"When the Christian majority takes over this country, there will be no satanic churches, no more free distribution of pornography, no more talk of rights for homosexuals. After the Christian majority takes control, pluralism will be seen as immoral and evil and the state will not permit anybody the right to practice evil."
Gary Potter (Catholics for Christian Political Action)
Snake Oil Sellers of the Christian Right?
The U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs came under heavy criticism earlier this month from Muslim and religious freedom advocacy groups after it invited to a conference three self-professed "former terrorists" with strong links to the Christian right.
Collectively known as the "3-X Terrorists", Walid Shoebat, Kamel Saleem and Zacharia Anani are front line soldiers in the U.S. "culture wars", a discursive battle over "values" and hot-button issues ranging from abortion to radical Islam.
To supporters, the 3-X represent "moderate" voices; they are self-professed Muslim extremists who converted to evangelical Christianity and are now exposing Islam for what it really is. To critics, they are frauds, accused of fabricating much of their past exploits as mass murderers in order to peddle their Islamophobia on the lecture circuit and on cable news networks, including Fox News Corp. and CNN.
"These men are frauds, but that is not the point. They are part of a dark and frightening war by the Christian right against tolerance that, in the moment of another catastrophic terrorist attack on American soil, would make it acceptable to target and persecute all Muslims," wrote former New York Times reporter Chris Hedges in a widely circulated online essay.
"They offer a window into a worldview that is destroying the United States. It has corrupted the Republican party. It has colored the news media. It has entered into the everyday clichés we use to explain ourselves to ourselves. It is ignorant and racist, but it is also deadly," he said.
Controversy seems to follow Shoebat and his associates wherever they go. Members of the public and the news media were not allowed to attend a student-run forum featuring the three at Stanford University. Princeton University cancelled a scheduled talk by Shoebat in 2005 because it was perceived as being "too inflammatory". In 2006, Columbia University restricted public attendance at a speech with Shoebat and former Nazi Hitler youth and German soldier Hilmar Von Campe only three hours before the event was to take place.