Today's post may in some ways be as thermonuclear--if not more so--than Kim Jong Il's recent explosions in Korea. Why? Because today, we're going to explore the links that still exist today between dominionists--including many of the top names in dominionism--and some of the most virulent racists in the US.
From Tony Perkins receiving money from David Duke's KKK groups, to Roy Moore's links with racist "neo-Confederate" groups, to the one major dominionist party besides the GOP being a hotbed for racist skinhead and "militia" groups, to the multiple people in the "anti-abortion" movement doing everything from forming militias to actual domestic terror--we cover it all.
I've written on this in multiple replies, but so as to tie it all together nicely I'll document these links by dominionist leader.
Tony Perkins and Family Research Council
Tony Perkins has rather a history of being friendly to racialist causes. In fact, Perkins himself can be considered to be at the heart of Justice Sunday's known links to racist groups (which will be detailed, I promise); Max Blumenthal documented this in his article regarding the first Justice Sunday:
Four years ago, Perkins addressed the Louisiana chapter of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), America's premier white supremacist organization, the successor to the White Citizens Councils, which battled integration in the South. In 1996 Perkins paid former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke $82,500 for his mailing list. At the time, Perkins was the campaign manager for a right-wing Republican candidate for the US Senate in Louisiana. The Federal Election Commission fined the campaign Perkins ran $3,000 for attempting to hide the money paid to Duke.
Southern Poverty Law Center has written extensively regarding the Council of Conservative Citizens; one of their exposes of the CCC has noted their ideology:
Baum's comment--which he denied in an interview with the Intelligence Report--was much more than the slip of an irate tongue. Despite the fact that his group has flirted with such politicians as Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, Mississippi Gov. Fordice and Rep. Bob Barr (R-Ga.), the CCC has racism at its core.
Indeed, the Council of Conservative Citizens is the reincarnation of the racist White Citizens Councils of the 1950s and 1960s.
Formed by Baum in 1985, the CCC claims 15,000 dues-paying members. Like its predecessor White Citizens Councils, the CCC's greatest strength is in the South, primarily Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi, where it claims 34 state legislators and 5,000 other members. The CCC has members in 22 states and its influence now reaches California and the East Coast from Florida to New York.
Its main publication, Citizens Informer, circulates to 20,000 subscribers. While its local chapters have taken up a variety of issues, the CCC in general has focused on national issues like support for the Confederate battle flag and opposition to affirmative action, school busing and non-white immigration.
But its chief interest remains race.
"Western civilization with all its might and glory would never have achieved its greatness without the directing hand of God and the creative genius of the white race," influential CCC columnist Robert "Tut" Patterson wrote in the Informer last fall.
"Any effort to destroy the race by a mixture of black blood is an effort to destroy Western civilization itself... ."
"Let us pray that our citizens will awaken and vote themselves out of this dilemma," Patterson wrote last spring. "There is still time. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 should be repealed!"
Perkins isn't the only dominionist known to have gone stumping for the CCC (the Constitution Party and Roy Moore have as well, as I will note), but Perkins isn't just friendly with the "uptown Klan" but the regular, nasty KKK as well.
Most of you are probably familiar with David Duke. Duke formerly led the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan--one of the Klan groups most consistently linked with domestic terrorism as well as links with neo-Nazi, "patriot militia" and Christian Identity groups. Duke has also attempted now and again to run for office on an explicitly racist platform.
Yes, that's right--the FRC is buying mailing lists from the Klan itself and one of the nastiest Klan groups in the US at that.
Roy Moore has also been in bed with more than a few racists. One of the groups he has done speeches for, the "Alabama Tea Party", was organised by a group that has set up a racist "Minutemen" type militia group and also included speakers from the Council of Conservative Citizens (one of whom actually tends to also speak in favour of Holocaust revisionism--the false claim that Jews and other persons either were not killed en masse by the Nazis or that the level of genocide was exaggerated).
Moore's legal adviser, Tom Parker, has links to multiple racist groups:
But Tom Parker has some other friends, too. It's just that he doesn't spend much time bragging publicly about this batch of colleagues and supporters.
In July, Parker made his way to the Selma home of Pat and Butch Godwin, who were holding a birthday party to honor Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, a wealthy slave trader who became the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. (Forrest also presided over the massacre of some 250 black prisoners of war at Ft. Pillow, Tenn.) The Godwins run Friends of Forrest Inc., which owns a Forrest statue the Godwins spent two years unsuccessfully trying to place on public property.
Standing on his friends' Confederate battle flag-bedecked front porch, Parker rallied the crowd. Later, one listener lauded him as "a man not afraid of the flag."
The Godwins are tried and true neo-Confederates. Pat Godwin's latest crusade is to block any acknowledgement on the Capitol grounds of the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery civil rights march ý a goal of the Alabama Historical Commission. In a July E-mail, Godwin railed at "the trash that came here in 1965," complaining that those who honor the civil rights movement "are aiding and abetting the ultimate goal of the ONE WORLD ORDER ý to BROWN AmeriKa and annihilate Anglo-Celtic-European culture!"
Pat Godwin and her close friend Ellen Williams recently put together a packet of documents that they say proves that the march was the "Mother of All Orgies" and the marchers were motivated by "money, sex and alcohol."
A month earlier, in June, Parker showed up at the Elba, Ala., funeral of Alberta Stewart Martin, believed to have been the last living widow of a Confederate veteran. He made himself a quick favorite by giving away hundreds of miniature Confederate battle flags to the 300 people, many in period dress, who gathered for this major neo-Confederate event.
