In his Ohio speech yesterday, President Obama called out the right for playing the fear and anger card:
And so people are frustrated and they’re angry and they’re anxious about the future. I understand that. I also understand that in a political campaign, the easiest thing for the other side to do is to ride this fear and anger all the way to Election Day.
Which is, of course, what they're doing, not only with the economy and the deficit, but with the nonsense over the Park51 project and now the fringiest of them all, the wingnut pastor (and I use the term loosely) who wants to burn the Q'uran on September 11th, though he appears to have decided not to. For now.
It pains me to give these people any attention at all, but it seems our mainstream media has decided as an editorial body that this insanity deserves eyeballs and mindshare. As a result, they've given this lunatic Terry Jones a platform for some sort of "negotiation".
So far, he's told NPR he would back off if the Park51 project is cancelled. He's told the New York Post all it would take to stop him is a call from Obama, which seems to be a step back from his claim that he's just taking orders from God to condemn Islam.
The more attention the man gets, the more reward there is for him, and the manufactured controversy around it only benefits him. But as General Petraeus said quite clearly, the publicity has sparked protests and places troops in Afghanistan in danger at a time where they are trying to build the same bridges this "pastor" wants to burn.
If it isn't obvious from this whacko's bargaining techniques that his only goal is to stoke up some hate to create a market for his book, let me enlighten you. There is nothing Christian about this guy, his church, or his goals, but we have a Bill of Rights that entitles people to say and even do awful things under the guise of free speech. With full co-operation of the mainstream media and some Facebook viral activity, we're thrust into a time where the most outrageous garner the most mainstream press attention, which then reinforces the fear and loathing Republicans need in order to gain political toeholds.
It should not surprise any of you to discover that Terry Jones is well-known to many Republicans. In fact, when he was expelled from the church he was 'pastoring' in Germany in the 1990s and his tax-exempt status fell under scrutiny, his biggest defenders were Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Alfonse D'Amato (R-NY).
In the Abramoff days, Ralph Reed was the go-to when the religious right needed to be stirred up to further Republican goals and causes. There wasn't much about it that was religious, though. It was a big money-making publicity machine meant to strengthen the causes Abramoff was lobbying for or against. There's no reason to assume that Pastor Terry Jones hasn't received encouragement from his right-wing defenders to continue driving the anti-Islam wedge forward for the sole benefit of Republicans.
Oh, and Terry Jones, of course. I was curious to see who his book publisher is and found this comment over on the Huffington Post, which outlines the money trail pretty clearly.
How does the self-ordained ‘Pastor’ of a 50-person ‘church’ gain national and international media coverage on a scale that jeopardizes the work of every veteran of the Iraq/Afganistan wars and put’s the lives of those actively serving in those countries and around the world at risk? How does a sad little man trying to raise money for his failing business get the attention of the President, Gen. Petraeus, Hillary Clinton, & Sarah Palin? How does he do this in just a month?
Well, most likely he doesn’t – Follow the trail of this growing debacle and it leads to Stephen Strang, CEO of Strang Communications – a central Florida company that owns Ministry Today & Christian Retailing magazines and the Strang Book Group. Strang is Terry Jones’ publisher.
Strang does have a media machine that can turn the burning of a Qu’ran in Gainesville into an international incident. All to spur sales of a book that would otherwise sold about 50 copies.
The book is mentioned in every news feature covering this story and is currently sold out on Amazon.com.
Here's an August article about Strang, who is a Third Wave Christian (read that as "dominionist). A few other tidbits can be found on his "Strang Report" blog, where you can hear why he believes Obama's election will "end life as we know it", for example. He is a tea party supporter who is currently on sabbatical from writing for Charisma Magazine and has been since May, 2009.
One look at Strang is all you need to realize that Terry Jones isn't just some lone wolf wingnut with a penchant for publicity, but someone who is part of a larger and more insidious right-wing campaign to recapture power and control.