Ann Coulter Says She Can "Understand" Domestic Terrorism
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Mar 08, 2007 at 11:30:20 AM EST
Speaking at the recent Reclaiming America for Christ conference, (televangelist D. James Kennedy's annual political rally), Ann Coulter not only repeated her now infamous anti-gay slur to the Christian group, but she declared that she can "understand" the assassination of doctors who perform legal abortions.

In demagogic fashion, Coulter first presented the shocking view -- and then wink, wink -- said she didn't really mean it; but in doing so, still held fast to the argument that leaders of the underground Army of God have used for years to justify the murder of abortion providers -- which she calls "a procedure with a rifle."  

Conference organizers stated in their wrap-up report report:  
The approximately 1,300 attendees converged on Fort Lauderdale from as far as California and Arizona to learn what they could do to bring their faith to bear on the social fabric of America.
 And on March 3rd, they got to hear Ann Coulter, one of the headliners say:  
"Those few abortionists were shot, or, depending on your point of view, had a procedure with a rifle performed on them. I'm not justifying it, but I do understand how it happened.... The number of deaths attributed to Roe v. Wade about 40 million aborted babies and seven abortion clinic workers; 40 million to seven is also a pretty good measure of how the political debate is going."

Coulter says that she isn't justifying violence -- but she is. She implies that seven deaths as against forty million means that the murders of doctors not only somehow rights the balance -- but are not nearly enough for anyone to make a fuss about.  It is a restatement of her comparing the abortion procedure to a "procedure with a rifle." Her meaning is clear, even as her practiced rhetoric leaves her room for denial.

Meanwhile, I have a different measure of "how the political debate is going" than Coulter.  

A few weeks ago, James Kopp, the convicted assassin of Dr. Barnett Slepian was convicted on further charges related to his crime. The Buffalo News reported:

U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara did not allow Kopp to use a justification defense, that what he did was justified to prevent more abortions. Arcara had ruled against that defense, saying basically that abortion is legal and murder is not.

Indeed. Abortion is legal, and the murder of doctors is not. But Ann Coulter can "understand" domestic terrorists who do not agree.  

The notion that the murder of abortion providers is "justifiable homicide," first made national news in 1993 when Michael Griffin murdered Dr. David Gunn in Pensacola, Florida.  (Although it has a history that precedes the killing.)

A statement claiming that Griffin's act was justifiable homicide was signed by several dozen people and promoted by Paul Hill and his publicist Gary McCullough, (who is currently a DC-based PR man for Christian right and other groups.)  The statement is a lay version of the "necessity defense" that Kopp unsucessfully sought to present in both of his trials. Paul Hill was later executed in Florida's electric chair for the murder of a doctor and his unarmed escort.  A "second" such statement was put forward by Hill's supporters and is posted on the web site of the Army of God.

The Second Defensive Action Statement was released by the Defenders of the Defenders of Life after Paul Hill shot the abortionist, John Bayard Britton, and his accomplices, Lt. Col. James Barrett, and Mrs. Barrett. It is modeled on the original Defensive Action Statement which was originally issued by Paul Hill We the undersigned, declare the justice of taking all godly action necessary, including the use of force, to defend innocent human life (born and unborn).

We proclaim that whatever force is legitimate to defend the
life of a born child is legitimate to defend the life of an unborn child.

We declare and affirm that if in fact Paul Hill did kill or wound abortionist John Britton, and accomplices James Barrett and Mrs. Barrett, his actions are morally justified if they were necessary for the purpose of defending innocent human life. Under these conditions, Paul Hill should be acquitted of all charges against him.

It was signed by a number of known members of the Army of God, including several convicted felons. Their crimes are celebrated by the Army of God as Heroes of the Faith, along with those of Jame Kopp and Paul Hill.

Of course, violence and threats of violence against those who exercise their right to receive and to provide abortions has been a serious problem for three decades. The National Abortion Federation has statistics, but the short of it is this:  

Since the Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion in 1973, reproductive health clinics and health care providers across the United States and Canada have become the targets of violence by anti-abortion extremists. Physicians and clinic workers have been murdered; clinics have been bombed, burned down, invaded, and blockaded; and patients have been harassed and intimidated.

As a result, reproductive health care providers have had to undertake comprehensive security measures including employing security guards; installing security cameras, bullet-proof glass, and access control hardware; wearing bullet proof vests; and implementing security protocols designed to increase the safety of doctors and clinic staff.

