J. Brad Hicks (bradhicks) wrote,
J. Brad Hicks
bradhicks

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Wow, I Haven't Been Threatened for My Writing in More than a Decade

On Tuesday, I got a semi-anonymous comment to my (still unpublished) letter to the local newspaper, posted by from somebody in Turkey: "my big god will punished all of you!! because you break all the rules.. l hope my big god burn you in fire in hell... but before he punısh you all muslıms catch you and...." Wow, that really takes me back. I haven't been threatened by someone too cheap and lazy to come get me since, oh, I can't find the file folder right this minute but it must have been back in the early to mid 1980s. Back then, it was (according to the FBI agent who investigated the letters that almost every leader in the local Pagan community, and many others in the midwest, got) from the Alamo Christian Foundation, trying to intimidate those of us who insisted that Neopagan Witchcraft was a real religion, deserving of the same protection as any other religion in America. The FBI agent told us that the FBI was keeping an eye on them, but doubted that Tony and Susan Alamo and their followers were even going to spring for a tank of gas to come up and yell at us, let alone shoot us. Nothing ever came of it.

A few years after that, because of my dogged insistence that those claiming there was a nationwide conspiracy of Satanists who were sacrificing tens of thousands of babies per year, supposedly in order to threaten, intimidate, traumatize, and brainwash their teenage and pre-teen rape victims into being Manchurian-candidate assassins, be held to the same standards as anybody else making similarly improbable claims, Lyndon LaRouche ran a front-page news story in his Executive Intelligence Review calling me the second most dangerous man in America. When that failed to deter me from pursuit of the facts and of justice, I ended up getting a threatening phone call from Pete Pathfinder of the Aquarian Tabernacle Church, telling me that if I kept defending accused Satanists that he and the other Big Name Pagans would make my life a hell on earth, including doing everything in their power to make trouble between me and the cops. I refused to be intimidated, and again, nothing ever came of it.

I guess that nothing I've done or written between 1989 or so and last month has actually mattered, because to the best of my memory nobody bothered threatening me for it again until this week. That's right, some teenager or whatever in a cybercafe in Ankara is going to immediately drop what they're doing and track me down 9500 miles away to exact Allah's vengence on me for my failed attempt to defend the Jutlands' Post in print in a local newspaper he's never heard of. I find it oddly refreshing, oddly validating. Doubtless, some nervous nelly is going to have kittens over this, and warn me that my Life Is In Terrible Danger! And I'll just roll my eyes. In the profoundly unlikely event that anybody even tries, big deal. People have tried much harder than that to kill me before, going back to when I was still a little kid. It no longer impresses me. Unfortunately ...

... courage on this subject has been in relatively short supply. William Bennett was Ronald Reagan's anti-drug czar, and is perhaps the single most right-wing columnist in America. Alan Dershowitz, while from from being the most left-wing political activist and lawyer in America, has been a consistent enemy of Bennett's from day one. What's the one thing they agree on right now? That I was right, that what's really going on is that the American mainstream press, who could at least be depended on to defend fellow journalists, are eagerly and cowardly surrendering to a campaign of Islamist violence. A hollow campaign, at that; yes, Theo van Gogh was murdered, but Salman Rushdie, the original fatwa target, is still a smugly visible public figure. Those few of us who were angered by 9/11 but, unlike the majority, not especially emasculated by it, know fully well that Islamists bluster and threaten as much as other nutcase fanatics like Tony Alamo and Lyndon LaRouche ... and are, for the most part, no more dangerous. Journalists are selling out their most dearly held principle over a threat by a bunch of paper tigers. See William J. Bennett and Alan M. Dershowitz, "A Failure of the Press," Washington Post, Feb 23rd, page A19.

In the meantime, a regional Islamic court in our erstwhile ally India has issued a Salman-Rushdie-like death sentence against the Jutlands Post cartoonists, and a prominent public Islamic cleric in our other erstwhile ally Pakistan has offered to fund terrorism in Denmark, both to thunderous silence from the Bush administration and the UN. See the Associated Press, "Islamic court in India issues death sentence to cartoonists," Feb 20th.

Let me send you to two very important pieces of analysis. First of all, before you say even word one about the Jutlands Post's motivations and intentions, please, go read their editor's lengthy guest editorial from last Sunday in practically the only courageous newspaper in America (on this subject, anyway), the Washington Post: "Why I Published Those Cartoons." Short answer: Because insisting that non-believers follow your religion's rules when they're nowhere near your places of worship, and because demanding privileges that we don't grant others and neither do you, just because you're special, that's not asking for respect or being good citizens of Denmark, that's being a bully, and that's news.

Also, go take a look at an article that finally answers the question of why there are riots in some places in the Islamic world and not in others, and at this late a date. As I said earlier, these are repressive societies that only have public demonstrations if the local governments permit them. So why are some Muslim governments permitting these riots? To get to the figurative right of, to upstage, the local Islamist guerillas trying to overthrow their regimes -- and they're already regretting it, because it's not working the way they hoped it would. It also answers the question of where are the moderate Islamic scholars inside those countries who are more offended by suicide bombers and beheaded hostage journalists than they are by cartoons in a backwater newspaper. Where are they? In jail, to keep them from interfering with the local regimes' attempts to create these riots. See Michael Slackman and Hassan M. Fattah, "Furor Over Cartoons Pits Muslim against Muslim," NY Times, Feb 22nd.
Tags: current events, personal history, religion
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