The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Meet Steve Klein, the Hate Group Leader Who ‘Consulted’ on ‘The Innocence of Muslims’

By Leah Nelson on September 12, 2012 - 4:38 pm, Posted in Anti-Muslim, Christian Right, Extremist Propaganda, Intelligence Report, Militias

Steve Klein, the leader of a California hate group, says that Islam is a “penis-driven religion” whose followers have “no choice but to hunt Jews and Christians down, torture us and murder us.”

Klein of Hemet, Calif., who has a long history of ties to militant Christian organizations, has been identified as one of the brains behind the anti-Muslim film that triggered violence in northern Africa, including a rocket attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and the murder of Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya.

Much like Terry Jones, the Florida pastor whose much-hyped Koran burning sparked mob riots that led to at least a dozen deaths in Afghanistan last spring, Klein is an anti-Muslim ideologue who knew exactly the risks he was taking.

A longtime religious-right activist who brags about having led a “hunter killer” team as a Marine in Vietnam, Klein believes that America is already at war with Islam.

“We are a country at war and the enemy is among us,” he wrote on his Facebook page in 2011. “I don’t care what Janet Napolitano says, it’s a fight to the death and we should be prepared as possible. There are a certain number (probably a large number) of Muslims among us who are awaiting the trigger date and will begin randomly killing as many of us as they can, sort of a Fort Hood on steroids. I know I’m getting prepared to shoot back.”

Muslims, he wrote, “are a cancer that WILL attack us and KILL as many as they can to further the Islamic doctrine of Sharia law. They behead, cut off limbs, stone people to death and worse. Beware, there IS a holy war coming. The signs are everywhere if you care to look and listen.”

Klein has been waging his own holy war since 1977, when he founded Courageous Christians United (CCU), a group that conducts “respectful confrontations” outside of abortion clinics, Mormon temples and mosques.

In 2004, CCU’s anti-abortion efforts earned Klein the acclaim of the late Robert Ferguson, an anti-abortion extremist whose vocal support for the murderers of physicians, reproductive clinic workers, secretaries and escorts led the radical, pro-violence “Army of God” website to dub him a “Hero of the Faith.”

Klein now heads Concerned Citizens for the First Amendment, which has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The group recently partnered with the ironically named Christian Anti-Defamation Commission to leaflet California high schools with material depicting the prophet Mohammad as a sex-crazed pedophile.

When he’s not busy spreading fear and hate among America’s youth, Klein conducts outreach and encourages militancy among Christians from the Middle East and northern Africa.

He runs drills with the Christian Guardians, a San Francisco-based group headed by Andrew Saqib James, an American-born Pakistani Christian who calls Islam “a giant crime syndicate” and hopes his group will become “the most feared militia in the world.” The trainings, which allegedly take place at the Church at Kaweah’s sprawling central California compound, are described as a “unique system of learning how to survive the Muslim Brotherhood as we teach the Christian Morality of Biblical Warfare.”

Klein has also traveled to other states to urge religious-right activists to take a harder line against the supposed threats of Islam, abortion and liberalism. In March 2011, he met with militant pastors in Missouri and asked that they let military veterans in their congregations “do our job.”

Discussing the visit on the radical Christian-right Dutch Joens Show, Klein said, “I bellowed at the audience, ‘Pastors, why do we have to act like women? Why do we have to be castrated? … You have the jurisdiction to preach, but … us guys that have been in the military, we have the authority from God on high to protect you? Why won’t you let us do our job?”

Klein seems to want violence to break out – in America. Later, he bragged to Joens about how his anti-Muslim leafleting campaign had led to fights at a California high school.

“If the kids are willing to fight, that’s because they realize how dangerous Islam is,” he said. Referencing violence that broke about between abolitionists and pro-slavery forces in the decade before the Civil War, he continued, “I can see it … kind of like Bleeding Kansas. … It’s gonna heat up big time.”

On Wednesday, Klein told the Associated Press that he anticipated the film’s release would lead to violence. “We went into this knowing this was probably going to happen,” he said.

Later, speaking with the U.K.’s Daily Mail online, Klein said that he regrets the ambassador’s death, “but it’s not our fault. We didn’t want anybody to get killed but on the other hand the truth had to come out. …  We told the truth and these people reacted the way that Mohammed wanted to them to react – by killing people.”

He continued, “Do I feel guilt? Yes, but not for me, I feel it for those that did this. Do I feel shame? Yes, but not for me. Killing this man fits in with their legal and ethical standpoint.”

  • CoralSea

    Sam — Excellent!

    aadila — Tantrum much? That’s all I have to say on the subject to you. And if you think that the majority of people who regularly post on this site don’t understand that all of us, by using resources, have an impact on this planet, and work to minimize this impact and work to make things better in our dealings with people, why do you come here? I have apparently pissed you off and I apologize for that.

    It’s Friday. Hopefully cooler heads and hearts will prevail next week.

    It is beautiful here today. I hope that it is lovely where you are, too.

  • TeresaHall

    CoralSea

    Blessed Be! Thank you for being a pagan voice of reason. I walk the path also, and though it have found peace within. I was raised fundamentalist southern baptist. I stayed in trouble for daring to question well everything. I studied religion as a part of my Sociology degree and there is so much Dogma! The native beliefs of peoples before the intrusion of the “major” religions are in balance with nature. They believe in a creator and to respect that creator you respect all its creations.
    I sometimes worry that the religious nuts from every tree are going to bring an end to this world. This man helped with this film to cause trouble. It seems many “religious” people want everyone to follow them and only them. They all believe they are right and if you are not of their faith then you MUST change. I have to hide my beliefs from many people including family here in Alabama. The ones who claim to be open and loving and most like “god” are the worst! Thankfully this is not the burning times……………………………..

