In fact the opposite appears to be the new norm. News outlet after outlet are providing cover for both the religions of Christianity and for militia groups. CBS News has this as a headline, Christian Militia Group? Militia Insider Denies it, Says Hutaree Was "Terrorist Organization" Well isn't that convenient.
DETROIT, Mich. (CBS/AP) The leader of the Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia, Michael Lackomar, is distancing his organization from Hutaree, the Christian militia group that was the focus of multiple raids by the FBI Saturday, saying they are neither Christian nor a militia.
"This is a group that I would classify as neither a militia or a Christian group," Lackomar told CNN. "They're really a fringe group outside of anything we do. They're more of a private army or a terrorist organization or really just a criminal organization."
So the militia guy is ready to cast his peers under the bus and apply the t-word, yet the media remains far more reticent.
Here's the Kansas City Star comment from the paper's Readers' Representative.
Should Hutaree group be called "Christian militia?"
With all the sharp criticism they're getting right now, I understand why conservative readers are touchy about terminology. And I suppose that's why I'm hearing the question about why so many news articles are referring to members of the Michigan-based Hutaree group as part of a "Christian militia," as in today's story on Page A2.
Well, if you look at the Hutaree Web site, which is registered to Jt Duvall of Morenci, Michigan, the references to Christianity aren't just prominent -- they're clearly the group's defining mission. (I am making the assumption here that hutaree.com is the same group, though I was unable to contact anyone there.)
Mainstream Christian? Definitely not. Maybe readers would prefer that be made clear in references in news stories. I know I've heard similar requests in reference to breakaway religious congregations that identify themselves under a larger group's name.
Seems pretty obvious that the heat is on the media from the hordes of buttoned down bigots and loons that scream free speech to assert their "right" to debase and abuse gays, feminists, socialists and anyone else that draws their endless, interminable ire. CNN featured an interview with another militia type who did his best to not come off as a crazy person as he distanced his movement and his faith from the Hutaree.
And what of the free speech loving, far right folks in general. Why down in the free state of Texas there's more Christian craziness brewing as a university dealt with a bit of controversy and the Christian threats that came with it. Theatre student John Otte was set to direct a one act play for friends and family as a class project, an element of his education. Otte, an openly gay student, had chosen to stage Corpus Christi, a play that depicts Jesus as a gay man. Perhaps a controversial subject, but I don't recall anything in the Bible stating that the "saviour" was hetero. I mean he did hang out almost exclusively with a lot of guys wearing drapery.
In any case, the right wing noise machine fired up the repression engines and this tempest in a teapot made it all the way to the second highest office ion the state as the Lieutenant Governor weighed in. The upshot, the performance was cancelled, as were a number of other of the plays, thus depriving not only Otte but his fellow classmates of valuable critique for their work.
Otte’s was one of four student plays that were to be performed and graded that day. In his letter, Dottavio pointed out that the others “included such classics as ‘The Importance of Being Ernest’ [sic] by Oscar Wilde” — another famous gay playwright. Those performances were also canceled with no plans to reschedule. Because Otte and his classmates were denied an audience, their education suffered, Otte says. “None of us will get any theatrical criticism other than from our professor,” he says. Answers to valuable questions — “What can I do better? What should I change?” — will only come from a single perspective.
In the wake of the controversy the scheduling for the piece had been shifted to early morning, as a class project this work wasn't even intended for public consumption. But after endless threats the professor decided to cancel the day.
As the sun rose on Tarleton’s Clyde H. Wells Fine Arts Center on Saturday, minutes before the actors would have taken the stage and been blessed into their roles (the script calls for the play to begin with each actor being told, by John the Baptist, “I baptize you and recognize your divinity as a human being”), state trooper cars lined the front of the building. Though Benedict says there were “no direct threats,” the Tarleton State University Police Department; the Stephenville Police Department; the Erath County Sheriff’s Department; the Department of Public Safety; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and the Stephenville Fire Department were all on hand due to the number of what Benedict described as “generic and general threats that were vicious and hateful.” Before the play was canceled, hundreds of protesters were expected to descend. In the end, only one showed up and then promptly left.
I'm sure we can expect Ezra the wilting flower to weigh in on Otte's behalf just as soon as he finishes milking his own recent performance as martyr and victim herder. That's a role that he's perfected between bouts of litigation. So here we are with religious violence aplenty, doctors getting shot, armed insurrectionists arrested and ideas being suppressed by threats from the low and from on high. And all of that in the shadow of the cross.