And, in a photo widely circulated in the neo-Confederate world, he is seen with what were apparently two friends of his: Mike Whorton, Alabama state leader of the League of the South hate group, and Leonard Wilson, a longtime segregationist who is on the national board of the Council of Conservative Citizens (see also Communing with the Council), a hate group that has described black people as "a retrograde species of humanity."
Parker, who was Moore's spokesman and legal adviser but lost that job when Moore was fired, did not return repeated telephone calls requesting comment. Pat and Butch Godwin also declined to return messages left at their home, which is known fondly in neo-Confederate circles as "Fort Dixie."
Moore himself has spoken with people in the "tax protester" movement, including "Christian Militia" groups and churches connected with the "Patriot Pastor" movement:
The appearance was hyped all week by the presence of Moore's exiled monument on a flatbed truck in the parking lot. But it was the Rev. W.N. Otwell, speaking before Moore despite recent heart surgery, who really stole the show.
Otwell, an ardent segregationist and militia supporter who heads God Said Ministries in Mount Enterprise, Texas, began his opening-night remarks by berating the women in the audience, one of them dressed as Betsy Ross, for not living a true Christian life.
Being saved doesn't make you a Christian, he told them in a voice as powerful and angry as his battered body could muster. Women were to take care of the home, raise children, and be completely subservient to their husbands, Otwell lectured.
"My wife doesn't need a head," he shouted. "I'm the head!"
His audience was with him. "Good preaching!" a man yelled as Otwell outlined a holy dress code he claims is based on Scripture. The Bible, which predates pants by several years, says a "woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man" (Deuteronomy 22:5).
The "Patriot Church" movement (which I will touch on here) isn't the only group Moore is friendly with--more than once, Moore has been noted as being courted by the Constitution Party--which has so many links to racist and militia groups that it gets its own category.
Constitution Party (formerly dba US Taxpayer's Party)
The Constitution Party--under both its present identity and its past name as the US Taxpayer's Party--has long been a darling of "Christian Militia" groups, Klan groups, Christian Identity practitioners, and similar racist rogues.
The Constitution Party's history is touched upon here in relation to the possibility of Roy Moore being a gubernatorial or even presidential candidate for the Constitution Party:
What none of these accounts mention is that the Constitution Party is in fact the home party of the Patriot movement and its attendant "constitutionalists" -- people whose far-right interpretations of the Constitution lead them to form militias and "common law courts."
Founded in 1992 as the U.S. Taxpayers Party, its leading light for years has been Howard Phillips, the former Republican strategist who peeled away from the party in the early '90s. Phillips was its presidential candidate in the 1996 and 2000 elections. The Constitution Party is explicitly antitax, antigovernment, anti-abortion, and seeks to abolish the IRS, close down the Department of Education and terminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood, AIDS education, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Under its USTP moniker, the party openly supported the formation of citizen militias -- in fact, a manual on forming militias was available through the party -- and a number of Patriot militiamen spoke before party functions and openly affiliated themselves with it.
(One of the USTP's most notorious moments came in 1995, when a militia promoter named Matthew Trewhella appeared at its national convention. Trewhella, a notorious anti-choice activist, said: "This Christmas I want you to do the most loving thing and I want you to buy each of your children an SKS rifle and 500 rounds of ammunition." Trewhella also signed a declaration saying that murdering abortion providers is "justifiable homicide.")
The Montana Human Rights Network carried the following report on Phillips' presidential campaign appearance in Montana:
Howard Phillips, the party's presidential candidate, spoke numerous times throughout the convention. His campaign received very little mainstream media attention, but was closely covered by right-wing periodicals like The Spotlight and Media Bypass. At the Montana convention, Phillips spent most of his time discussing all the federal agencies and programs he would eliminate if elected. These included: the income tax, Federal Reserve, FEMA, EPA, ATF, and the Department of Education. He also claimed that both Democrats and Republicans had adopted the Socialist Party's platform of 30 years ago. He continually stressed Republicans were more dangerous than Democrats, because "They fly a false flag."
Just how linked is the Constitution Party with militia groups? They've happily sold antisemitic militia tracts and militia manuals at their state conventions:
While the GOP struggles to keep itself together under the big tent theory, the upstart USTP has managed to erect a small,
but spacious tent of its own. The USTP is home even to the armed, the racist, and the anti-Semitic:
* Rev. Matthew Trewhella --USTP National Committee, Wisconsin. A signer of Paul Hill's Defensive Action statement, Trewhella leads the anti-abortion group Missionaries to the Pre-Born. At the USTP Wisconsin state convention, he called for the formation of armed militias, such as the one he leads through his church. Newsweek reports that one member of the Missionaries who lived in Trewhella's basement for five months in 1990) kept a journal which included apparent plans for a guerrilla campaign of clinic
bombings and assassinations of doctors. What's more, a 100 page guerrilla army manual was sold by the USTP of Wisconsin at their May convention. Among the manual's justifications for armed resistance to the federal government is legalized abortion.
William K. Shearer -- Member, USTP National Committee, California. Was a member of the National Executive Committee of the Populist Party, in 1984 when the group was dominated by Neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan leaders.
Dr. Curtis Caine -- USTP National Committee, Mississippi. He embarrassed the Southern Baptist Convention's Christian Life Commission in 1989, when he defended apartheid in South Africa and called Martin Luther King a fraud. Caine also heads the Jackson chapter of the John Birch Society.
