Anti-Abortion Bombings Related
'Patriots' and racists converge
By Frederick Clarkson
Eric Robert Rudolph, the government says, bombed an abortion clinic in Birmingham, Ala., earlier this year, killing a police officer and partially blinding a nurse. Agents also want to question him about the bombings of an Atlanta area clinic and a lesbian bar, attacks which injured seven bystanders. And many suspect Rudolph of involvement in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing which killed one person and injured 100 others.
To many, these targets seem unrelated. But they are not.
More and more, anti-abortion extremists, white supremacist groups and the conspiracy-minded "Patriot" movement have come to share the same enemies list. Many in these previously separate movements agree that everything smacking of "one-worldism" — the Olympics, the United Nations and any other global agency — is part of a massive plot to subject Americans to tyranny.
Activists in all three movements describe LGBT people as "sodomites," people who deserve capital punishment. And in the latest development, many of those involved in these groups are bitterly attacking abortion.
"Eric Rudolph is symbolic of this new merger," says Dallas Blanchard, chairman of the University of West Florida's sociology department in Pensacola. "Militia types have shown more and more interest in the abortion issue, while anti-abortionists are becoming more and more militant and allying themselves with the militia movement."
Since the early 1990s, Patriot and white supremacist groups have used mainstream issues like gun control and land and environmental regulation to draw people into their organizations. Now, they are taking up the banner of fighting abortion.
America's Invisible Empire, a Klan group, describes abortion as "America's greatest crime." White Aryan Resistance, another white supremacist group, calls for "future Aryan justice" for abortionists — except in the case of non-white abortions. Leaders of the U.S. Taxpayers Party, a Patriot-linked group, have called for the death penalty for abortion doctors and even their patients.
Neal Horsley, who has called on militias to seize nuclear weapons, posts on his Web site the names of and other details about more than 300 people he considers pro-abortion, demanding "Nuremberg" trials.
The Michigan Militia has long been bitterly opposed to abortion, and other Patriot groups now take similar stands.
Taxes, Driver's Licenses and Abortion
In many ways, the odyssey of Gordon Sellner epitomizes the evolution of militant anti-abortion ideology, its confluence with the Patriot movement and its growing confrontation with the federal government. When Sellner first heard about the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion, he stopped paying taxes to a government "on the wrong side of God's law."
Two decades later, the Montanan, who by then described himself as a constitutionalist Patriot, was wounded in a shootout with police who had pursued him since he shot a deputy in an earlier arrest attempt.
He is now serving a prison term of life plus 10 years.
Like Sellner, other militants opposed to abortion have moved over the years from protests to violence. Increasingly, they share a revolutionary approach with the hard core of the Patriot and white supremacist movements, seeking to replace democracy with theocracy — a system in which one religion rules, and all other views are crushed.
This convergence of movements is evident nationwide.
Most recently, a Tennessee abortion activist repeatedly arrested in clinic invasions has begun converting a former Washington state lodge into a retreat for others who share his militant brand of religion. Allison Hall Grayson, who now calls himself a "Steward of the Church of Christ," is a friend of Paul Hill, convicted of killing an abortion doctor and his escort, The (Spokane, Wash.) Spokesman-Review reported.
Grayson doesn't believe in license plates, driver's licenses, Social Security or public schools, the newspaper said. He supports armed militias. The registered agent for his corporation is tied to "common-law courts" and militia activities.
His wife, Catherine, is a cartoonist for Life Advocate, an anti-abortion magazine that supports "justifiable homicide" and shares a post office box with the American Coalition of Life Activists (ACLA). Many ACLA directors have been outspoken in their support for the murderers of doctors.
Grayson's project, officials and observers say, is the latest evidence of the melding of the militant anti-abortion and antigovernment movements. But similar cases, some of them documented by Planned Parenthood, have cropped up around the nation recently.
