The Phineas Priesthood or Phineas Priests (also spelled Phinehas) is a Christian Identity movement in the Pacific Northwest that opposes interracial intercourse, the mixing of races, homosexuality, and abortion. It is also marked by its anti-Semitism, anti-multiculturalism, and opposition to taxation. It is not considered an organization because it is not led by a governing body, there are no gatherings, and there is no membership process. One becomes a Phineas Priest by simply adopting the beliefs of the Priesthood and acting upon those beliefs. Members of the Priesthood are considered terrorists for, among other things, various 1996 abortion clinic bombings, the bombing in Spokane of The Spokesman-Review newspaper, bank robberies, and plans to blow up FBI buildings. Four members of this organization were convicted of crimes including bank robbery and bombing, with each sentenced in 1997 and 1998 to life in prison.
The Phineas Priesthood is named for the Israelite Phinehas, grandson of Aaron. Numbers 25:7 According to Numbers 25, Phineas personally executed an Israelite man and a Midianite woman while they were together in the man's tent, running a spear through the two and ending a plague sent by God to punish the Israelites for intermingling sexually and religiously with the Midianite Baal-worshipers. Phineas is commended for having stopped Israel's fall to idolatrous practices brought in by Midianite women, as well as for stopping the desecration of God's sanctuary. Yahweh commends Phineas through Moses as zealous, gives him a "covenant of peace," and grants him and "his seed" an everlasting priesthood. Today, members of the Phineas Priesthood cite this chapter as a justification for using violent means against interracial relationships and other forms of alleged immorality.
The term appears to have originated with author Richard Kelly Hoskins, who introduced the name and concept in his 1990 book, Vigilantes of Christendom: The Story of the Phineas Priesthood (ISBN 1881867056).
On November 28, 2014, 49-year-old Larry Steven McQuilliams fired more than 100 rounds at a federal courthouse, a Mexican consulate building (which he also tried to set on fire), and a police station in Austin, Texas, before dying of a gunshot wound. McQuilliams's shooting rampage was stopped when Austin Police Department Mounted Patrol Sgt. Adam Johnson fired a single, one-handed shot, while holding the reins of the horses he was putting away in the other hand, from 312' away, striking McQuilliams in the heart and killing him. McQuilliams was reportedly affiliated with the movement.
- "Phineas Priests Arrested in Spokane Robberies". mhrn.org. Montana Human Rights Network. 1996. Archived from the original on 2011-03-13. Retrieved 2011-03-13.
- Bill Morlin (1997-11-01). "Sentencing Delayed For Valley Bomber, But No Third Trial Charles H. Barbee Faces Mandatory Life Imprisonment". The Spokesman-Review. Retrieved 2014-09-14.