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Militia Groups & Militia Movement

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The militant arm of the Patriot Movement. Organized, armed groups that claim to defend the U.S. Constitution (from real or perceived enemies).

The FBI distinguishes Constitutional militias and hate groups:

Federal agents and militia members say the outreach program helps distinguish true Constitutional militia members from hate groups and changes the public perception that militias are "anti-government." "Christian Identity groups, Ku Klux Klan, Nazi groups, they claim to be a militia. The media gets a hold of it, and that group is a militia," Smith said. "Once you break the law, you are no longer militia. We don't want Americans killing Americans."

In a report to the FBI (www.fbi.govoffsite), ''Militias: Initiating Contactoffsite,'' James E. Duffy and Alan C. Brantley, M.A. describe the typical militia members.
(...)

They write: ''Most militia organization members are white males who range in age from the early 20s to the mid-50s. The majority of militia members appear to be attracted to the movement because of gun control issues... Many militia members believe that these legislative initiatives represent a government conspiracy to disarm the populace and ultimately abolish the Second Amendment to the Constitution... Militia members generally maintain strong Christian beliefs and justify their actions by claiming to be ardent defenders of the Constitution. They often compare the American Colonial period (1607-1783) to their present existence by relating significant Colonial dates and events to lend historical weight to their own beliefs and actions. Many militias claim to represent the ideological legacy of the founding fathers tracing their core beliefs to select writings and speeches that predate the Revolutionary War.''

FBI Director Louis Freeh said in a 1999 report that the United Nations, in particular, is the focus of ire for many militias. ''(The UN) is perceived as an organization bent on taking over the world and destroying American democracy and establishing 'the New World Order.' The New World Order theory holds that, one day, the United Nations will lead a military coup against the nations of the world to form a one-world government. United Nations troops, consisting of foreign armies, will commence a military takeover of America. The United Nations will mainly use foreign troops on American soil because foreigners will have fewer reservations about killing American citizens. Captured United States military bases will be used to help conquer the rest of the world.''

Some militias go beyond a distrust of the UN and anxiety over gun control issues, the FBI said.

FBI director Freeh explained in a statement to Congress in 1999: ''Most of the militia movement has no racial overtones and does not espouse bigotry; there are some black and Jewish militia members. However, the pseudo-religion of Christian Identity, as well as other hate philosophies, have begun to creep into the militia movement... Christian Identity is a belief system that provides both a religious base for racism and anti-Semitism, and an ideological rationale for violence against minorities. This pattern of racist elements seeping into the militia movement is a disturbing trend, as it will only strengthen the radical elements of the militias.''
The militia lurking in your backyard, The Thomaston Express, Dec. 21, 2000

Articles

Secular Militias: Initiating Contactoffsite FBI report: ''Proactive dialogue with certain types of militia groups may help law enforcement agencies diffuse tensions and avert potential flash points.''
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Books

Secular American Extremists: Militias, Supremacists, Klansmen, Communists & Others John George
Extremist movements aren't new, but the tragic events in Oklahoma City, New York City, and elsewhere have awakened Americans to this frightening reality within our borders.

What sorts of fringe groups exist? Who joins up and why? What do they want and what are they willing to do to accomplish their goals? How serious is the danger? In response to these questions, noted experts John George and Laird Wilcox have teamed up to examine the frayed edges of human behaviour.

Beginning with a summary of pre-1960 movements, they then discuss conspiracy theories and what motivates extremists. Their thoroughly documented and detailed tour of contemporary groups on the "far left" and the "far right" includes recent militia groups making headlines. Included as well is an in-depth appendix on the use of fake quotes and fabricated documents a staple of many extremist organisations. - Source: Description cited at Amazon.com
Christian American Militias: Rebellion, Racism & Religionoffsite Richard Abanes
Secular In God's Country: The Patriot Movement and the Pacific Northwestoffsite By David A. Neiwert
Rather than simply demonizing or directing outrage at self-proclaimed "Patriot" and militia organizations -- which is often the approach of those who oppose them -- David Neiwert allows Patriot extremists to speak for themselves and largely on their own terms. His critical journalistic dialogue, placed in the context of the Northwest's regional milieu, allows us to better understand the socioeconomic and philosophical/religious complexities of how and why these otherwise ordinary citizens have come to think the way they do.

There is little question that strains of racism and paranoia characterize many of these people's beliefs and behavior, but the Patriots -- often blue-collar people, economically and socially challenged by changing times -- are desperately responding to feelings of having been marginalized, and disenfranchised, from the American Dream.

The saga of the Montana Freemen, explored here in detail for the first time, provides a framework for exploring the larger phenomenon of the movement throughout the four states -- Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon -- that comprise the Pacific Northwest. In presenting a broad overview of the movement and its history, Neiwert presents a case for maintaining a dialogue with Patriot believers, particularly the average people next door who so often are its recruits -- and for meeting the challenge the movement presents by addressing the root issues of rural decay. - Source: From the Back Cover
Secular The Terrorist Next Door: The Militia Movement and the Radical Right Daniel Levitas
With so much attention focused on international terrorism, this book hits closer to home with an eye-opening look at potential domestic terrorist threats. Levitas explores the historic roots of Far Right hate groups in the U.S., how they have developed and evolved, and how the government has responded or failed to respond to this potent threat from within.

Levitas traces the virulent racial hatred of these groups to similar sentiments in Europe during the Middle Ages; through U.S. slavery, the Civil War, and Reconstruction; during World War II; and through desegregation and the civil rights movement. He also traces the metamorphosis of various groups, including the Citizens' Council, Ku Klux Klan, and John Birch Society, detailing their bizarre theories of racial superiority and escalating violence.

Levitas notes the groups' efforts to broaden their appeal beyond racism by promoting tax protests, resistance to gun control, and discontent about government intrusion, and the troubling political trends that have lent support to antigovernment militia groups since the 1960s. This is a well-researched, disturbing look at domestic terrorism. - Source: Booklist as cited by Amazon.com
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Commentary

Secular The Government and the Militia Movementoffsite New York Times Blog, Mar. 30, 2010
The F.B.I.s raids against members of a Michigan-based Christian militia over the weekend added to concerns about rising far-right activity across the country.

Nine members of the group, called the Hutaree, face sedition and weapons charges in a scheme to kill law enforcement officers to incite an antigovernment revolt.

As the government deals with the re-emerging militia movement, what did it learn from the experiences of the 1990s, from the disastrous sieges in Ruby Ridge, Idaho, in 1992 and at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Tex., in 1993 to its handling of Oklahoma City bombing case?

• Jess Walter, author, Every Knee Shall Bow
• Catherine McNicol Stock, historian, Rural Radicals
• David H. Bennett, historian, The Party of Fear
• Kenneth Stern, American Jewish Committee
• Robert Churchill, history professor, University of Hartford
• Michael Barkun, political scientist, Syracuse University

News & News Archives

Christian Miltia Groups news tracker at Religion News Blog

» Database of archived news items
(Includes items added between Oct. 25, 1999 and Jan. 31, 2002. See about this database)
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About this page:
Militia Movement
First posted: Mar 12, 1998
Last Updated: Mar 31, 2010
Copyright: Apologetics Index
Link to: http://www.apologeticsindex.org/m13.html
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