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When Ideology Kills Kindness: Dylann Roof at Emmanuel AME

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Dylann Storm Roof has confessed to the terrorist action committed against the people of Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston South Carolina. He went to the church with the intent of killing blacks. However, he almost did not do it. According to NBC News:

“Roof, 21, told police he “almost didn’t go through with [the shooting] because everyone was so nice to him,” sources told NBC News’ Craig Melvin. But he ultimately decided to “go through with his mission,” the sources said.”

That cold blooded admission sent chills through my body. It reminded me of the way that many Nazis went through with killing the Jews during the Holocaust. For most of them it was not personal and many knew Jews, some who had even befriended them in their early years. But still, blinded by their ideology and belief that the Jews were less than human and were taking over their county, these men, like Dylann Roof committed atrocities that beggar the imagination.

Yet Dylann Roof killed those nine innocent and defenseless people, most of whom were elderly with cold blooded precision, none of the people he shot survived, that if you do the math is a 100% kill ratio.  He coldly told his victims “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.”

In writing about the actions of those in the Holocaust, in particular Adolf Eichmann, Hannah Arendt wrote: “it was of great political interest to know how long it takes an average person to overcome his innate repugnance toward crime, and what exactly happens to him once he had reached that point. To this question, the case of Adolf Eichmann supplied an answer that could not have been clearer and more precise.”

For Eichmann this took years, but for Dylann Roof this took one hour of sitting with people who show him kindness before he decided to go through with his mission. Sadly there are other people in this country who harbor the same kind of ideology as Roof and while a minority a lot of their though is seeping into the mainstream through alleged “think tanks” and “new organizations” posing as mainstream but which instead argue for the systematic exclusion of blacks, other racial and religious minorities, women and gays in society. Their spokesmen routinely show up as “experts” or “commentators” on the various cable news channels and talk radio and very seldom are confronted by the hosts of these shows.

The purveyors of this type of ideology play on the fears of people who feel they are “losing their country.” They play on the worst stereotypes to increase that fear and loathing and the result is what happened on an unmatched scale in Germany and for us on Wednesday a large scale. Like the German judge being tried for his part in the Holocaust played by Bert Lancaster such people are swept up in that fear, as Lancaster’s character said:

“There was a fever over the land. A fever of disgrace, of indignity, of hunger. We had a democracy, yes, but it was torn by elements within. Above all, there was fear. Fear of today, fear of tomorrow, fear of our neighbors, and fear of ourselves. Only when you understand that – can you understand what Hitler meant to us. Because he said to us: ‘Lift your heads! Be proud to be German! There are devils among us. Communists, Liberals, Jews, Gypsies! Once these devils will be destroyed, your misery will be destroyed. It was the old, old story of the sacrificial lamb. What about those of us who knew better? We who knew the words were lies and worse than lies? Why did we sit silent? Why did we take part? Because we loved our country! What difference does it make if a few political extremists lose their rights? What difference does it make if a few racial minorities lose their rights? It is only a passing phase. It is only a stage we are going through. It will be discarded sooner or later. Hitler himself will be discarded… sooner or later. The country is in danger. We will march out of the shadows. We will go forward. Forward is the great password. And history tells how well we succeeded, your honor. We succeeded beyond our wildest dreams. The very elements of hate and power about Hitler that mesmerized Germany, mesmerized the world! We found ourselves with sudden powerful allies. Things that had been denied to us as a democracy were open to us now…”

