Juan Cole / Informed Comment & Emily Atkin / ThinkProgress & Portland State University Student Union – 2015-12-01 02:01:28
Abortion Clinics, White Christian Terrorism, and GOP Candidates
Juan Cole / Informed Comment
(November 28, 2015) — Americans are more at risk from violence by armed white Christian fanatics than they ever were from Muslims.
Abortion clinics have been targeted for violence by fundamentalist Christians of a violent bent for decades. In 2009, Dr. George Tiller was relentlessly shot to death by Scott Roeder, who insisted that the good doctor was satanic because he performed abortions. Dr. John Britton was murdered in 1994 on similar grounds.
A strain of Christianity in the United States has never accepted Roe v. Wade, which made it a woman’s right to have an abortion. Not accepting it for oneself is a matter of conscience, and there is nothing wrong with that. But not accepting it for other people is a form of coercion aimed at depriving them of a legal right.
Deploying violence against people to halt abortions is the textbook definition of terrorism, which in the 1990s the Federal Code sensibly defined as non-state actors using violence against civilians to achieve a political aim.
Much violence and coercion at Planned Parenthood (only 3% of its activity has to do with abortion) is inspired by Christian fundamentalism.
On this point, Christian ultra-conservativism agrees with the point of view of the Malik school of law among Muslims. In essence, Christian terrorists are attempting to move the United States on the below map away from a modern European norm, where abortion is elective up to a certain point in pregnancy, to an Afro-Asian and Maliki Muslim norm where it is often forbidden except to save the mother’s life (or not even then).
There are four legal schools within Sunni Islam, the Maliki, Hanbali, Shafi’i and Hanafi. Ironically, the Hanbali, Shafi’i and Hanafi schools of Sunni Islam allow abortion, the Hanafi until day 42, and the Shafi’i until 4 months — and so they are more liberal on this issue than much Evangelicalism or Roman Catholicism. The Qur’an, like the Bible, doesn’t mention the issue.
Even mainstream GOP politicians (and apparently most of the presidential candidates) now want to ban abortion even in cases of rape or where the mother’s life is in danger, exalting the rights of the fetus and its father over that of the adult woman.
Marco Rubio recently switched to this extreme position. Carly Fiorina famously melted down over a figment of her imagination — a video she said depicted a Planned Parenthood abortion wherein the aborted fetus was still alive, a video that does not exist (and what she may be referring to was probably footage of a miscarriage and certainly not at PP). I.e., the Republican Party is now to the right of conservative, Maliki Morocco on the abortion issue, which is planning to make the procedure legal in cases of rape or incest.
If a Muslim came on American television and fulminated against abortion on the basis of a videotape that does not exist, one can imagine the reactionâ€“ and that person would now be being accused of incitement, which most commentators will avoid doing to Fiorina.
If a Muslim shot up a Planned Parenthood clinic, he’d be sent to Gitmo and the US military would go on alert. There is a double standard for anti-abortion terrorists because they tend to be white Christians.
What Christian and Muslim absolutists on abortion cannot accept is that women will have abortions one way or another, and making them illegal just drives them underground and makes them much more harmful to all concerned. In Morocco, it is estimated that there are 600-800 illegal abortions every day, which take a toll on women’s physical and mental health.
That is roughly 2.2 million illegal abortions every decade in that country. Unlike states such as Texas, which have found ways of closing almost all abortion clinics in the state, Morocco is actually somewhat liberalizing its law.
More like the conservative US position is Saudi Arabia. Wikipedia notes:
“Abortion in Saudi Arabia is only legal if the abortion will save the woman’s life or if the pregnancy gravely endangers the woman’s physical or mental health. In Saudi Arabia, any approved abortion requires consent from three physicians as well as the patient and her husband or guardian. 
“If an abortion is performed on a woman for any other reason, the violator may be required to pay blood money to the fetus’ family.  Laws explicitly deny abortion to families who fear financial instability or an inability to provide the child with education.”
The same Christian fundamentalists who fulminate most loudly against “sharia law” (medieval Muslim canon law) are perfectly happy to impose their own, Christian sharia on secular American society.
Some of them are willing to deploy violence to that end, making them religious terrorists. But on this issue, there increasingly isn’t much difference between the American Republican Party and the Wahhabi clerics in their Riyadh madrasas.
In both cases, religious, theological doctrines are being made the basis of public law, which is un-American and actually unconstitutional (the First Amendment refers to that as Establishment of religion, which it forbids).
None Of The 14 GOP Presidential Candidates
Have Responded To The Planned Parenthood Shooting
Emily Atkin / ThinkProgress
(November 28, 2015) — Approximately 10 hours after a gunman went on a shooting rampage at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado, only two presidential candidates have issued statements expressing support for either the three victims or the women’s health organization.