  • Sam Molloy

    Annie, straight white men only riot if you defame the profit, not the Prophet

  • John K.

    Steve Klein has the same mindset as Charles Manson in the sixties… Manson’s master plan was to blame the murders on the blacks and start a race riot in America while he hid out in the desert.
    People like Klein and Manson are sick, hate lovers who have deep seeded psychological problems that result in their efforts to spread hate, fear, prejudice, etc…. If it’s negative, they embrace it.

  • aadila

    Did I say my thinking peaceful thoughts will stop the violence in the world?

    No.

    I said the only thing I can do is halt the violence in my own heart if it takes me an entire lifetime. Does that mean bend over? No. Does that mean going hungry? No. It means stopping the violence in my own heart. There are monks who burn themselves to death with gasoline to make this very point and I hope their deaths are not in vain. They did it for others to wake up. What are you seeing when they burn?

    Where I take issue with your view is that, one, you don’t seem to understand what I am saying, and two, you are not taking responsbility for YOUR violence. It’s not just your view, Coral. It’s the bulk of humanity. Everybody is going around talking about violence like they don’t contribute to it. Like war is just something that monsters do (i.e. anybody but ME). That there is two sides to it and I’m not really part of it. That this is an external phenomenton that “I” don’t have any part of or responsibility for. It is this kind of thinking that gets my “guns blazing”. And yes, I am at war with myself to quell my own violence. I am devoting my life to it like my head is on fire because it is that important.

    If you flip someone off in traffic, that’s violence. It goes out into the world. When you deface public property with grafitti, this is violence. It goes out into the world. When you call someone a name or think any kind of violent or destructive thought because you don’t get what you want, or think you need, you are contributing directly to the violence in the world. When we get outraged at an insult to our religion or values, this is the seed of violence. When we get angry, no matter how slightly, this is the seed of violence.These mechanisms are subtle but real.

    So I don’t think it makes sense to say violence is due to hunger, or scarcity of resources. These things happen because we are chilling our houses to 68 degrees and burning up the planet. It is because we drive instead of walk five minutes, but God help us if gas goes to $10 a gallon because then we have to walk. It is because we go to the grocery store and stock up on packed, processed goods instead of investing heavily and urgently in permaculture and sustainability. It’s because we put our recylables in a bin for a massive diesel truck to pick up, and think, oh that helps. We take more than we give to the world. It is not enough to just point at the Bushes, Saddams, and Mugabes of the world. I am pointing directly to where the violence in the world begins: right in my heart. In your heart. You personally. And everyone who reads this.

    I didn’t say if you think peaceful thoughts it will stop wars. I observed that quelling the violence in your own heart is the only thing you personally can do to stop violence. Who are you kidding? You can’t stop a war. You can’t make me less violent. It depends on me. We can’t make Netanyahu less violent. It depends on him. There is no mystical mumbo jumbo or religious bullshit in my thinking here. It is pure common sense. I am not talking about buddhism. I am talking about killing.

    Not once did you take owership of your violence. And I don’t mean to pick on you at all, I am just pointing out that this is the most common response in the world. Hey it’s not me! Nobody gives a shit about their own violence and thinks everyone else is to blame. And given our survival as a species depends on it I think it is worth offending your sensibilities to point it out. I hope you can forgive me for being so blunt.

  • Tobias A, Weissman

    All I really have to say is “Those who kill by the sword, shall die by the sword.” I understand that we have freedom of speech, but hey, people! if by freedom, we insight where many people are killed, because of it, this is a NO, NO. Steve Klien should serve some kind of sentencing for murder.

  • CoralSea

    lafemme — Love your points. Much of the problem with the big religions comes from their institutionalization, which invariably brings with it lots of rules and other stuff. Over time, people forget what the concepts behind the rules were, and instead hang on certain words.

    Also, as GDWilliams points out with his (or her) comment regarding authoritarianism, a lot of people are hard-wired (at least within current human society) to WANT absolutes so they won’t have to puzzle out solutions on their own.

    What is unfortunate is that one on one, or in small groups, even those who may back the blanket pronouncements of religions, etc., are often very reasonable and willing to make exceptions that are right in front of them (e.g., not condemning — and even defending — the gay adult son of a neighbor who they have always liked, even if the church they love says otherwise). The problem occurs when people who are reasonable and are willing to make “exceptions” still support blanket, harmful “rules” simply because they think it’s important to “uphold standards.”

    If we could find a way to get around this behavior, I think that a lot of the hate would simply wander away.

  • CoralSea

    aadila — I did not mean to talk do to you — but my, you did come out guns blazing because you think that I had!

    I agree with you that changing people’s hearts and minds is very, very important. In my work, one of the things I try to do is help stakeholders who feel embattled to come up with ways of addressing disputes that do not involve picketing, lawsuits, and other typically unproductive behaviors.

