The Ethical Take: The Long, Hot, Hate-filled Summer

tyler-billboard

No, this is NOT a joke –

Rick Tyler, an independent candidate running for Congress from Tennessee, received a much deserved flood of criticism after putting up a campaign billboard along Highway 411 in Polk County which reads, “Make America White Again.”

According to WTVC-TV, Tyler explained his reasons this way:

“ ‘The Make America White Again billboard advertisement will cut to the very core and marrow of what plagues us as a nation. As Anne [misspells her first name] Coulter so effectively elucidates in her book, Adios America, the overhaul of America’s immigration law in the 1960’s has placed us on an inevitable course of demise and destruction. Yes, the cunning globalist/Marxist social engineers have succeeded in destroying that great bulwark against statist tyranny the white American super majority. Without its expedited restoration little hope remains for the nation as a whole.’ ”

While the billboard has been taken down, Tyler plans more billboards with additional racist comments that I won’t reprint here because I don’t want to give this guy another venue for his hate.

Say What? –

Everyone decried the shooting deaths of 49 individuals in a bar in Orlando, Florida. Well… most everyone.

In yet another stunning demonstration of bigotry, The New York Times quotes (June 27), Sacramento Baptist preacher Roger Jimenez telling his congregants: “The tragedy is that more of them didn’t die. I’m kind of upset that he [Omar Mateen] didn’t finish the job! Because these people are predators! They are abusers!”

“Rebecca Barrett-Fox,” The Times writes, “a visiting assistant professor of sociology at Arkansas State University who has researched Christian extremists, said she had tracked about five churches — in California, Texas, Arizona and Tennessee — where preachers had endorsed the killings in Orlando.

“Dr. Barrett-Fox said the Baptist emphasis on church autonomy — recognizing no central authority — allowed pastors to interpret the Bible for themselves. …

“ ‘One of the consequences of that is you can get whole congregations that spin further and further away from the norm of what is accepted theology,’ she said.”

“Sermons posted online since the attack have been interspersed with dehumanizing labels for L.G.B.T. people reminiscent of those used by the perpetrators of historical genocides. The Orlando victims were ‘sodomites,’ ‘reprobates,’ ‘perverts’ and ‘scum of the earth,’ preachers have said.

“In a sermon at a church in Fort Worth, Pastor Donnie Romero told his congregants that every gay person is a pedophile. He was praying that the injured Orlando victims would not survive, he said, ‘so that they don’t get any more opportunity to go out and hurt little children.’

“ ‘I’ll pray to God that God will finish the job that that man started,’ he added, referring to the gunman, Omar Mateen.” …

Heidi Beirich of The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, warned not to be dismissive of this kind of rhetoric.

“I think it is entirely possible that someone could be inspired by this and kill gay people,” Ms. Beirich said. “This kind of message is exactly akin to Hitlerian ideas of exterminating Jews. It’s that extreme. It’s basically genocidal toward a population.”

…And it’s growing

A headline from The Southern Poverty Law Center earlier this year (Feb. 17) points out: “The number of hate and antigovernment ‘Patriot’ groups grew last year, and terrorist attacks and radical plots proliferated.”

“Anti-government militiamen, white supremacists, abortion foes, domestic Islamist radicals, neo-Nazis and lovers of the Confederate battle flag targeted police, government officials, black churchgoers, Muslims, Jews, schoolchildren, Marines, abortion providers, members of the Black Lives Matter protest movement, and even drug dealers.

“They laid plans to attack courthouses, banks, festivals, funerals, schools, mosques, churches, synagogues, clinics, water treatment plants and power grids. They used firearms, bombs, C-4 plastic explosives, knives and grenades; one of them, a murderous Klansman, was convicted of trying to build a death ray. …

“The number of groups on the American radical right, according to the latest count by The Southern Poverty Law Center, expanded from 784 in 2014 to 892 in 2015 — a 14% increase. …

“When it comes to mainstream politics, the hardcore radical right typically says a pox on both their houses. Not this time. Donald Trump’s demonizing statements about Latinos and Muslims have electrified the radical right, leading to glowing endorsements from white nationalist leaders such as Jared Taylor and former Klansman David Duke. White supremacist forums are awash with electoral joy, having dubbed Trump their ‘Glorious Leader.’ And Trump has repaid the compliments, re-tweeting hate posts and spreading their false statistics on black-on-white crime.”

The Ethical Take: For once words of hope fail me. After The Emancipation Proclamation, a great Civil War that claimed an estimated 620,000 lives, and The Civil Rights Act of 1964, you would think we — as a country — would have learned the hard lessons of the past.

Sadly, for too many in this country, it is easier to tear down than to build up; to demean rather than accept; to criticize rather than offer solutions; to divide rather than unite; and far easier to hate than to love.

0 comments… add one

Leave a Comment