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Video: Focus on the disingenuous denunciations

by Jeremy Hooper

Glibly undermining the true possibility for right wing extremism that we all know (or should know) exists, while voluntarily (and bizarrely) putting themselves in the "extremist" camp in the process. It's just another bit of faux outrage from the folks at Focus on the Family in general, and the uber-facile Stuart Shepard in particular:

Look, if they want to keep acting like they can't understand the difference between a run-of-the-mill social conservative and a person who genuinely wishes to do harm because of their beliefs, then we'll sit back and let them draw these comparisons. As ones who believe that things like gay rights opposition come with innate societal negativity, it's only helpful for us if they, our vocal opposition, willingly jump in the boat with those whose antipathy leads them to violence.

But the irony here is that we are not asking them to get in that boat. We're also not offended to know that our government has, at times, studied left-wing extremism. That's because we prefer embracing the complexities of issues rather than boiling them down to an oversimplified level that befits our own political opportunism. And if you look at the possibility for political extremism with an objective eye, you will understand full well (a) that it is real, disturbing, and in need of address, and (b) that it ebbs and flows with the shifting governmental winds.

It would be both silly and dangerous to deny that it is the far-right version of extremism that's more in need of examination during this new Obama age. So on that note: We encourage groups like Focus on the Family to understand and resist this possibility for angry mobs to turn on an angry mobster, rather than act like everyone who falls right of center poops out pacifist roses. Rejecting the homicidal does not mean they have to drop their own homo-hostilities. However, their stances do place even more of a burden on them to first recognize the difference between one who votes against gay weddings and one who bombs the same, and then to articulate the ways that they can help keep their own biases peacefully contained.

Radical [CitizenLink]

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Your thoughts

I suspect that the real issue is that they can't attack (or support) politicians directly due to IRS and FEC limitations on non-profits. But, they can (and do) push the absolute limits of issues advocacy. In my mind, they step squarely over the blurry line between issues advocacy and partisan political endorsement, but the IRS and FEC might not see it that way.

Legally they can't endorse politicians (at least not without risking their non-profit status and possible fines), but they can plant seeds of dissension in hopes of tainting (or polishing) the view of politicians that they approve/disapprove of.

And, that is precisely why they don't mention that the Bush administration ordered the DHS to generate that very report that Sheppard was reading from, and most of the work on the report happened while Bush was still in office. And, reports detailing extremists have been coming out of the FBI / Justice Dept. / DHS regularly for probably a hundred years. There is nothing new about them, and those same radical extremists have been on the lists since the lists began.

But when the same exact report came out from a Bush DHS, they simply ignored it, and found some other way of heaping praise on the Bush administration. Contrast that with the fact that they will use anything they possibly can to take a cheap shot at the Obama administration, though. And, therein lies (in my mind) the distinction between issues advocacy and partisan politics.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Apr 27, 2009 9:47:50 AM

The problem is not what these people believe per se, it is their means for attaining these objectives that is alarming to the federal government.

While I may disagree with religious conservatives and their quest to turn us into a theocracy, I feel they have the right to their opinion and to protest responsibly. I do have a problem with Army of God and their craziness.

They also send me a ton of hate mail. Do they send you hate mail too?

Posted by: Katie | Apr 28, 2009 2:22:23 PM

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