Right-wing extremists are setting churches and clinics ablaze. It’s a scary — and vastly undercovered — story
While Donald Trump is bragging about closing mosques to fight Islamic terrorism, there has been an under-reported surge of right-wing terrorism recently in the U.S.
Since July, when anti-choice crusaders released hoax videos that falsely claimed that Planned Parenthood sells fetal body parts, there has been a rash of arsons at clinics, at least one of which doesn’t perform abortions. Just this week, police in New Hampshire arrested a teenager threatening a Planned Parenthood with a hatchet. After the racist church shooting in Charleston in June, itself an ugly act of domestic terrorism, there were a series of fires at black churches across the South.
And now St. Louis law enforcement fears that there’s an arsonist on the loose in the city, setting fire to churches with predominantly black or racially mixed congregations. This is on top of what the Southern Poverty Law Center was already calling a resurgence in domestic terrorism across the United States.
That we are living in an era of major conservative backlash is not news. From the wholesale assault on reproductive rights to the dramatic increase in restrictions on voting to the bizarrely enduring Donald Trump campaign, the evidence everywhere suggests that right-wing America is freaking out and lashing out. They can feel their control over the country, which has a black president and legal gay marriage now, slipping out of their fingers.
The temper tantrum has grown so massive it’s threatening even the Republican party, which is being torn apart by purity tests and fury over even the slightest hint of cooperation with liberals, who are seen as a subversive threat to be stomped out instead of fellow citizens to work through your issues with.
So it’s really not a huge surprise that, with right-wing anger levels so high, a small number are taking it to the next level and setting fire to churches and clinics. Unfortunately, this isn’t really getting the media attention it deserves.
The summer’s church burnings got a smattering of coverage, but less than the debate over the Confederate flag. The fire bombings and arson attacks that have hit four Planned Parenthood clinics since interest renewed in attacking the organization have barely registered in the national media, according to a report by Media Matters. These St. Louis burnings are so frequent and close together that they are getting more national media coverage, but it has barely gone beyond bare bones reporting to dig into the deeper issue of the connection between the rise in right wing radicalism and the rise in domestic terrorism.