This article first appeared in the Christian Research Journal, volume 19, number 3 (Winter 1997). For further information or to subscribe to the Christian Research Journal please click here.
Since the early 1990s, the national media has devoted countless stories to the increase of antigovernment militias throughout America. Many onlookers wholeheartedly endorse these paramilitary units as constitutionally protected expressions of freedom. Others see them as illegally formed private armies. In reality, the militias are far more complex. They represent the militant arm of the patriot movement, a diverse coalition of persons whose ideology is marked by three elements: rebellion, racism, and religion. The time has come for all Americans to critically examine this movement.
At 9:02 a.m. on April 19, 1995, Americans were stunned by the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The blast killed 168 people and injured approximately 600 others. When Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols were arrested as suspects, word quickly spread of their involvement in the patriot movement, a loose network of five to twelve million people.1 It is one of the most diverse coalitions America has ever seen.
On the movement’s moderate side are conservative Christians opposed to the liberal establishment. More radical participants include both Christians and non-Christians who deny their U.S. citizenship, drive without licenses, and refuse to pay income taxes in an effort to live outside “the system.” Interspersed among these two groups are the most dangerous patriots: Klansmen, neo-Nazis, and Christian Identity believers (i.e., white supremacists who blend pseudo-Christian beliefs with racism and anti-Semitism).
The glue binding this wide assortment of persons is a lethal compound of four ingredients: an obsessive suspicion of their government; a deep-seated hatred and fear of federal authorities; a belief in far-reaching conspiracy theories; and a feeling that for all intents and purposes Washington bureaucrats have discarded the U.S. Constitution. Most of the individuals in this antigovernment community also feel that a cold war of sorts is being waged between freedom-loving patriots and federal officials. Belief that this cold war will escalate into violent conflict is so great that many patriots have organized themselves into heavily armed militias, most of which function contrary to state laws prohibiting private armies.
To complicate matters, religion and/or racism are the impetus for large segments of the movement. These two powerful forces have created an unholy alliance between racists on the one hand and some conservative Christians on the other. Their common ground is apocalypticism, the belief that the present world will one day end through a cataclysmic confrontation between God and Satan, out of which will emerge God’s righteous kingdom.
A high level of paranoia gripping many participants in this movement makes the situation even more explosive. An ocean of pamphlets, newsletters, videotapes, and audiocassettes has flooded patriot minds with far-fetched plots the likes of which are usually associated with paperback spy novels. For instance, patriots believe the American government is now serving an insidious scheme hatched long ago by behind-the-scenes internationalists whose ultimate goal is world domination.
Before anyone attempts to deal with the dangers of this new rebellious subculture, its members must be understood. This can be achieved only by exploring their religious beliefs, examining their psychological make-up, and analyzing the deceptive information being disseminated by their leaders. Undertaking such a task is by no means easy. As Professor Phil Agre of the University of California, San Diego, rightly notes, the concepts expressed by patriots are so bizarre that they are “hard to even think about.”2Yet think about them we must, as the Oklahoma bombing has proven.
TO ARMS, TO ARMS
The cohesive thread running through the patriot/militia movement is an antagonistic, often hateful attitude toward the federal government. Four reasons regularly surface for this: (1) declining economic conditions; (2) unwanted social change; (3) imposition of federal authority over states’ rights; and (4) environmental legislation that imposes strict regulations on what landowners can do with their properties.
Many Americans are angry over several legislative moves by what they view as the liberal establishment: the Brady Law, the Assault Weapons Ban, GATT, NAFTA, and the 1995 Mexican “bailout.” The patriot movement largely consists of people who have reached the end of their rope. They are sick and tired of their voices being ignored by what they consider an out-of-control government. Some have responded to this perceived threat by banding together into paramilitary units called militias.
These groups represent the patriot movement’s militant wing. As such, they foreshadow the ultimate implementation of patriot attitudes and sentiments — a violent resistance to the supposedly tyrannical regime that is destroying the American way of life. Government spokespersons and patriots agree that militia membership could number into the millions.3
Patriots claim the militias are merely a “constitutional safety net.”4 Militia of Montana leader John Trochmann maintains they are a giant “neighborhood watch.”5
Michigan Militia spokesperson Ken Adams states most people in the militias are “totally against violence.”6 The facts, however, suggest militias are not so benign.
In 1994, for instance, four members of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Hunt Club (BRHC) militia were charged with stockpiling machine guns and planning to raid a nearby National Guard armory. BRHC leader James Roy Mullins was eventually convicted and sentenced to a five-year prison term for violating federal firearms regulations. Furthermore, a BRHC computer disk found by investigators contained information detailing a militia plan to destroy telephone relay centers, bridges, fuel storage tanks, radio stations, and airports. The information also revealed plans to murder “human targets,” such as police officers, political figures, and snitches.7
Although not all patriots are violent, most of them do tend to push the outside edges of constitutional liberties with many going well beyond legal borders. Ironically, they claim that their civil disobedience and acts of violence epitomize good citizenship!
