Pharyngula

Repent, Amarillo!

Or you will be exterminated! You know, Texas has a reputation of being a nasty place full of particularly ignorant rednecks, which I don’t blindly agree with — I know too many smart Texans, and it does have many good organizations, like the Texas Freedom Network — but this is a blight that smirches even that already sooty name. I am speaking of a vicious vigilante organization called Repent Amarillo. Look upon that link and quiver with disgust.

i-f9e84d0bc0501a60c25db1f5507ff1d3-repentam.jpeg

It’s saturated with military imagery: men in uniform, humvees, helicopters, helmets; they compare themselves to special forces; they call themselves the Army of God, and sport Bible quotes glorifying warfare. They aren’t military, but they pretend they are, and bring shame to both our soldiers and their faith. They’re actually just cowardly busybodies who snoop and whine at their neighbors, and harass their employers until they get fired. They are not nice people. They’re actually some of the worst kind of people.

They are a “rabid group of religious nuts” who object to the usual targets of fundie hatred — gays — but also harrass people who visit sex shops, engage in consensual heterosexual activity outside the bounds of traditional marriage, and…well, here’s a list of their targets.

1. Gay pride events.
2. Earth worship events such as “Earth Day”
3. Pro-abortion events or places such as Planned Parenthood
4. Breast cancer events such as “Race for the Cure” to illuminate the link between abortion and breast cancer.
5. Opening day of public schools to reach out to students.
6. Spring break events.
7. Demonically based concerts.
8. Halloween events.
9. Other events that may arise that the ministry feels called to confront.

They also plan to hit:

1. Sexually oriented businesses such as pornography shops, strip joints, and XXX-rated theaters.
2. Idolatry locations such as palm readers, false religions, and witchcraft. Many of the smaller missions listed above may be just prayer oriented missions for tearing down demonic strongholds or they may involve more aggressive use of soldiers and prayer warriors. Some other missions occasionally employed may be “undercover operations” where the groups show up together but are not publicly visible together to effect the outcome of a public meeting such as city commissioners meetings, etc.

Check out their Warfare Map. It includes local Buddhist churches (“False god”), the Islamic center (“Allah is a false god and Muhammad is a false prophet”), the Masonic Lodge (“Masonic rituals and teachings in the upper ranks is based on Egyptian paganism. Full of secrecy. Only evil hides in the dark”), the Universalist Church (“Teaches that everyone is going to heaven. This calls Christ a liar. You cannot be a Christian if you call Christ a liar”), the Unitarian Universalist Church (“Pagan and witchcraft headquarters for Amarillo. Pagan and witchcraft celebrations and rites are performed here”), St Andrew’s Episcopal Church (“Referred to an OUTstanding Amarillo’s (Homosexual activists) website as a ‘gay friendly’ church. In other words, they do not tell homosexuals who attend this church that they must repent of the sin of homosexuality. This is a serious violation of scripture”), and Beavers Gentleman Club (“Total nude strip club”), among many others.

“Repent or perish” is their message. They show up dressed in army fatigues, carrying bullhorns, with ghetto blasters blaring Christian music, and they write down license plate numbers and photograph people doing anything they disapprove of. They are our American Mutawwa’in, petty tyrants of propriety with a bloated sense of their own importance. They are our self-righteous wanna-be oppressors.

Keep this in mind. This is the future the Pat Robertsons, the James Dobsons, the Sarah Palins want for us — a kind of Saudi Arabia that differs only in the name we give our prophet.

Comments

  1. #1 Sastra
    March 2, 2010

    Oh, sure … but compared to militant atheists

  2. #2 Zeno
    March 2, 2010

    This is taking “church militant” to ridiculous new levels. Of course, most of these people are wimps rather than brawny soldiers, but the overheated military jargon makes them feel big and important. Even worse, even a a nasty little wimp can commit atrocities if he thinks he’s doing it to glorify his god.

    Creepy.

  3. #3 JD
    March 2, 2010

    What. The. Fuck.

  4. #4 iwannaluvu2
    March 2, 2010

    Or the Christian Taliban.

  5. #5 llewelly
    March 2, 2010

    Sastra is totally right. These good men are the lambs of Jesus before a wolf like Dawkins!

  6. #6 Feynmaniac
    March 2, 2010

    Check out their Warfare Map.

    lol, I could use this map for a good time:

    Jungle
    Last Updated by Raven on Sep 1, 2009
    Strip Club.
    Get directions

    Players Gentlemen’s Club
    Last Updated by Raven on Sep 1, 2009
    Strip Club.
    Get directions

    Adult Video Gallery
    Last Updated by Raven on Sep 1, 2009
    XXX Porn shop.
    Get directions

    Yes, give me the directions.

    Islamic center (“Allah is a false god and Muhammad is a false prophet”)

    An explicitly Christian military group hitting an Islamic center? Yeah, that’s gonna go well.

