Date: Mon, 29 Apr 1996 12:25:24 -0700 Subject: [Atheist] AANEWS for April 29, 1996 nn nn A

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Date: Mon, 29 Apr 1996 12:25:24 -0700 Subject: [Atheist] AANEWS for April 29, 1996 from: AMERICAN.ATHEISTS@listserv.direct.net Reply-To: aanews@listserv.atheists.org, AMERICAN.ATHEISTS@listserv.direct.net nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn nnnnnnnnnn AANEWS nnnnnnnnnn #25 uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu 4/29/96 In This Edition... * A Special Report: "Only Bo (Gritz) Knows For Sure..." BO GRITZ -- FROM THE FREEMEN COMPOUND TO CHRISTIAN IDENTITY AND LIZARDS FROM SPACE ------------- Who is this guy James "Bo" Gritz, anyway? The former Green Beret Special Forces Colonel is once again back in the headlines, mediating the standoff in Montana between the Freemen militia and a small army of FBI agents. Over the weekend, Gritz flew his small Cessna plane with passenger Randy Weaver to near the site where the separatist, Christian Identity group remained holed up in its 34-day confrontation. Back in 1992, Gritz helped to end a bloody shoot-out at Ruby Ridge, idaho, after Federal agents shot Weaver's wife and son. Weaver was later acquitted of the original charges, and since then Rudy Ridge, Waco and the Oklahoma City bombing have become cardinal elements in the hagiography of the anti-government, right-wing. Gritz had at least two meetings with the Freemen inside their compound, calling them "the salt of the earth," and insisting that he considered the gap between the militia members and the government "Bridgeable." He reported that the Freemen, while well armed, may be running low on food. "Jimmy, if I could have just a Taco Bell," Gritz said one of the girls told him. "We were there a long time, and all I asked for is a glass of water," he said. "I sensed that they were rationing out." Gritz also told a press conference yesterday that this "was a kinder, gentler FBI than four years ago at Ruby Ridge." Media reports describe James Gritz as a "leader in the Christian Patriot movement" and a former presidential candidate on the Populist Party. Some consider his exploits to have been the inspiration for movies like "Rambo" and "Apocalypse Now," and Gritz's reputation as a soldier of fortune type at one time even attracted the interest of Ross Perot. The billionaire was bankrolling POW-MIA rescue missions in Vietnam through the mid-80's, and Gritz claims that Perot's efforts were a "private sector" operation encouraged by the Defense Intelligence Agency and other spook outfits. Gritz's rescue plan involved Rambo-like scenarios (including the use of inflatable airplanes) which were too much for even Perot to go along with, but the scheme -- dubbed "Operation Lazarus " was eventually funded by an executive of Litton Industries, and a contribution from none other than Hollywood tough-guy Clint Eastwood. Whether or not Bo Gritz really led four trips into Laos and elsewhere in search of POW-MIA's is cause for a good deal of speculation. Gritz partisans charge that the U.S. Government did everything possible to sabotage the operation, including the use of broadcasts over Voice of America which announced Gritz's impending arrival. Secrecy and paranoia began their usual synergyistic build-up, and soon Perot informants were claiming that Bo Gritz was "really" going into Vietnam to assasinate -- not rescue -- key POW's. Government investigations, including a Senate Committee, said that there was no credible evidence that POW's from the Vietnam era were languishing in slave labor camps being maintained for some unknown purpose by the Hanoi Government. But like the existence of UFO's, government denial quickly became "proof" of a deeper, more sinister conspiracy. Gritz apparently did make contact with the notorious Golden Triangle druglord, Khun Sa, who implicated everyone from Mafia godfathers to Intelligence community officials in a world-wide drug trade. Why would he say this, and jeopardize his own operation? Nobody asked. Episodes like "Operation Lazarus" along with his own Quixotic autobiography, "Called To Serve", quickly began to wrap Bo Gritz in an aura that was was half-adventurer-rebel, half eminence- grise and Patriarch. Gritz was saying some pretty kooky stuff on his own, blending conspiracy theories from all over the political spectrum into an ad hoc brain-salad of biblical fundamentalism, Christian Identity teachings, and a bit of new age-style crankery thrown in for good measure. "Called To Serve" had