In the wake of two Escambia County Sheriff's Office deputies firing 15 bullets at Mr. Roy Middleton in late July 2013, which created a national story, Sheriff Morgan delivered prepared remarks before the Rotary Club of Pensacola. The Pensacola News Journal carried the Public Information Office's edited version of the Sheriff's remarks.
This heavily edited version generated one critical article article by Dahlia Lithwick in Slate. After noting that the Sheriff had recited a number of brutal Black-on-white crimes, Lithwick wrote: "They're just examples of vicious black-on-white crimes that presumably justify--what, exactly? Police brutality? Racial profiling? More warrantless searches? Morgan never exactly tells us what we are meant to conclude from all these allegedly neutral 'statistics,' but it's certainly implied: The real racism in America is in fact directed at white people who are not allowed to defend themselves from being called racists whenever they act like racists."
But, his remarks were much, much worse. Sheriff Morgan revealed himself to be a religious bigot. This Street Report focuses on his slur against all Muslim-Americans living peaceful, tax-paying, lawful, lives.
Sheriff Morgan: 'Muslims are Nazis'
At the 3:45 mark of the uncut version that the Street Report came to possess, Sheriff Morgan, after recommending to his Rotary Club audience reading Winston Churchill's three-volume memoirs, Sheriff Morgan stated the following:
"And what you'll find striking, and I find striking by the way, is the policy of appeasement that we go through in an almost a cyclic mode through our communities and our societies. An appeasement across the board. We intend to appease crime; we intend to appease political opponents; we intend to appease those who have different religious beliefs than we do. And the frightening thing about these volumes is this, if you changed NAZI to Muslim, you'll have a terrific eye opener..."
Here is the excerpted video:
Now, Sheriff Morgan's statement that we "appease crime" should be viewed in the context of him characterizing all young Black males in Escambia County as "Super Predators."
Michael E. Jennings, an Associate Professor and Associate Dean at the University of Texas at San Antonio, wrote an article, "Trayvon Martin and the Myth of the Superpredator" for the edited book, Trayvon Martin, Race, and American Justice. Jennings noted that "logic tells us that African American males, like all dangerous predators, need to be hunted in an effort to ensure the maintenance and safety of a 'civilized society."
The logic in Escambia County appears to be not to investigate the murders of young Black males vigorously because it is simply a case of one "Super Predator" killing another "Super Predator." That is the logic of the repeated finding from talking to mothers who are perplexed as to why the Sheriff's Office does very little to solve homicides of young Black males.
In terms of "appeasing political opponents," the nature of mature democracies is to compromise, to find common ground so that the two major political parties can advance, what the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution called "the general Welfare."
To state that we "appease those who have different religious beliefs than we do" is to step into the long history of religious bigotry from the colonial era through the modern era. The main targets of fundamentalist Protestant and Ku Klux Klan violence have been Catholics and Jews. It was Catholics and Jews, cooperating in tandem, that challenged Protestant supremacy in the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1950s and 1960s.
The Right-Wing Manufactures Hatred of Muslims
In February 2015, the Center for American Progess (CAP), produced a comprehensive report, Fear Inc. 2.0: The Islamophobia Networks to Manufacture Hate in America. The report noted that "To be clear, the Islamophobia network that CAP identified in 2011 is not indicative of mainstream American views. In fact, the views of anti-Muslim of anti-Muslim actors stand in stark contrast to the values of most Americans. The findings of the 2011 report, as well as this report, should not be construed as a sign of widespread public antipathy toward the Muslim community in the United States, although concerns remain about the rise of anti-Muslim attitudes in the United States during the past few years. Instead, these two reports reveal how a well-funded, well-organized fringe movement can push discriminatory policies against a segment of American society by intentionally spreading lies while taking advantage of moments of public anxiety and fear."
The report noted that one of the main proponents of Islamophobia and the anti-Shariah law effort was Frank Gaffney's Center for Security Policy. What gives the Center for Security Policy additional heft and intricate links into the Christian Right is retired LTG Jeremy Boykin. Right Wing Watch reported that Boykin and Gaffney were joint authors of a report, "Shariah: The Threat to America." The report noted that Boykin had "deep ties" to New Apostolic Reformation 'prophet' Rick Joyner and his Oak Initiative. Kyle Mantyla observed that it "makes sense that we'd eventually see a merging between the prophetic dominionism of Joyner with the anti-Islam advocacy of Gaffney."
Rachel Tabachnick, an expert on the New Apostolic Reformation, described the worldview of this religious movement operating within the Republican Party and the Christian Right. She provided a simplified, easy to understand definition of dominionism, which is a "politicized theology in which believers must take control over society and government." The reason these Christian dominionist must take control all institutions of society--commonly known as the Seven Mountains doctrine--is because all other members of society are not religiously or morally pure enough to participate.
Sheriff Morgan's statement that he will not "appease political opponents" and he will not "appease those who have different religious beliefs" is consistent with this Christian dominionist worldview.
The 2015 Center for American Progress reported that major proponents of anti-Muslim attitudes and disinformation about Islam are firmly rooted in the Christian Right: the Family Research Council, with retired LTG Boykin serving as an executive vice president; the American Family Association Action; Liberty Counsel and Liberty Counsel Action; Concerned Women for America; and, Christian Action Network.
Of particular importance in the 2015 CAP report is the chapter on "Islamophobia masquerading as law-enforcement counter-terrorism training." The report noted:
"Virulent anti-Muslim messages are often embedded in law-enforcement training programs. The Islamophobia network and individuals influenced by the network are advantage of federal funds available to police and law-enforcement agencies for training programs in counterterrorism techniques....After civil rights groups and the media exposed these anti-Muslim training activities, some local police agencies, and notably the FBI, have changed their practices. However, unrepentant Islamophobes are still providing training to police and other law-enforcement agencies across the country. The extent and continuation of these trainings--even after they have been revealed to be anti-Muslim--indicates the insidious power of even fringe actors in the national policy debate and underscores the need for constant vigilance and efforts to identify and root out Islamophobia from American civic life."
Sheriff Morgan's brief remark reveals a coherent, logical worldview rooted in or consistent with Christian dominionism. It is only the interest of brevity that I merely skimmed the surface. To actually understand the worldview of Christian dominionism in all aspects took writing six chapters of my first book, that is completed but not yet published.
In the Sheriff's worldview, all young Black males are "Super Predators." He believes that all other political parties are illegitimate. He believes that all other religions--aside from his own--are illegitimate. And, he believes that all law-abiding, tax-paying, Muslim-Americans are "Nazis."
A racial bigot, a religious bigot, and Islamophobe is not suitable to represent all the residents of Escambia County as the Sheriff. Clearly, he does not understand that his sworn constitutional duty is to provide equal treatment under the law.
It remains to be seen if this Sheriff will retain the confidence of the Escambia County Board of County Commissioners.