 Early in the Bush administration, there were three antiabortion criminals on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List who were eventually caught and convicted of their crimes.  In addition to James Kopp, a serial felon with a long criminal history -- there was Eric Rudolph, who pipe bombed of two clinics, a gay bar and the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics. His pipe-bombing of a clinic in Birmingham killed an off-duty policeman and maimed a nurse named Emily Lyons: read an interview with Lyons to see what else Ann Coulter can "understand":    
... a nail-packed bomb exploded outside the New Woman All Women Health Care Center in Birmingham, Ala., killing off-duty police officer Robert "Sande" Sanderson and maiming nurse Emily Lyons.

Lyons, the 42-year-old mother of two daughters, had her shins blasted away, her left eye destroyed and her right eye severely damaged. Her entire body was riddled with nails and shrapnel.

She has endured nine surgeries, lengthy rehabilitation to learn to walk again, and excruciating skin grafts and scrubbing of abscessed wounds. Her legs are still mutilated, her face and eyelids remain scarred, and shrapnel still works its way out of her body, requiring additional surgeries. Some will never be removed.

With her damaged hands, she will never again play the piano; with what is left of her vision, she can barely read. Her hearing has been damaged. And she still faces a probable year of continuing medical procedures.

Since Ann Coulter can "understand" why James Kopp and Eric Rudolph did what they did, she must also understand Clayton Waagner, the third antiabortion militant on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List in 2001:

Waagner threatened in a manifesto published on the Army of God web site to kill "as many" Americans as he could who happen to work for Planned Parenthood Federation of America--from doctors to janitors. He bragged that he had stalked clinics, assembled a cache of weapons and compiled dossiers on clinic staff in order "to kill as many of them as I can." He said he would be

"going after ... anyone who works at an abortion location or Planned Parenthood. (I don't care if their location actually performs abortions or not. ALL Planned Parenthood locations are targets.).

"It doesn't matter to me if you're a nurse, receptionist, bookkeeper, or janitor, if you work for the murderous abortionist I'm going to kill you."

He also, in the weeks following 9/11 sent more than 500 anthrax threats to clinics and civil rights organizations. Each Ffed-exed envelope  contained a note from the Army of God along with white powder saying the recipient had just been exposed to anthrax. All this contributed to the climate of terror and panic at the time.  

"I am a terrorist," he declared.  

So after all of the controversy over Ann Coulter's calling John Edwards a "faggot" at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC); and after she repeated the remark she calls a 'joke" to the 1,300 participants of Reclaiming America for Christ; and said she can "understand" the assassination of doctors -- a "procedure with a rifle" -- we heard nothing from any of the leaders of the religious right.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State which first reported Coulter's remarks, has called on the Center for Reclaiming America to repudiate them.

In light of the firestorm over Coulter's CPAC appearance,  perhaps the Center will seek to distance itself from Coulter's apparent justification of violence. If they do, other relgious right leaders should join them -- since she said something very similar last fall at the Values Voters Summit cosponsored by Family Research Council Action, Focus on the Family Action, American Family Association Action, and Americans United to Preserve Marriage -- according to a report by Chip Berlet and Pam Chamberlain of Political Research Associates, a Somerville, MA think tank:  

When right wing pundit Ann Coulter referenced abortion, she implied that the killing of seven reproductive health providers was a restrained response to court rulings unfavorable to anti-abortion activists:

For two decades after Roe, no abortion clinic doctors were killed. But immediately after Planned Parenthood v. Casey, after working within the system did not work, produced no results... for the first time an abortion doctor was killed. A few more abortion clinic workers were killed in the next few years. I'm not justifying it, but I understand when you take democracy away from people, some of them will react violently. The total number of deaths attributable to Roe were seven abortion clinic workers and 40 million unborn babies

So Coulter blames a ruling of the Supreme Court that upheld an important precedent -- as causing violence?  In fact, there is a long history of planned acts of violence that predates the murder of Dr. Gunn, stretching back into the 1970s as the NAF history (above) makes clear -- and the philosophy of revolutionary violence had been headed in this direction for years. One brief example: Army of God leader Michael Bray (convicted in a series of clinic arsons and bombingd he carried out in 1984)was the first to formally and publicly address the legitimacy of antiabortion violence. He writes on the Army of God web site:  

The first time I spoke publicly on the matter of lethal force in defense of womb children was at Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary in New Orleans in 1990.  It was at the annual  meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society where I delivered a paper entitled, "The Ethics of Operation Rescue."  