(At the USTP) Convention in May 1994, Dale led sessions on The Problem with Our Debt Money System and Alternatives to the Debt Money System. Dale was in the early 1980's a confidant of Posse Comitatus leader Gordon Kahl, according to the Bismarck Tribune. The Posse was an anti-tax, anti-government organization that swept the Farm Belt in the 1970's and 1980's. Gordon Kahl, killed two federal marshals in a shoot-out in Medina, North Dakota. Dale told federal marshals that he would hide Kahl, if he appeared, and threatened to fight foreclosure on his ranch by shooting as "many of the sons of bitches as he could". At one USTP event, Dale sold The Revelator, a publication that rails against "Anti-Christ Banksters" (sic) whose basic strategy is to instigate war and finance both sides, especially if it involves Christians killingChristians.
Jeffrey Baker -- Chair, USTP of Florida, declared at the Wisconsin USTP convention, Abortionists should be put to death. "They are murderers." Baker was identified as a speaker on a recent conference program, as representing, 10th Amendment Militia, Church Status.
(Paul Hill's "Defensive Action Statement" was a note stating that the murder of doctors, nurses, and other clinic staff at women's centers performing abortions was "justified homicide"; Paul Hill was eventually executed in Florida after being found guilty of the stalking and murder of a doctor who performed abortions.)
(Also, as a side note, "Anti-Christ Bankers" is a common code word in racist communities to denote Jews. Posse Comitatus is considered a racist organisation by most experts, including the ADL and SPLC.)
At least one other article on the militia movement confirms the stories of militia manuals being sold at Constitution Party events:
Christian fundamentalists, especially those drawn to the antiabortion movement, also have played key roles in the growth of the militias. In the forefront have been Matthew Trewhella, leader of the Milwaukee-based Missionaries to the Preborn, who helped organize militia gatherings through his church and preached their formation;15 and Jeffrey Baker, a Florida antiabortionist who has called for the death penalty for abortionists.16
Both appeared as speakers at a U.S. Taxpayers Party convention in 1994 at which they promoted the concept of militias, and a "Free Militia" manual was sold entailing how to form one's own militia cell. The manual cites as a source for its constitutional theories, Separation of Church and State: Historical Fact and Current Fiction by Robert Cord, who argues that the First Amendment never was intended to bar the church from government.17 Baker's conspiracy opus, Cheque Mate: The Game of Princes, is a popular fixture at patriot gathering book tables, along with his video, Government Gone Mad.18 Baker and Trewhella are closely linked with Christian Reconstructionists, a fundamentalist movement to transform America into a Christian theocracy.19
(Footnotes: 15 See Betsy Thatcher, "Trewhella urges, 'Be a good shot,'" Milwaukee Sentinel, August 18, 1994, pp. 5A-8A, and Mike Mulvey, "Trewhella tied to 2 who held arms training," Milwaukee Sentinel, August 19, 1994, pp. 1A-10A.
16 See Janny Scott, "Radical antiabortion alliance described," The New York Times, August 18, 1994.
17 Book published by Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Cord is also cited in a Summit Ministries article, "The role of the Bible and Christianity in America," which argues that the founding fathers "expected our nation to be (on the whole) Christian, and that our government to reflect that bias." Summit Ministries, based in Manitou Springs, Colorado, operates the world-wide web site, Christian Answers Network on which David Barton's Wallbuilders (an anti-church-state separation page) appears. Like Gritz, Summit Ministries preachers decry secular humanism as the religion now in place in our schools and government.
18 Both are also sold through the Militia of Montana and the Christian Patriot Association's catalogues.
19 See Tom Burghardt, "God, Guns, and Terror: Missionaries to the Preborn," Bay Area Coalition for Our Reproductive Rights.)
In fact, the Constitution Party (under its prior name, the US Taxpayer's Party) ended up listed as a hate group by Southern Poverty Law Center and was subjected to "dead-agenting"--character assassination--by a state head of the party. (American Vision is similarly targeting the SPLC for character assassination after its listing by SPLC as a hate group.)
The Constitution Party was originally formed from a group called the American Independent Party which itself had considerable ties to racist groups.
Michael Peroutka, the last presidential candidate run by the Constitution Party, is himself a racist. He is a member of the League of the South, per this article:
The blond-haired, blue-eyed, 53-year-old became a Constitution Party favorite by launching the Institute for the Constitution, which peddles 12-week seminars teaching a Biblical version of the U.S. government. His membership in the League of the South has helped bring neo-Confederates into the Constitution Party.
For those who aren't aware of the League of the South, the group is a racist "neo-Confederate" group that is also explicitly dominionist:
After as many as 30,000 revelers descended on Biloxi, Miss., for last April's "Black Spring Break 2000," many locals, offended by incidents of public nudity and angered by two cases in which white women were partially stripped by drunken men, called for more police, better traffic control and improved planning. Others criticized police for losing control and for not making more arrests.
But J. Michael Hill went further.
To the founder and president of the League of the South (LOS), the 6-year-old organization that has emerged at the forefront of the neo-Confederate movement, the incidents in Biloxi -- along with similar attacks on white women in New York City's Central Park by black and Hispanic men -- represented a call to arms.
The assaults, he suggested, were not merely the handiwork of individuals. All minorities, in Hill's view, were responsible.
"It is time for us, as Southern whites, to look to our own well being and defense against these thugs," the one-time college professor wrote on AlaReb, an invitation-only, neo-Confederate discussion group on the Internet.
"Moreover, it is time we demand that respectable members of the 'minority community' control their debased 'brothers and sisters.' If they refuse, then we can only believe that they secretly condone such behavior. Let us not flinch when our enemies call us 'racists'; rather, just reply with, 'So, what's your point?'"
