Religion & Public Life With Mark Silk

Religion & Public Life With Mark Silk

Palin and Loughner

crosshairsmap.jpgPace Sarah Palin’s spokeswoman,
but of course the lady’s map featured crosshairs–just another example
of the recourse to firearms imagery in contemporary Republican political
rhetoric. Is it accurate to trace it to Pat Buchanan’s famous “Lock and
Load!” summons to (metaphorical) arms in his insurgent 1996 campaign
for the GOP presidential nomination? Whatever, it’s what we have come to
expect from the Party of the Second Amendment and the Ten Commandments.


commotion over whether such imagery can be blamed for Jared Loughner is
also pretty familiar. It happens every time an abortion doctor is shot,
most recently after the 2009 murder of Wichita physician George Tiller
by Scott Roeder. My colleague Andrew Walsh reviewed the back-and-forth in Religion in the News and came to the following conclusion.

No one argued that Cardinal Rigali or Richard
Land or even Randall Terry ordered a hit on Tiller, but it’s clear that the
unceasing confrontational campaign in Wichita did involve a large number of
“mainstream” pro-life groups over a lengthy period. Reporting by  [David] Barstow, Judy
Thomas, and others showed that Scott Roeder–although by no means a major figure
in pro-life activities in Kansas and Missouri– participated over a long period
in anti-abortion activities and was quite well known. He picketed, he did
“street counseling,” he campaigned on the Internet, and he attended the Kansas
trial that ended in March when Tiller was acquitted of 19 misdemeanor charges
that he broke Kansas law in performing late-term abortions…


“Roeder was not one of us,” Philadelphia
Daily News
columnist Christine Flowers insisted on June 12. “He was a
psychopath, a man whose demented mind led him to commit a crime that is,
essentially, the antithesis of what the pro-life movement represents.”

It is hard, at this point, to take such
self-exoneration seriously. Roeder was one of them, and not the first to take
the movement’s violent words and confrontational deeds one step further.

the initial reporting, it does not seem that Loughner had the sorts of
ties to the Sarah Palin wing of the Republican Party that Roeder had to
the pro-life movement. But if, say, a copy of her map is found tucked
inside of one of his books, she will have something to answer for.

Comments read comments(7)
post a comment

posted January 11, 2011 at 4:52 pm

There’s much more to it than whether this guy literally took Palin’s poster as a kill order. It has to do with the loud and steady drumbeat from her movement which adopts the same language and justification as Al Queda. They go WAY beyond a spirited disagreement with policies of their political opponents. In fact, they choose to portray their political opponents as evil, illegitimate enemies of the American people and way of life. They have made it clear that they hold the very system of civic governance and democracy in contempt. They tolerate it only to the extent it serves their ends and only until the moment they have the power to take control by other means. They play the same game as the radical Imams who inspire young men in Europe to train in Pakistan then come home to plant bombs in subways. They dangle this call out in the wind for someone to “do something” and then disavow any responsibility when someone does.

report abuse


posted January 11, 2011 at 7:10 pm

Well said kenneth. That’s exactly right.

report abuse


posted January 11, 2011 at 8:01 pm

Jared L. went to Gabriell G.’s political talk in 2007, and asked her a question about government, he didn’t like her answer and told friends about it. So we know he was interested in politics and government. His intentions were written on a letter in his homes safe; according to the news. It would seem he was influenced by all the rhetoric around him. Peoples minds are unique, some are troubled, some are fearful, some are confused by peoples intent because they simply can’t put it together. This young man will have to be evaluated and studied very closly. It will help when Gabe is well enough to talk to us about her opinion of this person who tried to kill her. The news has already shown us what she thought about being targeted on the map by Palins group.

report abuse

Faith Defender

posted January 12, 2011 at 10:35 am

Well, now Palin has officially lost her mind completely. She has labeled the effort to correlate her hateful rhetoric as a “blood libel”. That’s right, she is blaming the Jews…..

report abuse


posted January 12, 2011 at 11:25 am

thank you Kenneth for your thoughts, I agree.
Also, If one listens to all the “talk” from politicians, radio hosts, etc., everything is based on FEAR. After awhile, it isn’t surprising that people go off the edge. I hear more of this from the conservative/Republican side than the Dem side of things. I find myself wondering how people can live in such a fearful society. What bothers me is these people, like Palin, who used cross-hairs, do not want to claim any responsibility for their words or actions. All it takes is someone listening, whose not quite all there to use this as justification to shoot others. American Politics revolves around fear. I figured it was only a matter of time before this happened. Now it’s interesting to watch everyone back peddle and claim it’s not my fault.

report abuse


posted January 12, 2011 at 12:34 pm

When you read what Loughner’s friends have said about him, this surfaces; polite, needed acceptence, needed friends, but also needed his space, liked philosphy in college, and showed an understanding of it, resisted instructions if he didn’t agree with them in his working experiences, thus couldn’t hold on to jobs. I think there is more missing reasons of why he was brought to sat., and probably his parents can enlighten the authorities on what they have lived with. I hope everyone works together so society can find a better way of helping the troubled young. Our gun laws have to be rethought, this incidence shows that, as well as all the other gun murders in the recent U.S. Maddow said that for every 100 people in the U.S. their are 90 guns. We have more guns than any other country in the world. We also have more incidents of many people being killed than other countries with guns. This last incident of horror should show all of us that the way of fighting each other for our ideas should stop, and good sense and discussion should take their place. Palin is very defensive, and is digging herself in deeper by not softening her words, and using more inflamatory expressions, as she just has. Her speech was very long compared to other notables and had everything in it that has already been said. What stays with you is her words “Blood Libel”, and the steely expression in her eyes and chin. Not good.

report abuse


posted January 12, 2011 at 1:56 pm

Faith Defender, I wouldn’t say Palin is blaming the Jews. But she’s is playing the victim to deflect criticism.

report abuse

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to and may be used by in accordance with the agreements.

Previous Posts

Another Blog To Enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Religion and Public Life. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Latest News Story on Beliefnet Happy Reading!   ...

posted 3:10:11pm Aug. 27, 2012 | read full post »

The Ayn Rand Republicans
I confess to feeling a little bit queasy about the American Values Network's new video hoisting Rep. Paul Ryan, Sen. Rand Paul, Rush Limbaugh, and other GOP luminaries on the petard of Ayn Rand and her atheistic philosophy of objectivism. Take a ...

posted 7:13:30pm May. 24, 2011 | read full post »

Whither evangelicals?
I'm fully prepared to believe that Mitch Daniels' family proved to be the unleapable hurdle in his abortive run-up to the GOP presidential race. Imagine yourself as wife Cheri, having split for the coast to marry on old flame, your husband and ...

posted 9:19:56am May. 23, 2011 | read full post »

No more "social conservatives"
With the presidential election cycle getting up to speed, it's time for reporters and yakkers like me to stop writing about "social conservatives" as if they were an identifiable segment of the voting population. I say this as someone who has ...

posted 8:25:11am May. 20, 2011 | read full post »

So clerical celibacy was not the problem?
Those on the Catholic left are not very happy that the Jay Report declines in no uncertain terms to blame clerical celibacy for the sexual abuse crisis. As the report puts it: Factors that remained consistent over this time period, such as ...

posted 9:50:34am May. 19, 2011 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.