Conservative Christian Extremists Target Obama
Although conservative Christians, Evangelicals in particular have always been somewhat of a radical fringe in America, lately their messages have grown increasingly extreme. From death wish bumper stickers to praying for his death to virtual fatwas, they are deliberately creating an explosive situation that could easily lead to an assassination.
“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” -Sinclair Lewis
The Westboro Baptist Church headquartered in Topeka, Kansas is one such example of extremism. They are infamous for their “God Hates Fags” signs, although they employ other equally offensive slogans and tactics. They commonly protest military funerals while stomping on the American flag. They often blame the victims of natural disasters and terrorist attacks as ‘sinners’ who deserve their fate. They founded many inflammatory websites such as priestsrapeboys.com that show their intolerance is not limited to one particular group, but other Christian sects as well.
Their tactics are usually protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution, although there are reports of people being battered, harassed, stalked, and spit on by the WBC congregants. The WBC is being monitored by the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center. Despite the head cleric calling Obama the antichrist, there doesn’t seem to be too much incitement towards violence towards the president from the WBC at this time. They are being brought up as an example of how far right cults can turn increasingly extreme in their message.
Whereas the WBC is so ridiculously far out there that they are rarely taken seriously by anyone, other conservative Christian groups are far more insidious. For instance, instead of picketing the military, the American Family Association is hiding behind it, and called for it to ban Muslims. This is usually the angle that the fanatics take to spread their hate: using their false sense of patriotism and family values.
This is where it gets interesting. Many on the right, whether religious or not are spreading the lie that Obama is a secret Muslim. Some have even spread the erroneous rumor that he took his oath of office for the US Senate on the Koran (that was Keith Ellison, a black member of congress from Minnesota). Many others are spreading the lie about Obama being foreign born, thus ineligible to be POTUS. In both cases, these are not only meant to spark distrust and fear of Obama, but to act as a pretext for removing him from office by any means necessary. After all, in their warped view of reality he is a foreign threat seeking to undermine and destroy America.
The conservative Christians fear and hate of Barack Hussein Obama has been apparent for over a year. During the presidential campaign, these irrational fears came into focus. Focus on the Family Action wrote the fear mongering “Letter from 2012 in Obama’s America” in which there was gay marriage in every state, Israel was nuked, and 4 US population centers were hit by terrorist strikes, all due to the election of Obama. A Pentacostal publication wrote that “Life As We Know It Will End If Obama is Elected.” The Christian ‘Anti-Defamation’ Commission put up videos called “7 Reasons Barack Obama is not a Christian.”
This fear mongering has intensified over the last year. There was a poll on Facebook asking whether Obama should be killed. A rogue militia ordered Obama to leave the country or face the ‘consequences’. A right wing blog with ties to Christian conservatives advocated a Honduran style military coup. Merchandise began to be sold saying: Pray for Obama: Psalm 109:8. This passage reads: “Let his days be few; and let another take his office. Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.”
Then we have Pastor Steven Andersen of the Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona, who first gained national notoriety when he stated, “If you’re a homosexual, I hope you get brain cancer like Ted Kennedy.” This man virtually issued a jihadi inspired fatwa against Obama during a fiery sermon. Not long after, one of his flock arrived at an opposition rally with a locked and loaded assault rifle when Obama was visiting Phoenix. There was no violence in this incident, but it goes to show how conservative Christian hate speech could clearly lead to an assassination attempt.
This is a very real threat. There has been a chilling rise in right wing hate around the country. President Obama receives an average of 30 death threats per day, a 400% increase over former President Bush. A conservative website even offered a list of Democratic Senators to assassinate so their Republican governors could appoint Republican replacements, thus taking away the 60 vote caucus.
Finally we have imprecatory prayers. This was in the news recently as many Republican leaders including Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and members of the cult like group The Family participated in a prayer event which aimed to have divine intervention stop someone (presumably the frail Sen. Byrd (D-WV)) from voting in the health care debate.
This is eerily familiar to Wiley Drake, pastor of First Southern Baptist Church in Buena Park, California, who prayed for the death of Dr. George Tiller prior to a right wing assassin gunning Tiller down in his church last summer. Pastor Drake has also prayed for the death of Obama on Fox News talk radio.
The far right conservative Christian extremists are increasingly using menacing ways to spread their messages of fear and hate. Their messages are creating a volatile atmosphere in which violence, especially directed against Barack Obama is starting to rise to dangerous levels. Using the bully pulpit of the altar, selling merchandise, and conservative media, there is a clear and present danger when combined with the conservative counter-revolution.