Amo Bishop Roden
Amo Paul Bishop Roden (born 1943) is the former wife of George Roden, a rival of David Koresh for leadership of the Branch Davidians. After the 1993 fire, she attracted notice by beginning a one-woman reoccupation of the sect's Mount Carmel property. At one point in her reoccupation, when another ex-husband, Tom Drake, rejoined her, she was also known as Amo Paul Bishop Roden Drake or Amo Roden Drake.
Amo and George Roden married in October 1987, shortly after meeting. (Since George's divorce from his wife Carmen would not be finalized until February 28, 1998, her detractors question the legitimacy of their common law arrangement.) George, son of Branch Davidian founders Benjamin and Lois Roden, claimed leadership of the sect, but faced challengers, including David Koresh (then named Vernon Howell). Just weeks later, Koresh led a band of followers onto Mt. Carmel, ending up in a shootout with George. The next year, Koresh's supporters reclaimed Mt. Carmel and expelled Amo. Her brief time with George left her pregnant with their daughter.
The standoff with the government five years later wiped out Koresh's group, giving Amo the opportunity to move onto the Mt. Carmel grounds. In November 1994, she had an armed standoff with a group that included future militia figure Ron Cole. The legal case between her and surviving Koresh loyalists is still being fought in the courts, but has taken a twist following the recent takeover of the site by Charles Pace, another Branch Davidian leader. Amo Roden also drew attention in 2001, when she drove to the Oklahoma City bombing memorial site in her pickup truck with Branch Davidian slogans, creating a brief bomb scare.
In popular culture
Roden's notoriety has been spread by the electronica group Boards of Canada. Their 2000 EP, In a Beautiful Place Out in the Country, is named after a quote from her; besides the title track, it features the song "Amo Bishop Roden.", which is a musical interpretation of the Waco Siege. In addition, on their 2002 album Geogaddi, the song "1969" includes a vocoded sample referring to Roden: "although not a follower of [David Koresh played backwards], she's a devoted Branch Davidian." Academic James Faubion has also written a book about her, The Shadows and Lights of Waco.
She has written many tracts and pamphlets explaining her version of events and her religious ideas. Major tracts include Cracking the Coverup, The Second Standoff, Babylon Is Fallen: The Legacy of David Koresh, and Scrapbook of a Protest.
- Amo Roden Herself, Amo Roden's authorized website
- The Writings of Amo Roden, including chapters from her autobiography