chapters telling readers that the suicides at Jonestown were a covert CIA operation run amuk, that AIDS was invented in a government laboratory, and that it was ex-nazis who were lurking behind the shots fired at Kennedy in Dealey Plaza. That had become standard fare in the world of political paranoia (or suspicion, depending on your point of view), but there were artifacts from the Christian Kook universe as well. The U.S. is "One Nation Under God," a Christian Identity refrain that also worried about "Zog" or "Zionist Occupation Government," and the supermarket barcode is a "Satanic plot" foretold in the bible as the "Mark of the Beast." In 1988, Gritz was approached by Willis Carto of the right-wing Liberty Lobby and persuaded to run with former sheet-wearer David Duke. Gritz dropped out and called the former Klansman an example of "bigoted garbage dumped into a perfect good container." He then announced plans to run for a U.S. Congressional seat in Utah, where he encountered a bizarre character named Mike Triggs. Adam Parfrey's book "Cult Rapture" (1995, Feral House) tells the tale in a chapter appropriately titled "Guns, Gold, Groceries, Guts 'N Gritz": Triggs is a "real screwball" who goes to jail for thirty days in the midst of the campaign for writing hot checks and misuse of a rented car." Wisely, the Nevada Republican hierarchy endorses someone other than Gritz in the primary round, and about the only support the ex-Colonel receives is from fringe publications like "Contact," once called "The Phoenix Liberator." If Gritz was willing to tromp half way around the globe in search of fictional MIA slave labor camps, he was also willing to fly to a meeting with a channeled space alien named "Hatonn." Encouraged by another Populist Party luminary named Cyril Minett, Gritz took off in his Cessna for the Tehachapi mountains of California to meet the eight-and-a-half foot, reptilian alien, only to encounter a woman calling herself "Dharma." Gritz told Parfrey that Dharma promptly informed him that she was really nine-and-a-half feet tall. Gritz's predisposition for the unconventional and somewhat unbelievable extends to other areas as well; at times he resembles a cross between a mystical-political prophet and a snake-oil salesman. Gritz is an unabashed consumer of conspiracy theories, including those ennunciated in books like "The Gods of Eden," which claims that humanity is enslaved by a race of super-aliens who manipulate history through the machinations of secret societies and cults. In a way, that meshes with Gritz's own brand of Mormonism, where the faithful are promised celestial goodies such as dominion over their own planet. Gritz left the official Mormon establishment church, LDS, in 1993 when local ecclesiastical officials refused to renew his "temple recommend," a document attesting to a member's strict obedience to doctrine. That wasn't the first time Bo had clashed with Mormon authorities, though; Gritz's far-out associations and statements were too much for the staid Salt Lake City Mormons, who had warned their followers to not accept his teachings on politics or his criticism of the Feds. Cosmic Politics? As Parfrey noted, Gritz's cosmic conspiracy views and run-ins with ET-types isn't the first time that nativist, right-wing populist politics has collided with the bizarre. Gritz is closely aligned with the Christian Identity movement, which preaches its own curious amalgam of biblical fundamentalism, racism and something that resembles a rejected script from a Sci-Fi Channel movie. Jews and blacks are the result of a carnal encounter between Eve and Satan (who, for the occasion, took the form of a hideous, hairy "ape man.") The results of this "pre-Adamite" encounter were "Satan's Spawn" (Jews) and a race of genetically mutated "Mud People." (Hispanics, Slavs, others). That scenario isn't too different from the teachings of W.D. Fard, who even before Elija Muhammed had started the group which later became the Black Muslims, or the Nation of Islam. Christian Identity simply turned Fard-ism "upside down": Fard taught that "white devils" were a genetic mutation of the "Original (Black) Man," brought about by an evil scientist named "Mr. Yacub." Like contemporary Identity enthusiasts, Fard (and the later NOI Muslim movement) was fascinated by the "Lost Tribes of Israel" tale in the bible. In Fard's version of history, Yacub worked his genetic engineering on the island of Patmos, which coincidentally was where John set to writing the Book of Revelation, one of the key