Eliminationists on the March

After the horrific Arizona shooting in which six people were killed and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was gravely wounded, we came close to civility in American politics, at least for a few days. Unfortunately, our public discourse is already returning to normal, as you can tell from reading this front-page post on the leading conservative blog RedState (HT: Pandagon).

Here at RedState, we too have drawn a line. We will not endorse any candidate who will not reject the judicial usurpation of Roe v. Wade and affirm that the unborn are no less entitled to a right to live simply because of their size or their physical location. Those who wish to write on the front page of RedState must make the same pledge. The reason for this is simple: once before, our nation was forced to repudiate the Supreme Court with mass bloodshed. We remain steadfast in our belief that this will not be necessary again, but only if those committed to justice do not waiver or compromise, and send a clear and unmistakable signal to their elected officials of what must be necessary to earn our support.

The Arizona shooting silenced right-wing eliminationists for a brief time, but they’re already showing their faces in public again. Even if they’re historically illiterate – the Civil War was started by the slaveholders, not by the abolitionists – it doesn’t change the nature of this brutish, unsubtle threat to rise up in violent rebellion if they can’t get the outcome they want through the democratic process, just the same way as Islamic fundamentalists seek to kill journalists and wage war on nations that won’t agree to censor depictions of Mohammed.

The next logical question has to be, if they’re anticipating “mass bloodshed” to overturn abortion rights, whom do they think should be killed? Doctors and nurses at family planning clinics? The patients of those clinics? Police officers and security guards who protect the clinics? Elected officials who vote for pro-choice policies? Ordinary citizens who vote for those politicians? I’m pro-choice; am I on their target list? Are you?

I don’t think most of the posters on RedState have any stomach for actual violence, no matter what they say. Most of them are just empty braggarts, swaggering chest-beaters who want to show how strong and tough they are by playacting the role of heroic revolutionaries. But even if they don’t intend to follow through on their own words, when poisonous rhetoric like this becomes normalized and common, there will inevitably be others who see that as permission. Horribly, that seems to be just what happened in the murder of Ugandan gay-rights advocate David Kato:

A prominent gay rights activist, whose photo was printed on the front page of a Ugandan newspaper that called for homosexuals to be hanged, was bludgeoned to death at his home after weeks of death threats and harassment…

I wrote last year about the bloody-handed American evangelicals who encouraged brutal anti-gay legislation in Uganda with apocalyptic rhetoric. If David Kato’s murder was inspired in part by the rampant homophobia they sowed, as seems likely, they now have more blood on their hands. (See also this outstanding article on Dangerous Intersection about the atheist movement in Uganda.)

The depths of how bad Christian homophobia has gotten in Uganda can be seen in the unbelievable excuse offered by the editor of the newspaper:

After Wednesday’s killing, Giles Muhame, the editor of Rolling Stone, condemned the murder and said the paper had not wanted gays to be attacked. “If he has been murdered, that’s bad and we pray for his soul,” Muhame told Reuters. “There has been a lot of crime, it may not be because he is gay. We want the government to hang people who promote homosexuality, not for the public to attack them. We said they should be hanged, not stoned or attacked.”

Stories like these make me despair for Africa’s lonely, brave freethinkers – people like Micheal Mpagi, or Leo Igwe, or Alain Mouanga – fighting heroically against a rising tide of savage, brutal theocrats aided and abetted by their American evangelical cousins. The darkness is so vast, and the light-carriers so few. Can we advocates of reason hope to stand against it and triumph?

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About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, City of Light, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • Jeff

    Africa is a nightmare. I don’t know if it’s the result of colonialism, or in spite of it, but these nations cannot govern themselves. I’d like to see the US and the Western European nations go in there for about a generation and run things, but we don’t have the money (thank you, George Bush) and we’d screw it up, anyway.

    Left to themselves, the Africans can’t dig themselves out of this hole, and we can’t do it for them. I see absolutely no hope.

  • Katie M

    “I don’t know if it’s the result of colonialism, or in spite of it”

    I know tribes had been fighting each other for (probably) millennia before the arrival of the Europeans, but the Europeans indisputably made it worse. Would the 1994 Rwandan genocide have occurred if the Belgians hadn’t declared the Tutsi to be racially “superior” to the Hutu? I don’t think so.

