I don’t believe that Democrats are out to steal our guns and impose a fascist dictatorship. Neither do I believe that the Louise Giglio incident means that the president is launching a crusade against the first amendment rights of anti-gay Christians. I don’t expect black helicopters from the U.N. to descend on my backyard any time soon, and I highly doubt that the ACLU wants to forcibly remove Bible-believing Christians from the public square and install a secular dictatorship. And—for the love of God—can we please stop the Muslims-are-out-to-impose-Sharia-law-on-America conspiracy theories? All of these are standard nightmare scenarios propagated by the Right to scare people into voting Republican. Worse, they’re smokescreens from the real erosion of our civil liberties, an erosion that’s been taking place under both Republican and Democratic administrations. I’m talking about the erosion of our freedoms under the guise of the War on Terror.
To my conservative Republican friends, if you haven’t heard of the Supreme Court Decision Holder Vs. Humanitarian Law Project , you’re probably unaware that the missionary you write a check to every month could very well be imprisoned for sharing the gospel with anyone representing an organization that the government considers terrorist. This is a serious violation of your first amendment rights to freedom of speech and religion, and you can thank the Roberts court for that.
It gets worse.
If you’re a peace organization or a charity organization, and the government wants to prove that you’re providing “material support” to a terrorist organization, the government can now use an “anonymous expert” to testify against you. In an article for the Washington Report for Middle East Affairs , Stephen Downs and Kathy Manley report on the “trial” and incarceration of five directors for the Holy Land Foundation, who were convicted of charges of providing “material support for terrorism”, essentially for feeding the poor and building schools and hospitals in Palestine.
The authors write:
The implications are enormous. The government can now criminalize political, religious and social ideology and speech. Donating to peace groups, participating in protests, attending church, mosque or synagogue, entertaining friends, and posting material on the Internet, for example, could later be found to be illegal because of "associations," manufactured by anonymous experts, which in some way supposedly supported designated terrorist organizations one has never heard of.
Yes, if the government wants to prosecute an American citizen of terrorism crimes that he or she isn’t aware of committing, they can produce an “anonymous” expert.
Let. That. Sink. In.
Of course, if the government doesn’t want to bother with prosecuting you, they can just hold you without charges indefinitely under the National Defense Authorization Act.
And if that doesn’t give you the heebie-jeebies—we can always talk about Obama’s kill list.