SOVEREIGN CITIZEN REBELLION
The vast majority of patriots suffer from an acute misunderstanding of the 14th Amendment, ratified in 1868, which prohibits states from depriving “any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” Patriots claim this amendment created a second type of citizenship called federal citizenship. To patriots, federal citizens are second-class citizens subject to all laws passed by the power that supposedly gave them their citizenship, meaning the federal (U.S.) government located in Washington, D.C. As citizens of that government, they must obey federal rules such as paying taxes.
The first type of citizenship, however, which patriots call “state citizenship,” is said to have existed prior to the 14th Amendment. It is considered a “natural” citizenship conferred on persons born in any America state. Such individuals, called “sovereign” citizens, are supposedly not bound by federal (U.S.) laws because they derive their freedoms from the Constitution rather than from the 14th Amendment.
Patriots assert that most Americans have been duped into rejecting their sovereign status by unknowingly placing themselves under federal (U.S.) jurisdiction through “illegal contracts” with the government, such as driver’s licenses, birth certificates, and social security cards. These documents allegedly make someone a U.S. citizen. This, in turn, causes unsuspecting individuals to come under federal authority, which means they must obey federal laws.
Such a notion leads to the belief that people can free themselves from federal subjugation by choosing to live as a state citizen rather than as a U.S. citizen. It is argued that one can obtain “sovereign” status by (1)breaking (i.e., physically destroying) all “contracts” with the government including birth certificates, social security cards, driver’s licenses, and so forth; (2)renouncing federal (14th Amendment) citizenship; and (3)claiming state citizenship.
Although this understanding of the Constitution may sound plausible, it is built on nothing more than legal acrobatics and misunderstanding. First, the 14th Amendment did not create federal citizens. The Constitution itself made colonists and their posterity federal citizens so that when traveling between different states they would have equal rights and protection under an umbrella union: the federal United States.8 Second, the 14th Amendment did not impart second-class citizenship. It merely guaranteed blacks equal footing with other Americans by recognizing them as citizens of the U.S. and each state. Unfortunately, most patriots remain ignorant of these facts and continue to cause trouble for themselves, as well as for others:
- In 1994 three California patriots were arrested for hiring a thug to assault Stanislaus County clerk-recorder Karen Matthews, who had refused to remove an IRS lien (claims against property for debts) on the home of a local tax protester.9
- A San Antonio tax protester was charged with attempting to “hire an assassin to kill the mayor in the belief that the Constitution gives citizens the right to remove public officials — if necessary, by execution.”10
- In March 1995, four members of the Minnesota Patriots Council — LeRoy Wheeler, Duane Baker, Dennis Henderson, and Richard Oelrich — were convicted under the U.S. Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorist Act for planning to kill law enforcement agents with ricin, a deadly toxin that they had manufactured. The four men possessed enough ricin to kill 1,400 people.11
Many Americans agree that the government has grown too big, that federal agencies often overstep their bounds, and that citizens pay too much in taxes. But not everyone trains with an AK-47 for a day when they will have to fight the feds. Nor do all Americans manufacture biological weapons or stockpile huge caches of weaponry. Why? Because the real motivation behind the patriot/militia movement is much more complex than all of the complaints discussed thus far.
