Amazing Stories: The Christian Right's Mainstream Violent Bigots
By skipping remedial reading class once again, my good friend Michelle Malkin finds plenty of time to wonder "why the mainstream media was ignoring some amazing stories of pro-life activists and evangelical disabled advocates who have been peacefully keeping vigil outside Terri Schiavo's hospice."
I'm happy to highlight those overlooked stories for Michelle, but someone else will have to read them to her.
The Story of Pro-Life Activists Scott and Joshua Hildreth:
NEW YORK As protests outside the hospice housing Terri Schiavo in her final days mounted last week, numerous newspaper reports, many based on an Associated Press account, mentioned or quoted 10-year-old Joshua Heldreth and/or his father, Scott Heldreth. Josh was one of several youngsters arrested for crossing police lines in Pinellas Park, Fla., in an effort to take water to Schiavo.
None of the stories revealed that Scott Heldreth, a religious activist and anti-abortion crusader, is a registered sex offender in Florida -- until The Charlotte Observer mentioned it on Sunday.
A widely published AP story on Sunday by Allen G. Breen had painted a warmer picture of the Heldreths, noting that it was young Josh who insisted that his father take him to the protests from their home in North Carolina, not the other way around. "God's with me," Josh said.
The Charlotte Observer story, however, revealed that Heldreth had pleaded guilty to sexual battery, was in jail for parts of 1992 and 1993, according to court records, and served time on probation.
“The former Naperville, Fla., resident remains listed on the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's sex offender registry," the Observer reported, “but he's not registered on North Carolina's; the N.C. equivalent applies to offenders convicted on or after Jan. 1, 1996."
Heldreth declined to discuss the specifics of the incident that led to his jail time. Online research shows that Heldreth was arrested after an incident at Ohio University and charged with two counts of rape and one count of kidnapping.
Amazing.The Story of Disability Rights Activist and Pacifist Bill Tierney, apparently profiled here, who shares some of Malkin's passions:
Bill Tierney . . . had just returned from eight months working as an interrogator for US forces in Baghdad, and had come to talk, on the record, about torture.
"The Brits came up with an expression -- wog," Tierney said. "That stands for Wily Oriental Gentleman. There's a lot of wiliness in that part of the world.". . .
After explaining his various psychological tactics to the audience, interrogator Bill Tierney (a private contractor working with the Army) said, "I tried to be nuanced and culturally aware. But the suspects didn't break."
Suddenly Tierney's temper rose. "They did not break!" he shouted. "I'm here to win. I'm here so our civilization beats theirs! Now what are you willing to do to win?" he asked, pointing to a woman in the front row. "You are the interrogators, you are the ones who have to get the information from the Iraqis. What do you do? That word 'torture'. You immediately think, 'That's not me.' But are we litigating this war or fighting it?"...
Asked about Abu Ghraib, Tierney said that for an interrogator, ''sadism is always right over the hill. You have to admit it. Don't fool yourself – there is a part of you that will say, 'This is fun.' ''
As CNN noted on March 4, 1998, Terry was named in a lawsuit -- seeking to "force anti-abortion leaders to pay for damages caused in clinic attacks" -- which was filed by the National Organization for Women (NOW) under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, and Terry settled with NOW out of court....
According to a June 14, 2003, report by the conservative World Magazine (no longer available online, but reprinted on the right-wing bulletin board Free Republic), Terry solicited donations by declaring on his website that "The purveyors of abortion on demand have stripped Randall Terry of everything he owned," but failed to disclose that the money would be used to pay for his new $432,000 house. The report noted Terry's defense: "Terry told World that he wanted a home where his family will be safe and where 'we could entertain people of stature, people of importance. I have a lot of important people that come through my home. And I will have more important people come through my home.' " World noted that the same month he paid the deposit on his new home, a court ruled that Terry, who divorced his first wife and has remarried, "was not paying a fair share of child support." In an article on his website, Terry denounced the World report as "journalistic trash, a 'hit piece' of malice and misinformation."
Terry's words and personal life have also stirred controversy. As the Fort Wayne (Indiana) News Sentinel reported on August 16, 1993, at an anti-abortion rally in Fort Wayne, Terry said "Our goal is a Christian nation. ... We have a biblical duty, we are called by God to conquer this country. We don't want equal time. We don't want pluralism. ... Theocracy means God rules. I've got a hot flash. God rules."...
According to the February 12, 2000, Washington Post report, Terry was censured by his church, the Landmark Church of Binghamton, New York, for a "pattern of repeated and sinful relationships and conversations with both single and married women." Terry denies the accusation.
And the "mainstream media" gave these peace loving, Christ-like gents plenty of warm and fuzzy coverage, while missing these stories.
(Inspired by the work of Amanda Marcotte at Pandagon.net, S.Z. at World O'Crap and the others linked above.)