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The Republicans' Death Obsession

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During the Sunday (Nov 20, 2009) Senate debate on health care, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) called on the American people to pray that a Democratic Senator would be unable to vote on the health care bill, in order to defeat Democrats.

"What the American people oughtta pray is that somebody can't make the vote tonight," Coburn said. "That's what they oughtta pray..."

Where have we heard that before? On a bestselling far right T-shirt also telling us to pray ... for the death of President Obama!

The T-shirt vendors selling the Psalm 109:8 logo as in prayer that the President dies, crossed a line into a place that is nothing more than "trolling for assassins" as I put it on Rachel Maddow's show recently.

Here's what is in the Psalm they quote: "May his days be few; may another take his office!" In case you didn't "get" verse 8, here's verse 9. "May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow!"

What is it with Republicans and anti-Obama T-baggers, Sarah Palin et al re: death and talk of death?

Palin accused the President of wanting to institute "death panels" as her "reason" for her opposition to health care reform contribution. Now a US senator calls not-so-subtly for the accidental death and/or some other debilitating harm to another senator, no doubt with the ailing 90-year old Senator Byrd in mind. (Maybe according to this Republican "theology" God will strike Byrd down since Republicans believe that God is on the side of the insurance lobby too).

Then there were the armed men carrying those signs outside public meetings that the President attended this past summer saying that; "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." This was the slogan that Timothy McVeigh wore on the day he carried out the Oklahoma bombing.

In 1993 McVeigh drove to Waco, Texas during the Waco Siege to show his support for the Branch Davidians. He handed out pro-gun rights literature and bumper stickers, such as "When guns are outlawed, I will become an outlaw." He told a student reporter:

"The government is afraid of the guns people have because they have to have control of the people at all times. Once you take away the guns, you can do anything to the people. You give them an inch and they take a mile. I believe we are slowly turning into a socialist government. The government is continually growing bigger and more powerful and the people need to prepare to defend themselves against government control."

Soon after Obama was elected a gunman "lying in wait" opened fire on officers responding to a fake domestic disturbance call killing three of them. Police Chief Nate Harper said the motive for the shooting was that the gunman feared that the Obama administration was poised to ban guns.

Do you see a theme here? I do. Violence, talk of violence, fantasizing about death and lying about death. But death is the theme.

I see an out of control far right armed and dangerous fringe led by Republican "responsible leaders" such as Sarah Palin and Senator Coburn -- who aren't going to be shooting down anyone themselves, but who are bandying talk about death panels and bandying threats to enlist God in an effort to stop -- by whatever means, including (by inference) death -- Democrats from winning any political battles ... from health care reform to you name it.

With the history of political violence we have in this country, to put it mildly, the Republicans have crossed a line and are, as Coburn just demonstrated, ready to cross it again and again.

Frank Schaeffer is a writer and author of PATIENCE WITH GOD: Faith for People Who Don't Like Religion (or Atheism)