Unlike most citizens, who are merely wearied by our government’s problems, patriots cling to a radical conspiracy theory that the ongoing economic and political difficulties in their country are part of a much larger plan to “enslave Americans by disarming the population and making the currency worthless. The eventual result…will be the New World Order — a one-world government administered by the United Nations.”12 This coming totalitarian establishment will reduce everyone to slaves whose sole purpose will be to serve the “international bankers, wealthy elite, socialists and liberals.”13
If the phrase “New World Order” (NWO) sounds familiar, it should. On September 11, 1990, President Bush popularized the use of it through a speech delivered before Congress. He was speaking of “a reinvigorating of the system of collective security envisioned by the drafters of the United Nations Charter.”14 The ultimate goal is to create an era “where diverse nations are drawn together in common cause [i.e.,peace].”15
Responsible critics of the NWO fear that U.N. policies may set up the U.S. as “the world’s policeman trying to impose a Pax Americana on the rest of the world.”16 Patriots, however, voice a different complaint. According to influential patriot Jack McLamb, the NWO will be “an oligarchy of the world’s richest families who will place ½ the masses of the earth in servitude under their complete control, administered from behind the false front of the United Nations.”17
U.N. peacekeeping forces — which uphold peace in countries where governments cannot do so for themselves — pose the most ominous threat to U.S. sovereignty, according to patriots. Supposedly, global conspirators are causing a systematic breakdown of American society so peacekeepers can be summoned. McLamb states, “With just the ‘right’ manipulation, they have been successfully conditioning our people to see all our societal problems — government, political, educational, penal, ecological, etc. — as completely out of control.”18 Patriots theorize that we will soon be wanting peacekeepers to come and restore order. In the end, the U.S. will be merged into a one-world government.19
The United Nations is indeed a multinational organization, however it is hardly an ultraefficient, unstoppable freedom-destroying machine. First, the U.N.’s ineptitude has been well documented. U.N. operations are still hampered by poor planning, inadequate and incompetent forces, and complex political problems.20
Second, the U.N is constantly on the brink of insolvency and chronically faces logistical restraints. In 1996, member nations owed the U.N. more than $2.3 billion, with the U.S debt alone rising to more than $1billion.21
Finally, although the U.N. has increased its influence over U.S. foreign policy, the U.N. has little sway over U.S. domestic policy. According to Martin Sorensen, American undersecretary general to the U.N., the U.N.’s power “is given to it by its member states. It is not a world government. These critics completely misunderstand the function, role and limits of the U.N., and the U.S. relation to the U.N.”22
The NWO is not a new idea. In the wake of almost every upheaval, “a new generation hoped to be able to create a new international system to obtain everlasting peace and stability.”23 After every major war, people have tried to find a way to prevent further clashes. The end of the Napoleonic Wars saw the major states of that era meet at the Congress of Vienna (1815) in hopes of creating a new balance of power “that would preserve the peace.”24 A similar attempt was made after World War I when Woodrow Wilson proposed the ill-fated League of Nations. Wilson based his concept on the phrase, “Every people has a right to choose the sovereignty under which they shall live.”25 This is what the United States and other free countries are trying to achieve through the U.N.
Although some secular humanists, New Agers, and internationalists would like to see the U.N. develop into a world government, they are in no position to compel the member states of the U.N. to surrender their cherished sovereignty. America is not becoming a totalitarian police state under U.N. control. Government and military leaders see a sovereign U.S. participating in the NWO as a leader of nations trying to create a peaceful environment. According to a 1992 report by the federally funded rand Institute, the NWO will be an era “in which the United States, to guarantee its own stability and security, must promote international stability and security as well” (emphases added).26
If patriots objectively examined the evidence, they might discover that many of their fears are unfounded. They might also learn that the basic themes underlying their conspiracy theories are traceable “to long-standing anti-Semitic ideologies dating back to the Nineteenth Century.”27 As Kenneth Stern of the American Jewish Committee says, “The anti-government conspiracy theories that fuel this [patriot] movement are rewrites of anti-Semitic theories, but with the government replacing ‘Jews.’”28 This surprising fact grows clearer as one explores the origins of the patriot/militia movement.
FROM RACISM TO PATRIOTISM
The beginnings of the patriot/militia movement are inseparably interwoven with the violent Christian Identity movement (CIM). This network of churches and independent leaders began forming in the 1940s as racists defected from mainstream Christian denominations to organize their own churches. Although they retained a few Christian doctrines, especially those concerning the end times, they adopted additional beliefs built around prejudice and hate. Identity believers, for example, hold that today’s Caucasians are the true descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Thus they are God’s chosen people.
What of the Jew? Identity teaches that Jews resulted from a sexual union between Eve and “the serpent” (Gen. 3), which is usually identified as either Satan in physical form or a demonic representative in human flesh.29 This teaching — known as the “Serpent Seed” doctrine — asserts that Cain was conceived by Eve and Satan, while Abel was conceived by Eve and Adam, who were supposedly the first white people. Cain allegedly then fathered the Jews by intermarrying with preexisting nonwhite races known as “mud people” or “beasts of the field.” Identity leader Bertrand Comparet comments, “The Bible makes it unmistakably clear that we are not all descended from Adam and Eve, for there were other races on earth, already old, already numerous, when Adam was created.”30 (Cf. Gen. 3:20, which says Eve became the mother of all the living.)