Hill, of course, has never suggested that whites control the actions of their "debased brothers and sisters," whites who kill, maim and harass blacks and other minorities. He has offered no lectures about the white mobs that attacked blacks during the civil rights era -- on the contrary, he has spoken of the era as a halcyon time in Southern history.
He has never spoken out about the criminals who have randomly murdered black people over the last few years in the name of building a whiter America. And he was silent when a white mob in York, Neb., attacked the home of a white woman dating a black man in 1998.
Instead, Hill has concentrated his fire on the minorities he is certain are destroying America.
Hill is no aberration in the LOS, a group that has grown to include 9,000 people organized into 96 chapters in 20 states. Despite the group's claims that it will brook no racists, the League is rife with white supremacists and racist ideology.
One key LOS figure and old Hill colleague, a man who is the former head of the LOS chapter in Tuscaloosa (Ala.) County where the League got its start, was even blunter than his leader in his own AlaReb posting about black-on-white crime.
"You see the day is coming when we will NEED a new type of Klan," G. David Cooksey wrote after the Central Park incidents in June. "Yes I said Klan!! If push comes to shove I'm for it! ... Time has come to stop this crap now!
"Or would you all like to see your daughters raped???"
Academics Set the Tone
The League of the South, first known as the Southern League, was founded in 1994 by Hill and a group of 40 other people. At first, the LOS appeared to be concerned primarily with questions of Southern culture, threatening to push for secession, at least rhetorically, as a final resort if what were seen as the rights and dignity of the South were not respected.
It keyed in on the notion that Southerners alone among U.S. population groups were commonly denigrated by the "politically correct" dominant culture, seen as emanating from the Yankee North.
And it pushed the idea of the South as fundamentally Christian, calling, in effect, for imposition of a theocracy -- a government in which prayers and other religious observances would be common, and mandatory, in public life.
Lest anyone doubt their racism:
But hints of its future radicalism -- the raw anger LOS now openly directs at blacks and other minorities -- were evident early on. In 1995, Hill joined a crowd of angry whites, including some professional white supremacists, at the funeral of Michael Westerman, a white murdered by a black youth, ostensibly for flying the Confederate pennant on his pickup truck.
Hill, according to the book Confederates in the Attic, declared it was "open season" on anyone who dared to question "the illicit rights bestowed on a compliant and deadly underclass that now fulfills a role similar to that of Hitler's brown-shirted street thugs of the 1930s."
He was referring to black people.
Since then, the tone of the League has grown consistently more hard line. Its ideologues now openly reject the notion of egalitarianism, opting instead for the idea that society is composed of a God-given hierarchy of groups that should not necessarily have the same rights and privileges as one another. Hill now publicly decries racial intermarriage under any circumstances.
He says people other than white Christians would be allowed to live in his South, but only if they bow to "the cultural dominance of the Anglo-Celtic people and their institutions." Where the goal of secession was once largely rhetorical, it is now a seriously stated aim.
And, in a June posting on AlaReb, Hill called slavery a "God-ordained" institution.
This radicalization is also reflected in an e-mail signed by Hill last April, right after the events in Biloxi. 'WE MUST NOT WAIT AND REACT TO THE ENEMY," Hill wrote. "Let us be bold and take the fight to him. He (the NAACP, Chamber of Commerce, and most elected officials) is well funded and determined to wipe out any vestige of Confederate heritage and culture. ...
"We must not compromise with evil."
The League of the South is also a primary force in hijacking mainstream churches in the south in attempts to convert entire denominations to Christian Reconstructionism, Southern Baptist Hijacking style:
Key members of a white supremacist organization, the League of the South (LOS), are moving to take control of conservative churches around the South, prompting a possible split in a major Presbyterian denomination.
The central player in this little-noticed drama is the Rev. Steven J. Wilkins, pastor of the Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church in Monroe, La., and a founder and current board member of the neo-Confederate LOS. Wilkins is an advocate of Christian Reconstruction, a theology that seeks to impose draconian Old Testament law on civil society.
The League's goal, Wilkins has said, is to save America from "paganism" and restore it as "the last bastion of Christendom" ý a Christendom that, in Wilkins' view, sees slavery as "perfectly legitimate."
Last summer, Wilkins almost caused a rupture within the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), a conservative Southern denomination founded in 1973 that has more than 300,000 North American members.
Persuading 10 churches to join him, Wilkins called a meeting of the PCA'S Louisiana Presbytery to consider the possible departure from the PCA of those with "theonomic" views ý the idea that the Bible, not man-made civil law, should form the legal basis of society.
Although the debate was temporarily tabled, PCA officials say that a schism may be imminent.
The Constitution Party also runs quite a number of blatant racists:
Those planks only begin to tell the story. In its brief history, the Constitution Party has flirted egregiously with some of the most extreme elements of the antigovernment militia movement and of Christian Reconstruction, a radical theology that calls for imposing Old Testament laws ý stoning to death adulterers and homosexuals, to name just two.
Among the party's current roster of local candidates is a Salt Lake City man, Jack Gray, who has no qualms about presenting himself as a member of David Duke's white supremacist hate group, the European American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO).
The party's official "key race" for 2003 is a gubernatorial bid by Mississippi's most virulent Confederate flag defender, John Thomas Cripps, a long-time member of the white-supremacist hate group, League of the South.
Judging from the rhetoric in Clackamas, engaging with real voters might be a thorny task indeed. Until their spiritual leader took center stage, the Constitution Party stalwarts reserved their loudest amen chorus for a balls-to-the-wall speech by Jim Ludwick, chair of Oregonians for Immigration Reform.
