Ann Coulter Says She Can "Understand" Domestic Terrorism
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).
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.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.
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.).
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:
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."
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.
Ann Coulter Says She Can "Understand" Domestic Terrorism | 2 comments (2 topical, 0 hidden)
Ann Coulter Says She Can "Understand" Domestic Terrorism | 2 comments (2 topical, 0 hidden)