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”

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  1. theFewtheProudtheMarinara says:

    Oh – and I forgot the Iran/Contra assault on the constitution and the billions lost in the savings & loans debacle due to that old conservative ideal of financial deregulation.

  2. Ellen says:

    #27 Universal love
    If my answer to those questions is important to you, then re-read my post. The answers are there! I read the open letter, if you have concerns about how I have characterized your group – have another look at that and I think the reference will be clear. Sorry I don’t recall anything about scientific inquiry and love of noodles. The initial poster’s comments were around standing up to extremists in their own religion (only in other religions), implying these these folks belong to the Christian reliogion – which they may or may not, I know nothing more about them than what was posted here. So! There seems to be some feeling from the original poster, that we should root these people out from among our ranks. Problem is, they are not in our ranks. They are a fundamentalist faction who has gone off on their own and developed their own agenda, rather than trying to follow the Christian religion – and I say that based on their actions. And I’ll end with my definition, so that you have something to work with :) A Christian is a believer in and follower of the teachings of Jesus Christ.

  3. plumberbob says:

    @ 29 – brenda – ,

    It’s so good to hear such well reasoned and cogent apologetics from a dedicated true believer. Please come back and explain in detail which of the following Christian events is your favorite, and why.

    1) The Salem witch trials
    2) The Inquisition
    3) The Crusades
    4) Ethnic Cleansing


  4. UUniversal Love says:

    I think we all have a responsibility to praise the reasonable and denounce the dangerous and the violent among us.

    #34 Ellen
    Thank you for answering! I was hoping you would stay on.
    The truth is that if that’s your definition of your faith, everything else I said is just padding.
    But in that case, there are a lot of Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Atheists, and others who are about as christian as you are. They have similar definitions, they just speak a different theological language. :)
    Mohandas Gandhi said, “I am Muslim, and Hindu and Christian.” And we should remember that Jesus was Jewish.

    So who’s ranks are the crazies in then?

  5. Ellen says:

    Yours? :) FSM seems to fit my definition of an extremist faction with an agenda. What do you think? (Chrstians are capable to humour too) My good friend is Buddhist and I am certain that she is not a believer in or follower of the teachings of Jesus Christ. It’s news to me that Hindus, Muslims and Athiests are followers of Christ as well and I venture to say, it will be news to them, as well! As a Jewish colleague told me, “We have a name for Jews who follow Christ – We call them Christians!” So thank you for enlighening me to that fact that all are Christians. I do take minor issue with you judging how Christian I am. Another quote for you, interestngly from a book of matches with a picture of biker on the front. ‘Judge me all you like, but keep the verdict to yourself’. The Christian religion, as much as it may be twisted into other forms, is about love and one of the reasons Christ was sent, was to correct many of the misconceptions and add-ons to gods word, that came from man. He came to simplify the message from god, that man had complicated. He narrowed it down for us: Love the lord your god with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself. The one commandment, which if folllowed, takes care of the other nine. Churches that teach this message do exist, I attend one myself. The message is not to hate poeple, but not to condone behavior that is counter to Christ’s teaching. I’ll go now and wish you all the best in your personal quests for truth. (I don’t want to stay too long in the company of tax collectors, unless I have some chance of converting them :)

  6. Wench Nikkiee says:

    A Christian is a believer in and follower of the teachings of Jesus Christ.

    Hmm…according to the World Christian Encyclopedia (year 2000 version), global Christianity had 33,820 denominations.


    33,820 varieties of believers in and followers of Jesus Christ. So which is The One?

  7. Wench Nikkiee says:

    The Christian religion, as much as it may be twisted into other forms, is about love and one of the reasons Christ was sent, was to correct many of the misconceptions and add-ons to gods word, that came from man.

    He came to simplify the message from god……Love the lord your god with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself.

    Ooops…I’ve obviously gotten the wrong bible book. This one (KJV) says:

    10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
    10:35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
    10:36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household

  8. UUniversal Love says:

    I’m sorry if you’ve left already, Ellen. I wan’t trying to offend you. I don’t collect taxes.
    I may have just been confused by a semantics problem. In your definition of a Christian, the direct object of what you were following was the word “teachings”, not “Christ”. I think I follow Christ’s teachings pretty exactly. I believe in Christ’s teachings.

    I was not at all trying to judge you or judge how Christian you are; I was only pointing out that if that is your definition, you probably categorize more people as Christian than someone else might.
    If you made an error in defining your faith, I don’t want to scare you off; I try to keep an open mind and learn about other’s perspectives, so I’m happy to let you try and convert me, or at least explain your position. Would you consider that too extreme an agenda? (Please remember that, although I don’t think he considered it conversion, Jesus did not think anyone was beyond convincing. We’re all on our own personal path to Truth, but we’re all questing together.)

    Thank you for being fairly friendly and accepting, and for following Christ to the best of your ability ,which I believe you do. Bless you. Love. RAmen!

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