Fresh on the heels of my SFGate column
on San Francisco's Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and their juvenile and disrespectful publicity stunt involving receiving Communion in full drag at Most Holy Redeemer Parish comes word of local anti-Christian sentiment taken to the highest degree.
It seems that San Francisco "performance artist" Paul Addis (formerly known as the arsonist who couldn't wait to torch
the Burning Man festival's large wooden icon) decided to set his sights on San Francisco's historic Grace Cathedral
. Addis was arrested last Sunday night on the steps of the cathedral wearing an explosives belt and, according to a tip from a caller who overheard him earlier, planning to burn down the Episcopal church.
While one might imagine this to be a story worthy of attention, media coverage of the incident, as well as local reaction, has been muted at best. The Associated Press
provides very few details and The Examiner
quotes Grace Cathedral spokesperson Brent Andrew describing Addis merely as a "disturbed individual." Similarly, Burning Man spokesperson Josh Camire chalked up Addis' attempted firebombing to a "cry for help."
Imagine for a moment if the situation were altered and Addis had attempted to burn down or blow up a mosque. (I won't say a synagogue or other Jewish structures
because that doesn't seem to engender much outrage these days either). Were Islam to be the targeted religion, does anyone think for a moment that the "hate crime" label would not be affixed?
Taking the hypocrisy a step further, the Seattle Post Intelligencer's
Dorothy Parvaz, opining on the matter
, wonders, apparently in all seriousness, whether Addis should be labeled an "arsonist or a performance artist?" Parvaz then goes on to express sympathy with Addis' presumed view that the church is "an oppressive institution," but disapproves of the possible destruction his "little stunt" might have wrought on surrounding property and those unlucky enough to be in the vicinity. She then concludes with the following helpful advice:
Perhaps he should have settled for painting a picture of a burning church rather than trying to destroy an actual historic landmark. That wouldn't be performance art, I guess (unless he created the painting in public or something), but at least it wouldn't be a felony.
It appears that for Parvaz, the desire to burn down a church is understandable, just as long as one doesn't get caught in the process or inflict too much collateral damage. Such is the mindset on the left these days, whereby Christianity is fair game, but let hatred be expressed towards any other religion and, suddenly, sensitivity training is in order.
In a Newsbusters blog post
on the story, Warner Todd Houston adds further context to Parvaz' biases, which he's commented on before
. Parvaz, who he notes is a columnist, blogger and member of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer
editorial board, once labeled Republican voters "white, male, middle-aged and slightly stupid."
Such condescension tends to go hand-in-hand with hostility towards Christianity among liberal elitists, many of whom I've had the displeasure of encountering here in San Francisco. And it's certainly possible that those inclined towards acts of violence are emboldened by the prejudicial atmosphere in this city.
After all, is it any coincidence that 18-year-old Mathew Hinz was arrested
last week for attempting to burn down a convent in San Francisco's Portola District, in which six nuns were sleeping? Was that too an expression of "performance art" or can we call it arson this time?
As I put at SFGate:
...it's the antagonism expressed towards Christians by their critics that often veers dangerously close to hatred. In an earlier column, I noted a T-shirt worn by a salesclerk in a San Francisco gift shop that read, "So many right-wing Christians, so few lions." One can only imagine the reaction had another group been substituted for Christians. It seems that, for some, anti-Christian bigotry has become the last acceptable prejudice.