Double standards on terrorism

April 1, 2010

News coverage of the arrests of nine Christian militia members exposes the hypocrisy of the mainstream media, says Brian Lenzo.

NINE MEMBERS of a radical Christian terrorist cell based in rural Michigan were arrested and indicted by federal authorities this past week. Although, you won't hear them referred to like that in the mainstream media.

Unlike Muslim groups accused of radical or terrorist activity, the U.S. media has been downplaying the connection between the religious ideas of the perpetrators and their planned actions.

For example, here are the headlines from a sampling of major U.S. news sites for the day of March 30, the day news of the ninth arrest and indictments broke: CBS News, "Stepmom helped militia member's surrender;" MSNBC, "Feds: Militia wanted war against U.S.;" Fox News, "Feds: Busted Midwest militia wanted war on U.S.;" ABC News had no story as of 2 p.m.; and CNN, "Group arrested not Christian or militia, insider says."

Notice that the only mention of the word "Christian" is in the headline that explains that Christianity had nothing to do with the planned violence. If this were a group of young Muslim men, you can bet the word "Muslim" or "Islamic" would be front and center of every headline in the nation.

Members of the Hutaree militia in Michigan
Members of the Hutaree militia in Michigan

To be fair, it's worth asking whether Christian religious ideas are indeed part of the group's ideology. In fact, plenty of evidence shows that that they are.

The group in question is named "Hutaree." According to the CNN article referenced above:

Federal authorities on Monday charged nine members of a group called the Hutaree militia with conspiring to kill a Michigan law enforcement officer and then kill other officers at the funeral...The group says on its Web site that Hutaree means "Christian warrior." Its home page said it is "Preparing for the end time battles to keep the testimony of Jesus Christ alive."

In the "About us" section of the Hutaree Web site, the group says, "We believe that one day, as prophecy says, there will be an Anti-Christ. All Christians must know this and prepare, just as Christ commanded."

You can bet, however, that police won't be patrolling the suburbs looking for cars with "suspicious" bumper stickers proclaiming the divinity of Christ or bearing Jesus fish. I seriously doubt that undercover FBI agents will be fanning out across the Midwest, joining local church youth groups to root out the next would-be Christian terrorist.

The fact is that almost every high-profile case where the FBI uncovered a "radical Muslim" plot to attack America from within has produced almost laughably ridiculous "plots." For example, the "Fort Dix 6" were accused and convicted of hatching a plan to infiltrate a U.S. military base and kill U.S. personnel. It turns out that an FBI informant, who himself had spent six months in prison for bank fraud, goaded six rather lazy young men into hatching a plot to pose as pizza delivery boys, get on base and shoot their way back out. All six were acquitted of attempted murder, while five have been convicted of conspiring to kill military personnel.

It's also not hard to find statements that would be considered full-throated advocacy of terrorism--if they weren't uttered by Christian fundamentalists.


"We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren't punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That's war. And this is war." --Ann Coulter, September 13, 2001

"I knew my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol...We in the army of God, in the house of God, kingdom of God have been raised for such a time as this." --Lt. Gen. William G. "Jerry" Boykin, 2002, speaking about a battle with a Muslim warlord in Somalia

"This crusade, this war on terrorism is going to take a while." --President George W. Bush, September 16, 2001

The difference between the treatment of Muslim radicals and radical Christians by our media and our government stinks to the high heaven of hypocrisy. So much so that it can't be an accident.

Want to know the real difference between "radical Muslim terrorists" and "Midwest Christian militias?" Their race and ethnicity. Want to know the real difference between "defending freedom" and "terrorism?" Whether you go along with U.S. plans to dominate the globe or not.

The U.S. is trying to maintain two immensely unpopular military occupations of two predominantly Muslim countries. On top of the ever-present racism against people of color in the U.S. media, the only way a slogan like, "We need to fight them over there so we don't have to fight them over here," makes any sense, is if they trot out a couple would-be "attackers" every few months. They need a scapegoat, a sideshow, to avoid talking about their real aims, namely the domination of global resources and markets.

It's unclear just how dangerous these suspected Christian terrorists actually are, however, I will bet my Cadillac health care plan that you won't see people wearing crucifixes being "randomly selected" for screening in airport security lines this Easter weekend.

Further Reading

From the archives