Ludwick roused the congregation with an enthusiastic endorsement of the Reconquista conspiracy theory ý the notion, espoused by anti-immigration extremists, that Mexico, in league with Mexican Americans, is "invading" the United States, bent on "reconquering" the Southwest territory it lost in the mid-19th century.
"President Vicente Fox has made it a priority to gain control of parts of the United States," Ludwick asserted. His tone grew even harder toward the end of his address, when Ludwick launched into a litany of cautionary tales about illegal immigrants who have committed heinous crimes, including accused serial sniper Lee Malvo and the infamous "railroad killer," Angel Reyes Resendez.
While many voters would surely be turned off by such blatant bigotry, others might get queasy listening to Kevin Starrett, white-bearded head of the Oregon Firearms Federation. Starrett won enthusiastic applause by grimly denouncing the nation's most powerful pro-gun organization.
"The NRA won't stand up for gun owners," Starrett declared. He then announced that the Constitution Party had joined a more extreme gun-owners' coalition, Keep and Bear Arms, which recently started a campaign to end the federal ban on many assault weapons.
And then there's Lon Mabon, whose name has been bandied about in party circles as a potential presidential candidate in 2004. A diminutive 56-year-old with a wiry mustache and a soft, tentative speaking voice that belies his ferocious convictions, Mabon made a name for himself in the 1980s and '90s with his Oregon Citizens Alliance (OCA), which championed a series of state ballot initiatives to curtail gay rights and abortion rights.
With the successive failure of each initiative, Mabon's stock fell among conservative Oregonians, and his Constitution Party run for U.S. Senate last year garnered only 2% of the vote.
It didn't help that Mabon had spent 42 days in jail earlier in 2002, cited for contempt of court after refusing to show up for a debtor's hearing. His Citizens Alliance had been ordered to pay $31,500 after a jury hearing a civil lawsuit against his group found that an employee used excessive force in kicking a gay-rights advocate out of a meeting.
When Mabon failed to show up for the hearing to determine whether he could pay, claiming that the presiding judge had no jurisdiction because he hadn't taken a proper oath of office, the state's largest newspaper, The Oregonian, editorialized that Mabon had "crossed over into the official crackpot zone."
But his Constitution Party kindred in Clackamas listened approvingly to Mabon's rambling speech about Biblical governance ý probably because they largely agree with his political philosophy, which leans heavily toward the theocratic.
"I hear the voice of God saying that the [government] must surrender to the requirements of His Holiness," Mabon has written. "This means that the Governor, U.S. Senators, Representatives and all elected officials should be allowed into office only after they have proved to the Citizens ... that they are indeed obedient to the Will and Holiness of God."
Dominionist "anti-abortion" groups
Perhaps some of the strongest links between dominionism and the racist right have been in the antiabortion movement. This has been both via support by racists (Klan groups have often taken an antiabortion line) and--more darkly--support by dominionist anti-abortion groups of militia organisations.
Possibly the most infamous example of this is Eric Rudolph, the "Olympics Bomber", who also was ultimately convicted of bombing an abortion clinic and gay nightclub. Rudolph was a member of a group calling itself the "Army of God" which distributed manuals on how to conduct terrorist attacks on women's clinics, and which was promoted by "Christian militia" groups.
One of the most definitively linked of groups to the militia movement is Matthew Trewhella's "Missionaries to the Preborn"--which itself can be legitimately considered a "Christian Militia" type group:
In 1994, PPFA released a video of Missionaries to the Preborn leader Rev. Matthew Trewhella calling for the formation of armed militias. Trewhella had made a speech at the Wisconsin convention of the U.S. Taxpayers Party, urging that "churches can form militia days and teach their men to fight." Trewhella's own church held classes for its members on "the use of firearms." He recommended buying "each of your children an SKS rifle and 500 rounds of ammunition." Trewhella was also a signatory to Paul Hill's Defensive Action petition, in which the "use of lethal force" is "justified" to save the "unborn." (Hill has been sentenced to death for the murders of a doctor and clinic escort in Florida.) The anti-abortion views of militia-and-gun supporters are beginning to overlap with the religious right-wing's ideology and rhetoric. The line between these groups is blurring, revealing both groups' deep anti-government thinking and little tolerance for separation of church and state. Abortion is just one issue in this convergence.
Disturbingly, another group linked to both militia groups and other "crossover" organisations like the Constitution Party is none other than Operation Rescue and Randall Terry in particular:
But what few have remarked upon is Terry's long history of association with the most violent elements of right-wing extremism, and his early role in fomenting the formation of "citizen militias" and the "Patriot" movement. Terry's extremism is very broad-ranging, and includes some of the most dangerous and nakedly anti-democratic elements in American society.
In fact, my first awareness of the existence of a "militia movement" came in 1994, when I watched a video tape of Terry and his frequent cohort, Matthew Trewhella, exhorting a gathering of Howard Phillips' U.S. Taxpayers Party (now known as the Constitution Party). Terry called for the "justifiable" killing of abortion doctors, while Trewhella painted militias as one of the solutions for dealing with abortion.
An earlier report from 1995 describes some of his activities in this regard:
Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue, is working with the radical right U.S. Taxpayers Party (USTP) launching a new "leadership institute" to train "militant" and "unmerciful" activists. Terry has recently assumed a leadership position at the USTP, writing newsletters and speaking at events. He says he plans to run as a USTP candidate in the state of New York in 1996. "I'm anxious to run," he said "I am chomping at the bit to actually be in office."
