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.

68 Responses to “Christian Militia in Michigan”

  1. UUniversal Love says:

    #24 James

    Thank you. Maybe if we remembered how young we really are, appreciated the things we did know and accepted the things we didn’t (without pretending they didn’t exist), sort of like a child, the world wouldn’t suck half so much. I think Dr Seuss would agree.

  2. Ellen says:

    The problem with comparing to the ‘No true Scotsman’ argument, is that one does not have a choice in where they were born – they are either a Scotsman or they are not. One does have a choice in whether they call themselves a Christian. Just because this group calls themselves Christian does not mean that they are Christian or that they follow any form of Christianity. Similar to yourselves in calling yourselves a religious organization. You can joke all you want and post silly protesting counter comments, but in reality we all know you are satirizing belief in a higher power and not true believers of your purported religion. I do not agree with all things all Christians do or all people who call themselves Christians, and I suspect the same would be true of your members. There are dangerous fundamentalist groups claiming themselves part of every religion. “True” – no, not in the sense of mainstream. Extremist or Fundamentalist would be a “truer” label for this group. I don’t beleive you will find any religion who will accept or defend fundamentalist or extremist factions just because they have incorporated the name of your belief system into the name of their terrorist organization.

  3. theFewtheProudtheMarinara says:

    Ellen (#26): Thank you for your thoughtful posting. I have no issue with what people believe themselves; it’s what they try to force on others. If everyone had your attitude, this site wouldn’t exist, and THAT would sadden me more than the existence of extremist nuts like WBC.

  4. plumberbob says:

    @ 26 – Ellen -,

    Do you mean to try to tell us that the Wall Street loving Republican Party of NO!, will rebuff the Tea Party wingnut know-nothings? Religious idiocy and ignorance is all too commonly spouted out on this site, and we can accept that. If, however, you cannot see the realpolitik of the world you live in, you probably should take a sign to the street corner declaring that the sight of human female breasts causes earthquakes.


  5. brenda says:

    this website is so stupid CHRISTIANS RULE!!!!!!1

  6. UUniversal Love says:

    #26 Ellen

    I appreciate what you’re trying to say, but I feel the need to play “Pizza’s Advocate”, if you will, over a couple of the assumptions you’re making. One of the most significant is your definition of Christianity, or more significantly, your lack of definition.

    One of the most liberal definitions of Christianity is “a person who believes in the teachings of Jesus”.
    Take it a little further and you have “one who believes in the divinity and teachings of Christ”.
    We can go deeper and deeper into church doctrine, to the affirmation of the Nicean Creed, to the condemnation of homosexuality and non-Christian faiths. At some point I think doctrine comes into direct conflict with the teachings of Jesus. Then you have a dogmatic paradox, also known as “religious hypocrisy”. I would feel fairly comfortable in the first category. I could call homophobic, xenophobic, racist proponents of violence un-Christian, as defined by myself. You could call these militia members un-Christian, as defined by yourself. I think the mainstream definition is of someone who has accepted Christ as their Lord and savior.
    What’s really funny is that many of the most fundamentalist groups consider other self-defined Christians un-Christian.

    I’m sorry it’s taken this long, but we now get to the real point:
    How many people do you know, in your own church, who do not believe all of the same things you do? Do you still consider them Christian?

    How you answer those questions is important to me because of how you’ve characterized Pastafari.
    I think most people here appreciate our differences in beliefs; I think we may even have some who consider themselves religious, maybe some who even believe in God.
    But we are ALL true believers in the value of scientific inquiry and delicious noodles. This is all we need to commune with each other. In my other faith, we agree on only a few things which can be reduced to “Love your neighbor (and the world around you), Respect the differences you have and the beliefs you share, and Search for truth and meaning in the world freely and responsibly”.

    The “Hutaree” believe in Christ as their Lord and savior. I’m interested in how you define Christianity and how you define yourself, but I also hope you’re aware of everything that definition entails.

  7. wren says:

    @26 Ellen

    People have incoporated the name of my belief system into the name of their terrorist organisation? Holy Spaghetti! This must be stopped!

    Where are these terrorists spreading terror (as is their wont) in the name of Pasta? They shall be smote (smited?) by FSMs noodly appendage.

    Wren :)

  8. theFewtheProudtheMarinara says:

    Gee – Ronnie Reagan said it – it must be true!

    Even more than JFK, the most overrated president in U.S. History. Double-digit unemployment. Stagflation. Doubling of the national debt. Dismantling of many of the social services the government is paid to provide back to its citizens. The only question is exactly when he went senile.

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