Posts Tagged “christian militia”

Good, Bad. I'm the Jesus with the Gun.Texas authorities may not care much about the Christian militia that’s running amok in Amarillo, TX as I blogged already. But federal authorities today went after a Christian militia group operating in multiple states, as ABC News reports:

The FBI said Sunday that agents conducted weekend raids in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio and arrested at least three people, and a militia leader in Michigan said the target of at least one of the raids was a Christian militia group.

Federal warrants were sealed, but a federal law enforcement official speaking on condition of anonymity said some of those arrested face gun charges and officials are pursuing other suspects.

This other, unrelated militia leader in Michigan offered some additional information:

Michael Lackomar, a spokesman for the Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia, said one of his team leaders got a frantic phone call Saturday evening from members of Hutaree, a Christian militia group, who said their property in southwest Michigan was being raided by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

“They said they were under attack by the ATF and wanted a place to hide,” Lackomar said. “My team leader said, ‘no thanks.'”

The team leader was cooperating with the FBI on Sunday, Lackomar said. He said SMVM wasn’t affiliated with Hutaree, which states on its Web site to be “prepared to defend all those who belong to Christ and save those who aren’t.”

It’s not clear to me who or what this “Hutaree Militia” is. According to their own Web site — which I will not link here — the name “hutaree” means “Christian warrior.” I’m not sure what language that is. As made famous by a John Wayne film by that title, “hatari” means “danger” in Swahili. But that particular movie doesn’t seem to have any connection with this Christian militia, so I suspect it’s a word they made up for themselves. In any event, they use scripture to justify their warlike posture, such as:

Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. (Mt 10:34)

They also cite a different scripture as support for their movement:

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. (Jn 15:13)

But that particular message is a pacifist one, intended to presage Jesus’ own sacrifice of himself (which happened later in that gospel), and is not warlike at all.

Another odd thing about them is that their avowed list of “information sources” includes mainstream and not-very-unusual outlets such as the Jerusalem Post and the Financial Times; yet it also includes avowedly and coercively religious sites such as World Net Daily, CNS News, and Jack Van Impe Ministries. It’s safe to say these guys are more likely to act on what they read from their co-religionists at WND than they are to act on anything they read in the FT.

Yet another aspect of this group that puzzles me is, how — exactly — do they think arming themselves and going on military exercises is a way to obey the Beatitudes, which can easily be found in the same Bibles they’re able to quote:

He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying,
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Mt 5:2-10)

And turning His gaze toward His disciples, He began to say,
“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
“Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.
“Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man.
“Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets.
“But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full.
“Woe to you who are well-fed now, for you shall be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.
“Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way. (Lk 6:20-26)

I think it’s safe to say they never had any intention of ever obeying the Beatitudes. This makes them hypocritical Christians, who carve up their own Holy Bible to suit their wishes, waving around the snippets that appear to support them, and shredding the parts that condemn them … such as:

Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. (Mt 26:52)

Hat tip: Skeptics & Heretics Forum.

Photo credit: negatendo.

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Greetings from Amarillo, Texas (postcard)It’s often joked that the Religious Right and its various constituent groups are a “Christian Taliban,” effectively no different from their Afghani counterparts of the same name, except for 1) Their religion (Christianity instead of Islam); and 2) Their existence as a militia within a lawless country. Well, in Amarillo Texas, that latter difference no longer exists. There truly is a Christian Taliban-style militia at work there … and woe to anyone they deem “unworthy.”

Note: I’m posting this in spite of the fact that I am still not 100% sure this story is genuine. It reads too much like something from The Onion for me to be totally confident in it. Nevertheless, it’s getting some play on the Internet, and the more I hear about it, the more certain this story seems to be.

The Texas Observer reports on the the group known as “Repent Amarillo” and its activities (WebCite cached article), beginning with the protest they staged at a “swingers’ club”:

… [I]magine the swingers’ surprise when they arrived at their New Year’s Eve bash to find two dozen protesters, local media in tow, holding signs and singing songs. This was a most unwelcome coming-out party.

Some protesters, mostly young men in their teens and early 20s, wore black hoodies and military fatigues. The men, Amarillo would soon learn, were foot soldiers of Repent Amarillo, a new, militant evangelical group that advertises itself as “the Special Forces of spiritual warfare.” Their leader, David Grisham, a security guard at nuclear-bomb facility Pantex who moonlights as a pastor, explained the action. “We’re here to shine the light on this darkness,” Grisham told the Amarillo Globe-News. “I don’t think Amarillo knew about this place. This is adultery. This is wrong. There’s no telling how many venereal diseases get spread, how many abortions.” The goal, Grisham says, was not just to save the swingers’ souls, but to shut the club down.

Local Amarillo authorities have — effectively — granted this group their blessing, and will not intervene:

For the past year, this Bible Belt city of 200,000 has been consumed by a culture clash between Repent Amarillo and their targets, a list that includes everything from gay bars to liberal churches. For the Route 66 swingers, Grisham’s “special forces” have been a near-constant presence. Jobs have been lost, families estranged, assault charges filed and businesses shuttered. So far, no public official has stood up to defend these businesses, which operate legally. To the contrary, Repent Amarillo has managed to turn the city’s own laws and employees into an effective weapon. Amarillo, it turns out, doesn’t have the stomach to stick up for gays, swingers, strippers or even Unitarians. Absent a peacekeeper, the conflict might end up being settled the old-fashioned way, frontier-style. “This will not end until somebody gets hurt, either us or them,” one swinger warns.

The lax enforcement is seen in how differently local law enforcement, and Texas state troopers, handled one event:

It’s debatable whether all of Repent’s actions are legal. In January, six Repent members showed up at a weekend swingers party at the private home of Route 66’s attorney. During the party, the attorney says the group trespassed on her property and tried to block cars from entering the driveway. She called the police. Sheriff’s deputies showed up, followed not long after by a state trooper.

The two law-enforcement groups apparently had different ideas about how to handle Repent, according to a Potter County incident report. The state trooper took photographs of the Repent vehicles and filled out suspicious activity cards, which go to the state’s intelligence center. The deputies, on the other hand, dismissed the attorney’s account and left Repent to carry on.

Repent Amarillo is not backing down and is not limiting its attacks to just swingers’ clubs:

What’s next for Repent? They’ve posted a “Warfare Map” on the group’s Web site. The map includes establishments like gay bars, strip clubs and porn shops, but also the Wildcat Bluff Nature Center. Repent believes the 600-acre prairie park’s Walmart-funded “Earth Circle,” used for lectures, is a Mecca for witches and pagans. Also on the list are The 806 coffeehouse (a hangout for artists and counterculture types), the Islamic Center of Amarillo (“Allah is a false god”), and “compromised churches” like Polk Street Methodist (gay-friendly).

It is fairly easy for a group like this to operate in Texas, where county sheriffs are effectively sovereign princelings who have the power to permit people they like to operate with impunity, and who can also destroy people they dislike. So long as the sheriff of Potter county (in which Amarillo lies) chooses not to stop Repent Amarillo, they will continue their militant activities, and will ruin more lives.

I’m curious to see how truly committed these people at Repent Amarillo are, to their cause. Would they be willing to engage in this behavior in some other region where they don’t have the protection of local law enforcement? My guess is that they have neither the courage nor integrity to do so.

Hat tip: Unreasonable Faith blog.

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