Monday, June 01, 2009

Radical Islam? How About Radical Christianity?

Too often in this country, I hear the far right decry the threat to the United States that is "radical Islam." The murder of Dr. George Tiller proves quite concretely that the threat is not merely from radical Islam but also from radical Christianity.

It's a view that I've held for a long time.

This post isn't about the legality or morality of abortion. At the moment abortion is legal in the United States of America. The first amendment protects the right of organizations such as Operation Rescue and even the Army Of God to speak against the practise. It is legal for them to voice their opinion, lobby for the prohibition of abortion and, yes, even picket clinics that perform abortions. Under the Constitution they are afforded a great number of rights. The Constitution does not, however, afford them the right to murder those with whom they disagree.

Under any circumstances.

To be frank, I have had enough of the Christian right trying to set the social agenda of the United States of America. I am tired of their opposition to abortion while at the same time generally finding no moral objection to capital punishment. I am sick of their endless pontificating against gay rights and gay marriage. I am disgusted by their vitriolic rhetoric and their mouthpieces such as Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh. I am mystified by how frequently their voices of moral authority such as Jerry Falwell, Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker and Ted Haggarty manage to be caught in the very behaviour that they claim to be least moral.

Mostly, I am horrified that they claim to love and follow the word of Jesus while typically basing their positions on the old Testament.

You would think that the murder of a man in a house of worship would cause the leadership of the anti-abortion movement to take a step back. You'd be wrong. Randall Terry, the founder of Operation Rescue had this to say, "George Tiller was a mass-murderer. We grieve for him that he did not have time to properly prepare his soul to face God. I am more concerned that the Obama Administration will use Tiller's killing to intimidate pro-lifers into surrendering our most effective rhetoric and actions." And he's the moderate. Take a look at the Army of God website:

Let me be clear. I am pro-choice, but I am not particularly a fan of abortion as birth control. I would prefer that people make good birth control choices. I am a fan of adoption. But, I draw the line at violence. It's time for those who oppose this form of radicalism to speak out, particularly those who are Christians of the non-radical variety.

Perhaps it's also time to turn the spotlight on the radicalism that is festering within the borders of the United States.