Of the 17 candidates, only former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) have put out public statements in response to the massacre, which lasted approximately five hours and resulted in the deaths of one police officer and two civilians.
As of Friday night, none of the 14 Republican candidates had mentioned the shooting. President Obama has also not issued a formal statement at that point, though White House officials released a statement on Friday afternoon saying that Obama had been briefed on the situation.
The lack of response from presidential candidates may have been because of the Thanksgiving holiday. However, some candidates tweeted about other topics as details of the shooting unfolded Friday evening.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), for example, sent out a tweet about his campaign merchandise. (Though Rubio’s tweet was likely scheduled in advance, the unfortunate timing was met with some hostility.)
Donald Trump was also tweeting during the Colorado shooting, though he steered clear of the topic entirely. Instead, he tweeted about his polling numbers and how he “cannot be bought.”
Shortly after the shooting suspect was apprehended, Trump also released a statement insulting a New York Times reporter he had made fun of earlier in the week. The reporter suffers from a physical disability.
President Obama weighed in early Saturday, angrily decrying the frequency with which mass shootings have occurred in recent years and calling for legislative action on gun control.
“This is not normal. We can’t let it become normal. If we truly care about this — if we’re going to offer up our thoughts and prayers again, for God knows how many times, with a truly clean conscience — then we have to do something about the easy accessibility of weapons of war on our streets to people who have no business wielding them. Period. Enough is enough,” he said.
“May God bless Officer Garrett Swasey and the Americans he tried to save — and may He grant the rest of us the courage to do the same thing.”
UPDATE NOV 28, 2015 11:51 AM
On Saturday morning, Sen. Ted Cruz tweeted that he was praying for the victims and emergency responders involved in the standoff.
UPDATE NOV 28, 2015 2:49 PM
Democratic candidate Martin O’Malley also tweeted his condolences on Saturday.
UPDATE NOV 29, 2015 1:30 PM
Republican candidates Carly Fiorina, Donald Trump, and Mike Huckabee commented on the attack Sunday, calling the event tragic but continuing to spread claims that Planned Parenthood was selling baby parts. Ben Carson also commented on the attack, calling it a hate crime.
PSUSU Statement on White Supremacist Terror in the US
Portland State University Student Union
(November 28, 2015) — In light of increasing unsubstantiated assertions by U.S. Corporate Media outlets that #BlackLivesMatter supporters are somehow responsible for acts of violence we are presenting this statement by The Portland State University Student Union, (PSUSU) in rebuttal and for perspective.
Since students mobilized against racism at the University of Missouri, there has been a white supremacist backlash on campuses across the country. Black Students Unions are receiving threats nationally, while white supremacists mobilized online to form White Student Union pages for universities and colleges.
In our own city, a Black student was targeted in a racist attack at Lewis and Clark College after threats against Black students were made on Yik Yak. A white supremacist has organized a PSU White Student Union on Facebook and begun to build support and target PSUSU organizers. Anti-Muslim posters stating that “Islam is Terrorism” have been put up on the PSU campus.
Since the 2007-2008 economic crisis and the fight-back of first the Occupy movement and then the Black Lives Matter movement, there has been growing racist reaction. Police have killed unarmed Black people at an increasing rate since Michael Brown was murdered.
Donald Trump is campaigning for president on a platform that labels all Latinos dangerous criminals and would force Muslims to wear ID badges. The KKK is actively recruiting in Portland and the surrounding regions, in addition to many other places across the country.
The PSU Student Union stands in solidarity with all those who are being targeted by white supremacist violence and terror.
The PSU Student Union unequivocally denounces the White Student Union campaign and the Islamophobic postering. Whether online or on campus, there is no place for white supremacist organizing.
The PSU Student Union also calls on the PSU administration and board of trustees to publicly denounce the existence of a Portland State University White Student Union online as racist (and not just “phoney”), and to take whatever action they can to have these sites removed (even if they no longer use the PSU name or logo).
We also call on the administration and board of trustees to condemn the use of Islamophobic posters and to take concrete measures to prevent their dissemination.
It is essential that the PSU administration and board of trustees condemn white supremacy by name and take a real stand.
PSU President Wim Wiewel promised students in a recent email that he and the administration would be “vigilant” in the struggle against “racism or any form of discrimination”. However, they have continually failed to address real student concerns about violence on campus, especially around police.
Will President Wiewel, the PSU administration and board of trustees take the recent acts of white supremacist violence as a wake-up call, or will they continue to ignore the very real threats to student safety?
However the capitalist bureaucrats act, the PSU Student Union will do all in its power to mobilize against racist organizing, to stand in solidarity with Black student unions, Muslim students, and all fighting white supremacy on campus, and to fight for a democratic and equitable university.
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