Hutaree “Christian Warrior” Militia in Michigan: Author Robert Churchill in New York Times

by kris bishop on March 31, 2010

by Robert Churchill, author of To Shake Their Guns in the Tyrant’s Face, originally posted as “The Government and the Militia Movement,” The New York Times, March 30, 2010

“In the mid 1990s hundreds of militia groups formed across the nation in response to the state-sponsored political violence on display at Ruby Ridge and Waco. The movement was from its earliest days divided between two wings. Constitutional militias emphasized public meetings and membership open to all races and faiths. Their members were motivated by a fear of increasing state violence directed at gun owners, and they were primarily libertarian in their politics.

Churchill_small These millenarian militias feared the onset of the New World Order, which they understood as a literal conspiracy for an imminent invasion of the United States as part of a global plan to reduce the world’s population by genocidal means. They saw this conspiracy as part of the onset of the biblical End Times.

The civil rights activists who brought the movement to the public’s attention treated both wings of the movement as an undifferentiated mass, and charged that it was an outgrowth of the white supremacist right. Their warnings of a “Gathering Storm” were apocalyptic in their own right.

In the past year the militia movement has re-emerged, and the arrests of nine members of the Hutaree militia in Michigan suggest that the distinction between constitutionalists and millenarians is still salient.

The Hutaree conceived of themselves as Christian warriors and were apparently obsessed with the End Times. They are reminiscent of the North American Militia, a small militia in Battle Creek, Mich., representing the extreme end of the millenarian wing.

It was information provided by members of constitutional militias in Michigan that led the government to break the group up in 1998. Similarly, constitutional militias in Michigan were quick to rebuff the Hutaree’s plea for assistance last weekend. How much the militia movement is growing is uncertain, but it is clear that it is still divided into two wings with radically different world views.

Yet once again, civil rights activists have portrayed the movement as an undifferentiated threat. Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center today declared that the Hutaree were a “typical militia group.” His assessment was both inaccurate and inflammatory.

If the Hutaree are typical of the movement, then certainly it is time for a wide-ranging roundup. And here is the danger: the broader and more forceful the government’s response to the far right, the greater the odds of unintended tragedies like those at Ruby Ridge and Waco. And even one such tragedy might set in motion a cycle of violence and retaliation.

It is the dance between the insurgent’s fear of the government and the government’s fear of insurgency that can lead to carnage.” Original article.

RELATED TITLES:

 

To Shake Their Guns in the Tyrant’s Face
Libertarian Political Violence and the Origins of the Militia Movement
by Robert H. Churchill
Cloth: 978-0-472-11682-9

After the bombings of Oklahoma City in 1995, most Americans were shocked to discover that tens of thousands of their fellow citizens had banded together in homegrown militias. Within the next few years, numerous studies and media reports appeared revealing the unseen world of the American militia movement, a loose alliance of groups with widely divergent views. Read more

Guns, Democracy, and the Insurrectionist Idea
by Joshua Horwitz and Casey Anderson
Cloth: 978-0-472-11572-3
Paper: 978-0-472-03370-6
Ebook: 978-0-472-02199-4

When gun enthusiasts talk about constitutional liberties guaranteed by the Second Amendment, they are referring to freedom in a general sense, but they also have something more specific in mind—freedom from government oppression. Read more

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