The right is fond of bandying about war-like metaphors to explain and denigrate what they consider to be an evil agenda promulgated by “liberals”, atheists and all those who refuse to accept Jesus into their right wing blessed hearts. The “Culture War” is one of those labels of which conservatives have made great use in order to depict themselves as victims of a coordinated assault by anyone who holds values different than their own.

The trouble with such loose use of language, however, is that at some point those to whom your appeals are addressed are going to take your analogy seriously:

GASSVILLE, Ark. – The teenager suspected of a hatchet-and-gun attack in a Massachusetts gay bar and in the killing of two people in Arkansas, including a policeman, died Sunday of wounds suffered in a gun battle with officers, authorities said. […]

Robida, a high school dropout who friends said glorified Naziism, was shot twice in the head in a shootout with police Saturday after he killed a Gassville police officer and a woman in his car, authorities said.

Two days earlier, he allegedly went on a rampage at the Puzzles Lounge in New Bedford, Mass., that injured three men, one critically. Police labeled that attack a hate crime.

Had Robida lived, he may well have been prosecuted for a hate crime. But the true villians in my opinion, are those sources in the major media who have made their living demonizing liberals, non-christians, Hollywood, gays and lesbians, ad nauseum. When so many prominent broadcasters and pundits fill our airwaves and newspapers with this vision of hatred for other human beings, is it any surprise that some young people begin to take them seriously?

Eric Rudolph, Timothy McVeigh, the killers of Matthew Shepard and now Jacob D. Robida have all committed heinous crimes. They are all terrorists, as well as murderers. I have no good word for them, nor for any of their copycat brethren whose actions may have garnered less attention and less fame, but are equally as reprehensible.

But in my book, those who encourage such hatred with savage rhethoric are far worse: Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, et al. They provide the ideological foundation, and the heated rhetoric, in which such senseless and hateful acts of violence flourish. The true culture war was initiated by the extreme right, and those who hold high its banners should bear most of the blame for the violence they incite. To say otherwise is to deny both history and common sense.

So let us not marginalize the actions of Mr. Robida as being merely one “bad apple” in the “value rich” barrel of the conservative movement. Because the whole damn barrel is rotten, folks, and the rot starts at the top.

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