Holocaust Museum Shooting Threatens to Undermine Right's Pro-Religion Image

This is the second recent shooting involving a right-wing gunman in a religiously affiliated setting.

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www.usnews.com/usnews/photography/holocaust_museum_shooting/bigpicture.phpBy Dan Gilgoff, God & Country

The political right likes to portray itself as the defender of religious values, the nation's religious heritage, and religion per se against the secular liberal onslaught. Look no further than former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's speech this week at the Republican Senate-House Dinner. Gingrich urged the GOP to defend religion's role in American society and history against attacks from liberal judges, academics, and the news media.

Might today's shooting at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, on the heels of last week's murder of abortion provider George Tiller in Kansas, threaten that religion-friendly image? Today's shooting, in which police allege James Von Brunn opened fire at the museum, is the second in as many weeks in which a right-wing extremist has committed deadly violence in a religiously affiliated setting. Tiller was shot while handing out pamphlets at Sunday morning church services.

The alleged perpetrators in both instances were fringe figures, not mainstream conservatives, and there's no evidence that either is connected to mainstream conservative organizations.

But TV is a powerful thing. And video of faith-based crime scenes paired with stories of right-wing killers can create powerful impressions.

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