Terry said a new "leadership institute" will be held near his hometown of Binghamton, New York in October and will offer "three days of intense training on vision, courage, biblical ethics, raising up a cadre of people who are militant, who are fierce, who are unmerciful to the deeds of darkness, unmerciful to the ideologies of hell." At the same conference Matthew Trewhella, leader of Missionaries to the Pre-born urged delegates to form armed militias and to establish a "militia day" in their churches. Conference organizers sold copies of a manual on how to create an armed underground army. Jeffrey Baker, USTP National Committee member touted that "Abortionists should be put to death" during his convention speech. The audience erupted in applause.
The U.S. Taxpayers party is headquartered in Vienna, Virginia. In 1992 the USTP presidential candidate, Howard Phillips, ran a series of controversial campaign commercials which featured the photograph, name, and home address of medical directors at a Planned Parenthood in Iowa while the narrator stated "Howard Phillips urges you to contact these baby killers and urge them to mend their ways. A vote for Howard Phillips is a vote to prosecute the baby killers for premeditated murder."
The previous article also notes further links:
One militia leader has been fined over $500,000 for his participation in abortion blockades with Oregon-based Advocates for Life. This same man also conducted target practice with Shelley Shannon four days before her attempted murder of Dr. George Tiller in Wichita. Larry Pratt, former Pat Buchanan aide and executive director of Gun Owners of America, a favorite speaker at white supremacist gatherings, raised $150,000 to pay Operation Rescue's bills. Many pro-gun, anti-government zealots have connections to Operation Rescue, and OR activists have demonstrated at the Waco compound.
(Yes, you read that right. They were literally protesting in support of David Koresh.)
Other articles have noted how militia groups are also explicitly partnering with the antiabortion movement, including Bo Gritz (yes, the Michigan Militia Bo Gritz, the same Michigan Militia that Oklahoma City bomber Randy Weaver was linked with) partnering with "Christian Militia" groups.
Aside from being the one dominionist faction that has most frequently crossed the line to frank domestic terrorism, the anti-abortion faction of the dominionist movement not only has avowed racists but those racists freely borrow tactics from racist groups:
John Burt, a former Klansman, borrows tactics like his "wanted" posters from the KKK, and says that "fundamentalist Christians and those people[the KKK] are pretty close." (The Progressive, 10/94) Paul Hill told USA Today (3/7/94), "I could envision a covert organization developing --something like a pro-life IRA."
(Paul Hill went on to murder a doctor who provided abortions and was ultimately executed by the state of Florida.)
Trewhella has even promoted the idea of forming "Christian Militias" at Constitution Party rallies:
In 1994, Planned Parenthood released a video showing Trewhella speaking ata Wisconsin state USTP convention. "What should we do?" Trewhella asked. "We should do what thousands of people across the nation aredoing. We should be forming militias." According to Planned Parenthood, the USTP sold a Free Militia manual on how to form an underground army. Defending the "right to life" against "legalized abortion" is the first of the manual's stated reasons why one should take up arms.
In fact, these groups have even directly threatened the lives of government officials:
In December 1994, NBC refused to air a segment of the program TV Nation in which Roy McMillan of the Mississippi-based Christian Action Group said that assassinating Supreme Court justices would be justifiable homicide,and that the president was in "probable harms way." TV Nation producer Michael Moore believes that the airing of the segment could have led to arrests that might have prevented the Brookline clinic killings. "It's a federal offense to say the president should be killed," Moore told USA Today (1/16/95). Eventually the interview aired on the BBC in Britain, but not in the U.S.
Going back to Eric Rudolph and the Army of God mess, Southern Poverty Law Center again does an excellent job in detailing the links between dominionist antiabortion groups and militias and other racist groups:
Eric Robert Rudolph, the government says, bombed an abortion clinic in Birmingham, Ala., earlier this year, killing a police officer and partially blinding a nurse. Agents also want to question him about the bombings of an Atlanta area clinic and a lesbian bar, attacks which injured seven bystanders. And many suspect Rudolph of involvement in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing which killed one person and injured 100 others.
To many, these targets seem unrelated. But they are not.
More and more, anti-abortion extremists, white supremacist groups and the conspiracy-minded "Patriot" movement have come to share the same enemies list. Many in these previously separate movements agree that everything smacking of "one-worldism" -- the Olympics, the United Nations and any other global agency -- is part of a massive plot to subject Americans to tyranny.
Activists in all three movements describe homosexuals as "sodomites," people who deserve capital punishment. And in the latest development, many of those involved in these groups are bitterly attacking abortion.
"Eric Rudolph is symbolic of this new merger," says Dallas Blanchard, chairman of the University of West Florida's sociology department in Pensacola. "Militia types have shown more and more interest in the abortion issue, while anti-abortionists are becoming more and more militant and allying themselves with the militia movement."
Since the early 1990s, Patriot and white supremacist groups have used mainstream issues like gun control and land and environmental regulation to draw people into their organizations. Now, they are taking up the banner of fighting abortion.
America's Invisible Empire, a Klan group, describes abortion as "America's greatest crime." White Aryan Resistance, another white supremacist group, calls for "future Aryan justice" for abortionists -- except in the case of non-white abortions. Leaders of the U.S. Taxpayers Party, a Patriot-linked group, have called for the death penalty for abortion doctors and even their patients.
Neal Horsley, who has called on militias to seize nuclear weapons, posts on his Web site the names of and other details about more than 300 people he considers pro-abortion, demanding "Nuremberg" trials.
