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Hillary Clinton’s “radical Islam” Comment Distracts From History of Anti-LGBTQ Policies

Unlike Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were not afraid to use the phrase “radical Islam” to describe the religious agency that instigated the shooting in Orlando.

Clinton told CNN’s New Day and other mainstream networks that there is no conceptual difference between “radical jihadism” and “radical Islamism.” I doubt the recently deceased famous Muslim Muhammad Ali, whom her husband helped eulogize, would concur with her conflation.

But, honestly, it doesn’t matter. The criticism presupposes that by Obama omitting “radical Islam” from his remarks on the Pulse shooting, he somehow lessened the amount of attention the portion of this incident that bears on terrorism would receive. It assumes that he didn’t reinforce the message popularly held by just about every American that “terror” means Islam.

But, he did. Here’s why.

Simply describing the carnage in Orlando as an “act of terror” — even if the phrase “act of terror” was paired with the term “hate crime” — was enough to activate certain specific thoughts and fears in the average citizen’s imagination. The mainstream media understood this and before Obama even spoke, they were fully invested in exploring the “terrorist” angle of what happened in a gay nightclub, not “hate crime” part of it.

The reasons why aren’t that difficult to pinpoint. It is easier to discuss the subject of terrorism when you’re not indicting your own country and when the threat is foreign. When it’s homegrown terror — white supremacy or Christian homophobic prejudices, for example — opinions split and scatter.

It’s also easier for Hillary Clinton to gravitate towards “terrorist” angle because her own history with the LGBT community is riddled with holes.

The anti-LGBT policies she supported helped foster the atmosphere of hatred and disgust toward LGBT-identified persons that would lend the impression that hate crimes inflicted against this group, such as the mass shooting in Orlando, are justifiable.

Not only did she support DADT (“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”) — a measure that justified discrimination against gays and lesbians serving in the military who were out of the closet about their sexual orientation — but actively rallied behind Bill Clinton’s Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a piece of legislation that permitted states to bar same-sex couples from marriage. DADT was only recently overturned by the Supreme Court last year.

Even long after her husband left office, Hillary was standing before congressional bodies defending marriage as “a sacred bond between a man and woman”:

“…the fundamental bedrock principle that [marriage] exists between a man and a woman, going back into the midst of history as one of the founding, foundational institutions of history and humanity and civilization, and that its primary, principal role during those millennia has been the raising and socializing of children for the society into which they are to become adults.”

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