Action Alert!

Overheated political rhetoric: did someone say 'demonizing'?

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Jan 10, 2011

Shamelessly exploiting a genuine tragedy, liberal political commentators are blaming their conservative counterparts for creating a "climate of hate" that allegedly contributed to the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. They say that American political rhetoric should be toned down-- while at the same time they accuse their rivals of encouraging murder. In other words they want the other guys to cool down their rhetoric, while they heat up their own. The inconsistency of that argument is spectacular. But then inconsistency is the hallmark of liberal ideology.

The argument would have at least a tincture of credibility if there was some evidence that the accused shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, was motivated by conservative rhetoric. There is none. His political beliefs seem to be a complete hodgepodge, suggesting a disturbed mind rather than any consistent zealotry. 

So now, rather than looking for scapegoats-- and finding them, conveniently, among ideological foes-- why not take a deeper look into the possible causes of Loughner's mental disturbance? On this front, the major media outlets have been remarkably uninquisitive. After the Fort Hood massacre, few media outlets mentioned that the shooter was a militant Muslim. Similarly, after this tragedy in Arizona, precious few media outlets have bothered to report that the accused killer had a pagan shrine at his home!

Most secular reporters wouldn't take the backyard shrine seriously, because most reporters think of paganism as an odd sort of hobby, with no serious consequences. Christians and Jews should know better. From time immemorial, false gods have always wanted blood. 

But USA Today has found a professed pagan who says that what looks like a pagan shrine is actually not a pagan shrine: that Loughner's violence should not be regarded as representative of paganism. We heard similar disclaimers from "moderate Muslim leaders" after the Fort Hood rampage. Although we are told time and again that religious beliefs have often led believers to violence, in these cases we are assured the opposite. Inconsistency again.




Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: sparch - Jan. 13, 2011 3:29 PM ET USA

    The lack of moral influence is evident in those who were spoutng their vitriol as well. Any religious symbolism goes to waste because seemingly, those in politics (and those who comment on it)have no basis of understanding of the meaning of such symbols. They are grounded in the trappings of the secular world. Moral grounding is essential to unwrap the meaning of such symbols.

  • Posted by: unum - Jan. 11, 2011 10:02 PM ET USA

    That the secular media and a scattering of political leaders didn't note the lack of a moral influence in the shooter's life is revealing. In fact, it is almost as revealing as the blatant attempts to blame various political enemies and to insert political agendas into the public square while ordinary people were clinging to life and grieving for lost loved ones. Our God forsaken culture shows its true colors.