01 June, 2009

Silence is Consent

I am reposting this from The Mudflats blog, which is where I usually get my daily dose of "WTF, Sarah Palin?!?" However, today The Mudflatter explains why I am not a part of the conservative movement, and why I have a very shaky relationship with religion. 


It’s hard not to comment on today’s news.  Killing in the name of pro-life.

Last year I attended a candlelight vigil at the Anchorage Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in the memory of innocent people who were gunned down in their church at a Sunday morning children’s program.  They died not because of who they were, but for what they believed.  They were randomly targeted as symbols of liberalism in America.

Adkisson, [the shooter] who had served in the military, said “that because he could not get to the leaders of the liberal movement he would then target those that had voted them in office,” the search warrant states. Among the items seized from Adkisson’s house were three books: “The O’Reilly Factor,” by television commentator Bill O’Reilly; “Liberalism is a Mental Disorder,” by radio personality Michael Savage; and “Let Freedom Ring,” by political pundit Sean Hannity.


Memorial candles for the victims of the Tennessee Valley UU Church shootings.

It’s a lot to wrap your mind around.

This morning, a doctor and abortion provider was shot to death in front of his wife, in his church.  The suspect in this case, 51-year old Scott Roeder from Kansas, posted this two years ago on an anti-abortion website:

“Bless everyone for attending and praying in May to bring  justice to Tiller and the closing of his death camp…”

I hear lots of conservative pundits talking about health care.  They don’t want government, and government beurocracies coming between people and their doctors.  But when it comes to matters of reproductive freedom, they want the government to do exactly that.

They talk about being pro-life, and they believe that a human is a human at the moment of conception.  But if that human grows up, and strays from the path of a good life, and is convicted of a horrible crime, they believe the government should put him to death.

They don’t want the government intruding into their lives, and telling them they can or can’t own a gun.   They don’t want the government  in their house making laws that tell them what to do.  But they want laws taking rights away from people because of what they do in their bedrooms, and whom they choose to love.

Jesus was tortured to death for fear of what he might do.  But the religious right doesn’t seem to mind if people are tortured, even those who may not have done anything yet.  Think of what they might do.  They might go after innocent people.  They may come after us, in our homes, in our churches, just for the way we think.  Just for what we believe.  Just because we love our freedoms.  But when one of their followers comes into a church on a Sunday morning, and kills people in the name of conservative values, there is an awkward silence.  Right wing pundits, and those who need the political support of the conservative “base” are squeamishly non-commital in their opinions about these acts of domestic terrorism.

They like to talk about the constitution.   But when people who don’t think like they do use the first amendment to speak up, they are demonized.  They are called unpatriotic.  They are called ungodly, and immoral.  They are targeted.

And when does the first amendment cross the line and become incitement to violence?  How many more killings like this can we expect in the future?  In the last year, three people are dead, and six others were hospitalized with gunshot wounds, shot  in churches in the name of God, for being who they are, and doing nothing that violated the law.

I am not saying that all conservatives condone these acts.  I’m hoping with all my heart that the vast majority see this for what it is - the work of deeply disturbed individuals that do not reflect Christian values, or conservative values.   But the fact remains that the media has power and influence, and when it is used to fan the flames of hatred, to instill fear, to put people in the middle of a big red bullseye, things like this will happen, and we, as a collective citizenry should not tolerate it.  It is incitement.   And it’s been used for a very long time to divide and mobilize people for political purpose and religious power.

“Why don’t Muslim leaders speak out against terrorism?”   We hear that all the time.  “Silence is consent,” they say.  “If they really felt it was wrong, somebody would say something.”  We’re told that since nobody is denouncing and rejecting these acts of terrorism, it must be condoned.  And we don’t want any wesk-tea, carefully worded evasions.  We need outright condemnation of terrorist acts; acts that are perpetrated to instill fear, to terrorize a group who holds an idealogy they don’t like.  So, where are the right-wing conservative pundits?  What do they think about this?  Silence is consent, right?

[Update]  To see a compilation by Brad Friedman of the alarming reaction on conservative blogs, clickHERE.


  1. Thanks so much for posting this. I've never heard of The Mudflats, but I'll be giving it a read from now on.

  2. Thank you for posting this. It is amazing how many people who call themselves Christians will injure others because of their beliefs.

  3. I've heard a lot of condemnation from "the right" for acts such as these. Interesting that this author has not.