  • Demonhype

    “We want the government to hang people who promote homosexuality, not for the public to attack them”

    Makes me think of that scene in Pleasantville where, after the riots have died down, the Mayor smugly starts talking about how people shouldn’t take this sort of thing in their own hands, and then smugly starts passing down tyrannical “this is how you will be or else” legislation.

    These bastards know damn well that they wanted this. They want the government to oppress those they disagree with, surely, but they also want to instill terror in anyone who dares oppose the passing of such legislation. They want to silence their opponents with fear and threats, then pass evil legislation, then smugly say “well, you had your chance to argue and you didn’t say anything”. They want the government to hang those who “promote homosexuality”, but until then they want whoever is willing to do so to murder and terrorize those who “promote homosexuality” and get them used to the new order and be sure that they are too frightened to fight back, until such time that they can claim their evil as a legal practice for the public good and their opponents will have no recourse whatsoever.

    Kind of like that cross that has been up since before the Cold War. Wasn’t one of the excuses “well, it’s been up there for so long and no one complained until now (never mind that during that time it was detrimental for someone’s physical, social, and employment health to be discovered to be non-Xian much less oppose the privileged Xian majority’s privileged whims, even if they had the legal right to do so the society had created a de facto method to prevent them from standing on their rights–no matter, not important, not something to be taken into consideration.)”

    Works even better when you’re openly and overtly murdering your opponent. I despise these putrid wastes of human tissue beyond anything you can imagine. There’s just no words to describe it.

  • Pat

    Africa has always had large pockets like this even before the missionaries. The Europeans made things better, in many ways, but in this case, these fundie missionaries have fomented violence. We can see the casual relationship there- why can’t people see that in the Giffords shooting?

  • Andrew T.

    WRT RedState rhetoric, I sometimes find it astounding how severely the right wing clamps down on and excludes people who hold opinions that deviate from a groupthink consensus…even on issues that don’t divide cleanly into logical “conservative” and “liberal” stances. But, given how they value blind allegiance to a chosen authority, consciously choose to avoid making use of critical thinking, and derive many of their opinions by observing the predilections of their self-declared opponents and simply reacting against them, it’s not surprising.

  • Em

    Forced to repudiate the Supreme Court… with the Civil War… for what, exactly? The Dred Scott case went the South’s way! Unless they mean that the North repudiated that case with the Civil War by firing back when fired on at Fort Sumter, winning the war (bloodily, granted), and then eventually passing amendments to guarantee citizenship, but that’s awfully convoluted. And to my knowledge, pro-abortion rights states have not declared independence or gone around shooting people who disagree, so they don’t correspond to the South… no, never mind, there’s no way this makes sense.

    Africa has always had large pockets like this even before the missionaries.

    True, but so has everywhere else. There’s a reason we use “medieval” to mean “barbaric.” In this case, I think centuries of mass kidnappings and chattel slavery, brutal oppression, forced economic dependence, and outside countries funding civil wars and dictators definitely caused long-term problems, more than the benefits are compensating for. And yeah, as much as I’d like to believe that we could go in with pure hearts and perfect management skills and fix it all, I can’t see that working for a lot of reasons. Maybe we could have some sort of rule about evangelizing for things that aren’t legal in the evangelist’s home country (and maybe hold diamond companies responsible for funding wars)? Would that make a noticeable difference, or would even that backfire or be impossible to enforce?

  • Eric

    Doesn’t the 9th Amendment allow courts to exercise some discression in judging there is some right that a person has ?

    “The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

    In other words: Just because the constitution doesn’t say something is a right doesn’t mean it isn’t, decide for yourselves as cases arise. Roe v. Wade would certainy be legit under this principle.

    Nigeria’s old ABC (Abstinance, Be selective, Use condoms) was quite effective. It was once used as as a model of how to reduce AIDS in Africa. But then the Bush admin decided it would give boocoo bux (from the French “beaucoup”, common usage in the cities of the Gulf coast from Alabama to Texas) to varieties of this program that put much more emphasis on the A and almost none on the C. US evangelical mission groups pushed for the A, and AIDS went up. Background inclinations toward slut-shaming and gaybashing rose to the top and now you have Nigeria today. It could happen here.

