Army of God (United States)

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Army of God
Donald Spitz holds Army of God Banner.jpg
Army of God spokesman, Donald Spitz, holds Army of God banner
Abbreviation A.O.G.
Type Christian terrorist organization (anti-abortion violence)
Website www.armyofgod.com

Army of God (AOG) is a Christian terrorist anti-abortion organization that sanctions the use of force to combat abortion in the United States.[1]

Actions[edit]

The earliest documented incidence of the Army of God being involved with anti-abortion activity occurred in 1982. Three men associated with the organization kidnapped Hector Zevallos, an abortion doctor, and his wife, Rosalee Jean, and held them hostage. The hostages were later released unharmed.[2] The "East Coast division" of the AOG claimed responsibility when three men, including Michael Bray, planted bombs at seven abortion clinics in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington D.C. in 1985.[3]

The AOG claimed responsibility for Eric Robert Rudolph's 1997 nail bombing of abortion clinics in Atlanta and Birmingham as well as an Atlanta lesbian bar.[4]

Clayton Waagner, claiming to act on the part of the "Virginia Dare Chapter" of the AOG, mailed over 500 letters containing white powder to 280 abortion providers in 2001. The letters claimed that the powder was anthrax; though it was not identified as such, the tactic took advantage of the public's fear of biological warfare after the recent real anthrax attacks.[5][6]

The group is also associated with a number of murders of abortion providers. Some of these murders claimed association with the AOG; in other cases, while the killer expressed no affiliation with the group, the AOG has lionized their acts and taken up their cause.

Defensive Action Statement[edit]

AOG supports the Second Defensive Action Statement, as produced by the Defenders of the Defenders of Life, which reads:[7]

  • We the undersigned, declare the justice of taking all Godly action necessary, including the use of force, to defend innocent human life (born and unborn). We proclaim that whatever force is legitimate to defend the life of a born child is legitimate to defend the life of an unborn child.
  • We declare and affirm that if in fact Paul Hill did kill or wound abortionist John Britton, and accomplices James Barrett and Mrs. Barrett, his actions are morally justified if they were necessary for the purpose of defending innocent human life. Under these conditions, Paul Hill should be acquitted of all charges against him.

Hill was head of a precursor organization called Defensive Action, which issued signed statements to members of Congress in the early 1990s expressing similar sentiments about "killing the killers".

Documentary[edit]

The AOG movement, along with select followers, are featured in the HBO documentary film Soldiers in The Army of God (2000,) directed by Marc Levin and Daphne Pinkerson, as part of HBO's America Undercover series.[8]

Associated individuals[edit]

A 2011 NPR report claimed an associate of this group, Stephen John Jordi, was imprisoned in a highly restrictive Communication Management Unit.[11]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Terrorist Organization Profile: Army of God". National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism. Retrieved October 5, 2011. 
  2. ^ Justin C. Altum
  3. ^ "3 Men Charged in Bombings Of Seven Abortion Facilities". The New York Times. January 20, 1985. 
  4. ^ "Army of God letters claim responsibility for clinic bombing". CNN. February 2, 1998. 
  5. ^ "Analysis: Anthrax threat from within". BBC News. November 7, 2001. Retrieved August 2, 2013. 
  6. ^ "'Army Of God' Anthrax Threats". CBS News. November 9, 2001. Retrieved August 2, 2013. 
  7. ^ "The Second Defensive Action Statement". Retrieved 2007-05-14. 
  8. ^ "Soldiers in the Army of God (2000)". New York Times. Retrieved 8 July 2013. 
  9. ^ "Kopp known as a radical". The Hamilton Spectator. November 5, 1998. p. A1. It was in Atlanta that Kopp got his nickname "Atomic Dog," which was later featured in the acknowledgments of a manual showing anti-abortionists how to build bombs, make explosives and cut off the thumbs of abortion doctors. The manual was circulated by a loose association of extremists who called themselves the Army of God. 
  10. ^ Jim Redden (October 30, 2009). "FBI probes alleged threat to officer". Portland Tribune. Archived from the original on 2013-04-19. Retrieved 2011-06-02. 
  11. ^ DATA & GRAPHICS: Population Of The Communications Management Units, Margot Williams and Alyson Hurt, NPR, 3-3-11, retrieved 2011 06 02 from npr.org. (See page 3, default sort by 'Case')

External links[edit]