It does not take long before a culture can be poisoned by such ideology and become a place where no person is safe. Dylann Roof is not an isolated case. Craig Stephen Hicks killed three Moslem students who lived in his condominium complex near the University of North Carolina. Wade Michael Page, a Neo-Nazi murdered six people in an attack on a Sikh temple in Oak Creek Wisconsin. Scott Roeder, a militant anti-abortionist walked into a church and gunned down Dr. George Tiller who was a doctor who provided abortions at his clinic. Jim David Atkisson walked into a Unitarian Universalist church in Knoxville Tennessee during a children’s play, he killed two and wounded seven and said that he was motivated by a hatred of liberals. Eric Rudolph committed two bombings to stop abortion, one at the Olympic Park in Atlanta during the 1996 Olympics which killed one person and wounded 111 people, and that other at a Birmingham Alabama abortion clinic in 1998 which killed a police officer and wounded a nurse. Of course the biggest act of terror committed for political reasons by an American was the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah federal Building in Oklahoma City. In that act Timothy McVeigh killed 168 people and wounded more than 600. That bombing was motivated by his hatred of the U.S. Government.

The problem is that there are many more just like these guys, who for various reasons who given the opportunity would do exactly what Dylann Roof and these other terrorists did when they committed their crimes. Some of these men were motivated to kill based on their supposedly “Christian” beliefs, others not by faith at all but due to their unbending political and ideological hatred of the government, minorities, or political opponents. In the film To Kill a Mockingbird Atticus Finch played by Gregory Peck noted “Sometimes the Bible in the hand of one man is worse than a whisky bottle in the hand of another… There are just some kind of men who – who’re so busy worrying about the next world they’ve never learned to live in this one, and you can look down the street and see the results.”

Likewise, the ideology of hatred, of racial and religious superiority be it Christian or not, even the atheistic nihilism of Timothy McVeigh will claim many more lives, unless we as a society wake up and fight back. It is not enough to pray, we have to speak up and be counted, or this Red White and Blue, supposedly patriotic American non-Islamic terror will become more commonplace.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Hate vs. Hate: A Clash in Garland

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“We think we’ve come so far. Torture of heretics, burning of witches it’s all ancient history. Then – before you can blink an eye – suddenly it threatens to start all over again.” Jean Luc Picard Star Trek the Next Generation – the Drumhead

Well the direct confrontation and collision between radical Moslems and their most radical opponents has finally happened. American Moslem Jihadists attack a gathering where those who hate Moslems are doing their best to incite Moslems to violence in Garland. Hate met hate and sadly, I fear this is just the beginning.

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Elton Simpson

The attackers, one named Elton Simpson from Phoenix who had previously been convicted about lying about his involvement with terror groups and a second who was likely his room-mate were killed when they opened fire outside the event wounding a security guard in the ankle. Just prior to the attack Simpson sent out a twitter message with the hashtag #texasattack stating “May Allah accept us as mujahideen.”

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AbuHussainAlBritani

Over the past few week various members of the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) have encouraged attacks on this particular gathering. The attacks were cheered by AbuHussainAlBritani (@_AbuHu55ain) on Twitter who may also have helped direct them. Four hours before the attack he tweeted: The knives have been sharpened, soon we will come to your streets with death and slaughter! #QaribanQariba . During and after the attack he continued to tweet:

My friends, if you ask me those are fighting words that need to be taken deadly serious.

The event Simpson and his accomplice attacked was sponsored by the American Freedom Defense Initiative headed by well-known racist and Moslem baiter Pamela Geller who has determined that all Moslems are the enemy. Like the Southern Poverty Law Center I believe that it is a hate group, but that being said even hate groups have free speech rights and should not be violently attacked.

The event supposedly promoted standing with “free speech” rights and was dedicated to standing in solidarity with the staff of the Charlie Hebdo magazine which was slaughtered by Islamic terrorists in January. Critics said it was an anti-Moslem gathering and there is some truth in that statement and I am inclined to classify it as such because I know what Geller stands for. It included a speech given by Dutch right-wing, anti-Moslem and some would say Fascist politician Geert Wilders. However, the highlight of the event was the completion to draw a cartoon image of the Prophet Mohammed, which is considered blasphemous by Moslems. The prize was $10,000 for the best rendition of the Prophet. Of course by “best” I would assume this would be the most hateful, inflammatory and derogatory defection, without the often brilliant satire of the murdered staff of Charlie Hebdo. There is a difference between hate and racism versus satire and I’m sure that knowing Geller and those devoted to her cause that this was not satire, and was probably more like Julius Streicher’s depiction of Jews in Der Sturmer. The irony that Geller, a Jewish woman would employ the hatred and racist pornography of the Nazi Streicher in her attacks on Moselms is not lost on me. 

