|March 15, 2005|
A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
Regarding the Courthouse shootings in Atlanta last Friday, which resulted in 3 people being killed; and the Church shootings that occurred in Wisconsin the next day on Saturday, wherein seven people were murdered; what I observed yesterday, was the lion’s share of the right wing media’s coverage - overwhelmingly - centered on the Atlanta shootings. Which at first glance struck me as being a little odd, seeing as the Atlanta Courtroom story was an older story (it happened a day earlier than the Church shootings) and resulted in less people being murdered. Both stories were bloody - both involved religion; so why was the older story with fewer people being killed given such preferential treatment. I decided to try and ascertain the answer.
I first took into account the right wing media’s agenda and the message they’re trying to brainwash the American people into believing. I also considered the average right wing viewer’s psyche, and the message they want to be brainwashed into believing, which is essentially, the same message we all would like to believe (we're good people. It’s just that some of us are more, shall we say, grounded and realistic than others, particularly when those “others” are right wing fundamentalist whack jobs).
First of all; the Atlanta story had the one element guaranteed to instantaneously grab the right’s attention, namely, the semen stain element (trust me – when the right tells you it wasn’t about sex with Bill Clinton – they’re lying – it most certainly was about sex). In the Atlanta case, the suspect, Brian Nichols, had already been on trial for rape, and twice, for the same rape. It’s like the old chewing gum commercial, “Double your pleasure, double your semen stains.”
Secondly, Atlanta shooter Brian Nichols was also black. Wisconsin shooter Terry Ratzmann was white.
Thirdly, Ashley Smith’s actions can only be described as courageous, a quality sorely lacking in today’s red meat eating, flag-waving, war-mongering chicken hawks who absolutely love war, so long as someone else goes and dies fighting it.
Fourthly and finally; whereas both stories ended up having a religious element to them, the Atlanta story featured the branch of Christianity practiced by most right wing, religious fundamentalists today... "convenient" Christianity.
So why would these four seemingly unflattering story "hooks" appeal to the rabid right? Let’s consider the evidence.
The Wisconsin shooter, Terry Ratzmann - like the BTK strangler, Dennis Rader - was a devout religious man; not exactly poster material for theocratic recruitment, or the removal of the once understood separation of Church and state necessity. Ashley Smith’s connection to God, on the other hand, offered the element of "convenience", and along with it, the potential to be exploited to further the right’s agenda.
And exploit they did. I heard one right wing host after another lavishing praise upon this Ashley Smith. All day long, I heard, “Ashley Smith had nothing but her God and her faith in Him...that’s what got her thru’ this ordeal.”
And maybe it was.
They said, “With-OUT God and her faith in Him, she would’ve surely faced certain death.”
And maybe she would have. Just don’t call me "Shirley." But seriously though, folks...
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not putting Ashley Smith or her faith in God down. I have no problem with Christians and their faith in God. I have a huge problem with the charlatans of the Christian right attaching themselves to - and shamelessly exploiting - the Ashley Smiths of the world; in order to push their selfish and misguided, quasi-theocratic, pseudo-fascist, fundamentalist agenda.
Program after program paraded minister after minister - pastor after pastor - preacher after preacher - before the cameras. The American mainstream media engaged in a total, orgasmic GOD-fest and revival meeting all day long. The only thing missing was the final scene from Sister Act, starring Whoopee Goldberg.
And why did I have such a problem with this God fest? The rabid, right wing, simplistic, un-nuanced mindless, gut response would undoubtedly be. “Because I’m a Godless liberal who’s trying to take God out of everything.” As usual, the quickest, easiest, simplest answer is seldom the correct one.
My problem was... the majority of the media people who were engaging in this God fest were not praising God - they were pimping Him!
Let us recall what Mark Crispin-Miller said in his excellent interview with BuzzFlash.com. Mark said that republicans need to project that which they despise most about themselves unto others. What I saw yesterday was a sick form of reverse projectivity. They were projecting that which they admire most about someone else unto their own sick, lacking selves.
You’ve all heard of date rape? Yesterday, I saw not just faith rape... but gang faith rape.
Watching them stick their chests out with immeasurable, false pride; you would’ve thought Ashley Smith’s faith and courage weren’t just her faith and courage, but theirs as well. Yesterday, every right wing host I heard or saw was Ashley Smith - minus the dress of course...well, except for Fox News’ Sean Hasn’t Any (although you may know him as Sean Hannity).
It was almost as if they thought Ashley's actions somehow validated and/or vindicated their un-Christian, pharisaic lives and what they like to think they stand for. I guess when you profess to be a Christian and you live your life in direct contradiction to the Creator's laws you profess to worship; you'll latch onto anything that makes you feel less like the anti-Christ you truly are.
Again, let me reiterate. I am not putting Ashley Smith or her faith in God down. Or any other Christian who has faith in God – so long as they act like a Christian. That is all I have ever asked of any self-professed Christian - act like the Christian you profess to be. Ashley Smith more than acted like a Christian - both during her ordeal with Brian Nichols, and afterwards, before the cameras and microphones.
But all these other Ashley Smith wannabees were just that - trying to attach themselves to her heroism and faith - to make themselves look and feel more like the Christians they delude themselves into believing they already are. Reality check, guys... hiding behind Ashley's skirt ain't gonna' cut it. Why not start with some good old-fashioned honesty? Tell the truth about the people in office you continue to cover for. Stop defending the indefensible.
Because I'm sorry... when you openly advocate and defend the indiscriminate killing of countless thousands of innocent human beings with darker skin in other countries; when you openly demonize anyone who dares question your demonic love affair with death and destruction; and when you continue to show disdain and contempt for the less fortunate in your own country; that's not Christianity; that's "convenient" Christianity.
And of all the terms I've heard to depict ideal Christian behavior, "convenient" isn't one of them.
A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
Doug Basham broadcasts weekday mornings at 9 a.m. on KLAV AM 1230 Las Vegas. All shows are simulcast on the Internet. For more show or guest information, to listen live on the web, or for audio archives of the show, please visit http://www.dougbasham.com. Doug can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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