...My point was that the action of OR [Operation Rescue] activists was higher than simple protest tactics.   It was the true rescue of innocent people inasmuch as blockades served to directly postpone and even prevent the imminent deaths of womb children.

One member of the audience, following my application of defensive action principles to "anti-abortion activism," logically asked whether, therefore, I must not necessarily permit maiming or killing the assailants of the womb child.  To this question, I publicly gave my asseveration.  The normal principles of defensive action apply in the case of the womb children because they are true children, true human beings.  There were no further comments or questions.

In other words, Bray was publicly discussing, as he put it, "lethal force," two years before the Casey decision that Coulter claims she understands made people start commiting murder.  

In a press release, the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director, of Americans United for Separation of Church and State sharply criticized Coulter's incendiary rhetoric and "making light of the murder of abortion doctors and personnel." He called on Gary Cass, head of the Center for Reclaiming America, to publicly repudiate Coulter's remarks.

"The fact that these comments were uttered during an event sponsored by a Christian organization and from a church sanctuary is particularly outrageous. I hope that Coulter's remarks do not represent the sentiment of your organization and assume you will have no reluctance in making that clear."

And after that, maybe Tony Perkins, James Dobson, Gary Bauer and Don Wildmon, who presented Coulter at the Values Voters Summit, will also explain how acts of domestic terrorism such as the assasination of doctors and clinic workers, and the bombing and arson of medical clincs, and making death threats, and bomb and anthrax threats -- are incompatible with their understanding of Christianity.

have advocated, justified, tolerated or ignored assasinations and violence in the name of Christianity for a generation.  

Ann Coulter's glib but obviously well-rehearsed statements are so of a piece with the thinking of the Values Voters Summit that they did not cause a ripple; and she reused the point and made it punchier for Reclaiming America for Christ, where it also apparently generated no outrage.

Let's be very clear.

Ann Coulter is giving voice to what a lot of the religious right think, or at least what their leaders would like the rank and file to think.

by Frederick Clarkson on Thu Mar 08, 2007 at 01:23:48 PM EST

is discussing this at StreetProphets and notes that Media Matters for America has a list of newspapers that carry Coulter's column. Apparently at least four papers have dropped her already, including the Shreveport Times.  

Pastordan suggests letting papers that carry Coulter know how you feel.

by Frederick Clarkson on Thu Mar 08, 2007 at 03:16:30 PM EST

WWW Talk To Action

Falling Starr
Reports from around the nation are reporting Ken Starr, President of Baylor University, has been fired as head of the Baptist school.  Other stories......
By wilkyjr (3 comments)
Bluegrass Bonanza: Ky. Theocrat Loses Grip On Statehouse Seat
Political news of late has been dominated by three people - Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. They've certainly provided good copy, but......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
Political Piety Panned: We Don't Need A 'God's Party'
Every few years, a political pundit comes along and proclaims that the Religious Right is dead or on the verge of dying. I started......
By Rob Boston (7 comments)
Trump Campaign Tied To 2nd White Nationalist Party Leader
Even as Donald Trump seeks to tack to the center, and leave behind his earlier, wildly controversial statements on Hispanics and Muslims, mounting evidence......
By Bruce Wilson (4 comments)
Religious Rightism in the Democratic Party has Consequences
Those of us who write about the Religious Right and related matters often find ourselves wishing that we were wrong. Back in 2011 we......
By Frederick Clarkson (9 comments)
No Moore, Please: Ala. Chief Justice May Be Removed From The Bench
Word broke late Friday night that Roy Moore, chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, may be on the verge of losing his job......
By Rob Boston (4 comments)
Road To Nowhere?: Ky. Officials Ramp Up Support For `Ark Park'
Officials in Kentucky have apparently decided that they're willing to endure a large amount of embarrassment if it will bring some mediocre jobs to......
By Rob Boston (6 comments)
Cruz Super-PAC Head Promotes "Biblical" Slavery For Non-Christians
Since 2013 (and with growing interest, especially since Ted Cruz mounted his bid for the presidency), various authors have sought to address Cruz' ties......
By Bruce Wilson (5 comments)
One Simple Question for Ted Cruz
As the 2016 presidential primary season moves into the media savvy states of New York (April 19) and California (June 7) a question is......
By Frank Cocozzelli (9 comments)
"Dominionism" - Correction Please
Correction Sent to Christianity Today, April 11, 2016 Regarding the article: "Stop Calling Ted Cruz a Dominionist: The Christian candidate's faith influences his platform,......
By Chip Berlet (6 comments)
South Carolina School Continues to Dominate Church-State Decisions
Bob Jones University has a rich history.  It was a launching pad for GOP Presidential candidates until George W. Bush apologized for the visit.......
By wilkyjr (4 comments)
Privilege, Not Persecution: It's Time For Fundamentalist Christians To Stop Whining
Over the weekend, a movie called "God's Not Dead 2" opened in theaters around the nation. I haven't seen the film and don't intend......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
Fifty Catholic Right Leaders Endorse Ted Cruz
The National Catholic Reporter recently reported  that a group of fifty conservative Catholics led by Catholic neocon Robert P. George and former Virginia Attorney......
By Frank Cocozzelli (4 comments)
Viva (Crime-Free) Las Vegas!: More Hooey From David Barton
Ersatz historian and "Christian nation" booster David Barton is at it again. This time he's claiming that the city of Las Vegas cut violent......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
Pride Goeth: The Arrogance Of The Public School Proselytizers
If you have children, there's a good chance you've worked hard to instill in them the values you hold, whether those values are religious......
By Rob Boston (3 comments)

