(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 City.
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.