Monday, July 28, 2008

Last Sunday's Church Shooting in Knoxville, TN

As usual when something like this happens, I am never sure exactly how to blog about it... I think the best way to start is with the facts...

Police: Accused shooter hated liberals, expected to be killed

The shotgun-wielding suspect in Sunday’s mass shooting at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church was motivated by a hatred of “the liberal movement,” and he planned to shoot until police shot him, Knoxville Police Chief Sterling P. Owen IV said this morning.

Jim D. Adkisson, 58, of Powell wrote a four-page letter in which he stated his “hatred of the liberal movement,” Owen said. “Liberals in general, as well as gays.”

Owen said Adkisson specifically targeted the church for its beliefs, rather than a particular member of the congregation.

“It appears that church had received some publicity regarding its liberal stance,” the chief said. The church has a “gays welcome” sign and regularly runs announcements in the News Sentinel about meetings of the Parents, Friends and Family of Lesbians and Gays meetings at the church.

The church’s Web site states that it has worked for “desegregation, racial harmony, fair wages, women’s rights and gay rights” since the 1950s. Current ministries involve emergency aid for the needy, school tutoring and support for the homeless, as well as a cafe that provides a gathering place for gay and lesbian high-schoolers.


As I sit and write this here in "liberal" San Francisco, my thoughts are turning to people I know who continue to make excuses for the Anti Gay rhetoric of the GOP.

As a collective entity, the Republican Party and it's bankrollers in the Conservative Evangelical movement, have spent massive amounts of time and energy and money demonizing a LGBT Americans. Saying from the both the podium and the pulpit that Gay and Lesbian Americans are a "threat" who are "attacking" families and children. Calling for their followers to “fight" some phantom’ gay agenda’ and to "defend traditional values".

The Repubilcan Party and their conservative surrogates on the Religous Right like to paint a simplistic picture of the world where you are either in favor of "freedom" or you are supporting the "terrorist killers". Likewise the GOP has said loud and clear from the podium of their last four national conventions that if you believe that all American citizens deserve equal rights then you are "anti family".

The same people who criticize public dissent of the Bush Administration as "Motivating terrorists to attack us", continue to verbally attack LGBT people and will dismiss the hate crimes that follow as the "lone acts of disturbed individuals". The hypocrisy exhibited on the right is beyond belief.

Conservatives will say with great indignation, that I cant possibly blame them for the actions of one individual Yet to think that the flood of anti-gay rhetoric coming for people in power, people in authority, (both political and religious) has no effect, means you are either willfully blind, or deliberately dishonest.

Do I blame Karl Rove, Ralph Reed, Bill O'Riley, James Dobson and their like for the actions of Jim D. Adkisson in Knoxville TN last Sunday? No, conservatives cannot be blamed for his actions, but their rhetoric IS partly responsible for his motivation.

In Germany in the 1930's Hitler and his National Socialist Party, ranted against the "Jewish threat", and mobs of young men then took to the streets of Berlin, smashed windows, burned stores and homes and beat up men and women. THIS IS NO DIFFERENT.

To my conservative friends, (and yes I do mean friends) who continue to excuse the the bigotry and politically expedient HATE spewed by conservative mouthpieces on behalf of the Republican party , you either really do hate Americans who are different from you , or you don't mind profiting poltically from that hate.

This is no longer about Right or Left, it's about right and wrong. This isn’t about are you for tax cuts or gun ownership, it's about do you agree with people who believe that one group of Americans are lesser human beings than others.

This debate is no longer about public policy. This is about whether it is ok for our government to vilify an entire group of people for political gain, and then not be held accountable for the consequences of that vilification.

Are we a nation that truly seeks to "crown they good with brotherhood"? Or have become that nation that Martin Niem├Âller warned of in his speech on January 6, 1946, to the representatives of the Confessing Church in Frankfurt...

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn't a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

We see this on a much smaller scale, as John McCain gives in the temptation to demonize some Americans, in order to scare others into supporting him. Last week in an effort to divert media attention from his rival, John McCain accused Barack Obama of being more interested winning a political campaign, than winning the war in Iraq.

When talking about the "War on Terror", conservatives love to ask - "whose side are you on?" That is indeed the question we need to ask.

It's time to ask do you truly believe that "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."?

Or will you stand with the Republican Party as it continues to seek political victory through social and religious division?

How many dead Americans are an acceptable number if it helps you win the White House?


Bill White said...

I really can't object to the killing of Unitarian Universalists and gays, though I admit that shooting up a children's play is probably not the best way to go about such acts.

Camps are probably a good start, and then death only for the ones who can't be reformed.

DaveF said...

Thank for your mindless spew Bill, you are the reason Barack Obama will win. Then you will have Eight years to ponder why nobody takes you even remotely seriously