Christian Conservatives Scramble to Deny Stirring Up Violence with Their Incendiary Speech
In what could be the greatest head-spinner of the season, Christianist Republicans, from presidential candidates and congressmen to Fox News anchors and sleazy video-splicers, are scrambling to deny that their words actually matter or have any real-world influence. We had nothing to do with any shooting rampage at Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs. Cough. Baby killers. Cough. Body parts for sale. Cough, cough.
To those of us on the outside, the relationship seems clear. Vicki Cowart, president of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, which was targeted in the CMP video hoax, has experienced the terrorizing first-hand. “We’ve seen an alarming increase in hateful rhetoric and smear campaigns against abortion providers and patients over the last few months. That environment breeds acts of violence.”
Even Ben Carson managed to briefly add up two plus two. “There’s no question the hateful rhetoric exacerbates the situation," he said on "Face the Nation." But Laura Muzyka called Carson “sorely misinformed” and then, ironically, underscored his point by tacking on some hateful lies of her own. "The only thing that's extreme is Planned Parenthood's desire to see abortion without restriction through all nine months of pregnancy while they capitalize off dismembering preborn children and parting them out for sale.” She added that, “No one in the pro-life movement ever calls for violence in return."
No one calls for violence?! True, most calls for violence against clinics and providers are veiled, but some have been pretty darn explicit. Here’s one from popular Facebook evangelist Joshua Feuerstein (who has 1.8 million followers): “Planned Parenthood has hunted down millions and millions of little innocent babies, stuck a knife into the uterus, cut them, pulled them out, crushed their skull with forceps, ripped their body apart, sold their tissue, and threw them bleeding into a trash bin. I say, tonight, we punish Planned Parenthood. I think it’s time that abortion doctors should have to run and hide and be afraid for their life.”
Here’s another from Troy Newman, who was recently denied entry into Australia because the government feared he would incite violence there. According to Newman, the only way to purge “community bloodguilt” and protect America from God’s wrath over abortion is the “lawful execution of the murderers, which is commanded by God in Scripture." (Newman is the head of Operation Rescue and was endorsed by Ted Cruz just days before the Colorado shooting.) In fact, anti-abortion fanatics have made so many violent threats against clinic staff and patients that David Cohen recently published an entire book about them: Living in the Crosshairs: The Untold Stories of Anti-Abortion Terrorism.
But if we are to believe the Republican talking heads, all of this is irrelevant to the eruption of violence.
- “This is so typical of the left to immediately begin demonizing the messenger because they don’t agree with the message. Anyone who tries to link this terrible tragedy to anyone who opposes abortion or opposes the sale of body parts is … this is typical left-wing tactics.” —Carly Fiorina
- "It’s also been reported that he was registered as an independent and a woman and a transgendered leftist activist. If that’s what he is, I don’t think it’s fair to blame on the rhetoric on the left. This is a murderer.” —Ted Cruz
- “It was absolutely unfathomable.” —Mike Huckabee
- “It’s a tragedy. It’s, I think, a mental health crisis.” —Rep. Michael McCall, R-Texas
Never mind that conservative Christians in high places have been fanning flames for months, calling women and health care providers murderers and pretending to believe Planned Parenthood kills big-eyed babies and sells body parts for profit. Never mind that we call such language “incendiary” because it is incendiary. For anyone who is linguistically impaired, an incendiary device turns raw materials into flames. But Christianist Republicans are shocked that some wingnut in Colorado actually took their becking at face value and opened fire in a family planning clinic. Who could have possibly known all that posturing and lying for political gain might affect someone’s behavior? It was just talk!