elements in Identity demonology. Other similarities persist to this day; Louis Farrakhan, head of the Nation of Islam, continues a Muslim fascination with numerology and gematria (the use of numbers to interpret "hidden meaning" in sacred texts, be they the bible or the Koran); so do adherents of Christian Identity, whose own roots in the "Pyramid Science" of the British-Israel movement go back into the early 1800's. There is more to the "cosmic connection", though, linking modern-day Christian Identity and "patriot" movements to an arcane tradition of mysticism and crankery. Wesley Swift, a California minister who is considered one of the intellectual influences in Christian Identity, was captivated by numerology, "Pyramid Science" (an attempt to divine the past and future from measurements of the Great Pyramid), and was a believer in UFO's. His own mystical fascination with Mt. Shasta pre-dates the ephemeral "new age" belief that this extinct volcano located in northern California near the Oregon border is a "hidden base" for extra-terrestrial visitors. H. Spencer Lewis, founder of the Rosicrucian group AMORC based in San Jose, theorized that California was really the lost continent of Lemuria, a Pacific Ocean counterpart of Atlantis. Lewis mused that a remnant of the Lemurian race still lived in a city below Mt. Shasta. In 1906, Guy Warren Ballard, reported encounters with "Ascended Masters" while hiking the mountain, and along with Lewis and other occultists of the time, established mystical "retreats" at Mt. Shasta. One Ballard associate was William Dudley Pelley, leader of the pre-World War II mystical-fascist group known as the Silver Shirts and a movement known as "Soulcraft." Pelley too was an ethused practioner of "Pyramid Science" and a devotee of bible prophecy, particularly events concerning Jews. Between organizing for "Old Right" heroes like Gerald L.K. Smith or Father Coughlin, and trying to calculate the date of the Second Coming, Pelley was also boosting the cause of Adolph Hitler. He greeted the Fuhrer's rise to power as the prophetic demise of "the predatory clutch of Judah on civilized institutions," and "the Great Armageddon of Ancient Prophecy." Ballard's own romps in the wilds surrounding Mt. Shasta eventually led to the formation of the "I AM" movement and a virtual cult around the figure of the Comte de Saint Germain, an 18th century European alchemist and mystic. One legend about Germain concerned his longevity; the wealthy nobleman ostensibly journeyed to the United States to personally advise Guy Ballard about his mission in life. Guy Ballard had been dead for nearly a full decade when the mystical message about Mt. Shasta, St. Germain and the "cosmic desinty" of the United States was passed on by his wfie, Edna to Mark Prophet and his wife, Elizabeth Clare Prophet. By now, flying saucers had become very much a part of the whole Mt. Shasta legend, and "channeling" messages from aliens or "ascended masters" was in vogue in many occultist circles. Elizabeth Prophet founded her own "I AM" -type movement, the Church Universal and Triumphant, which eventually constructed its own compound (complete with underground bunkers), and decided to await doomsday. According to Parfrey, CUT -- "fearing a Waco-type invasion" -- struck a deal with the government and unloaded most of its guns. Prophet continues to preach a curious blend of mystical occultism, American-First nationalism (sans the racism of Christian Identity) and doomsday pessimism. A "Demon" Theory of Jews Gritz's statements on Jews, homosexuals and others are so outrageous that one asks: why hasn't the media noticed? In 1991, for instance, Gritz declared "I believe that the Identity Christian Movement will continue to grow in this nation until it is able to stand self-sufficient in spite of the government...Basically, the Zionists are taking over and we Christians are being formed (sic) into small pockets that will to go to camps twice a year to learn what's going on." In his autobiography, "Called To Serve," Gritz insisted that "Eight Jewish families virtually control the entire FED -- only three are American jews (sic)." Gritz also insists that "The foundation of America is the Holy Bible," and wrote in the "America First Series" that: "Thomas Jefferson's highly extolled concept of the 'separation of church and state' has been interpreted totally out of context." He then goes on to blame a wide range of social problems -- violent crime, teen pregnancies, rising sexually-transmitted diseases and even