Monday, December 7, 2015
The responses of the Republican presidential candidates and right-wing pundits to recent terrorist attacks in our country have been instructive. There is a clear distinction between what they say about the San Bernardino attack and what they say about Planned Parenthood attack. Rupert Murdoch's New York Post came out with a large headline that said "Muslim Murder" after San Bernardino. Donald Trump touted his proposal to institute racial profiling targeting the Muslim community, and going after the families of Islamic attackers. Ted Cruz was quick to declare that the attack should be considered "radical Islamic terrorism" before the facts of the case were in, and investigators at that time were still considering the possibility that it was a case of workplace violence.
What did Cruz have to say about Robert Dear after the Planned Parenthood attack? He castigated the media for trying to "blame him on the pro-life movement when at this point there's very little evidence to indicate that". Cruz went on to repeat unsubstantiated rumors from right-wing internet sources that called Dear a "transgendered leftist activist". Donald trump has refused to blame the Planned parenthood attack on the anti-abortion movement, but instead attributes it to mental illness.
There is a clear pattern among right-wing punditry and politicians of playing up the Islamic aspect of terrorism committed by Islamic terrorists, while denying the Christian aspect of terrorism committed by Christian terrorists. President Obama has wisely refrained from placing blame on any particular cause until the investigations have brought in enough facts to justify it. He was reluctant to call the San Bernardino attack a case of terrorism until the facts were known, but has since acknowledged that it was terrorism committed by Muslims. Trump castigated the president for not using the phrase "radical Islamic terrorism".
My question for the Donald is: Why do you refuse to use the phrase "radical Christian terrorism"? Could it be that you are afraid of alienating the Christian community? Could it be the case that you think there are many Christians who are on your side, and you don't want to turn them against you? Could it be that you have enough sense to understand that it's not really a good idea, because it doesn't help you to achieve your goals?
In an earlier post, I discussed the issue of turning away Muslims, when the real threat we face is religious extremists, which might just as well be Christian as Muslim. Not only is it against our American ideals to turn away those in need of help, not only is it against the ideals espoused by most Christians, but it's not in our interest to do so. This is something that these right-wing buffoons don't seem to understand. If we alienate the Muslim community, we lose powerful allies in the battle against Islamic terrorism. For it is members of this community that have proven to be invaluable in bringing to light various activities and plots by terrorists or would-be terrorists. Not only would we stand to lose their support, but we would run the risk of turning those who are now friends and allies into enemies.
Trump, Cruz, and other Republicans sound tough, and promise to quickly end all of our problems with terrorists by taking drastic and indiscriminate measures against Muslims. This rhetoric is appealing to low-intelligence Republican voters, but it is a recipe for disaster. Not only does it completely ignore the problem in this country of Christian terrorism, but it is practically guaranteed to make the problem of domestic Islamic terrorism greater, not smaller. All the tough talk in the world isn't going to make the problem go away, but it can make it worse.
I am thankful that president Obama understands this issue. Let us hope that the American people are intelligent enough not to put someone like Cruz or Trump into office in the next election. I don't relish the idea of another cowboy president who thinks that taking a hard-nosed stance and bombing them all into oblivion is the correct approach. It was just that kind of thinking that was largely responsible for creating the horrific situation that the world is facing now.