Army of God

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     AOG logo.jpg

    Logo as posted by Neal Horsley, a reported AOG member and supporter.[1]

    Status: Active
    AKA: AOG, Atlanta Bomb Squad, Pensacola Pro-Life Hunt Club
    Formed: Early 1980s
    Areas of Operation: United States
    Headquarters: Chesapeake, VA
    Ideology: Religious (Christian Fundamentalist), Single Issue (Anti-Abortion)
    Leader: Reverand Michael Bray
    RSS:
    Map:

     

    Organizational History

    The Army of God manual begins with a declaration of war on the abortion industry and continues, “Our Most Dread Sovereign Lord God requires that whosoever sheds man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed. Not out of hatred of you, but out of love for the persons you exterminate, we are forced to take arms against you. Our life for yours — a simple equation...You shall not be tortured at our hands. Vengeance belongs to God only. However, execution is rarely gentle.” AOG hopes to stop health clinics from performing abortions, although, the group has expressed an increasing anti-gay rhetoric in recent years.

    The most radical of the anti-abortion groups began to appear after the murder of Dr. David Gunn in Pensacola, Florida, on March 10, 1993. However, the history of the movement has shown that prior to the murder of Dr. Gunn, violence was slowly escalating. This escalation was no doubt catalyzed by the implicit support for bombings and arson offered by major pro-life organizations in the 1980s. The most violent anti-abortion acts have been committed by the AOG, headquartered in Chesapeake, Virginia. One of the most notable individuals in the anti-abortion movement, Clayton Lee Waagner, was a member of the AOG.  Waagner was responsible for illegal possession of firearms and bomb-making materials, in addition to mailing over 300 anthrax letters to reproductive health clinics in the U.S in 2001.  These letters, signed “Army of God-Virignia Dare Cell,” eventually tested negative for anthrax.[2] 

    Since 2003, extremist violence against abortion clinics and providers has dropped, though harassment of those providers and visitors haves not. The anti-abortionist movement has faced a series of setbacks in the form of arrests and trials of the movement’s most notorious members.[3] Regardless, there are still notable incidents which can be attributed to AOG. In May 2009, Scott Roeder killed Dr. George Tiller, a Women's Health Care Services doctor in Witchita, Kansas.  Tiller was originally shot and injured by another AOG-affiliate, Shelley Shannon in 1993. Roeder, having a history of involvement with both the AOG and anti-government group, Freeman militia, received a life sentence after being convicted of first degree murder in January 2010.   Most recently, in the summer of 2010, Justin Carl Moose, a self-described member of AOG, was arrested in Concord, North Carolina for planning a bomb attack against a local Planned Parenthood clinic.[4]

    Structure

    Some experts claim that the group is using environmental groups such as the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) as operating models to prevent infiltration; the Army of God has no definitive organizational structure.  The Army of God does have a public face in the form of a website run by Rev. Donald Spitz from his home in Chesapeake, Virginia. Spitz is an ordained Pentecostal minister. Information on Army of God members can be found on the website as well as graphic pictures of fetuses. Additionally, the website contains links to the Army of God Manual, an instruction manual that shows members and sympathizers how to create havoc on abortion clinics and employees.

    Funding

    Since most activities are carried out through individual initiative, funding is typically private and incident-specific. 

    Recruitment

    The group counts a number of militants among its ranks who have committed violence against abortion providers and some who now serve as martyrs. Included is Paul Hill, a Presbyterian minister in Florida who received the death penalty for killing two abortion clinic workers in Pensacola, Florida in 1993. James Kopp is another militant, convicted for the 1998 murder of Dr. Barnett Slepian in Buffalo, New York. Finally, Eric Robert Rudolph was alleged AOG affiliate, and was convicted of crimes involving four bombings with resulting deaths in 2003. 

    Tactics

    The Army of God manual offers detailed instructions on how to commit abortion clinic violence; the manual details methods for blockading entrances, attacking with butyric acid, committing arson, bomb making, and other illegal activities.  The manual also contains anti-gay/lesbian language.

    Publications

    • Mix My Blood with the Blood of the Unborn by Paul Jennings Hill

    Gallery

     

    AOG Bray II.jpg

    Reverand Michael Bray, the reported leader of AOG.[5]

     

     AOG Birmingham attack.jpg

    Image depicts an abortion clinic in Atlanta, GA which was bombed in 1998 by Eric Rudolph.  Again, AOG claimed responsibility for the incident, although their actual role in the incident was never verified.[6]

    AOG Spitz.jpg
    Reverand Donald Spitz, member of AOG and webmaster for the organization's anti-abortion website.[7]
     AOG Scott Roeder.jpg
    Scott Roeder, an AOG member, was responsible for the killing of well-known abortion doctor, George Tiller, in 2009.[8]

    References

    1. Horsley, N. (2003, January 22). Communique from Army of God received. Christian Gallery. Retrieved [1]
    2. Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2001). Terrorism 2000/2001. FBI (Publication #0308). Retrieved from [2]
    3. Blanchard, D. (1996). The anti-abortion movement: references and resources. G. K. Hall Company.
    4. Portillo, E. (2010, September 10). Man posts bomb instructions on Facebook, is charged in plot. Charlotte Observer. Retrieved from [3]
    5. Clark, F. (2002, February 19). Brand new war for the Army of God? Salon. Retrieved from [4]
    6. USA Today. (2005, Juuly 4). The crimes and the search. The Associated Press. Retrieved from [5]
    7. Conservative Gunman Committed Terrorism Against Liberals. (2009, February 12). Truth 2 Power Project. Retrieved from [6]
    8. Army of God. (n.d.). Retrieved from [7]

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    AOG Birmingham bombing
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    AOG Bray II
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    AOG Bray
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    AOG Logo
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    AOG documentary
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    AOG Roeder
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    AOG Spitz
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