By: Robin Murray-o'hair Re: Religionists Populate Militia RELIGIONISTS POPULATE 'MILITIA'

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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..." --30-- * WCE 2.0/2394 * Dial-THE-Atheist (512) 458-5731

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