Domestic Terrorism Targets Places of Worship

Domestic Terrorism Targets Places of Worship

The rebirth of anti-Semitism in this country is disturbing, and quite frankly, terrifying. The recent shooting in Pittsburg is the deadliest attack against the Jewish community in our country’s history, and that description cannot be taken lightly. The murder of these 11 congregants, these 11 individuals who most likely thought the worst of anti-Semitism died with the Holocaust, highlights the problems prevalent in our nation.

From shootings in a Sikh temple to a predominantly black church, places of worship are appearing in headlines as targets of violence, and not from the congregants, but from hateful and radical white men.

As students at a Jesuit university, we need to reflect on the sanctity of these sacred spaces, and at the harm done to others in prayer, in church, and in temple. The Pittsburg shooting shows that hateful language posted online, this racist and xenophobic language normalized in the chat-room echo chambers, is not harmless. Anti-Semitism is not something to be dismissed and is not localized in the history books.

The “other” is being attacked in our country. Those groups that are being “othered” are having to face problems that society should be banding together to fix, not make worse. But people in power, specifically in the United States but not limited to, are making groups in our country feel unsafe. That is completely and totally unacceptable.

The people that threaten this country are the same people our representatives are doing nothing about, because they’re what they see reflected in the mirror. Whiteness is what our predominately (and historically) white Congress is comfortable with. They are less comfortable, however, with empowered communities of color.

The white male, radicalized in a time of political extremism, affirmed by the vitriolic language from our head of state, is a greater threat to our public than those targeted by the administration. In the same week Trump sends armed forces to the US-Mexico border to stop asylum-seekers, our democracy and our safety is being attacked from within.

White men have committed more mass shootings than any other group, yet that is lost in the political discourse of our national representatives. The term, “terrorist,” the strongest term for a hateful opponent to our democracy, needs to be reimagined to fit the description of the radicalized and racist perpetrators.

The Spectator Editorial Board