Long before today’s militias, these white supremacists/CIM followers were calling themselves “patriots.” One Aryan Nations newsletter (c. 1982), for instance, lists Aryan Nations founder Richard Butler and racist leader Dan Gaymen as “Christian patriots.”31 Several racist fund-raising letters from the 1980s, such as those produced by KKK Grand Wizard Don Black, were addressed to fellow “White Patriots.”32 By the 1980s, white “patriots” were also forming paramilitary groups similar to militias. For example, in the mid 1980s a militia-like group of racists called the Arizona Patriots were arrested and convicted of plotting to bomb several targets, including federal buildings in Phoenix and Los Angeles.33
The goal of white supremacists is to topple the U.S. government so an Aryan nation can be established. In CIM eschatology, the American government — supposedly under Jewish control — must collapse in order to bring about a race war (Armageddon). Out of this conflict God’s Aryan kingdom will emerge. CIM believers hold that they must violently establish a white republic, or else they will live as slaves under a one-world Jewish government. But until the early 1990s, CIM followers had neither the strength nor the funds to destabilize the federal administration. As racist Michael Hansen stated in 1982, “We are both OUTNUMBERED AND OUTGUNNED.”34
A solution to this dilemma presented itself in the early 1990s when white supremacists realized that public dissatisfaction with the government had created a vast, untapped source of soldiers for their long-desired overthrow of the federal government: discontented non-racists. The plan entailed using millions of non-racists to form a unified revolt. To achieve their goal, racists/anti-Semites joined or formed “patriot” groups and militias, stirred up antigovernment sentiments, and spread conspiracy theories about the NWO.
Montana Human Rights Network president Ken Toole comments, “With the Brady Bill it was like someone poured jet fuel on the movement. Overnight we saw all this militia stuff bleed right out of the white supremacists who had been pushing the idea for years and engulf entire communities.”35 Bruce Hoffman — a former terrorism expert with the RAND Corporation — agrees that there has been an evolution in recruiting efforts of racist/anti-Semitic groups: “[They began] to bring in militant tax resisters, anti-abortion advocates, the anti-gun control movement, opponents of government intervention…. They also plugged into communities with particular problems, such as the Farm Belt during its economic plight. Since the 1980s, these radical right-wing movements have been constantly reinventing themselves to appeal to new and more diverse constituencies.”36
Thus began today’s patriot movement. The militias began forming after the August 1992 Ruby Ridge shootings involving Randy Weaver, an Idaho white supremacist. In late October of that year, between 150 and 175 men convened in Estes Park, Colorado, to discuss how to respond to the government’s actions against the Weaver family. This meeting was reportedly a “Christian” men’s conference, but attendees were hardly representative of American churches. Presiding over the event was well-known CIM pastor Pete Peters. Other racists present included former KKK Grand Dragon Louis Beam, Aryan Nations founder Richard Butler, and Montana anti-Semitic tax protester M. J. “Red” Beckman.
Retired Virginia legislator Larry Pratt (Gun Owners of America director) was also there. He seems to be the first individual who has publicly suggested that citizens form armed militias. Although Pratt’s racist audience heartily endorsed his idea, it did not catch on with a wider public until after the infamous 1993 raid by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms on the Branch Davidian religious commune in Waco, Texas. The botched mission left four federal agents and six Davidians dead. The subsequent siege ended when the FBI foolishly attempted to procure a Davidian surrender by demolishing the housing structure in which the group was barricaded. A fire ensued, killing nearly 100 cultists.
White supremacists soon began using both Ruby Ridge and Waco to illustrate why all citizens needed to form militias. Private armies, they said, would eventually be the only means of protection against a “tyrannical” government. Many Americans agreed and echoed the call for militias. Missouri State Highway Patrol Superintendent Fred Mills testified before a 1995 Senate Subcommittee hearing that this was how the militant arm of the patriot movement was born: “We have had militias in Arizona… [as far back] as 1971…. There has been sort of the white supremacist, the racist attitude in existence with many of the militia members for a long period of time…. What we have noticed recently is that they have changed their tune….They have used examples of Ruby Ridge and Waco and the Brady Bill as examples of where Government is going beyond what it should be doing, and thus recruiting in perhaps more numbers.”37
Although racists have not openly disclosed their views to the general patriot community, they are completely up-front with one another. Racist literature consistently refers to the New World Order as the Jew World Order. Neo-Nazi William Pierce bluntly informs Internet surfers at his Web page that “if accuracy were the primary consideration,” the coming one-world government “might be given the name Jew World Order instead of the one by which it is commonly known.” Pierce believes that in order to achieve Aryan victory, the only feasible strategy is for racists “to develop our own media of mass communication and then use those media to make everyone painfully aware of the true meaning of the New World Order.”38
Given the level of antigovernment paranoia rampant in this country, it seems racists are succeeding in accomplishing their goal — especially with the Christian community, where a number of evangelicals have not taken the time to investigate their sources of information. Christians are especially susceptible to the conspiracy theories circulating in patriot/militia circles because they fit nicely into premillennialism, which is currently the most popular evangelical eschatology. Pivotal to this last-days scenario is the idea that just before the world’s end a final period of unparalleled turmoil — the Tribulation — will occur under a satanic dictator, the Antichrist.