Now as much as I despise Geller and her ignorant and hate filled screeds against all Moslems I stand with her in regard to free speech, even that with which I disagree. I also know that for Geller that free speech is a one way street. Likewise I question the wisdom of conducting the event, knowing that it might provoke a violent response, but I do not think for a moment that such speech should be banned, and no civilized person or group would ever violently attack such a gathering. Sadly Geller’s actions play right into the hands of the Moslem extremists. 

 

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Stéphane Charbonnier of Charlie Hebdo- Murdered in Cold Blood

Over the past couple of years and especially over the past few months we have seen an increase in such attacks by radicalized Moslems on those who they believe have blasphemed the Prophet. Charlie Hebdo in Paris, an attack on a coffee shop in Australia, and an attack on a free speech event in Copenhagen Denmark. After the Charlie Hebdo attack the Al Qaeda Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) group claimed credit for the attack. One of its leaders, Sheikh Usama (RA) said in his message to the West: “If there is no check on the freedom of your words, then let your hearts be open to the freedom of our actions.” 

Of course such words are a declaration of war against free speech.

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Anders Behring Breivik killed 69 and wounded 110 mostly children

Likewise there have been attacks by right-wing and often allegedly “Christian” people against Moslems, or people who just happened to look like Moslems. Anders Behring Breivik, a Norwegian went into action to kill the enemies of Western Civilization and Christian culture on July 22nd 2008.  In an assault that included a car bomb which killed 8 people and wounded 209 and an attack on a youth camp which killed 69 and wounded another 110, almost all of them children.

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Wade Page

Wade Page, a neo-Nazi and White Supremacist attacked a Sikh Temple, confusing it with a Moslem gathering killed 6 people and wounded many more who had simply come to worship before he was killed by police.

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In February three America students at University of North Carolina were gunned down execution style in their home by Craig Stephen Hicks. According to those who know Hicks hated all religion and was quite angry at the Christians and Jews who participated together with Moslems and others in the ecumenical memorial services after the attacks of September 11th 2001.

The key ingredient in all of these attacks no matter who is conducting them is a hatred of the other, a passionate hatred that Eric Hoffer noted “can give meaning and purpose to an empty life. These people haunted by the purposelessness of their lives try to find a new content not only by dedicating themselves to a holy cause but also by nursing a fanatical grievance.”   

The sad thing is that I believe that this is just the beginning. The whole purpose of those radicalized to hate other with such passion to bring about an ideological-religious war between Islam and the West. The cycle of violence will increase until it boils over as it is incited by extremists of all types, Moslem, Christian, Jewish, Atheist, you name them. Real honest debate and dialogue has been replaced by the most base and vitriolic attacks and violence and that my friends is why this is just the beginning.

I am a realist and I fear for what happens when eventually people connected to the Islamic State conduct a strike on an America city or event with a nuke, dirty-bomb, chemical agent or biological agent which causes mass causalities and destruction. Mark my words it will happen no matter how hard we try to prevent it. When it happens the Geller’s of the world will use it to justify all means of attacks and persecution of Moslems in this country, the vast majority of whom are innocent, law abiding and loyal Americans. It will be worse that what we did to American citizens of Japanese descent after Pearl Harbor, and I would not be surprised Moslems rounded up and their property vandalized or seized.

I for one am glad that the terrorists did not succeed and were killed but there will be more and they will undoubtedly will be more competent and deadly than Simpson and his accomplice ever dreamed of being.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Filed under civil rights, faith, national security, Political Commentary, terrorism