Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Pratt and theocracy

Not to brag, but I have a very orderly mind. I like things to be neat and packaged. So I spent a while trying to figure out how Larry Pratt's advocacy of militias and vigilantism connects with his belief in Christian theocracy. As if by some divine inspiration, the answer came to me this morning. There weren't police in the Old Testament. If someone did something to you or your family, you got your friends together and stoned them to death.

The closest thing that I can think of to compare with Christian Reconstructionism is the Taliban. The same way a bunch of guys would form a squad and go around beating the shit out of women and cutting of people's hands in Taliban Afghanistan, Pratt and other militia movement leaders advocate militias as Guatemalan style death squads and their use as a weapon in the fight against legal abortion (PDF from link).

At the 1994 convention, the USTP [U.S. Taxpayer Party, now the Constitution Party] sold a paramilitary manual titled PRINCIPLES JUSTIFYING THE ARMING AND ORGANIZING OF A MILITIA that cited ?legalized abortion? as the first of several reasons why one should ?spring immediately and effectively to arms.? Another speaker, Jeff Baker, told the crowd, ?Abortionists should be put to death. They are murderers.?

This is connected with a desire to create a revolution which would establish a Christian theocracy.

Advocacy of militias is not new, although the public?s awareness of militia activity has increased, largely due to Waco, the Oklahoma City bombing, and the Freemen stand-off with federal officials. As far back as 1983, Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America -- a group founded in the 1970s because the NRA was perceived as ?too liberal? -- was proposing well-armed local militias because ?anti-Christian governments such as we have in the United States cannot be counted to keep the peace.?

Pratt is also connected to the Center for National Policy. This is a secretive group of conservative movement leaders. It's membership reads like a Who's Who of the right wing. Their meeting before the RNC convention this year had talks from Paul Weyrich, Phyllis Schlafly, William F. Buckley, Jr., Bill Frist, Jerry Falwell, Wayne LaPierre (of the NRA), Ralph Reed, Grover Norquist, Libertarian candidate Michael Badnarik, Constitution Party candidate Michael Peroutka, State Department neo-con John Bolton (speaking about plans for Iran), and many more. The group was founded by Tim LaHaye, author of the Left Behind series, and others. It's goal was to create a conservative Christian alternative to the Council on Foreign Relations. It seems to have been funded heavily by Sun Myung Moon.

Pratt and John Ashcroft seem to be familiar with each other too. There was a brief controversy about a handwritten note from Ashcroft to Pratt, suggesting that they were on a first name basis with each other. They are also both members of CNP. These ties didn't derail Ashcroft's nomination to AG, but since Kobach worked for Ashcroft, I wonder how Pratt met Kobach and decided to back him. Just speculating, no evidence, and I doubt any will ever emerge.