This looming threat of a one-world regime does indeed blend well with NWO conspiracy theories. However, many believers do not realize that every generation has had its share of people proclaiming the end of history and the existence of the Antichrist in their time. World events have deceived countless well-intentioned believers in each generation into thinking their generation was definitely the last one. Prophecy pundits have given numerous dates for the world’s demise: 500, 999, 1100, 1200, 1656, 1844, 1874, 1914, 1975, 1989.39 Yet even if we are in the last generation, it does not follow that the end will come about according to the patriot movement’s sensational scenario.
Nevertheless, many Christians and non-Christian CIM followers alike are convinced that the end is near, the Antichrist is alive, and the federal government is somehow linked to the whole end-time prophetic scenario. This raises one of the most disturbing aspects of the patriot movement: evangelical leaders are endorsing, sharing public platforms with, and even quoting neo-Nazis, anti-Semites, and other racists in an effort to support their eschatology and conspiracy theories. As a result, large segments of the church now embrace the NWO conspiracy theory as biblical fact, not realizing that Christian leaders have been gleaning information about it from anti-Semites/white supremacists.
ROBERTSON’S NEW WORLD ORDER
One of the most influential figures within evangelical Christianity is Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) and host of that network’s popular 700 Club program. The secular media began associating Robertson with patriots after the release of his 1991 book, The New World Order, which successfully introduced patriot conspiracy theories to a wide audience. Unfortunately, he draws on some of the same sources used by racists to support their anti-Semitic world view, namely, Nesta Webster and Eustace Mullins.
Robertson quotes Webster’s 1921 book, World Revolution, and her 1924 book, Secret Societies and Subversive Movements.40 The latter volume is so blatantly anti-Semitic that it is advertised in the 1995 resource catalog of the neo-Nazi Sons of Liberty organization as a work that exposes the “Jewish founders of secret societies and their inner workings.”41
Eustace Mullins is even more notorious for anti-Semitism/racism than Webster. His books also take prominence in the aforementioned catalog, which features an endless list of hate literature including: Proof of Negro Inferiority, which compares African Americans to gorillas; Who Brought the Slaves to America, a study “proving” that the Jews were responsible for America’s slave trade; and The Hitler We Loved and Why, a pictorial exposé on why Germans loved Der Führer.42
Mullins directly blames international Jewish bankers for the world’s evils and imputes all of America’s troubles to the Jews, even such problems as rising medical costs and difficulties in the health care system. Mullins’s beliefs came from Ezra Pound, a staunch anti-Semite who, according to a 1982 Aryan Nations Newsletter, was “a great admirer of Adolf Hitler and Mussolini.”43 Mullins boasts about visiting Pound “every day for three years,” saying each day Pound lectured him on world history. Mullins admits, “That’s how I found out what I know.”44
Mullins’s view of the NWO is perhaps most apparent in the epilogue he wrote for the anti-Semitic booklet, The World’s Trouble Makers by Bruce Brown, which viciously attacks Jews and paints Adolf Hitler as a misunderstood hero. Ironically, the epilogue condemns Pat Robertson because he advocates loving the Jews. Mullins actually puts Robertson into the NWO conspiracy! According to Mullins, Robertson is a pawn of the Jews, and CBN is nothing but a Jewish-controlled vehicle through which pro-Jewish sentiments are espoused.45
To date, Robertson has not repudiated his use of Webster or Mullins. Nor has he eliminated references to their works from subsequent printings of The New World Order, even though the New York Times and other notable publications have brought their anti-Semitism to his attention. Jerome R. Chanes, in his book Anti-Semitism in America Today, notes that although Robertson may not be an anti-Semite, he “chose to fish in some very dirty waters.”46
Christian speaker Chuck Missler, founder of Koinonia House, a ministry based in Idaho, is a major bridge between Christianity and the patriot/militia movement. His Personal Update newsletter has carried several articles promoting NWO antigovernment conspiracy theories. The July 1995 issue even strongly suggested the possibility that the government blew up the federal building in Oklahoma City.47 Missler believes America is no longer in a contest between the Democrats and Republicans but between “the Constitutionalists…and the global socialists who are pursuing the dream of the New World Order.”48
Personal Update information is allegedly produced through Missler’s “extensive contacts and private sources” so that a “behind-the-scenes perspective of the major issues” can be given.49 Some of Missler’s “contacts,” however, are tied directly to the white supremacist movement. The November 1995 issue of Personal Update not only quotes from, but expresses thanks to and gives the address of, the “American Patriot Fax Network… and ‘The Spotlight.’”50
The American Patriot Fax Network was co-founded by Gary Hunt, a shadowy figure whose name first surfaced during the Branch Davidian siege when he showed up in Waco, claiming to hold Koresh’s power of attorney. His network began when he started faxing information around the country to several like-minded patriots. He soon became connected to numerous fax “news” services run by white supremacists and CIM believers. Although the network has since branched out to include nonracist patriots and conservative Christians, it still sends out a steady stream of anti-Semitic materials.
