Browsing the blog archives for June, 2015.


Lies of Biblical Proportion

Religion

Juan Cole reminds us that, um, “biblical marriage” was not between one man and one woman. Often is was between one man and multiple women.

But wackiest of all is the idea that the Bible sees marriage as between one man and one woman. I don’t personally get how you could, like, actually read the Bible and come to that conclusion (see below). Even if you wanted to argue that the New Testament abrogates all the laws in the Hebrew Bible, there isn’t anything in the NT that clearly forbids polygamy, either, and it was sometimes practiced in the early church, including by priests. Josephus makes it clear that polygamy was still practiced among the Jews of Jesus’ time. Any attempt to shoe-horn stray statements in the New Testament about a man and a woman being married into a commandment of monogamy is anachronistic. Likely it was the Roman Empire that established Christian monogamy as a norm over the centuries. The Church was not even allowed to marry people until well after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, since it was an imperial prerogative.

Ancient scripture can be a source of higher values and spiritual strength, but any time you in a literal-minded way impose specific legal behavior because of it, you’re committing anachronism. Since this is the case, fundamentalists are always highly selective, trying to impose parts of the scripture on us but conveniently ignoring the parts even they can’t stomach as modern persons.

1. In Exodus 21:10 it is clearly written of the husband: “If he takes another wife to himself, he shall not diminish the food, clothing, or marital rights of the first wife.” This is the same rule as the Qur’an in Islam, that another wife can only be taken if the two are treated equally.

2. Let’s take Solomon, who maintained 300 concubines or sex slaves. 1 Kings 11:3: “He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray.” Led him astray! That’s all the Bible minded about this situation? Abducting 300 people and keeping them immured for sex? And the objection is only that they had a lot of diverse religions and interested Solomon in them? (By the way, this is proof that he wasn’t Jewish but just a legendary Canaanite polytheist). I think a settled gay marriage is rather healthier than imprisoning 300 people in your house to have sex with at your whim. …

… According Mark 12:19, guys, if your brother kicks the bucket, you have to marry your sister-in-law and knock her up. Since the Bible approved of multiple wives, you have to do this even if you’re already married. If you think in-laws are hard to get along with now, try being married to them.

Seriously, my understanding is that in western civilization, our ideas about what marriage is supposed to be evolved over many centuries long after the Bible was canonized. . For example, before the 12th century or so only members of the nobility were married “in the church.” Peasants just kind of worked things out for themselves.

So all this Bible thumping and whining about the sanctity of marriage is really about people’s cultural biases. Even some people who are familiar enough with the Old Testament to know that some of God’s People were polygamists can’t bring themselves to see the disconnect between their deeply held beliefs about a “righteous” marriage and what the Bible actually says. This is something I discuss in more detail in Rethinking Religion, btw.

Speaking of polygamy, it’s fascinating the way conservatives are certain the next pillar of civilization to fall will be monogamy. Same-sex marriage and polygamy have nothing to do with each other, in my mind. But I guess to a conservative everything considered a “perversion” is dumped into the same box.

Jonathan Rauch wrote,

Predictably, the Court’s decision led to another of countless rounds of forecasts that the marriage-rights movement will now expand to multiples. (Like this.) Again, we’ll see, but I’m willing to stand by what I’ve long said: the case for gay marriage is the case against polygamy, and the public will be smart enough to understand the difference.

Gay marriage is about extending the opportunity to marry to people who lack it; polygamy, in practice, is about exactly the opposite: withdrawing marriage opportunity from people who now have it. Gay marriage succeeded because no one could identify any plausible channels through which it might damage heterosexual marriage; with polygamy, the worries are many, the history clear, and the channels well understood.

And has many have pointed out, it seems to be the hyper-conservative religious who actually go in for “plural marriages.” It’s currently not on the liberal/progressive radar, that I know of.

Rauch also said,

I’ve always believed that cultural conservatives misunderstood the gay-marriage movement: far from being an attack on the culture of marriage, it represented a shift back toward family values by a group that had learned the hard way, through eviction by their own parents and suffering in the AIDS crisis, how important marriage and commitment and family really are.

Mike Huckabee, who has appointed himself a spokesperson for God, has been calling for civil disobedience to protest marriage equality. But he’s a bit hazy about what that means.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So what exactly are you calling on people to do right now? You say resist and reject this judicial tyranny. Spell out exactly what that means?

