Brian Siano Source:
_Salon_ has an angry piece about the campaign waged by Bill O'Eeilly against Dr. George Tiller, who was murdered the other day in his church in Kansas. O'Reilly, whose ignorance, stupidity, and craven evil really needs no more proof at this point, has spent 28 episodes of his show decrying Tiller as a Nazi baby-kiler who performed abortions almost as a fetish.
http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2009/ ... index.html
There are more than enough annoying questions here, the least of which is "Why is a hateful, violent-midned, delusional thug like Bill O'Reilly allowed on the airwaves?" Or, more to the point,"Why is Bill O'Reilly allowed to live?" This is a question that indicates a severe problem with our culture. Bill O'Reilly can spend hours of airtime smearing a doctor as the moral equivalent of a Nazi, a terrorist, or Charles Manson, and when one of his viewers takes him at his word and murders the man, O'Reilly will bear no responsibility. One would have to be brain-damaged to _not_ know that there are anti-abortion creeps with weapons and a deep desire to use them on humans, so O'Reilly is-- by any reasonable standard-- well aware that, eventually, someone would go gunning for Tiller. In fact, someone already _had_, years ago. But O'Reilly will insist he bears no responsibility for the man's murder, and he won't face a moment of inconvenience over the matter.
But if you or I were to organize a similar campaign against Bill O'Reilly-- say, if we were to promote an image of him as the worst human being since Stalin-- I'm sure we'd have legions of morons, and maybe some law enforcement people, knocking at our doors and asking us why we're trying to get this shithead killed. Let me spell this out. Bill O'Reilly can incite murder, with impunity; few others have this privilege.
So let me make this absolutely clear. If someone were to murder Bill O'Reilly tomorrow, I would agree that it was a bad thing to do. But that's only because I have a sense of ethics and morality. If someone _were_ to murder Bill O'Reilly tomorrow, he'd deserve it, and I wouldn't shed a tear for his worthless carcass. But I'd have to admit that it would be _wrong_. It'd be morally fitting, sure, and satisfy my contempt for the man, and amount to a rough form of justice... but I would not support it. All I ask is that the ability to incite murder _not_ be granted to right-wing fuckheads.
And while we're talking about privilege... well, I don't want to hear Christians yelping about how insulting it is when we denounce them, because of the "radical few" who inflict violence. A handful of Muslim fanatics wiped out several million square feet of Manhattan office space... and we spent a few years wondering if that entire religion encouraged horrific violence against infidels. Christian maniacs murder doctors in this country... and Christians really _never_ have to worry about the government keeping an eye on them because of their religion.
The issue of Christian privilege ties in with other measures of privilege. As a white male, I have some advantages that others who aren't don't. (I don't feel _bad_ for having these, but it'd be dishonest to deny them.) And in discussions of privilege, there are many checklists and questions available that illuminate what can be hidden areas. For example, if you can say "I do not have to educate my children to be aware of systemic racism for their own daily physical protection," that's not a bad indicator that you've got something of an advantage.
I should mention that there are _lots_ of these checklists for a _lot_ of groups. Many are created in response to others, so there can be a flavor of oppression-one-upsmanship. Also, the questions range from profound to really trivial issues; after a while, one expects to see items like "I do not have to worry about insulting stereotypes of my ethnicity on breakfast food packaging." But there's always a core of important stuff at work here.
, you can find a nifty discussion of Christian privilege. The checklist included here is of mixed usefulness, however. It will certainly make it clear to non-Christians that Christians enjoy profound privileges. But part of an ethnic or religious identity now requires a belief in one's own oppression. For example, if you ask Christians if they believe that "I do not need to educate my children to be aware of religious persecution for their own daily physical and emotional protection," many would _disagree_, since they'd regard the teaching of Evolution, or even the separation of Church and State, as a form of persecution.
But one useful question might be this: "If the news reports on a fanatic of my religion committing a murder, I do not have to worry about others suspecting me or my entire religion of murderousness."