    However, in some cases when you have total jerks running a company who don’t believe they have any accountability to their neighbors and absolutely zero willingness to sit down with them (fortunately, I don’t have clients like this because they wouldn’t hire ME if they didn’t want to have some sort of dialogue), then as far as I am concerned, the neighborhood has to do what the neighborhood as to do — and if that means filing a lawsuit to bring the company managers to the table, so be it. Notice that I do draw the line at shooting anyone or burning the place of business down.

    One of the things that is particularly toxic about the current political climate is that polemics and hate talk are not only tolerated, but celebrated. Certainly, this comes (in my opinion) from a sickness in the hearts and minds of those who do it–and those who allow it or encourage it. Providing examples of more positive approaches to problem solving–including reducing or hopefully, eliminating, the “demonizing” of perceived opponents so that rational conversations can take place and common ground can be sought is very important.

    I stand by my belief that reasons matter. If I infer what you are saying correctly, it is preferable to stand around non-violently and starve rather than fight, in one way or another (not necessarily by killing) for a resolution that will allow everyone to eat enough to survive. Many wars don’t involve shooting — they involve driving others to extinction by depriving them of food, water, land, an ability to make a living, etc. That is still violence in my book. In a world of finite resources–especially when some groups seek to control some or all of them–sitting on one’s hands and thinking good thoughts doesn’t cut it, although it does make the resource controllers happy.

    So think peaceful thoughts all you want — it certainly doesn’t hurt and probably helps a lot because it causes those who meet you to think about this alternative rather than the usual U.S. “charge up San Juan Hill,” but I stand by my belief that causes matter, and that alternatives to out and out war can work. But unfortunately, there are monsters out there who don’t want peace and who are willing to run over and kill anyone in their way (or sometimes, just for the hell of it). When they emerge in forms that allow them to attract lots of followers, then reason may not be enough to stop them.

    I do not believe that there is virtue in allowing evil doers to destroy others, and although I would hope that as humanity advances, we would adopt templates of thought and behavior that would nip that sort of thing in the bud, I stand by my initial comment.

  • Karla

    Hello Jane Schiff

    After reading the references you provided, I think those people put the S in stupid.

  • thesneakyemu

    @aadila- I just want to be clear I agree on your view on physical war my point and what I thought was Russ’ point was the “fight” in the metaphorical sense to end bigotry and hatred. My point is leaders use extreme view points to motivate populaces to secure power. I absolutely agree that war is deplorable and non-violent conflict solution is always the better path. In this particular case, we see extremists in both instances to create chaos.

  • GDWilliams

    Comments pointing out the similarity between Christian, Muslim — and let’s not forget Jewish extremists, are probably more correct than even they probably realize.

    The number of social scientists researching authoritarianism escalated dramatically after WW2. And the reason for much of the interest came about after the surprising revelation of just how terribly banal (see Hannah Arendt re: “banality of evil”) and normal-seeming the underlying personality was of so many of the lower-ranked Nazis on trial for their exceptional barbarism while working as concentration camp guards or soldiers occupying the towns and villages overrun by the Nazis.

    But instead of them all being crazed, wild-eyed psychopaths the way most might expect given the details of the war-crimes they’d been accused of, it soon became evident they were just 9-to-5 working stiffs before the war with nothing really exceptional about them to serve as a warning or indication of the monster inside waiting for the justification (war) and the authority (Hitler) to act out on it. Nothing albeit for that same strong sense or desire to become or be seen as a super-patriotic, deeply righteous protector of what they believed was the moral fibre of their country under attack from “them”, exactly as we now see today being trumpeted by the members of various orgs that the SPLC has listed as hate-groups.

  • aadila

    Coral, I’ve looked deeply into the reasons and causes of violence, and nothing spiritually or by nature prevents me from doing so, and I don’t like being talked down to about it, as if I don’t see the obvious.

    My nature is like any other person: we all have the capacity to kill, even the MLKs, the Gandhis, the saints of our world. What separates them from the rest of humanity is they overcome. I don’t believe it is possible to stop violence in the way that you describe, by looking for data, reasons, causes, as if violence existed anywhere but the mind of every single being. The effort is helpful. It is noble. It may save lives. But it doesn’t strike at the core of the problem.

    To stop violence, one must quell the violence that is in one’s own heart. Anything else is a distraction from that critical and decisive action. Trying to fight violence with violence, no matter how subtle, even in a “peaceful” debate, is to perpetuate it. Unless we act from a position of non-violence, total non-violence, we will always contribute to the problem. It is next to impossible to do so in a world surrounded by others who are violent and make no effort to contain it.

    I feel that to catalogue the “reasons” for war, is ultimately to rationalize war and try to make of it some sense. Oh sure, there are economic reasons, ethnic reasons, territorial reasons, religious reasons, grudges, vendettas, madness. Millions of dollars go to groups that do just that. The UN tries just that. Humanists, devout, caring people everywhere see the obvious problem of violence. But the interventions are not working.

    All the causes of violence reside within the mind. Any word we give to it, any method we use to analyze it, resides within the mind. If our minds have violence, our work will have violence, no matter how subtle, no matter how much we try to contain it.

    There are two sides to your approach. On the positive side, we discover how to focus our attention on the problem. On the negative side, we find possible inroads, but violence still occur. Always. So we begin to accept small amounts of violence to prevent large amounts, or taken to extremes we derive the concept of a just war, or maybe we just say to hell with it, better them than us. We begin to accept violence as an intractable problem without any solution because nothing we do seems to actually stop the killing.

