Who Would Jesus Bomb?

Terrorism, conservative Christian-style. Maryland police have arrested Robert F. Weiler Jr. who, by his own admission, had made a pipe bomb to bomb an abortion clinic and stolen a .40-caliber handgun to "shoot doctors who provided abortions." A car outside his home bears a license plate frame reading “Choose Life” and “God is Pro-Life.”

While police were trying to dismantle the bomb, it exploded and burned the top floor of Weiler’s friend’s home, where it had been stashed, but no one was injured.

This incident comes on the heels of homemade chemical weaponry being employed to prevent the opening of an adult bookstore in Florida.

This is what happens when we, as a culture, tolerate eliminationist rhetoric and treat it as legitimate discourse. I wish liberals would get half as exercised about the steady stream of eliminationist speech directed at us as the wingnuts do about the phrase “Happy Holidays.” They’ve turned that into the foundation for a “War on Christmas” perpetrated by secular liberals, which is, year after year, discussed far and wide, successfully aligning us with a cultural shift rooted in language usage, in spite of the reality that their continual diarrheic stream of hate speech has fundamentally altered the landscape of acceptable discourse, thereby mainstreaming violent expressions of dissent with liberal ideals.

We malign the media for internalizing the charge that they have a liberal bias, and the Dems for internalizing the charge that they are too liberal, and yet many of us have internalized the negative associations of PC-ism so thoroughly that we reject any impulse to be resoundingly and uncompromisingly intolerant of eliminationist rhetoric directed at us, having lost all ability to acknowledge that language means something. We’re so keen to distance ourselves from the charge of being language police that we are too often reluctant to defend ourselves. Sure, we get mad about individual incidents, but we have yet to mount a sustained and steadfast campaign to reject these attacks on us. The martyrs of the Christian right who claim persecution for much less have already made headway with creating the illusion that there is a War on Christians (and that we’re already at war), and yet most Americans—including many liberals—would deny the existence of a “war” on liberals and liberalism, in spite of plenty of evidence to the contrary.

And now, as the extreme right gets agitated about their fading dreams of Dominionism, hopes for its realization once placed in President Bush now undermined by his lame duckitude, we are beginning to see the first signs that the violent suggestions, repeatedly espoused by the media shills who serve as conduit between extreme and mainstream, are being made reality by their devotees. The line between rhetoric and action is not some gossamer fantasy born of some unhinged alarmism on my part; history informs us that this result is inevitable. We must take this seriously—and we can’t close our eyes to it and trust that, eventually, they will just discredit themselves and we will take back Congress and then everything will be fine. People who use eliminationist language when they are winning are not going to become silent in the face of defeat. Something ugly has metastasized on the right in the past few years, and as we face the prospect of electoral gains, we’re going to have to be more vigilant about not allowing ourselves to be treated as targets by our opponents, not less.

(Hat tip to Ann at Feministing.)

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