is just targeting those who are using their religion to bash people but obviously you are not listening.

Anonymous said...

Randy - that you stick up for him only means that YOU aren't listening. Frank's words are pure poison. He isn't a peacemaker, he's a war-monger and he's throwing a lot of bombs. Ask yourself this, after reading Frank's stuff are you more or less inclined to want to talk to or be around the kind of Christians that Frank hates? Isn't it true that you feel fully justified in thinking you know everything you need to know about "those kinds of Christians" and that they are no more than garbage? That every stereotype you've read about them or seen in an anti-Christian Hollywood movie has been "proved" by Frank's writing and interviews? That's what I'm talking about. There isn't going to be any peace talk coming from Frank. He's all about hatred and anger and stirring the pot. He's a disgusting excuse for a human being, let alone a Christian.