    Looking for external causes is how we bomb others into oblivion because they “hate freedom” in the famous words of George W Bush. It’s how we explain holy wars and ethnic cleansing and police actions. It’s how we explain embargos and so-called non-violent sanctions tthat interrupt the basic conditions necessary for human survival and that too is violence. Sanctions very rarely impact those making decisions for the people being penalized, and almost always perpetuate more misery in the world.

    Am I pessimistic? No, not really. I just see a difference between putting a band-aid on the world’s hurt and actually doing something, the only thing, that will make any real difference in the problem. And what is that thing? Don’t answer to me. Answer for yourself. What is something you can do?

    In my opinion, the only solution is that we first eradicate every violent thought in our own minds. Even it takes an entire lifetime or many generations to achieve this. Violence and warfare do not make sense, they are not just, and whatever concept we use to point out why someone else is violent, more violent than we, ignores the root of the problem. Any effort to blame circumstances does not address the problem of violence, because some are violent in the same circumstances where others are not. They may be rare, but not every individual will resort to violence to save their own life. So why is that? What causes that? Why would someone die rather than act violently?

    At the end of questioning every possible angle of it, I returned exactly where I started: to my own conscience. Until you, and I, and every single person who by chance reads these words, and every single person on the planet, quells the violence within our own hearts, there will be no end to violence ever.

    The rest is just a creative description for killing. Killing is still just killing.

  • Kiwiwriter

    Annie/Jason Smith is back again!

    Complete with sex change…here strictly to derail the discussion!

    So, Annie/Jason…do tell us how the Holocaust never happened!

    Then tell us how the Russian people greeted their Nazi invaders with flowers!

    Then tell us how Norman Rockwell sided with Hitler!

    Then show us your proof that the white man is superior to the black man!

    And tell us again how you’ll prove it to us, only if we pay you vast sums of money, showing that you’re into neo-Nazism and junior Fascism for that noblest of purposes…the money!

    Then you can give us citations and evidence for all these wacky ideas!

    Until then, the tumbrels await for you!

    See? I don’t even have to think in dealing with him/her/it…I just cut-and-paste my own stuff!

  • Jane Schiff

    @Leah Nelson and everyone – I just finished reading the magazine article – it’s fabulous. Your sequential history helps me understand that the sovereign groups have been at this for a very long time. I used your words, Leah
    :Right – Way L.A.W. as a search term and found more creepy stuff – from 2003 – 2004. The following resembles a superheroe/soap opera/comic authored by someone with a personality disorder:

    Bush/CIA/NSA/Mafia Mind Control Victims
    Right-Way Law founders in Washington State Prosecuted
    Sun Jan 18 18:05:33 2004

    Message Board by American Patriot Friends Network [APFN]

    http://www.apfn.net/messageboa.....gi.11.html

  • lafemme38

    CoralSea, (love your name)

    On my wall as I’m writing this is a little plaque that says, “An it harm none, do what thou wilt.” If this lovely Wiccan thought could be widely incorporated into public discourse and belief, we would definitely live in a more friendly, compassionate world, possibly approaching a utopia.

    You brought up lots of good stuff and I will admit that my previous comment came from a great deal of frustration, sadness and anger about this current violent display. The problem as I see it is that the preeminent religions, with hundreds of millions, sometimes billions of adherents, function because they specifically do discourage, if not forbid, critical thinking and the acceptance of the possibility that they might be wrong and the other fellow might be right. Of course, if you use religion as a bulwark against fear, it wouldn’t serve that purpose very well if you had to acknowledge that you might be wrong!

    Pagans, ancient and contemporary, seem to have the wonderful capacity to allow others to do their own thing and not feel threatened by them. I am a believer in each person finding whatever path they can to help them get through whatever this is we’re in. Mainstream religions are successful exactly because they exert tremendous pressure on people to hunker down and follow rules, in return for which they are guaranteed certain rewards. Humans are social animals; we’re comfortable in herds and are often more than ready to abandon our natural autonomy for the carrot of protection and maybe eternal life – somewhere. (Personally, I can’t imagine anything worse than an existence of eternal “bliss”. No one I’ve ever asked has been able to accurately describe heaven, only their subjective wish as to its configuration. I am anticipating the great relief of nothingness.)

    As soon as the religious involve themselves in promoting their viewpoint to others who don’t want to hear it and actively attack and suppress those who don’t share their beliefs, they have then crossed the line and should be stopped. However, these monotheistic, proselytizing systems operate on the assumption, and successfully so, that a great majority of people are content, even anxious, to be controlled and politically manipulated. It needn’t reach the extreme of Jim Jones convincing 900 people to commit suicide; the example of the Pope, wielding unbelievable power in the world, convincing people to behave in many way that are against their best interests, is only one of many.

    If I were to ever contemplate adding a religious aspect to my life, it would likely contain pieces of Buddhism and/or Wicca, probably a patchwork of thoughts and behaviors that would be comforting. The point remains that the vast numbers of people who accept and promulgate the organized, mind-numbing versions of religion are the ones who give it a bad name and sadly, certainly obvious in this country, have infiltrated the political system to a disturbing extent. Neither schools or churches encourage, in some cases don’t allow, critical thinking – schools because they want to raise compliant citizens and soldiers, and churches because critical thinkers would soon see through the implausibility of the supernatural myths they’re being fed. It’s too bad that the imagination-driven story-telling that went on around campfires millennia ago had to solidify into “truths” that now allow some people to hate, abuse and kill other people

  • CoralSea

    aadila — I know that you practice Buddism, and I can understand your point, but I personally do not agree with it (as you pointed out I was perfectly within my rights to do).

