Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Haiti Earthquake: Help the Victims

If you're unaware, a devastating earthquake killed many, some estimated as many as a half million people. (Story here)

Pope Benedict XVI said "I invite everyone to join in my prayer to the Lord for the victims of this catastrophe and for those who are mourning their loss. I assure my spiritual closeness to people who have lost their homes and to all those affected in various ways by this calamity, imploring from God consolation and relief of their suffering,"

The Archbishop of Port-au-Prince has died, and the Cathedral has taken heavy damage, leaving the people of Haiti in even more dire need of our prayers. Please pray for them.

Also, if you have the means, consider donating to help them out. The Pope implored "the generosity of everyone, so that our brothers and sisters receive our concrete solidarity and the effective support of the international community in this moment of need and suffering,"

You can support Catholic Relief Services efforts in Haiti at this link!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

In Defense of Erroll Southers

If you haven't guessed, I'm no big fan of President Obama's, and I can think of few of his nominees whom I've liked. One nominee currently under consideration is Erroll Southers, nominated to head the Transportation Security Administration. After the Christmas Day bombing attempts, the security issues at Newark International Airport on January 3rd, and an array of other airport security issues in recent weeks, the TSA needs some new leadership, and needs a public image lift.
I'm not sure if Erroll Southers is the right man to do the job. GOP Senators have some reservations, believing that he has concealed details about ethical violations he committed when he worked at the FBI, and worrying that he would unionize the TSA.
Honestly, I don't know the details well enough to make any sort of judgement on those concerns. Scrolling through my facebook live-feed today, though, I found a link to this entry on the American Principles Project blog (APP is a good site, btw... I recommend checking it out.)
I have to disagree with Thomas Peters on this one (and, apparently that means that I disagree with, the Red State Blog, and more). They're all upset over this segment from an interview with Mr. Southers:
They claim that he is painting conservative movements like the Pro-Life movement as terrorist groups. That's not the way I see it at all.
It seems to me like Erroll Southers is on the right track, here. He wasn't saying that Pro-Lifers are terrorists, but that one particular terrorist movement, the Christian Identity movement, happens to be anti-abortion.
If you're a loyal reader of mine (or have talked to me off the blog) you might remember that in the wake of George Tiller's killing, I said:
"I implore the United States government to STOP demonizing the pro-life movement, the gun ownership movement and conservative Christianity, and I ask that while they are at it, they drop the focus on the so-called "radical right," which is difficult to define. Instead, law enforcement really needs to look harder at Christian Identity, a radical white supremacist "Christian" group. Nearly every act of domestic terrorism committed in the past several decades in the US have been linked to this movement, and ... I can't help but note that the Sovereign Citizen Movement, of which [Tiller's murderer, Scott Roeder,] is a part, is largely a child of Christian Identity.
So, while I doubt anyone with real power on these matters is reading this, please urge those in power that instead of a large scale politically motivated crack down, and instead of repeating the debacle at Ruby Ridge or at the Branch Davidian ranch in Waco with a continued witch hunt against the amorphous "radical right," law enforcement in the United States needs to hone in on the group who's always tied to the violence... Christian Identity."
Let's look at the facts. Christian Identity is a "Christian" white supremacist movement who holds fast to far right viewpoints on gun rights, abortion, etc. They are a violent movement. Not only does their "theology" promote violence towards Jews, non-whites, and others, but they have ties to a number of violent actions that have taken place over the years. Most notable, of course, is their connection with Timothy McVeigh. The terrorist group responsible for the 1984 murder of Alan Berg was affiliated with Christian Identity. Eric Rudolph, who bombed gay bars, abortion clinics, and the Atlanta Olympics followed CI, too.
Many movement members believe that Jews are descendants of Satan. They believe that people of other races (not white or Jewish) are a more primitive creation than white people, and are not descendants of Adam. Christian Identity adherents often live a survivalist lifestyle, forming a militia to violently combat what they see as the errors of our time... like interracial marriage.
Christian Identity includes organizations like the Aryan Nations, and has birthed sub-movements like the pro-terror Phineas Priesthood. It has loose connections with white supremacist terror groups like The Order and The New Order.
Christian Identity is a dangerous movement who needs to be watched. The fact that its followers are anti-abortion should not cause Pro-Lifers to rush to their defense.
In further defense of Mr. Southers, elsewhere in the interview he emphasized the threat posed by Al Qaeda, discussing the threat posed by the decentralization and what he called "franchising" of Al Qaeda in the aftermath of the invasion of Afghanistan. He pointed out the seriousness of the threats posed by Hamas and Hezbollah.
I don't know about any ethical breaches Southers has made in the past, or about his competence as a leader, or about his ideological positions, but, in that interview I saw nothing to indicate that Southers was inappropriately targeting conservative Americans. I saw evidence that he might actually understand the security threats to the United States.