It’s DHS Deja Vu All Over Again

Last year, I wrote a whole series of posts about the utterly manufactured “controversy” over a Department of Homeland Security report which right-wing activists claimed labeled conservatives as “domestic terrorists.”

Needless to say, the report did nothing of the sort, but no matter how many times we or others pointed out this lie, the Religious Right would not stop repeating it. 

That issue finally faded away, but now it looks like were going to have to relive it in a slightly different form, thanks to this new manufactured “controversy”:

President Barack Obama’s nominee to head the agency charged with keeping American travelers safe from terrorism thinks pro-life advocates are terrorists. A new video shows Transportation Security Administration nominee Erroll Southers including pro-life advocates in a list of terrorist groups.

The new video from 2008 shows Southers responding to a documentary-style interview question about terrorist organizations.

The documentary asked Southers, “Which home-grown terrorist groups pose the greatest danger to the U.S.”

Southers explained, “Most of the domestic groups that we pay attention to here are white supremacist groups. They’re anti-government, in most cases anti-abortion, they are usually survivalist type in nature, identity oriented.”

“Those groups are groups that claim to be extremely anti-government and Christian identity oriented,” he continues.

Here is the video in question, which has already been seized upon by right-wing activists:

And predictably, groups like the Family Research Council are all over it:

What’s the story on the President’s choice to head the Transportation Security Administration (TSA)? Well, if you’ve traveled through airport security, blogger Erick Erickson says that you’ve probably been screened more thoroughly than this pick. Among other things, Erroll Southers, the latest in the White House’s parade of unqualified nominees, is on record saying that pro-lifers pose one of our nation’s greatest security risks. In a video from 2008, Southers specifically targets “Christian identity” groups and anti-abortionists as a homegrown threat.

That’s right. The man chosen to be first line of defense against another 9-11 is more worried about churchgoers than radical Islamic fundamentalists. Unfortunately, that makes him the perfect choice for Homeland Security’s Janet Napolitano, who last year included pro-life and pro-marriage conservatives on the domestic “watch list.” So far, Southers is just parroting what the President’s official policy has been all along: marginalizing values voters who don’t see the federal government as the solution to every problem.

Do these people really not realize that “Christian identity” is a specific term with a specific meaning?

Christian Identity is a religious ideology popular in extreme right-wing circles. Adherents believe that whites of European descent can be traced back to the “Lost Tribes of Israel.” Many consider Jews to be the Satanic offspring of Eve and the Serpent, while non-whites are “mud peoples” created before Adam and Eve. Its virulent racist and anti-Semitic beliefs are usually accompanied by extreme anti-government sentiments. Despite its small size, Christian Identity influences virtually all white supremacist and extreme anti-government movements. It has also informed criminal behavior ranging from hate crimes to acts of terrorism.

The term “Christian identity” doesn’t mean your average “churchgoer,” it mean a movement consisting of racist, anti-Semitic, anti-government extremists.

But the Religious Right obviously doesn’t care that and isn’t about to let its fundamental misunderstanding get in the way of its efforts to generate controversy.