(Free Inquiry - spring 1999)
By James A. Haught
America - the only nation that suffers "pro-life murder" - may
be in for intensified attacks on abortion clinic employees. Several new
reports warn that religious extremists in the pro-life movement are teaming
up with armed neo-Nazi and militia groups.
One example of the partnership is Eric Rudolph, the fugitive suspected of
bombing two clinics and a lesbian nightclub. Rudolph isn't a typical, Bible-hugging
protester. He's an adherent of Christian Identity, the armed sect which
thinks Anglo-Saxons are the Lost Tribe of Israel, that blacks are "mud
people," and Jews are agents of Satan.
Other presumed elements of the shadowy alliance include the racist Phineas
Priests, who bombed a Spokane clinic and newspaper, and James Kopp, an itinerant
protester with the Catholic Lambs of Christ, who is suspected in the October
sniper murder of a Buffalo clinic doctor. Such zealots pass around a hate-filled
"Army of God" manual and share Internet links.
Frederick Clarkson, author of Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between
Theocracy and Democracy (Common Courage Press, 1997), studied the growing
alliance for the Southern Poverty Law Center. The worst fanatics in both
camps, he said, smell "revolution in the air. The goal is to replace
constitutional democracy with a revolutionary theocratic state that would
more closely resemble Shi'ite Iran or Taliban-controlled Afghanistan."
Of course, only a tiny fringe swallows this bizarre agenda - but a few True
Believers can cause terrible harm. Only two wrought the nightmare in Oklahoma
So far, America has suffered seven clinic murders, 16 attempted murders,
more than 200 bombings and arsons, 750 death threats and bomb threats, and
hundreds of other "pro-life" crimes. It will be tragic if support
from covert paramilitary groups causes the violence to escalate.