HUCKABEE: George, judicial tyranny is when we believe that the courts have a right to bypass the process of law and we’ve really seen it this week in two cases, in both the Obamacare case, which Justice Scalia called it – said we not – should call it SCOTUScare because they have rescued it twice, ex cathedra to the law, and then in the same-sex marriage ruling in which –

STEPHANOPOULOS: So are you calling for civil disobedience?

HUCKABEE: I don’t think a lot of pastors and Christian schools are going to have a choice. They either are going to follow God, their conscience and what they truly believe is what the scripture teaches them, or they will follow civil law. They will go the path of Dr. Martin Luther King, who in his brilliant essay the letters from a Birmingham jail reminded us, based on what St. Augustine said, that an unjust law is no law at all. And I do think that we’re going to see a lot of pastors who will have to make this tough decision.

You’re going to see it on the part of Christian business owners. You’ll see it on the part of Christian university presidents, Christian school administrators. If they refuse to –

Stephanopoulos is another of those television bobbleheads who doesn’t know how to stick to a touch line of questions. Here he switched the conversation to county clerks and the like. He should have pushed Huckabee to be specific about the pastors. How will the civil law even affect them? They won’t be required to perform same-sex marriages, and I suspect Huckabee knows that.

And if Huckabee does know that, he is, in effect, bearing false witness. He is perpetrating a falsehood — that pastors will be required to perform gay marriages — in order to attract a following. That breaks at least one of the Ten Commandments. And he thinks himself godly, no doubt.

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Concurrent Head Explosions

Obama Administration, Supreme Court

What with end of the month deadlines and temple activities, I haven’t been able to spend as much time writing about this week’s events as I’d have liked. And by all accounts the President’s eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney was amazing, and I haven’t had time to see it.

The reaction of the Right to the week’s events is predictably unhinged. However, it appears none were more unhinged than that of Don Antonin Scalia, in his dissenting opinion. According to Josh Marshall,

For all the blaze of history and march of freedom this week, no doubt for me the highlight was Justice Scalia’s invoking John C. Calhoun’s “concurrent majority” theory on behalf of denying marriage equality to gay men and women.

I’ll have to read the opinion to see if this was implied or explicit. Right now it’s damn early in the morning for insightful analysis, but basically Calhoun’s “concurrent majority” was the theory that sanctified the Nullification Crisis back in Andrew Jackson’s administration. It’s basically a way for minorities to force their will on elected majorities.

Charles Pierce:

Today, in his dissent from the opinion establishing marriage equality across the land, Short Time really outdid himself.

Not surprisingly then, the Federal Judiciary is hardly a cross-section of America. Take, for example, this Court, which consists of only nine men and women, all of them successful lawyers who studied at Harvard or Yale Law School. Four of the nine are natives of New York City. Eight of them grew up in east- and west-coast States. Only one hails from the vast expanse in-between. Not a single Southwesterner or even, to tell the truth, a genuine Westerner (California does not count).

They’d have voted his way if he were Randolph Scott.

What else have you heard today?

Update: More hilarity.

At Politico, Fredrik DeBoer informs us that The Left is already planning its next move, which is to legitimize polygamy. ” …the marriage equality movement has been curiously hostile to polygamy, and for a particularly unsatisfying reason: short-term political need,” he writes. Yeah, that’s got to be the only reason The Left is curiously hostile to polygamy, because you know we gravitate to stuff like that like ants to a sandwich.

Bobby Jindal wants to get rid of the Supreme Court. He may have been joking; it’s hard to tell. Ted Cruz is not joking, however.

The time has come, therefore, to recognize that the problem lies not with the lawless rulings of individual lawless justices, but with the lawlessness of the Court itself. The decisions that have deformed our constitutional order and have debased our culture are but symptoms of the disease of liberal judicial activism that has infected our judiciary. A remedy is needed that will restore health to the sick man in our constitutional system.

Rendering the justices directly accountable to the people would provide such a remedy. Twenty states have now adopted some form of judicial retention elections, and the experience of these states demonstrates that giving the people the regular, periodic power to pass judgment on the judgments of their judges strikes a proper balance between judicial independence and judicial accountability. It also restores respect for the rule of law to courts that have systematically imposed their personal moral values in the guise of constitutional rulings.