  • http://Daylightatheism.org J. James

    We will always win. We ARE winning. You know this better than anyone, Ebon. Five and six hundred years ago, this and worse was commonplace in Europe. Just look at Europe now. Also, do you think that foreign money will be pouring into Uganda after this? I think not. They’ll crack like a homophobic egg.

  • Valhar2000

    Would the 1994 Rwandan genocide have occurred if the Belgians hadn’t declared the Tutsi to be racially “superior” to the Hutu? I don’t think so.

    How much of that was caused by the political meddling of the Belgians, and how much was caused by introducing modern weaponry into a conflict that used to be fought with knives and spears?

  • Brian M


    Sure…there has always been conflict wherever there is man. Yet somehow, European manipulation and colonialism somehow seem to often make things worse. Read a little history on how the Belgians exacerbated ethnic tensions and disrupted imperfect but functional social systems. Heck…for a quick answer to your question, the Wikipedia article on the Rwanda Genocide offers some perspectives. The Wikipedia article doesn;t even mention big power maneuvering behind the scenes.

  • Brian M

    Vive la France!

    “In the analysis of Linda Melvern, documents recently released from the Paris archive of former president François Mitterrand show how the RPF invasion was considered as clear aggression by an Anglophone neighbour on a Francophone country.[46] The documents are said to argue that the RPF was a part of an “Anglophone plot”, involving the President of Uganda, to create an English-speaking “Tutsi-land” and increase Anglophone influence at the expense of French influence. In Melvern’s analysis, the policy of France was to avoid a military victory by the RPF. The policy had been made by a secretive network of military officers, politicians, diplomats, businessmen, and senior intelligence operatives. At its centre was Mitterrand. French policy had been unaccountable to either parliament or the press.[46]“

  • gamba

    pat: “The Europeans made things better, in many ways, but in this case,…”

    I don’t know what or which history you used to qualify that. But i will suggest you come down here (Africa) among the locals and ‘see’ ‘our’ history. Just a lil taste of the primitive -who we was before the Biblers -lifestyle.

    I’m not saying the Euros did not do any good. But when you said “better”? Nah!

  • Brian M

    gamba: I’m sure the “we just need to come in and show the wogs how to run things” crowd will not be posting on this site very often now. They are all in Basic Training right now, eager to join the liberating forces in Afghanistan, Iran, Yemen, etc. etc. etc.

    Funny how they have now discovered billions of dollars of rare minerals in Afghanistan “now”. The Chinese would just sign commercial contracts with whatever government was in power. We send in the Marines and Xe! and the cruise missiles and then wonder why things go wrong. (And by “go wrong” I mean merely civilian deaths and a 1.5 trillion federal government deficit. The Xe! executives and other members of the military industrial rentier class will do just fine, thank you very much)

  • Rollingforest

    @Jeff #1: Africa’s woes are caused because it is poor compared with the rest of the world. Poverty creates despair. Despair causes crime. Crime causes political upheaval and dictatorships.

    @Valhar2000 #9: actually, the Rwandan genocide was perpetuated mostly with machetes

  • Brian M


    But why is Africa so poor? That is the question. There are many reasons, of course, some internal and cultural, but 200 years of European predation has probably not helped things.

    Note…I am not denying agency here. Africa is not merely a passive victim.

  • Rollingforest

    Well, according to Jared Diamond’s book “Guns, Germs, and Steel” Africa is poor for many reasons, the main two being that it has much less farm land than Europe and much fewer domesticatable animals (giraffes, elephants, and zebra are not the best animals for farm work). Also the fact that they have a huge desert separating them from the rest of the world doesn’t help.

    Why are they poor today even with improved farming techniques, access to cows and sheep, and international travel? I think it is their lack of industry and little in the way of service jobs. They are stuck working in resourse gathering jobs such as mining, drilling for oil, and other similar jobs. You can’t get wealthy that way, so they are unable gain enough money to build any industry. Any industry they do build is outcompeted by more established factories around the world.

    The solution? It might be necessary for Africa to increase tariffs on foriegn goods in order to give their local industries a chance to grow. It might cause pain in the short term, but gain over all.

  • http://www.facepunch.com/member.php?u=298989 Jeep-Eep

    Yeah, but no one’s going to let ‘em do that. The corps would whinge.