divorce -- on the 1963 Supreme Court decision to remove mandatory Bible reading from public schools. Gritz also declares that "Ninety-seven percent of our population profess to be Christians," but does not provide documentation for this highly questionable claim. Gritz also has harsh words for homosexuals, sentiments echoed by many of his associates like Christian Identity preacher Peter J. Peters. Peters is an unabashed theocrat, and author of the "Remnant Resolves" which serves as a statement of principles for Identity believers. The "Resolves" states that "the role of Civil Authority is to administer God's Law." God is "The Great Lawgiver," and this code is "binding...on all men, regardless of their political persuasion or personal beliefs." A "Guy Thing" Much of Identity resonates with traditional notions of Patriarchy and male authoritarianism. As with Islamic, Jewish and other religious-fundamentalist movements, women fit in only as part of a larger theological scheme administered by men. Much of the patriarchal impulse being echoed through such diverse phenomena as the Million Man March and the Promise Keepers rallies reflects the uncertainty of men as "heads of households" and sole-breadwinners in the postmodernist global economy. In this respect, Identity is an anti-modernist movement, esepcially concerning the status of women, or for that matter, sexual minorities such as gays. Peters calls for the death penalty (by stoning) for gays ; his book "Death Penalty For Homosexuals Is Prescribed in the Bible" is dedicated to "my Colonel friend (Gritz) who inadvertently inspired me to write this." According to Adam Parfrey, Gritz, however, had once declared that he would "fight to the death to allow anyone their rights, including homosexuals," but "has since toughened his views." Gritz declares that "There are first-degree homosexuals who probably should be skinned alive...Take 'em out, far as I'm concerned." "Remnant Resolves has thirty-eight separate reoslutions, including one 'asserting the submission of wives to husbands'...opposition to abortion, 'sodomy' and interracial marriage, and opposition to Jews holding public office." ("Religion and the Racist Rioght, Michael Barkun, 1994, University of North Carolina Press). Randy Weaver practiced Identity teachings about women, especially concerning the menstruation cycle. During this time of the month, his wife was banished to a "menstruation shed" outside of their Ruby Ridge house. Ironically, Gritz has practiced "interracial marriage." He has two children by his second wife who happens to be Chinese A Great American Land Hustle Gritz's role as a "patriarch" within the Identity-Patriot-Militia nexus also includes the job of trainer and land-hustler. His SPIKE program teaches militia members and other weekend-warrior types the basics of hand-to-hand combat and weapons operation. Gritz is also hustling real estate in Idaho, where he has formed a "Christian Covenant Community" he calls "Almost Heaven." Buyers who wish to live in this self-contained community and wait out the rule of the Anti-Christ, may purchase parcels from Gritz at a developer's mark-up. And Bo may be running afowl from some of his ex-comrades. Some Identity writers now brand him as a "political pied piper", even a secret Freemason. Gritz says that's because some white racialists didn't want a peaceful settlement at Ruby Ride; and presumably, they won't want one at the Freeman compound in Montana, either. In any case, Gritz remains a hero to many, and to others a man who somehow has the unenviable task of walking a thin line between government agents, and a rag-tag assortment of armed cultural outcasts. Where he ends up may well depend on what idea happens to pop into his head at any moment. Somehow, James "Bo" Gritz is "out there", waiting for Armageddon, the next media deal, or perhaps the arrival of the Mother Ship. Only Bo knows for sure. ************* AANEWS is a free service of American Atheists, a nationwide movement founded by Madalyn Murray O'Hair for the advancement of Atheism, and the total, absolute separation of government and religion. For more information about American Atheists, send e-mail to: info@atheists.org. Be sure to include your name, address and zip code. Additional background about this list may be obtained by sending e-mail to: aanews-request@listserv.atheists.org; be sure to put "info aanews" in the body of your message. Edited and written by Conrad F. Goeringer, The LISTMASTER.

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