In other words, we’ll make sure we can keep ’em on a leash with a little political demagoguery.

Ron Dreher: This is a sign that democracy is dying.

Bill “Always Wrong” Kristol has picked up the “peak leftism” ball and is running with it.

It’s the summer of 2015, and the left is on the march. Or perhaps one should say—since the left presumably dislikes the militarist connotations of the term “march”—that the left is swarming. And in its mindless swarming and mob-like frenzy, nearly every hideous aspect of contemporary leftism is on display.

Oh, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet, Bill.

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The Other Shoe Drops — Marriage Equality Wins!

Obama Administration

In a long-sought victory for the gay rights movement, the Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the Constitution guarantees a nationwide right to same-sex marriage.

The 5-to-4 decision, the culmination of decades of litigation and activism, came against the backdrop of fast-moving changes in public opinion, with polls indicating that most Americans now approve of same-sex marriage.

As in earlier civil rights cases, the Supreme Court had moved cautiously and methodically, laying careful judicial groundwork for a transformative decision.

I was just writing about rightie heads exploding today over the Obamacare decision. It’s going to be fun today! I’ll get back to that other post later.

Update: I take it Kennedy wrote the majority opinion and Roberts wrote the dissent. I guess we pretty much know who voted how.

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SCOTUS Saves Obamacare!

Health Care, Supreme Court

Vote was 6-3, Scalia, Thomas and Alito dissenting.

 Update: Roberts wrote the majority opinion. Apparently Scalia had a hissy fit and more or less accused the other justices of bowing to pressure. “We should start calling this law SCOTUScare,” he said.

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The Route

Obama Administration, Wingnuts Being Wingnuts

While acknowledging it’s just symbols and there are still real battles to fight, I am finding the sudden political retreat on symbols of the Confederacy fascinating, if only as a socio-cultural phenomenon. Josh Marshall wrote

I still cannot believe the Charleston Massacre has triggered quite this total a collapse of support, not just for flying the Confederate battle flag in places of honor at Southern state capitols, but for public display and honor for the Confederacy and the War of the Rebellion in almost any form. Whatever the precise cause or convergence of under-noticed trends, there now seems like no doubt that we are witnessing a watershed in the country’s long, wretched and denial-ridden wrestling with the public memory of the Civil War.

As the song says — There’s somethin’ happenin’ here; what it is ain’t exactly clear

For years, most of the American Right has defiantly refused to give up the Confederate flag and all symbols of the Lost Cause. Now, all of a sudden, it’s like some of them can’t put the Confederacy behind them fast enough. What happened?

Someone writing from Charleston made the point that one of Dylann Roof’s victims, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, was also a state senator, and he was a well-known and popular figure. The writer continues,

I have been pleasantly surprised by the number of Republican Senators who have come forward to release very personal statements about Sen. Pinckney’s death, especially among the Lowcountry delegation. The statements made about him strike me as more than just the generic nice things one is supposed to say.

Put another way, Roof made the very amateur mistake of killing people who couldn’t be turned into “thugs” by right-wing media. Every single outrageous harming or killing of a black citizen in recent memory has been followed by an avalanche of smears of the victim. Even the petite teenage girl roughed up by a cop at a Texas pool party was smeared on Fox News, I understand. Maybe I’ve missed it, but I haven’t heard any such smears this time.  

It was a Bible study group, after all, killed by a teenage punk who had been planning it for months. No excuses this time.

This explanation is probably closer to it, though.

The Confederate battle flag — that bellicose assertion of a Southern “heritage” otherwise known as “white supremacy,” that defiant, “fuck you” of a symbol in whose honor the blood of far more than nine people has been shed — it wasn’t suddenly toxic because of last week’s massacre in Charleston. Multinational corporations, and the politicians they keep on retainer, weren’t disowning the flag because of a popular movement. The people hadn’t had the time to organize. The pavement on this road to Damascus was still wet.

Instead, what was actually happening, behind the scenes, wasn’t nearly so romantic. No one was breaking from their usual habits. Everyone, in fact, was doing what they always did. The profit-seeking entities were trying to maximize future earnings; and the state-level politicians were following their demands. This wasn’t a case of the powers-that-be doing something they resented. No one was pushed here; everyone was ready to jump.

In other words, all that white supremacy stuff is bad for business.

