Three men are in custody in Texas for trying to blow up a church. And guess what: their names aren’t Mohammed, Mustafah, or Osama.
Three Burleson men who belong to a “radical Christian activist group” were in the Johnson County Jail on Friday night after a church deacon caught two of them attempting to ignite an explosive device on Independence Day at a church under construction in north Burleson, authorities said Friday.
Dayton Lee Calaway, 19, and Michael Philip Plaisted Jr., 18, were arrested Wednesday night near the Victory Family Church after they got bogged down in mud as a fleet-footed deacon chased them from the church in the 400 block of Northwest John Jones Drive, police said.
Two other people drove away, the deacon told officers.
An explosive device in a glass container was found propped against the church door. The suspects apparently tried to detonate the device twice before being interrupted by the deacon, police and Burleson Fire Marshal Stacy Singleton said.
Cmdr. Chris Havens, the Police Department spokesman, said the suspects boasted about belonging to a leaderless group of 10 or 15 who share a belief that society has become too focused on self-improvement and self-gratification and has lost focus on the glorification of God.
“They admit to being Christian and being brought up Christian, but they believe there should be one denomination and one church, not multiple denominations,” Havens said.
“They did not say they had a name for their group, other than they were a radical Christian activist group. That was the way they explained their group,” he said.
The suspects said the group has three levels of involvement: Bible study, consensual fighting and destructive acts. Because one of their beliefs is free thought, however, participation in all three levels is not mandatory, they told police.
So where’s CNN and MSNBC and the special music for breaking news coverage for these guys? I know they don’t sound like the brightest bulbs on the porch, but they’re not a whole lot smarter than the paintball brigade in Miami that was plotting to blow up the Sears Tower or the homeless street vendor who wanted to light up the fuel lines at JFK. Yet those guys got all the attention; they got the talking heads nattering about terrorists in our midst, and these losers in Texas can’t even get Bill O’Reilly to return their phone calls.
Maybe it’s because they’re “radical Christians” who are into “Bible study, consensual fighting and destructive acts.” (That sounds more like a personal ad in the Village Voice, not a creed for a religious movement: “also into Bach cantatas and Bruce Lee movies.”) But up until September 11, 2001, the worst act of terrorism on American soil was committed not by Islamic radicals but by a couple of white Christian boys who belonged to fringe groups who run around the woods of northern Michigan and Idaho in their cammie-jammies and claim to be the front line in the militia movement fighting against the New World Order, Zionism, and fluoridated water. Yet we don’t see the cells in Gitmo full of “enemy combatants” like these bubbas from Texas. Why is that?
Simple: they’re us. These guys arrested in Texas don’t fit into the prejudices and stereotypes of religious radicals that makes it onto the nightly news or the stump speeches of people like George W. Bush or Rudy Giuliani. These are just a bunch of bored teenagers with visions of Fight Club and Jesus Camp rattling around in their head. (Or maybe someone promised them 72 virgins if they blow up a church.) But it doesn’t fit into the fundraising plans of the GOP if religious nuts are anything but Islamic; they have to be foreign-born with funny sounding names and towels around their head. Otherwise, they look too much like the religious nuts that run the Republican National Committee.
Cross-posted from Bark Bark Woof Woof.