Poor Excuses for Explaining Away Racist Terrorism
by: John Tyrrell
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Long ago, the Reverend Martin Luther King identified Sunday morning church services as the most racially segregated hour in America - and this at a time when segregation was still widely practiced in all aspects of life - at a time when equal rights remained a dream.
There have been changes - but not so much in America's Christian churches where one study concluded that only 8% of churches are racially diverse to a significant degree.
So when a racist young white man, intent by his own admission on starting a race war, wanted to kill black people, an historically black church was for him a reasonable place to find victims.
Yes it was a Christian church - but the Christian nature of the church was not the reason for the attack there - after all, the young man was and is a Christian himself - he's a member of a Lutheran church and receiving spiritual counselling from that church while in jail.
There should be no doubt in anyone's mind that this was a terrorist hate crime based on racism.
However, there is among many white conservatives in the USA a blinkered denial that racism exists. They have to look for causes elsewhere.
First the extremely stupid excuses:
- Guns were not allowed in that church by the pastor - Charles L. Cotton, a National Rifle Association board member; also the infamous Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association
- Yes - blame the murdered pastor for not wanting guns in his place of worship, and perhaps for being in favour of gun control.
- Abuse of prescription drugs - Rick Perry - potential Republican candidate for President
- because we really shouldn't be using this occasion to talk about race.
- Obama - or "That Muslim in the White House" - numerous ignorant Twitter users
And secondly the even more extremely stupid "war on religion excuses" for those who want to see this attack by a practicing white Christian on practicing black Christians as an attack on their white conservative Christian religion:
- An attack on faith - Fox and Friends (a supposed news program on a supposed news network)
- A religion-based hate crime - Fox and Friends
- A “satanically inspired” attack against Christians. - Pat Boone (an old almost forgotten white Christian singer)
- Not enough people have come to Jesus. - Mike Huckabee (potential Republican candidate for President)
- an assault on religious liberty - Rick Santorum (potential Republican candidate for President, and long running search engine joke)
- People not understanding where salvation comes from. - Rand Paul (potential Republican candidate for President)
Why are these white people ignoring the obvious - that the murder of nine people was deliberate race-based terrorism?
My view - they are blind to their own racial prejudices, and wilfully blind to the racism of others.
Until people face up to their prejudices and deal with their prejudices, we cannot solve the ongoing problem of racism. Or any of the other factors that get in the way of putting equal rights for everyone regardless of race, colour, creed, sex, gender, birthplace etc into practice rather than just giving the lip service to the concept.
- The Most Segregated Hour in America?
- As American churches go, Lutherans are relatively liberal and relatively open to diversity. I would not suggest that the terrorist punk's racism came out of Lutheranism.
- I have deliberately used the words "terrorist" and "terrorism." I don't see this as a matter of debate. Terrorism was the terrorists stated aim. Judging the crime as terrorism is not a rush to judgement any more than the almost unanimous identifying of today's acts of terrorism in Kuwait, France, and Tunisia as terrorism was a rush to judgement. The reluctance in the USA to identify events such as the Charleston killings as terrorism unless the perpetrators are Muslim is incomprehensible to me.
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