The Michigan Militia has long been bitterly opposed to abortion, and other Patriot groups now take similar stands.
Most recently, a Tennessee abortion activist repeatedly arrested in clinic invasions has begun converting a former Washington state lodge into a retreat for others who share his militant brand of religion. Allison Hall Grayson, who now calls himself a "Steward of the Church of Christ," is a friend of Paul Hill, convicted of killing an abortion doctor and his escort, The (Spokane, Wash.) Spokesman-Review reported.
Grayson doesn't believe in license plates, driver's licenses, Social Security or public schools, the newspaper said. He supports armed militias. The registered agent for his corporation is tied to "common-law courts" and militia activities.
His wife, Catherine, is a cartoonist for Life Advocate, an anti-abortion magazine that supports "justifiable homicide" and shares a post office box with the American Coalition of Life Activists (ACLA). Many ACLA directors have been outspoken in their support for the murderers of doctors.
Grayson's project, officials and observers say, is the latest evidence of the melding of the militant anti-abortion and antigovernment movements. But similar cases, some of them documented by Planned Parenthood, have cropped up around the nation recently.
· August Kreis and James Wickstrom, longtime leaders of the violently racist and anti-Semitic Posse Comitatus, recently put up an article on their Web site hailing Rudolph as "a true warrior of YHVH [God]."
Wickstrom, a Michigan militia enthusiast who organized paramilitary training for the Posse during the 1980s, has served prison time for impersonating public officials and counterfeiting. Kreis, Wickstrom's Posse deputy, headed The Messiah's Militia in Pennsylvania.
In their article, the men complain about the "several hundred JOG agents (jewish occupational government forces)" searching for Rudolph.
The Rev. Matthew Trewhella, who founded the militant Missionaries to the Preborn, was one of the first anti-abortion leaders to publicly call for militias.
At a 1994 Wisconsin convention of the U.S. Taxpayers Party (USTP) -- which mixes anti-abortion and antigovernment Patriot militants -- he called on churches to form armed militias. After telling congregants to do "the most loving thing" by buying their children "an SKS rifle and 500 rounds of ammunition," he said he was teaching his own 16-month-old the location of his "trigger finger."
The Wisconsin USTP ticket has included Ernest Brusubardis III, a "captain" of the Wisconsin Militia arrested in several Wisconsin clinic blockades.
Willie Ray Lampley, head of the Oklahoma Constitutional Militia, is serving 11 years in federal prison for plotting to blow up abortion clinics, gay bars, the Southern Poverty Law Center, Anti-Defamation League offices and other targets. His wife and another man were also convicted in the ammonium nitrate bomb conspiracy.
The Rev. W.N. Otwell, who reportedly has called America a "white man's country" and protested "race-mixing," has led his camouflage-clad followers in protests at an abortion clinic.
In 1996, Otwell traveled from his Texas compound to support the white supremacist Montana Freemen in their 81-day armed standoff with federal agents. He also protested in behalf of Republic of Texas criminals during their 1997 standoff.
Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, helped Operation Rescue at a time when it was facing a $50,000 fine. Pratt's Committee to Protect the Family Foundation raised nearly $150,000 to pay Operation Rescue's bills, without that organization ever holding the money. Pratt only halted his fundraising when a judge ruled that the foundation could be held liable for Operation Rescue's fines.
Pratt has spoken at white supremacist gatherings and has long advocated formation of armed militias.
Texas anti-abortion leader Jack DeVault, while on work release for illegally blocking clinic entrances, reported on the Branch Davidian trial for the American Patriot Fax Network and "Radio Free America," a program that has featured many extremists. He also reportedly proposed forming citizens' posses to run out "meddling federal agents."
Joe Holland, one-time national director of the North American Volunteer Militia, has said government support for "murder clinics" and the "advancement of homosexuals" made him a rebel.
Holland, who died in prison this spring, once threatened to send law enforcement officers "home in body bags." He was serving time for criminal syndicalism and jury tampering in Montana when he suffered a heart attack in March.
Tim Dreste, a leader of the militant American Coalition of Life Activists, also has been a captain and chaplain of a militia group, the 1st Missouri Volunteers. Dreste led several 1988 invasions of abortion clinics in New York and Atlanta. After the 1993 murder of Dr. David Gunn, he carried a sign: "Dr. ... Are you feeling under the Gunn?"
Dale Pultz, a member of the Missionaries to the Preborn who has been convicted of illegally blocking clinics, used Patriot "common-law" techniques to slap a $700,000 lien on a judge who jailed him. This type of common-law "paper terrorism" is a Patriot tactic that is derived from the anti-Semitic Posse Comitatus group active in the 1980s.
(The entire article is excellent and does a very damning job of linking, among other things, Christian Reconstructionist groups and racist groups like the Klan.)
In some cases, as I've noted, racist groups themselves have been joining the dominionist antiabortion movement:
Ku Klux Klansmen have been demonstrating at clinics in Florida in full Klan robes. They said they were protesting both
against abortion and the presence of federal marshals assigned to guard the clinics. Operation Rescue leadership asked members not to picket as long as the Klan are at the clinics. Klan spokesman J.D. Alder told Reuters "I am selectively opposed to abortion. I don't care if blacks and Jews have abortions."
(source: San Jose Mercury News)
During the same month, however,
Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue, is working with the radical right U.S. Taxpayers Party (USTP) launching a new "leadership institute" to train "militant" and "unmerciful" activists. Terry has recently assumed a leadership position at the USTP, writing newsletters and speaking at events. He says he plans to run as a USTP candidate in the state of New York in 1996. "I'm anxious to run," he said "I am chomping at the bit to actually be in office."