    Reasons and causes DO matter. Wars that occur because one side is taking terrible advantage of another side CAN be averted — if other ways can be found to address the inequalities. Wars are often symptoms (except in cases of “wars of adventure, where some jerk simply decides he wants to, I don’t know, invade a company that didn’t attack us on 9/11). Wars do not have to be inevitabilities if efforts are taken the bring the sides together or pressure is brought to bear (like trade embargos) against those who are doing the oppressing.

    Much of the work I do in regard to environmental consulting involves helping residents and other stakeholders understand, for example, what is happening at a contaminated site, or what types of emissions are coming from a facility. I also help the owners/operators of contaminated sites and facilities understand the concerns of residents and other stakeholders. I would say half the time, the residents and facilities are at each others’ throats over what turns out to be misunderstandings or lack of information. But I obviously can’t solve the problem if I don’t know what it is.

    While your nature and your religion may not take you past condemning killing — and that is a HUGE step in and of itself — others of us do want to look at reasons and causes because we’d like to see if there are ways to stop the carnage without resorting to additional carnage.

  • CoralSea

    lafemme38 — You bring up some very good points, and I agree with you, that religion is often used to justify terrible crimes, with others sitting passively by, accepting — for example — the displacement/slaughter/genocide of the Native Americans, in large part because they weren’t Christian (they were “heathen savages”). Ditto attitudes toward Africans brought into this country as slaves (although others, motivated by their reading of the Bible, sought to liberate the slaves under the abolitionist movement).

    I do agree that certain brands of religion seem particularly subject to abuse — notably the monotheistic, proselytizing ones — and I totally abhor the recent descent we have seen into science denial in our schools and wonder what the heck non-believers (or only luke-warm believers) are thinking, accepting this crap rather than protesting in the streets. If you want to teach religion — you’ve got a church for that. You want to teach science, let’s keep the mythology out of it.

    I don’t know, however, if you are going to be able to wean all humans away from some form of supernatural belief any time soon, though. In part because I believe that it is hard-wired into our brains to “tell stories” to explain those aspects of the world we don’t understand. The element that promotes wide-scale belief in religion has to do with intelligence.

    I don’t wish to sound elitist, but many people gravitate to the types of pat answers and black-and-white thinking that are common to monotheism because they either aren’t terribly smart, or they haven’t ever been taught or encouraged to consider other beliefs or ideas.

    It is very telling that some states that are highly conservative and within the grip of the Religious Right are attempting to get rid of requirements for “critical thinking,” saying that it undermines parental authority. What they really want is to avoid teaching kids how to question religion or civic authority.

    I wish that the U.S. could embrace a secular model in our politics and keep it separate from religion — much the way it is done in the UK and some other European countries, for starters. I also think that verbal attacks against atheists and agnostics should be actively discouraged. Of course, I am probably the wrong person to be making such pronouncements, because I follow a rather free-wheeling nature-based religion (Wicca) because it suits my way of relating to the world. As a rule, Pagans (including Wiccans) are notoriously fluid in our religious thought, preferring a more intuitive spiritual path. This drives some ex-Christians who ask me about Wicca nuts, because they are used to doctrine and dogma, and we are short on all of that (and proud of it).

    As far as Pagans are concerned, like the old Roman Empire, which used to allow conquered people to stick with their own gods (and maybe add a temple to Jupiter), we don’t tend to care what others believe, as long as it isn’t negative, abusive, and violent. That said, I could conceive of abuses of Paganism by the same types of power-hungry people as built other organized religions if they got a hold of it. The first thing they would do would come up with a lot of rules — and kill off the existing Pagans, who would be protesting the creation of a powerful hierarchy and a lot of dogma designed to control the masses. That, too, unfortunately, is human nature — until humans wise up and stop letting the jerks call the shots.

  • aadila

    Emu I don’t see two sides in this war or any war. I don’t see extremism at fault. I don’t see intolerance at fault. I just see killing. Killing is killing. That was my point but I am not asking you or Russ or anyone to agree. It’s not a gainsay. It’s an observation. You can decide for yourself if there are varieties of killing.

  • lafemme38

    I am beyond patience and thoroughly disgusted with religions and the violence they visit upon this planet. The utopian picture I conjure up in my imagination is that of an Earth peopled by agnostics and atheists, rational, ready and willing to admit that they have no knowledge of, and likely no way of ascertaining it, any supernatural forces operating in the universe. Rather they exercise their brains, relying on science and philosophy to figure out how things work and have no pathological need for a god or gods which will protect them from or at least ameliorate the vicissitudes of life.

    Religious violence is ancient, ubiquitous and mindless. We blame only the “extremists” but many we wouldn’t consider such have and will contribute to the disunity and chaos wrought by the irrational belief systems they promote, filling their children’s heads with the particular systems of nonsense invented by their ancestors. The acceptance of non-rational beliefs prepares the ground for the brutality and horror of fanatical behaviors. How many times have blood and death been visited on other human beings by agnostics or atheists motivated by their non-beliefs, even though they’ve been on the receiving end more than rarely?

    I consider the adoption of religious myths to be the paramount failing of the human animal and, while I see no evidence that we will, would hope that we could eventually evolve into thinking creatures able to cope with life using our intellects, not continuing our journeys into and dependence on fear-driven mythologies which distort this amazing reality in which we find ourselves.

