I have to admit that after I first read the Department of Homeland Security’s report “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment” [PDF] on Monday, I immediately forgot about it because it was of no use to me.
While I am always on the look-out for things demonstrating the extremism of the Religious Right, this report focused solely on violent racist and anti-government groups and since we tend not to cover such groups here, the report had little to offer.
Or so I thought. As it turns out, the report was apparently exactly about the Religious Right groups we follow here … or at least that is what Religious Right groups are insisting, based entirely on a single footnote that says:
Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.
The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), focusing on constitutional law, said today a new warning issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that labels pro-life supporters as ‘extremists’ is outrageous and raises serious questions about the leadership and direction of an agency that’s goal is to protect Americans against a very real terrorist threat.
“This is an outrageous characterization that raises serious questions about the leadership and direction of the agency charged with protecting Americans in the ongoing battle against terrorism,” said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ. “Why would the Department of Homeland Security single out groups like pro-life supporters when they should be focusing on identifying and apprehending the real terrorists – like al-Qaeda – groups that have vowed to destroy America? This characterization is not only offensive to millions of Americans who hold constitutionally-protected views opposing abortion – but also raises serious concerns about the political agenda of an agency with a mandate to protect America.”
The AFA’s Don Wildmon is outraged about the whole thing, but particularly upset about the reports supposed attacks on veterans:
“They say [to] watch these soldiers coming home from Iraq because they could turn out to be terrorists in our own country,” Wildmon notes. “These are kids basically who have gone over there and risked their lives — and many of them have given their lives — and here we put out a nine-page report from Homeland Security saying, ‘Watch these soldiers that come home because they could be possible terrorists in their own country.’
Of course, the report specifically references Timothy McVeigh, a Gulf War veteran, but apparently it’s really an attack on all members of our armed services.
But in terms of sheer inanity and hyperbole, I doubt that anything can top this statement from Janice Crouse of Concerned Women for America:
“Here you have a group of people who are in charge of Homeland Security portraying conservative Christian people as people the nation really needs to be afraid of,” notes Crouse. “It’s so alarmist. It’s spreading fear and suspicion, and it’s demonizing those of us who hold true traditional values.”
According to Crouse, those are the values held by mainstream America and that are at the foundation of the U.S. Constitution. The report places opponents of abortion and homosexual “marriage” at the same level as inter-racial crimes.
Crouse tells OneNewsNow the report is a direct attack on the church. “[It’s] a direct assault on the basic principles of religious beliefs that have been here since the time of Christ,” she argues. “These are the things that Christ died on the cross for.”
Did anyone on the Right even bother to read the report before spouting off about it? It seems doubtful because presumably they wouldn’t be blasting a report aimed at violent racist extremists as an attack on “traditional values” and Christianity. Do the basic tenets of Christianity and traditional values now incorporate ideologically driven terrorism and violence?