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Southern Religion

Holy Week American Christian terrorists (militia)

The Holy Week arrest of the nine Hutaree Christians, for plotting to kill police officers and related crimes [.pdf], dismays evangelical author Brian McLaren. He wrote:

This is the week we recall that Jesus was willing to be killed, but not to kill … to be tortured, but not to torture. This is the week he told Peter to put away his sword, saying, “Those who live by the sword will die by the sword” (Matthew 26:52). This is the week he contrasted his kingdom in this world with the kingdoms of this world by their opposite responses to the violence question (John 18:36 ff). (The prepositions in and not of are important.) Many of us believe that Jesus embodies the image of a nonviolent God, an image intended to transcend and correct violent images.

Even Juan Cole sees their behavior as of one piece with the bizarre view that Obama is the Anti-Christ. A flawed Harris Poll last week found that 14% of Americans believe President Obama “may be the anti-Christ” And one quarter of Republicans hold that view.

The Christian Science Monitor reports:

There is “no question” the catalyst was President Obama’s election, says Heidi Beirich, the [Southern Poverty Law Center’s] director of research. A similar upswing took place after President Clinton’s election in 1993. Militias and the antigovernment groups that spawn them often become more active when the federal government turns more liberal.

“A major shift to the left certainly helped” in both cases, Ms. Beirich says.

The economic meltdown and the growth of minorities such as Latinos are also a factor, she adds.

The Irregular Times makes a valiant attempt to make sense of Hutaree views and values mishmash. They are explicitly Christians. They seem to have given a twist to millennial expectation of the end times and they clearly see God as expecting them and other believers to use deadly violence on unbelievers. And practice of their theology resulted in being charged, TalkingPointsMemo reports, “with seditious conspiracy, attempted use of weapons of mass destruction, teaching the use of explosive materials, and possessing a firearm during a crime of violence.”

You can certainly try to sort through their Web site yourself.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, whose expertise in this field is well-recognized, reported this month:

The SPLC documented a 244 percent increase in the number of active Patriot groups in 2009. Their numbers grew from 149 groups in 2008 to 512 groups in 2009, an astonishing addition of 363 new groups in a single year. Militias – the paramilitary arm of the Patriot movement – were a major part of the increase, growing from 42 militias in 2008 to 127 in 2009.

. . .

“This extraordinary growth is a cause for grave concern,” said Intelligence Report editor Mark Potok. “The people associated with the Patriot movement during its 1990s heyday produced an enormous amount of violence, most dramatically the Oklahoma City bombing that left 168 people dead.”

Do the Covenant for Civility and the Democratic effort to ink a civility pledge with the Republicans seem at least a little more urgent, now?

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March 30, 2010 - Posted by | Obama, Politics, Religion | ,

4 Comments

  1. Who hung the title “Christian” on these Cop Killer Trainees? Our Elite Media did after seeing the word anti-Christ or a couple of Bible verses emerge. Take a good look at them. They are sickos who havn’t seen running water for a while. Militas are on the rise but they all don’t wear nazi emblems or think Hitler was a great guy, aren’t racists or anti-government like these idiots just arrested; but they could all gather in left field to wave the flag and talk about their firearms and the news of the day. They don’t have a yacht to drive or a swimming pool or camper and shooting is a lot of fun. Don’t let Fox News,Cnn, Elite Media Experts on Everything or the Democrats, Republicans or even Richard Land talk you into who’s evil. We all know what “hate” is and these bums are full of it. Nice job FBI!

    Comment by jack | March 31, 2010

    • Good points, Jack. They did, however, hang the title “Christian” on themselves and on their Web site do express views which, although we held them up for ridicule, are recognizably derived from the practice of the faith.
      It has in fact been seriously suggested that their views be explored with someone who is both reasonably expert and to some degree sympathetic with their views. Perhaps you know someone who could play that role?
      And even though the characterization is IMHO required of competent journalists, there’s a lot of outrage about it today.

      Comment by baptistplanet | March 31, 2010

  2. I’ve seen what these people are doing to themselves to gain creditability show up in the Randy Weaver thing in Ruby Ridge Idaho where they subscribed to a magazine published by a radio “minister” of doubtful credentials who talked about the Illuminati, anti-christ, masonry, G.Washington and then made up their own version of what the Bible says and how they are going to assist. Whether or not these people called themselves Christians doesn’t make them a Christian or entitle them to the name whether they derived their ideas from a comic book or the Bible.. I am in no way sympathetic except that I’m sorry their sick and glad they got caught. Other militias will each stand on their own merits but pre judgeing them as being up to no good is as wrong as making every motorcycle group a bunch of Hells Angles. There are far too many people preaching who use the title “Doctor” and are not entitled to it or just plain preach in a church calling themselves “Reverand” and never earned the title and butcher the Bible and Christianity for all.

    Comment by jack | March 31, 2010

  3. I wonder what the people along the Mexican border by Ft. Hancock Texas who are paying $5000.00 protection money to the cartels (todays news ) so their children don’t get hurt, call themselves if they’ve organised? “The Grange” “Rancher’s Assoc.” or perhaps “Civil Defense Corp”. Does it matter?

    Comment by jack | March 31, 2010


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