A 1995 Los Angeles Times investigation found that several racist organizations belong to the Patriot Fax Network.51 Members supplying and receiving information include: the Arizona Patriots, a militant CIM group; Guardians of American Liberty, led by Stewart Webb, who made a series of threatening anti-Semitic phone calls from the mid-1980s to the 1990s; and CIM leader James Wickstrom, who in 1984 was convicted on two counts of impersonating a public official and one count of bail jumping.52
Missler’s use of information from Spotlight, and his recommendation of it as a news resource, is even more disturbing than his use of the Patriot Fax Network. Besides being factually unreliable, Spotlight is notorious for racist articles and advertisements. A survey of Spotlight articles from January 1994 through June 1995 reveals that the paper’s main purpose is not only to propagate NWO conspiracy theories but also to link them to racist/anti-Semitic views. The number of articles found on relevant topics are as follows:53
- New World Order — 75.
- Anti-Israel — 50.
- Anti-international Jewish bankers — 40.
- Anti-Black or pro-Apartheid — 28.
- Jewish holocaust denial — 13.
Missler is not a racist. Nor is he anti-Semitic. Nevertheless, he has used white supremacist sources in his attempts to find news that supports his eschatological views. Why? In Missler’s zeal to expose the coming Antichrist government, he has fallen into a trap laid long ago by Willis Carto, founder of the quasi-Nazi Liberty Lobby, which publishes Spotlight. A 1994 article in Covert Action Quarterly, an investigative magazine, rightly noted that Carto’s Lobby “is the major source of anti-Semitic propaganda in the United States.”54
According to Louis T. Beyers, a former associate of Carto, the Lobby’s plan is to draw support from non-racists as a means of strengthening antigovernment ranks: “Willis has talked to me about playing the role of a respectable conservative when his true feelings are those of a racist nationalist.” Beyers also maintains Carto’s ultimate aim is “to form a new power base ready to act when the country turned hard right.”55
To understand the level of racism promoted by the Liberty Lobby, one need look only to the philosophy of Willis Carto. In a 1955 letter to Earnest Cox, Carto boldly identified America’s enemy: “History plainly tells us who our Enemy is. Our Enemy today is the same Enemy of 50 years ago and before — and that was before Communism….The Jews came first and remain Public Enemy Number One….Hitler’s defeat was the defeat of Europe. And America. How could we have been so blind?”56
Given Carto’s philosophy, it is not surprising that Spotlight would feature anti-Semitic articles and neo-Nazi advertisements. What is shocking, however, is that Spotlight has been advertised in Chuck Missler’s Personal Update. This is precisely how racist conspiracy theories are gaining acceptance in mainstream Christian circles.
AN INTELLIGENCE ADVISOR?
According to the July 1995 issue of Personal Update, Don McAlvany is a “dear friend” of Chuck Missler and, “while we would not necessarily endorse all his views we highly value his counsel and research resources.”57 He is also another influential conservative who has embraced NWO conspiracy theories. Through his monthly McAlvany Intelligence Advisor newsletter (MIA), McAlvany harps on a future wherein hundreds of thousands of Christian patriots will be imprisoned under false charges of “hate, environmental, financial, or gun control ‘crimes.’”58 He claims the Waco tragedy was a declaration of “open season on non-mainstream (non-government approved) religious minorities” and further warns that many small Christian churches, communities, and groups will soon be reclassified as cults so the feds can do away with them.59
Like Missler, McAlvany apparently gets information from anti-Semitic sources. MIA has quoted Christian Identity believer Bo Gritz, Spotlight, and Eustace Mullins. MIA has even recommended Mullins’s book, Murder by Injection, which is advertised in the 1995 neo-Nazi Sons of Liberty resource catalog. McAlvany’s MIA is full of antigovernment propaganda, unsubstantiated rumor, misinformation, and faulty speculation about the NWO.
For example, in the July 1995 issue, under the subheading “police state briefs,” a story appeared that must have planted more than one seed of fear in Christians: “SWAT teams from several Idaho police departments participated in a practice raid on the Community Presbyterian Church in Post Falls. Captain Travis Chaney of the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department said the SWAT teams’ goal is ‘to provide a controlled, measured response to critical incidents…to successfully resolve threats to public safety.’”60
The news blurb is followed by an ominous editorial note seemingly intended to stir up paranoia: “Why would a SWAT team practice a forced armed entry of a church? Are Bible believers a ‘threat to public safety’?” The answer to McAlvany’s leading question is far less horrifying than he intimates. Jennifer Chapman, secretary of the Community Presbyterian Church of Post Falls, says the church donated their building to the police “because it had become vacant and condemned” after the congregation was blessed with a new house of worship.