Terry said a new "leadership institute" will be held near his hometown of Binghamton, New York in October and will offer "three days of intense training on vision, courage, biblical
ethics, raising up a cadre of people who are militant, who are fierce, who are unmerciful to the deeds of darkness, unmerciful to the ideologies of hell." At the same conference Matthew Trewhella, leader of Missionaries to the "Pre-born" urged delegates to form armed militias and to establish a "militia day" in their churches. Conference organizers sold copies of a
manual on how to create an armed underground army. Jeffrey Baker, USTP National Committee member touted that "Abortionists should be put to death" during his convention speech. the
audience erupted in applause.
"Patriot Churches" and the CLASS Curriculum
One example of a church that holds folks like Gary North and other militia stars up to be admired is the Church of Christian Liberty in Prospect Heights, Illinois.
The Church of Christian Liberty actually runs a number of nationwide groups that are of interest to those fighting dominionism. Firstly, they operate--through an unaccredited school, Christian Liberty Academy--a dominionist correspondence-school curriculum called CLASS that is likely to be one of the first pages pulled up on a search on homeschooling. The church also operates a publishing company, "Christian Liberty Press" (which I'll touch on in a sec) and is also the headquarters of at least one dominionist group, Concerned Christian Americans, which is a majorlobbying group in Illinois.
Both Christian Liberty Academy and its homeschool curriculum CLASS are blatantly dominionist; see its list of "Responsibilities to the USA" for examples for Christian Liberty Academy, and the worldview page for CLASS. CLASS' page on "Biblical Worldview Curriculum" (at this link) explicitly promotes dominion theology, even including the term "dominion"; the "Government" section even explicitly teaches children the "right" politicians to vote for.
Per Christian Liberty Academy's own admission neither it nor CLASS are accredited by any review board (see its profile page) which would possibly prevent any of its graduates or persons educated using its programs from being eligible to enter many state universities other than by obtaining a GED.
The church also is affiliated with an unaccredited college, Whitefield College, which offers college correspondence courses to persons who have completed CLASS curricula. Much like other schools specifically targeting persons from dominionist correspondence schools like A Beka and Bob Jones University's courses, the school is explicitly dominionist and in fact blatantly states its goal is to train people in dominionist "spiritual warfare" (per its Educational Objectives page) and is essentially a dominionist madrassa to educate "god warriors" to take over legitimate secular government institutions (per its page on "Christian Worldview" curricula).
Of special interest to this article, though, are Christian Liberty Academy's extensive links to militia organisations.
Christian Liberty Press publishes and sells several blatantly dominionist books, including works by Gary North (as shown on its "economics and government" section of its bookstore)--nearly all the books on government on the site are written by Gary North, in fact, and explicitly promote dominion theology and Christian Reconstructionism. (Again, this is listed as an official branch of the church per Church of Christian Liberty's "Who We Are" page.)
Per multiple articles, including in Southern Poverty Law Center, a church organised a rally and organising committee for the Chicago Minutemen, an anti-immigration group (per this link); per at least one article the church school this was organised at was identified as Christian Liberty Academy (per a site organising a counterprotest as well as by the Chicago Minutemen group itself). Minutemen anti-immigration groups nationwide have been associated with both dominionism and, even more distressingly, overt Klan and neo-Nazi infiltration and recruitment as well as "Christian militia" activity.
Per at least one article on a pro-dominionist site the church has already had its tax exempt status threatened at least once (per this site--warning, dominionist and also a bit sympathetic to "tax protester" movements tied with "Christian Militia" movements in general)
The church itself may be linked with both Chaldecon and Moody Bible Institute (per Chaldecon at this link).
The church has lobbied with HSLDA in past (per a discussion forum focusing on New Hampshire homeschooling; this is relevant as HSLDA has ramrodded through a bill that essentially bans "unschooling" and other forms of homeschooling not done through a correspondence school, which is a common tactic HSLDA has taken to ban non-dominionist homeschool programs (nearly all dominionist "homeschool" programs are actually correspondence schools, usually tied with a dominionist theological seminary)). Another item which the church is heavily involved in re lobbying is legalising dominionist correspondence schools and exempting them from oversight, even as non-dominionist homeschool programs are restricted (per this "Christian Homeschooling" blog (warning, pro-dominionist, subtly demonises inclusive homeschooling).
Distressingly, the Minutemen movement is not the only hate group known to be associated with Church of Christian Liberty; reportedly the church has also had lobbying attempts by American Vision, an explicitly dominionist group which is also listed as a hate group by Southern Poverty Law Center (listing of affiliation at this Google-archived link at a "Christian Homeschooler" forum and listing of American Vision as hate group at Southern Poverty Law Center). Between this and Chaldecon associations (of note, SPLC also notes Chaldecon as a hate group), it can be safely stated the church is at best Christian Reconstructionist and associates with some downright scary people, possibly including Christian Militia groups (which Gary North has association with, and which have been documented as appearing at Minutemen events in other areas).
Reportedly, the church has attempted to lobby people, including taking out full-page adverts in the Los Angeles Times, to get people to limit the IRS's ability to investigate violations of law regarding electioneering--probably due to its own tax troubles (per this report on lobbying efforts by spiritually abusive groups in general). Reportedly the church has been extremely reluctant to cooperate with the IRS in its investigation, and the matter is apparently in litigation (per this link--warning, site is pro-dominionist). There is one case in which apparently the founder of the church attempted to use the church as a tax shelter for his house in an attempt to avoid a government lien on his property (per this link).