Not for the first time in 2015, the conservative movement has found itself on the losing side of a culture war battle it once routinely won. And just as was the case in Indiana, when a petty and combative anti-gay law inspired national boycotts and a business-sector backlash, movement conservatives cannot fathom how liberals aren’t to blame. It’s conservatives, after all, who man the ramparts to protect capitalism and big business. As he was ranting about “the left’s” war on the Confederate flag on Tuesday, one could almost hear Rush Limbaugh transform into Walter Sobchak from “The Big Lebowski,” bellowing, “Has the whole world gone crazy?!”

The conservative movement fancies itself to be pro-business, just as it fancies itself to be pro-national security. But, increasingly, their ideas are out of touch with reality on both fronts.

Yet for all the right’s professed belief in “common sense,” the reason why businesses were, metaphorically, setting the flag to the flame continued to elude conservatives, even when it was staring them in the face. As CNN, the Associated Press and others reported, the Amazons, eBays, Sears and Walmarts of the world weren’t acting out of fear or sentiment. Their motivations were straightforward, cold, and rational. Walmart wants to shed its reputation as a Red State phenomenon; Sears wants to prove it’s not exclusively for dads; Amazon’s politics are, if anything, probably “liberaltarian”; and it’s hard to imagine eBay’s pro-Confederate market was ever that big.

To paraphrase the Dao De Jing — Capitalism is not sentimental; it treats all things as straw dogs. Ironically, and incomprehensibly to the fellow quoted in the New York Times yesterday, the route of Confederate symbols isn’t the beginning of Communism. It’s Capitalism that decided Confederate symbols had to go.

So it’s probably not true, as someone else said, that Dylann Roof is pretty much singlehandedly responsible for the fall of the Confederate Flag. However, he did help create the moment that made the Route possible.

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Peak Cluelessness

Wingnuts Being Wingnuts

This one belongs in a bell jar in the Utter Obliviousness Museum.

Here’s another one:

At some point, the rest of us are going to have to exact that price. The stars and bars can go, and if Bedford Forrest, who may have been a singular cavalry officer but did, after all, serve as first Grand Wizard of the Democratic Party’s 19th-century terrorist arm, goes with it that’s not an unbearable loss to anyone’s heritage. But while we’re scrubbing the bad baggage from our culture, can we have a merciful end to the painfully stupid leftist obsession with cop-killing racists such as Mumia Abu Jamal, communist terrorists like Bill Ayers, and psychopathic Marxist white supremacists like Che Guevara? How about, as Victor Davis Hanson suggested, an end to racist Leftist institutions like the Congressional Black Caucus and La Raza? If we’re to crack down on the cultural cachet of the Old South, can we conduct a similar purge of the New Black Panthers?

I say, in the interest of fairness, that every single public monument in the U.S. erected to honor Mumia Abu Jamal (a name I haven’t heard in a few years, btw), Bill Ayers, and Che Guevara come down immediately, and every single street named after one of these guys can be re-named George Washington Avenue. How about that?

The rest is a little more problematic, but since the New Black Panthers are, what, a couple of guys in Philadelphia? We could ask them politely to rename themselves, or something.

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The Lost Cause Is Losing

American History, Republican Party

As political support for keeping Confederate flags flying over statehouses evaporates, and as even Wal-Mart has declared it will stop stocking Confederate flag merchandise (current inventory is moving at a brisk pace, though), the Moonlight and Magnolia bitter enders are filled with despair.

“This is the beginning of communism,” said Robert Lampley, who was standing in the blazing sun in front of the South Carolina State House shortly after the legislature voted overwhelmingly to debate the current placement of the Confederate battle flag. “The South is the last bastion of liberty and independence. I know we’re going to lose eventually.”

“Our people are dying off,” he went on, before encouraging a white reporter to “keep reproducing.”

They’re worried that some tidal wave will destroy Confederate monuments and force the re-naming of all the (Nathan Bedford) Forrest Avenues to Malcolm X Boulevards. Heh.

One guy suggested removing the Confederate flag from statehouses and replacing it with another flag associated with the Confederacy (there were several) but not associated with racist movements.

“You’re asking me to agree that my great-grandparent and great-great-grandparents were monsters,” said Greg Stewart, a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the executive director of Beauvoir, the last home of Jefferson Davis.

No, we’re asking you to agree that your great-grandparent and great-great grandparents lost the freaking war and surrendered their flags to Gen. J. L. Chamberlain at Appomattox 150 years ago. The Lost Cause is really, truly lost. Try to adjust.