“There was nothing anti-Christian about it,” Chapman said. Since her church had received numerous calls from persons wanting information about the police’s actions, Chapman wanted to make sure people got the straight story: “They were just going to tear the building down, so we let them [the police] have it to practice raids in and train their dogs to search for drugs. There’s nothing to it.”61
A TRAGIC TREND
Christian leaders are not the only individuals who have erred in these matters; Christian television stations, authors, and lecturers have been equally irresponsible. For example, since 1993, CIM Pastor Pete Peters has had his own television show on the influential Keystone Inspiration Network, a Pennsylvania-based conservative Christian television station. Keystone’s comptroller, Rev. Clyde Campbell, has rebuffed all warnings and complaints about Peters. Peters says the new television exposure has brought him nationwide support.
It is undeniable that a lack of Christian discernment about antigovernment conspiracy theories has greatly contributed to the creation of the patriot movement, which might best be characterized as an odd mishmash of evangelicalism, apocalypticism, extreme political conservatism, antiestablishment rebellion, white supremacy, and anti-Semitic legends. In direct conflict with God’s biblical call for Christians to separate from strange and demonic doctrines (1 Tim. 1:3; 4:1), conservatives have allied themselves with racists and white supremacists, albeit unknowingly in most cases. They have also disregarded biblical injunctions for believers to be “subject to rulers, to authorities” (Titus 3:1) and to “honor the king” (1 Pet. 2:17).
Paul the apostle instructed Christians to not be bound together with unbelievers: “What partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? What fellowship has light with darkness? What harmony has Christ with Belial?” (2 Cor. 6:14-15). Clearly, followers of Jesus must stand against anyone who promotes an unbiblical ideology, especially when that ideology advocates hatred and violence toward God’s chosen people according to the flesh (i.e., the Jews, see Rom. 9:4-5), toward other races created in God’s image (Gen. 1:26-27; Acts 17:26), and toward governmental authority, which God Himself has established and commanded us to obey (Rom. 13:1-7). Those who ignore these admonitions live under the threat of divine judgement. As the prophet Samuel warned, “Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry” (1 Sam. 15:23).
Richard Abanes — founder-director of Southern California’s Religious Information Center — is an investigative journalist and religion writer for several Christian publications. He has authored numerous books including Journey into the Light: Exploring Near-Death Experiences (Baker) and American Militias: Rebellion, Racism and Religion (InterVarsity Press).
- Daniel Junas, “Rise of the Militias,”Covert Action Quarterly, Spring 1995, no. 52, 21; cf. Jill Smolowe, “Enemies of the State,” Time, 8 May 1995, 61
- Phil Agre, from a 19 January 1995 interview with the author.
- James L. Brown, Senate subcommittee hearings, “The Militia Movement in the United States,” 15 June 1995, 31; Dean Compton, Commander of North American Alliance of Christian Militia, from a 17 November 1995 interview with the author
- James Johnson, Senate subcommittee hearings, “The Militia Movement in the United States,” 15 June 1995, 113.
- John Trochmann, Senate subcommittee hearings, “The Militia Movement in the United States,” 15 June 1995, 128.
- Ken Adams, Senate subcommittee hearings, “The Militia Movement in the United States,” 15 June 1995, 84.
- Quoted by Senator Herb Kohl, Senate subcommittee hearings, “The Militia Movement in the United States,” 15 June 1995, 5–6.
- Texas v. White, 19 L. Ed., 227; cited in New York v. U.S., 112 S.Ct. 2408, at 2421.
- Karen Matthews, ABC World News, 30 November 1995
- Lynn Ludlow, “Extremists of the Manic Right,” San Francisco Examiner, 9 July 1995, Internet edition, http://www.sfgate.com/examiner/index.html.
- “Past Militia Crackdowns,” Los Angeles Times, 12 October 1996, A27.
- Susan Ladd and Stan Swofford, “Fearing for Our Country,” News and Record (Greensboro, NC), 25 June 1995, Internet edition at http://www.infi.net/ nr/extra/militias/m-fearing.htm.
- George Eaton, “America Is Lost because the People Are Lost,” Patriot Report, October 1994, 2.
- Michael Barkun, “Militias, Christian Identity and the Radical Right,” Christian Century, 2–9 August 1995, 739
- George Bush, ABC’s Prime Time Live, 25 April 1995.
- Caspar Weinberger, “Commentary on Events at Home and Abroad,” Forbes, 15 February 1993, 35.
- Jack McLamb, Operation Vampire Killer 2000(Phoenix: PATNWO, 1992), 3.
- McLamb, 32.
- “Another U.N. Outrage,” American’s Bulletin, June 1995, 5.
