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. claire says:

    You make a good argument. Christians and people in other religions are quick to attack extremists of other religions, but not of their own. This is certainly detrimental to their reputations. However, the “no true Scotsman” argument is not applicable to Christians. One is not born a Christian. Saying that one is a Christian does not make one so. Granted, I am not sure if no true Christian would commit such abominable acts in the name of Christ. This is partly because the criteria for being a Christian are somewhat muddled. However, the criteria for being of any particular nationality are less confusing. The thought being expressed that no true Christian would commit such acts is simply that Christians (generally speaking) hold certain values which are incompatible with such actions. As a group of people who claim to be transformed to the character of Jesus, one would find it impossible to be so transformed and commit such terrible act. It is those two ideas that seem to be logically inconsistent. Christians refer to the Bible as their source of direction in life and it says that if someone wrongs you, go to that person and address the problem. If he refuses to change his ways or apologize, get a third person, a mediator, if that doesn’t work, then treat him as a non-believer, not someone who is condemned, but someone who is not being transformed through an active relationship with Christ.
    You bring up a lot of things about religion on this sight that I absolutely agree with, particularly when it comes to the institutionalized part of religion. But none of your accusations on religion interfere with what I believe. Why? Because if it’s about relationship, about love, then all of the dogmas and traditions and misrepresentations of God are not the conditions of faith.
    I challenge you to look at Christianity before its institutionalization. Is there a difference? Is there anything positive about the early church? They were all about sharing food. They didn’t quite have pasta yet, but they shared a lot of meals together ;).

    • Cap'n Grey Beard says:

      What sticks out about your reply is what we know to be true of all christist. You chose to believe a story based on no evidence and then no matter what evidence is put before you your conclusiom will not change. Ever. No matter what. If jesus himself walked into your house and explained it was a hoax you would deny him.

      This is irrational. A human can only know something to be true by evaluating the evidence and reaching for a rational explanation.

      You considerf it reasonable because you have a “relationship” with your belief to deny that dinosaurs existed. That the world was create 6000 years ogo when literally we have mountains of evdence that those beliefs are nonsense.

      Believe what you like. We don’t care. But don’t ask us to “respect” your ludicrous claims nor to allow you teach your drivel in our schools. That is child abuse somethings the chistist church has long indulged in.

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  3. Walton Swearngen says:

    A thoughtful opinion and ideas I will use on my own blog. You’ve obviously spent a lot of time on this article. Congratulations!

  4. Resistors Diode says:

    If they call themselves as a “Christian Warrior” then why do they act violently attacking the innocent traffic enforcer. Perhaps they should be known as the “Satan Warrior” instead.

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