I'd like to share a blog I read the other day from Harold's Left. I think he did such a good job that rather than just link it, I'd like to just quote the entire blog entry... I think it is an important read.
There is a silent group of American citizens who are set to launch a campaign of hate and possibly terror against the American government. Pastor Steven Anderson of Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona is one of the leaders of this new movement of hate. From his pulpit Anderson spews words that are vicious by any qualification, lulling hundreds of followers into believing a rhetoric that is not only violent, it's treasonous.
"Nope. I'm not gonna pray for his good. I'm going to pray that he dies and goes to hell. When I go to bed tonight, that's what I'm going to pray. And you say, 'Are you just saying that?' No. When I go to bed tonight, Steven L. Anderson is going to pray for Barack Obama to die and go to hell."
These words, in and of themselves, are not illegal. The problem is Anderson is amassing a hard-core group of "New Christian Soldiers" who believe it is their duty to save America from the devil that is Barack Obama. These "soldiers" are not carrying the Bible or scripture to rallies and protests, they are carrying AR-15's and pistols. Anderson went on to say:
"And yet you're going to tell me that I'm supposed to pray for the socialist devil, murderer, infanticide, who wants to see young children and he wants to see babies killed through abortion and partial-birth abortion and all these different things -- you're gonna tell me I'm supposed to pray for God to give him a good lunch tomorrow while he's in Phoenix, Arizona."
During this visit that Anderson refers to last week, in which the president was in Phoenix to discuss health care reform, one of his followers brought an AR-15 to the event. Okay, so lets connect the dots a bit. Hate spewing pastor preaches consistently that Barack Obama is the devil, wishes him dead, and one of his followers brings an AR-15 to a presidential event... Not sure about you, but that sounds like an extremely threatening posture. Moreover, this group of protesters, most of whom were armed, went on long monologues right outside the security perimeter about how Obama is an imminent threat to America. The critics on the Right claim that he was "outside the security perimeter", therefore he is legal in his actions. True, his actions were legal, however we need to rethink the security perimeter. An AR-15 assault rifle is essentially the same rifle I have used for years as an infantryman. It has a maximum range of over 3000 meters (nearly 2 miles) and a maximum effective range of 500 meters (over 5 football fields). Is it acceptable to have these weapons anywhere near the president? If there is legal justification to stop all air traffic near the president, is it not equally permissible to stop assault rifles? Where does that boundary begin? Are we going to allow right-wing lunatics to set up machine gun positions with anti-tank mines outside of presidential events too, all in the name of the "2nd Amendment"?
Cenk Uygur of the Young Turks asked a particularly important question on his video blog this week. First it was one guy with a pistol in New Hampshire, now 12 fanatics with pistols and assault rifles in phoenix. What do we do if 200 people show up with semi-automatics weapons to a presidential event? According to Sean Hannity these protesters are just "honest Americans upset by a leftist administration".
I'd like to counter Hannity's garbage logic with a fictitious, but analogous situation. Let's say it's 2005 and a group of Muslims does not agree with the policies of the Bush administration in Iraq. Bush had Biblical verses on his daily intelligence briefing, which this Muslin group took as the president attempting a holy crusade against Muslims. So the Imam at a mosque in Dearborn, Michigan, all of his members being American citizens, spews vicious hate against Bush and the current American government. He spews this hate by advocating for the death of the president, saying he should go to hell. Furthermore, this Imam rallies his followers to take up arms. Consequently, at a Bush event in Ann Arbor 15 Muslims from this mosque show up with AK-47's and pistols, right outside the event. At the event they are chanting "Allah hu Akbar" and telling the press that Bush's administration must be stopped at all costs. Sound familiar? Only difference is that we can all agree that the reaction by the government, the people, and the media would be vastly different in my scenario. There would be arrests, indictments, and full use of the Patriot Act. Fox News and the Republican Party would be branding this as a new threat to American security, just as I suspect MSNBC and the Democratic Party would as well.
The blatant hypocrisy in this debate does not make this threat by Christian extremist groups like NCS any less deadly. In fact, it may only heighten the threat because these groups are allowed to operate so freely. The alignment of Christian extremists, right-wing militias, and white nationalists is mixing to form a undeniably dangerous threat to American safety. Especially since many of the people in these groups are armed, fanatical, and truly believe that they are patriots. I still believe that Muslim extremism is indeed a threat to our national security, that is evidenced by 9-11. However, in the future our gravest threat may by from a group of people that come from within our boarders and who some on the Right call "true Americans"