By: Robin Murray-o'hair
Re: Religionists Populate Militia
RELIGIONISTS POPULATE 'MILITIA' MOVEMENTS
by Conrad Goeringer
With suspects in the Oklahoma City bombing possibly tied
to right-wing militia groups, everyone from government
investigators to the news media is trying to understand who joins
such organizations as the Michigan Militia and why.
Some members have little more than a partial high-school
education, others are professors. One militia "commander" is a
janitor, while other officers are preachers, even business
owners. But one common trait seems to be extreme religiosity,
and a gnawing fear that America is being taken over by Jews,
Atheists, Communists or other plotters.
Some are attracted to these movements because of a sense
that the nation has "kicked god out of government" by ending
school prayer, legalizing abortion, and extending the First
Amendment to protect "filthy speech" and pornography. Others seem
to stick with a more political agenda. Militia members fervently
defend the right to bear arms, or disagree with economic policies
like NAFTA and GATT which established international trade
agreements. And many view the 1993 attack on the Branch Davidian
compound in Waco, Texas as a watershed, a "call to arms" against
the U.S. Government.
One group which monitors movements like the militias, the
Center for Democratic Renewal in Atlanta, says that militia
members are mostly white males, aged 18-46, "predominantly middle
class, working class, small business-owner type people." Many,
like suspect Timothy McVeigh, served in the military. And many
militia joiners "belong to the Christian religion." A look at the
literature and statements from these far-right groups reveals
more than just a healthy (even paranoid) distrust of the current
government. There is a religious agenda at work, ranging from
the bizarre theo-politics of the Christian Identity movement, to
the more fundamentalist stances one finds in "mainstream" right
movements like Pat Robertson's and the Christian Coalition. And
there is a common tradition going back to the "old right" in
pre-World War II America, the era of radio-preacher Father
Coughlin. Many of the sources which Robertson used in his book
"The New World Order" are stock-in-trade of old fascist and
present-day neo-Nazi movements -- books like Nesta Webster's
"World Revolution" or "Secret Societies and Subversive
Movements." The thesis in this literature resonates today in
some segments of the militia movement -- the world is being taken
over by Jews, Freemasons, a "hidden hand" intent on establishing
an Atheistic one-world, race-mixing dictatorship.
Along with the Internet and computer bulletin boards, "the
word" according to far-right movements is spread at gunshows and
public meetings -- and even by short wave radio. 100,000-watt
shortwave stations like WWCR (World Wide Christian Radio) sell
their air time to Identity preachers such as Pete Peters, who
claims that the Bible justifies the killing of homosexuals.
Other broadcasts bring the views of Ernst Zundell from Canada,
author of "Did Six Million Jews Really Die in the Holocaust?"
And smaller shortwave operations permit a variety of
fundamentalist-nationalist radio preachers to reach a large
audience through satellite uplinking.
While the militia movement is being called "anti-government"
and even "anarchistic," the fixation with Bible law and strict
religious doctrine should give pause to thought -- exactly what
kind of society would the militiamen want "after the revolution"?
Despite its anti-establishment rhetoric, militia culture would
probably not be friendly towards racial minorities, women,
homosexuals, and those who strayed beyond the tightly-defined
parameters of orthodox Christian religion. It's like the lyrics
in an old song by "The Who" --
"Meet the new boss, same as the old boss..."
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