Apocalyptic rhetoric of religious right is playing with fire

Apocalyptic rhetoric of religious right is playing with fire September 30, 2012

The religious right leaders and right-wing media predicting apocalyptic scenarios if President Obama is re-elected are just playing political games.

Photo by Graeme Jennings/Washington Examiner

When Robert Knight says an Obama victory will “push us over” the edge into “losing our constitutional republic,” or Matt Barber says the election is about “good vs. evil” and “may determine whether we as a nation sink or swim, live or die,” or when John Hagee says it will “bring absolute socialism,” they’re just talking out of their collective asses. They don’t really believe it.

That wild talk is just pep-rally hyperbole that they don’t really expect to come about any more than they really expected all of the horrific consequences they earlier predicted would come to pass when Vermont first allowed civil unions, or when “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was repealed.

But not everyone understands that it’s just a game. And not everyone understands that these over-the-top predictions and lies are just role-playing aspects of that game.

And when some of the people who listen to, and trust, these religious right spokespeople and right-wing media outlets hear what those folks are saying — and believe it, the consequences can be tragic:

Albert Peterson shot dead his wife and two sons hours after going to church because he dreaded the thought of Obama winning the election, a family friend has revealed.

A confidante of the family for the past 25 years has spoken to MailOnline about the strength and grace of the Peterson family, as well as the torment that plagued Albert which drove him to shoot dead his wife Kathleen and his two sons Christopher and Mathew at their suburban home [near] DC on Sunday.

A history of mental illness, the loss of a dear uncle, and a growing fear of Obama winning a second term in the White House took its toll on the mind of Mr Peterson, a wealthy defense contractor, the friend said.

The Washington Post has more.

The reckless rhetoric that this tormented man absorbed and latched onto is not directly esponsible for causing his actions. He was probably bound to latch onto something as a pretext for such destruction, and so the right-wing demagogues cannot be held directly responsible for making this man a powder-keg of violence and annihilation.

But they should take responsibility for flicking lit matches at that powder-keg.

I wonder if people like Knight, Barber and Hagee — like Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Tony Perkins, David Barton, Rush Limbaugh and all the rest — ever pause after hearing stories like this and, even for a moment, contemplate the way their reckless words can lead to horrors for anyone frightened or foolish enough to take them seriously. I wonder if those folks ever lose any sleep over that.

I doubt they do. To them, it’s just a game.

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