  • CoralSea

    Russ — I agree — extremism has been at the heart of many of the wars (others are over land and resources, although to whip the populace into action, the “leaders” often prey on prejudices).

    I think that, overall, despite the mess, that in most places, humanity as a whole IS trying to move toward tolerance and just better lives. A lot of this is driven by technology, which holds the promise of smarter growth and access to information and education. Unfortunately, the progress is in fits and starts. I am probably most familiar with the push for women’s and girls’ rights, which ultimately lift entire societies. Although some areas have seen a retreat from advances in reproductive services (vital to women if they are to control their lives) and education, overall, progress is being made.

    Religious extremism is certainly one of the greater threats to humanity’s freedom overall, and to women, in particular. We’ve seen what some Muslim extremists do to women, and its awful. Unfortunately, Christian extremists in this country — as Erika points out — would like to pursue the same course of action against American women, as well.

  • thesneakyemu

    @aadila- I believe Russ was trying to point out that the real enemy in all of this is hatred and bigotry from both sides. In fact both sides need each other to justify their actions. Islamic Fundamentalists point to the American Christian Fundamentalists and say, “See! They disrespect our Prophet and mock us as savages!” On the flip side, the Christian bigots yell, “We told you they are violent!” In the end both gain more control over those foolish enough to be ensnared in the bickering.

  • Aron

    I don’t know about you, Rey, but I for one AM a termite.

    The fact that I find termites ICKY ICKY ICKY ICKY ICKY ICKY ICKY ICKY is completely beside the point.

    I just love munching on wood*.

    *That’s what she said!

  • GuaymasJim

    Klien has made various claims of having been a USMC Officer, a USMC translator, and finally a member of a USMC “hunter killer” team in Vietnam..

    This is all a bunch of bogus BS! I was both a Marine officer AND and a Marine interrogator/translator. We were in very short supply so there is no possible way that I would not have known him or at least known of him. He is a liar and a fraud!

    There was no such thing as a “hunter killer” team in the Marine Corps in Vietnam. Some patrols were referred to as “search and destroy” missions and these were conducted by honorable Marines according to the Rules of Engagement in effect at the time. Again, Steve Klien is liar and a fraud.

    That this disgraceful idiot may have indirectly contributed the deaths of two honorable Marines in Libya is only addition evidence that he is a lying, traitorous thug who possesses none of the attributes associated with being a Marine. Thankfully, karma has a nasty but appropriate way to deal with trash like him.

  • aadila

    Gee Russ, given the 20-30 million people killed by declared U.S. wars or wars by proxy since 1945 (and upwards of 200 million maimed), I find it hard to claim we’re at war with extremism.

    I think we’re just at war.

    Now when you consider that many of those 20-30 million dead are in Islamic countries, it starts to look like we are at war with Islam.

  • CoralSea

    Erika — I got a chuckle out of the expression “penis-driven.” Actually, I think Klein should have said “penis-led,” as in, led to do things by their urges. But how is this exclusive only to Muslims and not to some other (note the “some”) men of whatever stripe?

    And yes — why isn’t he up in arms over the pedophile priests scandal (or perhaps he has been, and it simply wasn’t mentioned here).

    Considering the views of many on the Religious Right toward women and girls, and the need for them to keep a tight rein on any form of sexual expression (including brainwashing the girls with “abstinence education,” I’d see that you are absolutely correct in your thoughts that some of the Christian hard-liners are just as warped and “penis-led” as some of the Muslim hard-liners.

    I always find it interesting how preoccupied some people are about sex. They see it everywhere. One of my favorite stories has to do with a shop called “The Pants Store” that was located in the town where I grew up. The store had a logo, which it had on its bags, of a longish-haired guy with his arm around a long-haired girl (this was in the 1960s-1970s — hippie time), shown from the back but sort of quarter turned — to showcase the backs of the jeans. Beneath this logo were the words, “The Perfect Pair.”

    Now, most “normal” people would assume that the words were referring to the pants (jeans), because that’s what the store sold, or possibly the couple, or a combination of the two as a cute little play on words. However, a high-and-mighty protector of town morals went on a rampage at the village board meeting, insisting that the logo was obscene and MUST be abolished.

    How was it obscene, you might ask? Well, because obviously, the girl in the logo (a drawing, remember) wasn’t wearing a bra, so “The Perfect Pair” was referring to her bare breasts.

    The mind boggles at the mental gymnastics that one must go through to reach this conclusion.

    If I already told this story, sorry to repeat it, but I think it illustrates the level at which some of these folks are operating.

  • Russ

    The U.S. and world are at war, not with Islam, but with intolerence and extremism.

  • aadila

    I actually appreciate Annie being here, because those kinds of comments help prove our argument better than anyone from the left ever could.

    The right wing is all about Annies, in one shape or form, much as they like to deny it. Annie is the defining statement about the right wing in America. Racist, inflammatory, ignorant, bigoted, and eager for there to be more strife in the world.

    Thanks, Annie! You’re helping our cause!