Convergence: The Connections
· August Kreis and James Wickstrom, longtime leaders of the violently racist and anti-Semitic Posse Comitatus, recently put up an article on their Web site hailing Rudolph as "a true warrior of YHVH [God]."
Wickstrom, a Michigan militia enthusiast who organized paramilitary training for the Posse during the 1980s, has served prison time for impersonating public officials and counterfeiting. Kreis, Wickstrom's Posse deputy, headed The Messiah's Militia in Pennsylvania.
In their article, the men complain about the "several hundred JOG agents (jewish occupational government forces)" searching for Rudolph.
· The Rev. Matthew Trewhella, who founded the militant Missionaries to the Preborn, was one of the first anti-abortion leaders to publicly call for militias.
At a 1994 Wisconsin convention of the U.S. Taxpayers Party (USTP) — which mixes anti-abortion and antigovernment Patriot militants — he called on churches to form armed militias. After telling congregants to do "the most loving thing" by buying their children "an SKS rifle and 500 rounds of ammunition," he said he was teaching his own 16-month-old the location of his "trigger finger."
The Wisconsin USTP ticket has included Ernest Brusubardis III, a "captain" of the Wisconsin Militia arrested in several Wisconsin clinic blockades.
· Willie Ray Lampley, head of the Oklahoma Constitutional Militia, is serving 11 years in federal prison for plotting to blow up abortion clinics, gay bars, the Southern Poverty Law Center, Anti-Defamation League offices and other targets. His wife and another man were also convicted in the ammonium nitrate bomb conspiracy.
· The Rev. W.N. Otwell, who reportedly has called America a "white man's country" and protested "race-mixing," has led his camouflage-clad followers in protests at an abortion clinic.
In 1996, Otwell traveled from his Texas compound to support the white supremacist Montana Freemen in their 81-day armed standoff with federal agents. He also protested in behalf of Republic of Texas criminals during their 1997 standoff.
· Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, helped Operation Rescue at a time when it was facing a $50,000 fine. Pratt's Committee to Protect the Family Foundation raised nearly $150,000 to pay Operation Rescue's bills, without that organization ever holding the money. Pratt only halted his fundraising when a judge ruled that the foundation could be held liable for Operation Rescue's fines.
Pratt has spoken at white supremacist gatherings and has long advocated formation of armed militias.
· Texas anti-abortion leader Jack DeVault, while on work release for illegally blocking clinic entrances, reported on the Branch Davidian trial for the American Patriot Fax Network and "Radio Free America," a program that has featured many extremists. He also reportedly proposed forming citizens' posses to run out "meddling federal agents."
· Joe Holland, one-time national director of the North American Volunteer Militia, has said government support for "murder clinics" and the "advancement of homosexuals" made him a rebel.
Holland, who died in prison this spring, once threatened to send law enforcement officers "home in body bags." He was serving time for criminal syndicalism and jury tampering in Montana when he suffered a heart attack in March.
· Tim Dreste, a leader of the militant American Coalition of Life Activists, also has been a captain and chaplain of a militia group, the 1st Missouri Volunteers. Dreste led several 1988 invasions of abortion clinics in New York and Atlanta. After the 1993 murder of Dr. David Gunn, he carried a sign: "Dr. ... Are you feeling under the Gunn?"
· Dale Pultz, a member of the Missionaries to the Preborn who has been convicted of illegally blocking clinics, used Patriot "common-law" techniques to slap a $700,000 lien on a judge who jailed him. This type of common-law "paper terrorism" is a Patriot tactic that is derived from the anti-Semitic Posse Comitatus group active in the 1980s.
These kinds of ties reflect a basic fact about all three movements: Patriots, white supremacists and anti-abortion militants are all fueled by interpretations of religion.
The militant anti-abortion movement is driven by three different but overlapping theologies that motivate violence: Christian Reconstructionism, Christian Identity and apocalyptic Catholicism. To understand this movement's increased militancy and its goal of instituting a theocracy — a goal that by definition means ending democracy — it is necessary to examine these three ideological strands.