Earlier this month, Michelle Obama paid a visit to a Miami Planned Parenthood clinic. She told the clinic's operators, "These are not easy places to run, but you are doing God's work." When Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver and Matt Barber got wind of it, they hit the ceiling. On Friday's edition of Liberty Counsel's radio program, Faith & Freedom, they called the First Lady a female version of Adolf Hitler. No, I'm not kidding. People for the American Way got a clip.
Staver: This is reminiscent of going back to Hitler. You're doing God's work? To what? To put people in these plans that actually kill children? That force employers to fund abortion and take innocent human lives? That's God's work? This is perverted. This is a perverted administration and a perverted president.That a couple of prominent wingnuts would go on this kind of rant wouldn't be news in and of itself. But a few hours before Faith & Freedom went to air, Canadian right-winger Tristan Emmanuel penned a column for Barber's Christianist news site, BarbWire, claiming that Bill Maher's rant about God being a mass murderer was evidence that we need to bring back blasphemy laws (diaried here). The concept of blasphemy laws is in and of itself a rotten idea. But I re-read this column this morning before heading for church, and part of Emmanuel's rationale for them sent a chill down my spine.
Barber: This is evil. It's evil. And Michelle Obama, anybody who could say that, is an evil human being. Those are evil words, that's an evil sentiment, and I cannot believe that Michelle Obama would say that 'you're doing God's work' by dismembering alive innocent pre-born children. It is Hitlerian.
There was a time when a generation of believers actually believed in defending the honor of God and would have done just that — condemn Maher.If that isn't a fascistic concept, then I don't know what is. Emmanuel essentially called for the First Amendment to be put in the shredder. The legal term for this is seditious libel--one of the very abuses that the First Amendment was explicitly intended to remedy.
Back then Maher would have faced stiff penalties for his slanderous crimes against God and country. And the reasons were clear: slander the ultimate authority of a nation — God — and you ridicule the very foundation of its laws, values, public institutions and leadership.
Slander one and you slander all.
But there was evidence even before then that Barber and Staver wouldn't know fascism if it hit them in the face. If you'll remember, earlier this month on American Family Radio, Austin Ruse was guest-hosting for morning host Sandy Rios when he called for left-wing academics to be "taken out and shot" after learning a Duke University student was paying her way through college by acting in porn movies. Unless I'm wrong, this was the reaction from Staver, Barber and virtually every other religious right figure:
Oh, that's right. While any fair-minded American would consider this to be an act of stochastic terrorism--straight out of the fascist playbook--Barber probably agrees with Rios that Ruse was actually speaking "words of life."
So let's see if we've got this right. Barber and Staver scream about the First Lady channeling Hitler when they seem to be OK with acts from their compatriots that any reasonable person would consider fascist. The hypocrisy burns.