  • mike bomberger

    hello anyone…

    for many years i’ve known SPLC…i’ve recently started newsletter reciept and now i am sad to read these comments.

    do any know if fact/value banter be of use ?

    i do not wnt to continue oppostional behavior and may be doing so.

    if any “take sides” and decide there to be “oppositional forces to kill” what may “opposing forces learn from each other” ? oh well…unfortunatly i wish this thing had spell check.

    have a practical day anyone…hope any effort supports everyone’s life and value if life be fact i am glad any may have access to value determined by personal experience worthwhile and that be judgement though i am happy to respond to your experiences though they do promote sadness from this end…take care.

  • greg

    personally, I feel Mr Klien and his director should be taken to libya and dropped off. When movies are deemed “bad” the director face his public.

  • Reynardine

    The only reason Annie keeps coming around is because she knows we’re not termites.

  • Erika

    *sigh* it looks like my comment about the “penis driven religion” quote disappeared into the ether.

    So i guess i have to ask again how this guy feels about all of the sex scandals within the various Christian churches as well as the fact that fundamentalist Christians and fundamentalist Moslems pretty much are united in their mysogny.

    In fact, if those crazy fundamentalist Christians would just sit down with those crazy fundamentalist Moslems they would find out just how much they have in common in how they view women.

  • SallyAnn

    How is this guy still free. He should be arrested for murder.

  • Reynardine

    “Sam Bacile” has been identified as Makoula Basseley Makoula, a Copt with a strong animus towards Muslims. His backers are certainly not “100 rich Jews”. Both the persona and the backer story seem to have been concocted with the aim of inciting violence against either Israeli diplomatic legations, Jewish citizens of other countries, or both. The details of its filming and release seem to have been devised with the aim of provoking violence on September 11th, and don’t rule out the presence of a provocateur in any “prior plans”.

    Cui bono? You figure it out.

  • Xavier

    I wonder how many of the people who are saying that this all the fault of the Muslims are the same people who are saying that the SPLC bears some responsibility in that shooting of that guard in the Family Research Center.

  • Identity-H

    If only the Christian fundies and Muslim hardliners would go up against each other and leave the rest of the world out of it. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, I wish they could both lose.

    adamhill said,
    ON SEPTEMBER 12TH, 2012 AT 10:35 PM
    It seems the makers of this film tricked the actors
    into thinking it was simply an historical story and
    dubbed key words later to render the film
    explicitly offensive to Muslims. All the actors
    should sue them.
    ———-
    I watched the 14 minutes and some-odd seconds trailer on YouTube and arrived at the same conclusion. Certain sections of the dialogue are obviously dubbed. Most with all the hallmarks of a bad dub job: a noticeable change in the tempo of the audio, white noise in the background, a different voice *trying* ever so-hard to sound like the actor, lips not matching the dialogue.

    Overall, the quality of the film is poor. The acting in some parts of the film is incredibly stiff and contrived, the effects are just as bad, with one scene very obviously shot in front of a green screen and the entire movie looking like a Technicolor move from the 70′s.

    Sam Bacile said the budget was $5 mil. I guess $5 mil doesn’t go as far as it used to.

    thesneakyemu said,
    ON SEPTEMBER 13TH, 2012 AT 8:06 AM
    Let it be clear that the deadly attack on the
    Embassy seems to have been a planned strike in
    response to 9/11 and not to the tasteless and
    foolish video. However, the attacks success may
    have been aided by the confusion due to the
    protests caused by the film.
    ———-
    It seems the same way to me. This is a very minor, low budget film that came out in July. It is now September, if there was enough popular outrage for violence to ‘organically’ emerge it would have happened far earlier than now. It seems more likely to me that this was more about a smaller, more organized cell attacking the US on the 11th anniversary of 9/11 and trying to establish itself as a force capable of steering Libya toward an Islamic state at a pivotal time. They no doubt saw the protestors as a crowd to incite and conceal themselves in.

  • CoralSea

    Jane, Dragon, the sneaky emu, and Jens — the “Christian” version of Al Quaeda is exactly what we’ve got here. (Note: I use the term “Christian” in quotes because these folks are to Christianity what the Al Quaeda terrorists are to Islam — meaning the fringiest of fringe groups).

    However, the threat from some of these folks extends beyond what they might do to Muslims (which is plenty bad enough). We are talking here about people who are willing to attack other Christians who are not the right type of Christian to suit their very bizarre tastes.

    I have said it before and I will say it again, take a look at http://www.talk2action.org and look up the craziness of the New Apostalic Reformation movement. They engage in all sorts of weird activities, including destroying cultural artifacts to remove “generational curses” and “spiritual warfare.” Many of them also talk of preparing for an actual war against non-believers.

    Also of note: strange goings on at places like the Air Force Academy, where cadets who are “not the right kind of Christian” (you know, something really “out there,” like Lutherans) are pushed to embrace far more radical fundamentalist views as part of their training! Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan are also pushed to embrace Christian beliefs and subjected to “spiritual fitness” tests. If they don’t do well enough, they are sent to a chaplain for “counseling.” The lovely Jerry Boykin, who just retired from his high position in the military, was one of the proponents of this crap. He is supposed to be a speaker at the Values Voter Summit.

    Ironically, as a Wiccan, I am somewhat less concerned about these folks than “moderate” Christians — or obviously, Muslims — should be. Frankly, if things deteriorate toward a holy war (which I fervently hope never happens), I see them coming first for the Muslims and the moderate Christians.

    But yes, these people are out there, and they mean business. After all, “God” is on their side, and if “God” says shoot, they’ll shoot. I know this not only from what I’ve read, but also from people I know who are involved, including some family members.

