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Christian Militia in Michigan

Published March 30th, 2010 by Bobby Henderson

The FBI took down a Christian militia group in Michigan on Monday.

The indictment said the Hutaree, who describe themselves as “Christian warriors,” viewed all law enforcement as their enemy. It said they had planned a violent act to get the attention of the police, possibly by killing an officer at a traffic stop, and then attacking the funeral procession with explosives.

The arrests of the Hutaree members comes amid what the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama non profit that tracks extremism, has called “an explosion of new extremist groups and activism across the nation.” The organization has cited the economic downturn as a major reason for the change, and also contends that the far-right has been particularly animated by the election of the nation’s first black president.

That is pretty disturbing. I agree with the author that a lot of these occurrences are related to nutball “conservatives” rather than nutball “Christians”, however the two groups have quite a bit of overlap. I got a lot of flack a few days ago for saying religious people don’t stand up against extremists in their own religion (only in opposing religions). It will be interesting to see the Christian response to these arrests. I suspect we’ll hear a lot of the No True Scotsman* type arguments. “No True Christian would do these things”, immediately close mind.

* From Wikipedia:
No true Scotsman is a logical fallacy, an ad hoc attempt to retain an unreasoned assertion. When faced with a counterexample to a universal claim, rather than denying the counterexample or rejecting the original universal claim, this fallacy modifies the subject of assertion to tautologically exclude the specific case or others like it.

Imagine Hamish McDonald, a Scotsman, sitting down with his Glasgow Morning Herald and seeing an article about how the “Brighton Sex Maniac Strikes Again.” Hamish is shocked and declares that “No Scotsman would do such a thing.” The next day he sits down to read his Glasgow Morning Herald again and this time finds an article about an Aberdeen man whose brutal actions make the Brighton sex maniac seem almost gentlemanly. This fact shows that Hamish was wrong in his opinion but is he going to admit this? Not likely. This time he says, “No true Scotsman would do such a thing.”
—Antony Flew, Thinking About Thinking (1975)

Update: There’s a related article today in the Washington Post, The Hutaree militia and the rising risk of far-right violence.



63 Responses to “Christian Militia in Michigan”

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  1. Brian Fritzen says:

    I am starting the Pastaree. But ours will be a message of peace and pasta. We will spread the marinara amongst these ignorants.

    This is what you get when you cross religious ideology and guns. And while all pirates should exercise the right to bear arms (and swords.), we will not kill in the name of our carbo-god.

  2. Justin Varano says:

    Religious fundamentalists are dangerous wether they belong to the Taliban or the Tea Party. RAmen brother.

  3. nastyogre says:

    Yes, let us not forget that the most significant acts of terrorism in US history up until 911 was Oklahoma City. Domestic Terrorism. Our own people. Some of the most reviled organizations in the world are domestic terrorists. Relatively few terrorist organizations strike out against other countries.

    IRA, ETA are classic domestic terrorist organizatioons. Just to name a couple of those that still make the headlines occasionally. They may have a political point, a valid argument (I have a lot of sympathy for the IRA and the concept of a united Ireland actually, having studied at length the Irish Revolution and the partitioning) But they do things that are unacceptable and that cannot be condoned in any way as just action.
    People worry about the Muslim extremists. I don’t. I worry about the ultra-right neo-facists and ulta-conservative christians in the US.. The Muslims could never seriously threaten my freedom here.
    The right wingers? They already have limited my freedoms… they already do push their ideas on me. They already have subverted the Constitution to their own ends. They already have Supreme Court Justices rolling back established precedent. They already have had at least 2 presidents that were very sympathetic to their cause.

  4. UUniversal Love says:

    Well… Religious people do denounce those within their own religion pretty often. But ususally not without incorporating that “fallacy”.

    I want to point something out, though. When people make that kind of claim, when they’re being honest about it, they often mean their undertanding of, say, the definition of a Scotsman.

    If one Christian’s understanding of Christianity is charity, justice, and acceptance then they would consider any militia group “un-Christian”. Same for any other faith.

    Also, there should be a distinction between political conservatism and religious conservatism. Religious Conservatism means religiously traditional, which usually goes with dogmatic, exclusionary, and closed-minded. Political Conservatism means… Well, maybe not much anymore, but y’know…

    -By the way, considering the definition of a True Pastafarian… I believe that His Noodliness is ever so better with a dusting of sacramental parmesan. Should we tolerate the lactose intolerant amongst us?

  5. David C says:

    This is really freaky stuff! I hope they get put away for a long time. However, I find it interesting that the last time this happened, it was under another Democratic Administration. As a Canadian, far be it from me to make a connection…. Good on law enforcement….

  6. Witsend says:

    Pastafarians might enjoy this take on the action at Palingates:

    http://palingates.blogspot.com/2010/03/bullet-holes-christian-militiamen.html

    It’s worth a trip to the main page too: http://palingates.blogspot.com/

  7. Andrew says:

    I won’t say ‘No true Christian would do such a thing’ as Christians are still sinful people, capable of all kinds of evil. I would, however, say that ‘Any person (Christian or otherwise) doing this is not being obedient to Christ’. This is straightforward to prove – here are Jesus’ words on how to treat your enemies:

    “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:43–48 (NIV)

  8. don says:

    When I lived in Alabama I worked with a bunch of R/W X-tian milita nuts. One day I posted this on the bulletin board to mock them: The U.N. is demonic, let me demonstrate. The letter U is the 21st letter of the alphabet, the letter N is the 14th letter. 14 divided by 21 equals
    666 with 31 6′s followed by the number 7, which is God’s holy number. Furthermore, 1 divided by 3 equals .333 into infinity, which represents the Holy Trinity. When the “leader” saw this he asked me if I put that up. I thought he was going to kill me when I said yes, but he just replied, “brother, you’re onto something”.

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