On Wednesday morning, ultraconservative Catholic activist Austin Ruse was subbing fro American Family Radio morning host Sandy Rios when he learned that a freshman at Duke University was paying her way through college by acting in porn movies. To Ruse's mind, this was evidence that left-leaning academics needed to be "taken out and shot." After inexplicably allowing him back on the air the next morning, on Friday AFR announced that Ruse would never appear behind its mics again. If you believe the Wildmons, they were shocked, shocked that anyone would use its airwaves to utter sentiments that come dangerously close to stochastic terrorism.
Well, over the weekend People for the American Way dug up something that suggests Wednesday's screed wasn't a one-off incident. Back in 2001, Catholics for Choice--then known as Catholics for a Free Choice--crafted a dossier on Ruse and his organization, Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute called Bad Faith at the UN. While it focused mainly on Ruse's duplicity at the United Nations (for instance, trying to attend UN conferences while sending young people to disrupt UN youth gatherings), one anecdote it dug up sent a chill down my spine. Back in 2000, Ruse spoke at a gathering of the Cardinal Mindszenty Foundation, an ultraconservative Catholic outfit founded by John Fred and Eleanor Schlafly--the husband and sister-in-law, respectively, of the nation's original loathsome right-wing granny, Phyllis Schlafly. He claimed that a couple of months earlier, a bishop approached him at the UN and promised to personally absolve anyone who "took out" Hillary Clinton. No, I'm not kidding.
Hillary [Clinton] is the ‘conquering queen’ at the United Nations...I was standing on the floor of the UN a couple of months ago, when she was thinking about running, and I was talking to a priest from the Holy See delegation and—I shouldn’t tell you this but he offered me guaranteed absolution if I just took her out—and not on a date.Did Ruse recoil in shock? Did he call the police? Did he react in any other way that a halfway decent person would react? Oh, no--apparently he didn't think anything of it. Makes you wonder if AFR knew what it was going to get.
On Friday afternoon, while wiping AFR's bootprint off his butt, Ruse issued a nopology claiming that he didn't mean for his rant to be taken literally. As disingenuous as that sounds on its face, it's even more disingenuous considering he didn't seem to bat an eyelash at a suggestion to assassinate the First Lady.
As a side note, the AFR social media team posted Ruse's statement to Rios' Facebook page earlier this morning. Most of the comments have been along the lines of "atta boy, Austin!" Even allowing for the fact that these are the same people who prop up the likes of Bryan Fischer, this was highly unnerving.