Some of them are complaining that the change is coming too fast. Too fast? It’s been 150 bleeping years.

Today the governor of Alabama ordered a Confederate flag be removed from state capitol grounds. Sen. Mitch McConnell requested that a statue of Jefferson Davis be removed from the Kentucky state capitol. Well, he’s still got most of a six-year term to serve; he probably feels safe. Governors of several states are requesting that Confederate specialty license plates be redesigned.

My guess is that these guys realized this was going to have to happen sooner or later, and they might as well do it now while they’ve got some political cover.

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Flag This

Obama Administration

In the past few days we’ve experienced one of our infrequent sea changes, and long-established Confederate flag apologists are now flip-flopping all over to claim they never were really in favor of flying Confederate flags over statehouses. Except they were.

Where could anyone have gotten the impression that the flag is a presidential campaign issue?

Maybe from former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who did everything short of actually firing on Fort Sumter in an effort to court white South Carolina voters during his 2008 presidential campaign:

You don’t like people from outside the state coming in and telling you what to do with your flag. In fact, if somebody came to Arkansas and told us what to do with our flag, we’d tell ’em what to do with the pole; that’s what we’d do.

Evidently, Huckabee’s pandering on the flag issue was deemed a successful strategy. In that same campaign, the New York Times noted, an independent group ran radio ads attacking Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for criticizing the Confederate flag, and boasted that “Mike Huckabee understands the value of heritage.”

Lindsey Graham — I will refrain from calling him “Miss Lindsey” as I am tired of dealing with damnyankee dweebs who don’t get the cultural reference, but he will always be Miss Lindsey to me — late last week was still saying the flag is “part of who we are,” while today he’s all in favor of taking it down from the South Carolina statehouse.

It would be grand to believe this shift represents a newly found sensitivity to racial issues. But this is South Carolina we’re talking about now, so let’s not kid ourselves.

Reading between the lines of this Politico article, some things become clear.

Those critics have argued that the new South Carolina, where Boeing decided in 2009 to locate a new assembly line for the 787 Dreamliner that created some 4,000 new jobs, could grow at a faster pace if they could find a way to remove the flag from the Statehouse.

“We were missing out on some great opportunities to showcase our state,” said Glenn McCall, an RNC committeeman who stood with Haley on Monday. “We’ve lost some NCAA tournaments, some big companies looking to relocate because of that flag.”

Oh. There’s money involved.

There was a sense among South Carolina Republican leaders, including Graham, that they couldn’t come out too forcefully against the flag until they were certain there would be enough support across the state to follow through. A source familiar with Graham’s thinking noted that in addition to the sensitivities around the families of those killed, there were economic considerations in play.

“If the senior senator rushed out right in front of the cameras, and the flag had not come down, you just handed the competing states a huge weapon to use against you,” said the source, noting that other states would try to attract business based on the state failing to follow through on a moral call from a senior leader. “Failure is not an option.”

Since Thursday night, the source said, Graham had been working the phones, talking with business leaders, state and federal legislators and other stakeholders to take their temperature on the issue, and was in frequent consultation with Haley and Scott.

On Sunday afternoon, Haley’s staffers called Graham’s team and invited him to come to Columbia for a meeting early Monday afternoon with other stakeholders and legislators, including Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and South Carolina GOP Chairman Matt Moore.

By Sunday, the source said, the direction in which the issue was trending was fairly clear — it was more a question of how the announcement would be rolled out.

So Miss … I mean, Senator Graham displayed his usual bold leadership by consulting everyone in the state to find out what position was safest, politically. Yessireebob, that’s the stuff that made America, um, less great.
Sociopaths for Jesus leader Mike Huckabee certainly didn’t disappoint, either.
“I keep hearing people saying we need more conversations about race,” the former Arkansas governor opined. “Actually we don’t need more conversations. What we need is conversions because the reconciliations that changes people is not a racial reconciliation, it’s a spiritual reconciliation when people are reconciled to God.”

“When I love God and I know that God created other people regardless of their color as much as he made me, I don’t have a problem with racism,” Huckabee insisted.

The candidate concluded: “It’s solved!”