- See, e.g., “Sickening Stats,” Soldier of Fortune, November 1995, 28
- “The United Nations,” World Press Review, October 1992, 10; “U.N. May Be Harbinger of an Authentic New World Order,” National Catholic Reporter, 17 July 1992, 28; Reuters, “U.S. Spurns Idea of UN Taxes,” 19 January 1996, America Online.
- Martin Sorensen, quoted in Edward Epstein, “Extremists’ Bizarre Fears of U.N. Conspiracy,”San Francisco Chronicle, 4 May 1995, Internet edition at http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle/index.shtml.
- Klaus Larres, “Recycling Old Ideas,” History Today, October 1993, 13.
- The Concise Columbia Encyclopedia, 2d ed. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1989), 872.
- Larres, 14.
- Jennifer Morrison Taw and Robert C. Leicht, The New World Order and Army Doctrine (Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 1992), 1.
- Matthew Lyons and Chip Berlet, “Militia Nation,” The Progressive, June 1995, 23.
- Kenneth Stern, testimony before “America under the Gun” forum, 11 July 1995, 10–11.
- Richard Butler, quoted in Brad Knickerbocker, “Followers See Validation for Their Views in the Bible,” Christian Science Monitor, 20 April 1995, 10.
- Bertrand Comparet, Adam Was Not the First “Man”(flyer), 2.
- David Scoffins, “Choose You This Day Whom You Will Serve,” Calling Our Nation, no. 29, 30.
- Don Black, The Ku Klux Klan Has a Plan(flyer), early 1980s, 1.
- Several of these patriots were sentenced to lengthy jail terms.
- Michael Hansen, “The Aryan Art of War,” Calling Our Nation, no. 34, 6.
- Ken Toole, quoted in Marc Cooper, “A Visit with MOM,” The Nation, 22 May 1995, reprinted in Militias in America 1995(San Francisco: Institute for Alternative Journalism, 1995), 46.
- Bruce Hoffman, quoted in Robin Wright and Josh Meyer, “Tradition-Rooted ‘Patriot’ Groups Strive to Curtail Modern ‘Tyranny,’” Los Angeles Times, 30 April 1995, A1.
- Fred Mills, Senate Subcommittee hearings, “The Militia Movement in the United States,” 15 June 1995, 72.
- William Pierce, “‘Free’ Trade, and the Deindustrialization of America,” National Vanguard Magazine, Internet edition, http://www.natvan.com/NATVAN/ NATVANDIR.HTML
- See Gary DeMar, Last Days Madness(Atlanta: American Vision, 1994); Russell Chandler, Doomsday (Ann Arbor, MI: Servant, 1993); B. J. Oropeza, 99 Reasons Why No One Knows When Christ Will Return (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1994).
- Pat Robertson, The New World Order (Dallas: Word, 1991), 71, 180.
- 1995 Sons of Liberty Book and Video Cassette List,
- 1995 Sons of Liberty, 5, 6, 21.
- Manfred Roeder, Teutonic Unity, no. 44, 3.
- Eustace Mullins, Radio Free America interview, 28 October 1994, hosted by Tom Valentine, Internet transcripts, http://lablinks.com/sumeria/politics/ustace.html
- Eustace Mullins in Bruce Brown, The World’s Trouble Makers(Metairie, LA: Sons of Liberty, 1985), 145–46.
- Jerome R. Chanes, Antisemitism in America Today(New York: Birch Lane Press, 1995), 299.
- Chuck Missler, “Clear and Present Danger,” Personal Update, July 1995, 6–9.
- Ibid., 8.
- Chuck Missler, “K-Rations,” Personal Update, November 1993, 15
- Chuck Missler, “Constitution a Crime?” Personal Update, November 1995, 3.
- Wright and Meyer, A12
- Anti-Defamation League, Armed and Dangerous(New York: Anti-Defamation League, 1994), 6; John George and Laird Wilcox, Nazis, Communists, Klansmen, and Others on the Fringe (Buffalo: Prometheus Books, 1992), 372
- Loretta J. Ross, testimony before “America under the Gun” forum, 11 July 1995, 6.
- Scott McLemee, “Spotlight on the Liberty Lobby,” Covert Action Quarterly, no. 50, 24
- Louis T. Beyers, quoted in McLemee, 24.
- Willis Carto, letter to Earnest Cox, quoted in McLemee, 25.
- Chuck Missler, “Clear and Present Danger,” July 1995, 9.
- Don McAlvany, “The Fourth Reich,” McAlvany Intelligence Adviser, January 1993, reprinted in NEXUS New Times Magazine, vol. 2, no. 13.
- Don McAlvany, “The Waco Massacre,” McAlvany Intelligence Adviser, July 1993, 21.
- Don McAlvany, “police state briefs,” McAlvany Intelligence Adviser, July 1995, 17.
- Jennifer Chapman, from a 27 December 1995 interview with the author.