Anti-Abortion Leader Neal Horsley Spews Propaganda
Over the following years, Horsley and his wife reportedly opened a multi-store home furnishings business in Blooming Glen, Pa., before moving, in 1993, to their current home in Carrollton, Ga.
He got to know a number of the leaders of Operation Rescue, the anti-abortion group founded by Randall Terry that had long specialized in clinic blockades and other civil disobedience. He wrote extensively on his computer, crafting "books" on abortion that were never published.
And, at some point, he met Paul Hill.
Horsley described to Atlanta magazine a conversation he had with Hill, who already had publicly endorsed the idea of "justifiable homicide," just days before Hill took up the gun. Horsley claims he knew Hill could go violent and urged him instead to join up with his new project — building a secession movement in a bid to force the outlawing of abortion in America.
"No," Hill told him. "People are not going to be willing to do that until the rivers run red with blood."
"And that," Horsley says, "is the way that Paul Hill and I left it."
Days later, on July 29, 1994, Hill shot and killed Dr. John Britton and his escort, James Barrett, outside the same Pensacola, Fla., clinic where Dr. David Gunn became the first anti-abortion murder victim in 1993. Barrett's wife, June, was badly wounded.
Hill — who has graphically recounted his murder spree with a beatific grin spread across his face — was sentenced to die and sent to Florida's death row.
While Neal Horsley may not openly share Hill's taste for violence, both men do have a penchant for hard-line theocratic thinking — the idea that government and the legal system must be structured along explicitly religious lines.
Paul Hill was — and remains — a Christian Reconstructionist. This draconian theology holds that Old Testament laws ought to be the basis for "reconstructing" society under an explicitly theocratic government.
In the words of the late Rousas John Rushdoony, who wrote the defining Reconstructionist text in 1973, all non-Biblical law "represents an anti-Christian religion."
Although interpretations differ, most Reconstructionists propose the death penalty for abortion, homosexuality, the "propagation of false doctrines" and even "incorrigible" behavior by children.
Rushdoony's son-in-law, Gary North, wrote an important Reconstructionist book in 1998 that urged anti-abortion groups to go beyond civil disobedience and forge a theocratic movement that would culiminate in "a total confrontation with the civilization of secular humanism."
That same year, North personally tutored Operation Rescue's Randall Terry, according to the book Wrath of Angels: The American Abortion War, by journalists James Risen and Judy Thomas.
The effect on Terry was obvious. By 1995, he was telling an Operation Rescue gathering that Christians need to "take up the sword" and "overthrow" the government.
It's not known if Horsley personally met Terry or North, but he was certainly familiar with them and the ideas they shared with Hill. What is clear is that by the mid-1990s, Horsley was expressing Reconstructionist ideas.
Among other things, he cited "the elimination of the idea of the Creator from the legal reasoning process leading to the formation of law" as "proving the desecration of God's authority" in America. He wrote about "evil laws and the evil regime that perpetuates those laws."
And he angrily called on fellow Christians to radically reform the "self-indulgent, pagan, idolatrous status quo that goes by the name of the United States."
Horsley sneered at mainstream Christians: "When the dominant form of Christianity in a particular culture is actually apostate [heretical] Christianity, then the only alternative for real Christians is an alternative Christianity."
Horsley would come to share something more with Gary North. By the late 1990s, North had become the nation's leading prophet of "Y2K" doom — the idea that social collapse would accompany the arrival of the new millennium.
(It didn't, of course, but for a time millennial fears lit up the entire U.S. radical right.)
On his own website, Horsley would chime in, warning that "it is no exaggeration to say Armageddon could well be on its way." He also warned of the possibility that "our political rulers are consciously allowing the Y2K meltdown because they want to see a New World Order established" that would yield all power to the United Nations.
Horsley's website provided links to North's voluminous Y2K site, as well as to a roundup of Y2K "facts" posted by one Michael Bray — the convicted architect of a series of 1984 abortion clinic bombings and a key Reconstructionist theorist.
In 1995, Neal Horsley logged on to the Internet.
His first website, www.christiangallery.com, carried his writings on a variety of subjects, from essays calling for the arrest of "faggots" to interminable diatribes about abortion.
One section, called the "Desecration Digest," included extremely graphic pornographic photos ostensibly meant to illustrate America's moral degeneracy.
Another, entitled "Secession Via Nuclear Weapons" and illustrated by a large photograph of a mushroom cloud, called for Georgians to threaten to violently secede in a bid to force other states to outlaw abortion.
On another of Horsley's sites — he would ultimately put up a whole series of linked pages — he demanded that churches be exempted from Internal Revenue Service regulations.
Under the aegis of "the free church movement," Horlsey attacked the legal requirements that churches refrain from political activity to win tax-exempt status and withhold taxes from employees — a typical Reconstructionist theme.
By 1997, Horsley was a candidate for Georgia governor on the ticket of the so-called Creator's Rights Party — a political organization that, to all appearances, had a membership of one.
Horsley, who during this period was earning his living as a computer consultant at the Centers for Disease Control and elsewhere, simultaneously was making a name for himself in the world of hard-line anti-abortion activists.
In January 1997, he traveled to Washington, D.C., to sing the praises of the Internet at the White Rose Banquet — an annual gathering of some of the most violence-prone anti-abortion activists in America, hosted by clinic bomber Michael Bray.
The List-Making Begins
At the Washington banquet, according to later court testimony, Horsley met Paul deParrie, an official of a radical anti-abortion group, the American Coalition of Life Activists (ACLA), which had compiled a large number of dossiers on abortion providers. Containing many personal details, these dossiers already had been used to create anti-abortion posters of providers.
At the time Horsley and deParrie hooked up, ACLA, a similar group called Advocates for Life Ministries and 14 individuals were being sued by Planned Parenthood and a group of providers. The plaintiffs charged that the posters were nothing less than an assassination list.
DeParrie gave Horsley a box filled with ACLA dossiers, and within weeks Horsley had organized the infamous "Nuremberg Files" — a new section of his website that ultimately would carry the names of and other details about hundreds of doctors, other health care providers and even politicians and judges who supported abortion rights. The idea, Horsley says, was to create files for future prosecutions for "child-killing."
Horsley would later testify that he had no intention of creating a hit list, only of presenting information for use at future trials. But Horsley surely knew that such data had been used for murder before.
An "unwanted" poster featuring Dr. John Britton, including his photo, home address and details about his vehicle, was used by Horsley acquaintance Paul Hill to carry out Britton's assassination.
The details of how Britton was identified were written up as a case study in a magazine called Life Advocate — edited by deParrie and published by ACLA leader Andrew Burnett.