That slapping sound you just heard was Jesus in heaven, facepalming.
As usual, Ta-Nahesi Coates demonstrated his depth of knowledge and insight in this must-read piece — What This Cruel War Was Over. See also Five Myths About Why the South Seceded.
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The Pope’s Encyclical

environment, Religion

The first thing I noticed about Pope Francis’s Encyclical is that the following people are screaming at him to shut up:

Ross Douthat thinks Papa Francisco is an alarmist who hates modernity. He especially objects to implications that Capitalism is hurting the poor, because even poor people have toothbrushes now, or something.

Rich Lowry criticizes the Pope’s “bizarre ramblings” and “apocalyptic climate alarmism.” Oh, and the Pope doesn’t appreciate modernity. I think Douthat and Lowry may have cribbed off each other.

Michael Goodwin of the New York Post says the Pope is out of touch. Well, Goodwin would know out of touch. Goodwin says that “­archaeological researchers found plaque on the teeth of people who lived 400,000 years ago,” and this proves the Pope is wrong. And you can’t argue with that. No, really. You should just walk away from it and hope for his sake Goodwin isn’t carrying sharp objects.

Some guy named Tim Worstall at Forbes says the Pope has gone “horribly wrong with his economics.” But Worstall misses the point. As Worstall says, economists don’t think the earth’s resources are infinite. But business and industry certainly behave as if that’s exactly what they think, and that’s what the Pope was addressing.

And so on.

This is not to say I don’t have issues with the encyclical also. His Holiness is still opposed to population control measures — still nixing birth control and abortion — and he threw in what sounds to me like an utterly unnecessary dig at transgenderism.

However, I appreciate that he feels taking care of the earth is a moral and religious imperative, not just a nice sentiment for Earth Day. He understands that, yes, capitalism does hurt the poor, and “by itself the market cannot guarantee integral human development and social inclusion.” Basically, our consumerist culture is causing depletion of earth’s resources while not providing for the basic needs of the poor, like water. Addressing this will require a real shift in our values and how we do business with each other. Yeah, pretty much.

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A Taste of Their Own Medicine

Terrorism

For years we’ve listened to the Right whine that President Obama won’t call terrorism by its name. Of course, sometimes he does (see: Mittens gets schooled), but the point is that righties seem to think there’s something magical about using the word terrorism that strengthens us and confounds our enemies. Except that only applies to Muslims, apparently.

But, somehow, they are less bold in other contexts. See Judd Legum, The Wildly Different Ways One Senator Responds To Terrorism: Boston Versus Charleston. The Senator in question is Miss Lindsey Graham.

In response to the Boston bombing of 2013, Senator Lindsey Graham demanded that the government do everything it could to learn from the attack and prevent future attacks.

This man, in my view, should be designated as a potential enemy combatant and we should be allowed to question him for intelligence gathering purposes to find out about future attacks and terrorist organizations that may exist that he has knowledge of, and that evidence cannot be used against him in trial. That evidence is used to protect us as a nation.

Many people took issue with Graham’s claim that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is a U.S. citizen, could be designated as an enemy combatant. But Graham’s conviction that the attack was part of a more systemic problem, based on Tsarnaev’s Muslim faith, was unmistakable. Tsarnaev’s attack killed three people and injured over 250.

Graham’s reaction to Wednesday’s attack on a black church in his home state of South Carolina was very different. (His niece, coincidentally, went to school with the shooter). Graham is adamant that the attack is not evidence of any larger problem.

Graham, who is on his way to Charleston, said his niece did not recall Roof making any statements that were related to race.

“I just think he was one of these whacked out kids. I don’t think it’s anything broader than that,” Graham said. “It’s about a young man who is obviously twisted.”

They were all young men who were obviously twisted; IMO the object of violent peoples’ twistedness often is the cart, not the horse. In any event, terrorism experts apparently saw no connection between the Tsarnaev brothers and any larger terrorist organization, but of course some on the American Right would love to waterboard every Muslim on the planet.

There’s no doubt Dylann Roof is one of these whacked out kids, but so was Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. We seem to have a lot of whacked out kids these days.

By the same token, if the Tsarnaev brothers were terrorists, then so is Dylann Roof. And so is Scott Roeder, who murdered Dr. George Tiller. Let’s be consistent, Miss Lindsey. Intimidating, threatening, and actually killing people on behalf of some Cause is pretty much what terrorism is.

I say we all pressure the righties to call the shooting in Charleston an act of terrorism.

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