Yesterday, I mentioned that Operation Rescue leader Troy Newman compared the decision to uphold the health care bill to 9-11 and the rise of Nazism. As I've had some time to sit on it, I've come to think that it's more significant where he said it than the fact he said it at all. Newman made his comments as a guest of Janet Mefferd, one of the nation's more prominent Christian talk show hosts. If you listen to the whole piece, you'll notice that Mefferd fawns over Newman and even calls him a hero. As breathtaking as it is by itself, it's even more breathtaking when you remember that Operation Rescue is the employer of Cheryl Sullenger.
For those who don't remember that name, not long after the death of George Tiller, Sullenger's number was discovered on Scott Roeder's dashboard. Sullenger ultimately admitted that she'd told Roeder about Tiller's court dates in the days before Roeder brutally gunned him down. In other words--Sullenger basically gave that information to a guy off the street, knowing full well that Tiller was a marked man. To my mind, that makes her morally--and possibly legally--an accessory to murder. Plus, lest you forget, Sullenger pleaded guilty to attempting to blow up an abortion clinic near San Diego. And yet, three years after Tiller's death, Operation Rescue still has her in its employ. Even more staggering, both Newman and Sullenger are frequently quoted by OneNewsNow. Couple that with Newman's appearance on one of the biggest mainstream Christian talk shows on the nation, and the message couldn't be clearer. Despite indisputable evidence that Sullenger made it possible for Roeder to get that close to Tiller, Operation Rescue is still embraced by the mainstream religious right. And that raises pretty serious questions about whether the mainstream religious right actually is OK with Tiller being dead.
As many of you know, I renounced the anti-abortion movement last year because of its lack of respect for basic human dignity. One big factor behind that decision was Sullenger's continued employment at Operation Rescue. You would have thought that after it came out Sullenger had been communicating with Tiller, the pressure would have come fast and hard for Newman to give Sullenger her walking papers. Instead, crickets. Can you imagine if it came out that some Dem congressional staffers were communicating with yayhoos who vandalized a Repub congressman's house? It wouldn't matter if they did anything criminal--the demands for them to be fired would have come fast and hard. And their careers in the political world would have been worse than over.
As I write this, I find myself thinking about how Bryan Fischer essentially forced Mitt Romney to push out an openly gay campaign staffer. As galling as that episode was, it's even more so in light of Fischer's silence on Sullenger, as well as the fact that his employer, the American Family Association, still interviews both her and Newman for OneNewsNow. Fischer raises a stink about a gay staffer, but can't be bothered to demand that someone who acted as irresponsibly (at the very least) as Sullenger did be fired? The hypocrisy burns.