  • Michael Parker

    I don’t see the difference in Christianiy and all other religous groups; they all have their hands soaked in innocent blood of people due to their beliefs. I think this is why Emmanuel(Jesus) rejected the two main religous groups in his day. He called them murders and hypocrites.

  • CoralSea

    Annie — you are a tiresome creature. One, SPLC only deals with groups in the U.S. Two, it does list some groups with black members as hate groups. I am sure that you have been told this before — or you could easily look it up on this website. I am beginning to see why Reynardine refers to you as having sawdust in your brain, because facts do seem to drizzle out at an alarming rate.

    If you wish to engage in intelligent and civil conversation, I believe that there are plenty of us who would be willing to do that with you. But if you keep repeating the same uninformed garbage, then why should anyone bother?

    Please let me know which course you intend to pursue — troll garbage or actual discourse.

  • Leah Nelson

    @Jane Schiff–

    The Church at Kaweah is not 501c3 nonprofit.

    It did have that status at one point, in part because churches are automatically granted nonprofit status. To lose it, they have to either violate tax law or make a point of removing themselves from the system.

    The Church at Kaweah chose the latter in 1997 because its then-pastor opposed the notion of churches submitting to secular authority. According to Tulare County records, the church is currently deeded to “the Lord Jesus Christ, True and Beneficial Owner.”

    More coverage of The Church at Kaweah and the legal theory behind this peculiar deed is available in my magazine story on the church, at http://www.splcenter.org/get-i.....n-soldiers.

  • aadila

    “So … let me get this straight. The SPLC tells us what we’re supposed to think, and SPLC gets to define for us who is a “hater” and who isn’t, and we’re supposed to accept it.”

    No, not really.

  • Jens Ndunerkant

    @AddInfoOrg I’ve always said that ignorant Christians,given the resources, would become Al Qaeda_like terrorists ~I guess we have our proof now

  • thesneakyemu

    Let it be clear that the deadly attack on the Embassy seems to have been a planned strike in response to 9/11 and not to the tasteless and foolish video. However, the attacks success may have been aided by the confusion due to the protests caused by the film.
    I would like to note the Libyan security forces ( I am unsure whether they were military or civilian police) stood side by side with the American Security Forces at the Embassy in attempting to repel the attack and render aid to the victims. Libyans carried the Ambassador on their shoulders in a desperate attempt to save his life. Egyptian Police are currently trying to protect the Embassy in Cairo. Both countries have condemned the protests and the attacks and formally apologized the U.S.. But fools like Terry Jones and this buffoon Steve Klien continue to create propoganda in order incite violence and portray Muslims as animals. Islam like any other religion can be dangerous if taken to the extreme. For a Christian example of this, see the above mentioned “Army of God”. Demonizing homosexuals, Muslims, or anyone for that matter is wrong and just adds to the violence anger that is so pervasive in this world.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    ” “no choice but to hunt Jews and Christians down, torture us and murder us.””

    Really? One would think that with 1.5 billion Muslims in the world(and growing) we’d see a lot more violence. In fact I think it wouldn’t even be reported on the news; it would be so common.

  • adamhill

    It seems the makers of this film tricked the actors into thinking it was simply an historical story and dubbed key words later to render the film explicitly offensive to Muslims. All the actors should sue them.

  • Annie

    Hey wait a second. How come the SPLC doesn’t classify militant Islamic organizations as “hate groups”?

    For that matter, how come they don’t classify Black criminal gangs like the Bloods and Crips as “hate groups”?

    Why are they so selective about who they classify as a “hate group”?

    So … let me get this straight. The SPLC tells us what we’re supposed to think, and SPLC gets to define for us who is a “hater” and who isn’t, and we’re supposed to accept it.

  • Kiwiwriter

    I find the pride he takes in this incident repulsive, sickening, and morally repugnant.

    And of course, his basic attitude is, “Let’s you and him fight.”

  • Jane Schiff
  • http://www.youtube.com/user/GargamelGold?feature=mhee CriticalDragon1177

    Leah Nelson,

    Is it just me, or is the anti Muslim, “counter jihad” slowly getting more and more extreme?

  • Jane Schiff

    Re: what Leah has written – ” The trainings, which allegedly take place at the Church at Kaweah’s sprawling central California compound, are described as a “unique system of learning how to survive the Muslim Brotherhood as we teach the Christian Morality of Biblical Warfare.” I ‘ve explored the “church”
    of Kaweah’s web pages. I can’t find anything that speaks to nonprofit status, 501 (C) status or anything. If I haven’t missed something, maybe this movement feels emboldened and maybe “church” is plain language for “group.”
    I don’t think that they’re saying that they are a school, either. Wonder if they care about being tax – paying citizens.

  • Reynardine

    Gee, whizz, to think I worked with these people, killed and dressed livestock with these people, cooked and ate with these people, went to movies with these people, had endless cups of tea and lively discussions with these people, married two, dated another, and-deadliest of all- ate the SNOT-NOSE CHUTNEY they fed me in the dust storm season to prevent bronchitis and pneumonia, and they NEVER TRIED TO CUT MY THROAT OR BLOW ANYTHING UP, EVER! They were sober always, first-rate cooks (though scarcely a green vegetable, which has something to do with the prevelance of liver flukes on the Subcontinent) and enviably courteous and studious. WHAT TERRIBLE PEOPLE! WHAT AN AWFUL INFLUENCE ON THE UNITED STATES!T