Alternate economy medical treatment
Dogemperor wrote several times about the alternate economy structure that dominionists have built.  Well, it's actually made the news.  Pretty good article, although it doesn't get into how bad people could be (have been)......
ArchaeoBob (2 comments)
Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (6 comments)
Central Florida Sheriff Preached Sermon in Uniform
If anyone has been following the craziness in Polk County Florida, they know that some really strange and troubling things have happened here.  We've had multiple separation of church and state lawsuits going at......
ArchaeoBob (2 comments)
Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (2 comments)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (8 comments)
Evangelicals Seduced By Ayn Rand Worship Crypto-Satanism, Suggest Scholars
[update: also see my closely related stories, "Crypto-Cultists" and "Cranks": The Video Paul Ryan Hoped Would Go Away, and The Paul Ryan/Ayn Rand/Satanism Connection Made Simple] "I give people Ayn Rand with trappings" -......
Bruce Wilson (10 comments)
Ted Cruz Anointed By Pastor Who Says Jesus Opposed Minimum Wage, and Constitution Based on the Bible
In the video below, from a July 19-20th, 2013 pastor's rally at a Marriott Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa, Tea Party potentate Ted Cruz is blessed by religious right leader David Barton, who claims......
Bruce Wilson (3 comments)
Galt and God: Ayn Randians and Christian Rightists Expand Ties
Ayn Rand's followers find themselves sharing a lot of common ground with the Christian Right these days. The Tea Party, with its stress on righteous liberty and a robust form of capitalism, has been......
JSanford (7 comments)
Witchhunts in Africa and the U.S.A.
Nigerian human rights activist Leo Igwe has recently written at least two blog posts about how some African Pentecostal churches are sending missionaries to Europe and the U.S.A. in an attempt to "re-evangelize the......
Diane Vera (3 comments)
Charles Taze Russell and John Hagee
No doubt exists that Texas mega-church Pastor John Hagee would be loathe to be associated with the theology of Pastor C.T. Russell (wrongly credited with founding the Jehovah's Witnesses) but their theological orbits, while......
COinMS (3 comments)
A death among the common people ... imagination.
Or maybe my title would better fit as “Laws, Books, where to find, and the people who trust them.”What a society we've become!The wise ones tell us over and over how the more things......
Arthur Ruger (10 comments)
Deconstructing the Dominionists, Part VI
This is part 6 of a series by guest front pager Mahanoy, originally dated November 15, 2007 which I had to delete and repost for technical reasons. It is referred to in this post,......
Frederick Clarkson (3 comments)
Republican infighting in Mississippi
After a bruising GOP runoff election for U.S. Senator, current MS Senator Thad Cochran has retained his position and will face Travis Childers (Democrat) in the next senate election. The MS GOP is fractured......
COinMS (4 comments)
America's Most Convenient Bank® refuses to serve Christians
Representatives of a well known faith-based charitable organization were refused a New Jersey bank’s notarization service by an atheist employee. After inquiring about the nature of the non-profit organization and the documents requiring......
Jody Lane (7 comments)
John Benefiel takes credit for GOP takeover of Oklahoma
Many of you know that Oklahoma has turned an unrecognizable shade of red in recent years.  Yesterday, one of the leading members of the New Apostolic Reformation all but declared that he was responsible......
Christian Dem in NC (4 comments)

More Diaries...

All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.