|Rev. Dr. Cindy Landrum|
Terrorism is defined as "the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims." The FBI definition of domestic terrorism is similar:
- Involve acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law;
- Appear intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination. or kidnapping; and
- Occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S.
|Operation Save America's Logo shows|
that they reject the secular state.
Operation Save America's presence at the UU church on July 20th wasn't designed to convert or inform. It wasn't designed to have peaceful dialogue. It wasn't part of a desire to create a bridge between UUs and OSA and it wasn't done out of respect. It was, simply, an act designed to intimidate -- to remind us that Dr. Tiller was killed five years ago in a house of worship, and that our sanctuaries are not safe spaces from them. Similarly, their presence in the neighborhood of abortion providers is an action designed to intimidate and threaten the doctors, who are well aware of the history of extreme violence from anti-abortion groups and individuals. OSA distances itself from each act of murder, attempted murder, bombing, or arson, but escalates the rhetoric and uses intimidation at every opportunity. The group calls the doctors "murderers" and distributes wanted posters for them -- for the same doctors who were then, in turn, murdered, by people with connection to the group. The OSA current leader himself, Flip Benham, has been found guilty of stalking a doctor in North Carolina who provides abortion.
In Unitarian Universalism, we're well aware that violence against us can happen in our churches. It was the shooting in the Knoxville UU church, a shooting motivated by hatred for liberals, that led to the formation of our Standing on the Side of Love campaign.
So, yes, one of our churches was terrorized. But we know our response, and have responded well: we stand on the side of love.