  7. #7 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 2, 2010

    Breast cancer events such as “Race for the Cure” to illuminate the link between abortion and breast cancer.

    people just can’t take the time to do any research at all

  8. #8 timrowledge
    March 2, 2010

    Cue religiotard “if you aren’t doing anything wrong what do you need to worry about?” any time now.

  9. #9 Carlie
    March 2, 2010

    I was going to make an armadillo joke, but I just…can’t. The whole thing just makes me too sick to my stomach. That’s not “making fun of stupid Christians acting stupidly” so much as “looking on in abject horror at their moral depravity”.

  10. #10 Sastra
    March 2, 2010

    Hm, all those sites on the map have been “updated by Raven.”

    He’s joined the death cultists!!!!!!

    Or, could be it’s someone else with the same nick. But, what are the odds?

  11. #11 Ferris
    March 2, 2010

    These people should be prevented from using US Army imagery. I wonder if the Army is legally entitled to enforce its intellectual property.

  12. #12 Rorschach
    March 2, 2010

    What a nasty bunch of retards.And no doubt enjoying making people’s life a living hell.

    Are the major xtian sects going to distance themselves from these clowns ? *crickets*

  13. #13 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawmi0enWEr3aTvuG9Z9VYXrYemhjnDKbjKo
    March 2, 2010

    Send that army to Afghanistan. Then it wouldn’t matter WHO won!

  14. #14 Feynmaniac
    March 2, 2010

    Keep this in mind. This is the future the Pat Robertsons, the James Dobsons, the Sarah Palins want for us ? a kind of Saudi Arabia that differs only in the name we give our prophet.

    Hell, they’re even using Ray Comfort’s material:

    The Soldier group. The soldier group will consist of warriors dedicated to witnessing to groups of unbelievers or one-on-one witnessing. This group will be more visible to the public and will be comprised of bold believers willing to confront the world. This group will be schooled in the ?Way of the Master? method of witnessing to the lost.

  15. #15 Ol'Greg
    March 2, 2010

    … link between… breast cancer… and abortion?

    Um. Both frequently are associated with women, but also involve men?

    I’m running short of another link.

  16. #16 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 2, 2010

    9. Other events that may arise that the ministry feels called to confront.

    Those who put cinnamon in their coffee drinks

    Readers of National Geographic magazine

    Drinkers of beer other than Budweiser

    Those who think putting steak sauce on their steaks is an abomination

    NASCAR non watchers

    non-ketchup on their hotdog eaters

  17. #17 phi1ip
    March 2, 2010

    Has Raven changed her gender as well, Sastra? I imagine she’ll be along to remind us that she normally posts without a capital letter ;)

  18. #18 PZ Myers
    March 2, 2010

    Looking at their hit list, they already hate most of the American xtian groups, so I suspect they’ll reciprocate.

  19. #19 Kaleberg5
    March 2, 2010

    They may have a serious problem. Everyone knows that the true religion of Texas is high school football. Christianity is just a hobby. If these guys are serious about stamping out non-Christian religions, they are going to run into resistance.

  20. #20 James F
    March 2, 2010

    Suddenly, the Westboro Baptist Church looks downright neighborly.

    …with ghetto blasters blaring Christian music…

    The horror…the horror….

  21. #21 ambulocetacean
    March 2, 2010

    Jebus, isn’t that map effectively incitement to commit violence, or whatever the offence is under Texas law?

    Don’t those hateful, ignorant chickenshits realise that they worship Allah too?

    Someone should tell them that amarillo is Mexican for yellow…

  22. #22 ambulocetacean
    March 2, 2010

    Also, that soldier in the picture should sue.

  23. #23 dude070012
    March 2, 2010

    I’ll call in Atheist Experience since their based in Texas and ask what the ground looks like.

  24. #24 Stardrake
    March 2, 2010

    Someone really needs to point out to them the pagan symbol they have in their ad…

    Look at that big pentacle hanging over their name!

    Heh, heh, heh….

  25. #25 Sastra
    March 2, 2010

    phi1ip #17 wrote:

    Has Raven changed her gender as well, Sastra?

    Really? I thought that (r)aven identified as male.

    Though, if this IS the same raven (!!!!) as did the map, it could have been a sneaky tactic!!!

    The good news is that this group is so over-the-top, and will piss off so many mainstream believers and citizens, that it helps serve as a warning for the excesses that o-so-beautiful Faith can lead to.

    The bad news is that pointing to this group will probably set off the usual charges that atheists deliberately look for people who make faith look bad, and don’t consider all the wonderful people who use their powers of faith for good.

  26. #26 SC OM
    March 2, 2010

    Scary.

    Readers of National Geographic magazine

    That reminds me of one of my favorite M*A*S*H characters, Col. Flagg. He’s suspicious of Frank Burns when he sees his magazines. People are like, “But that’s Reader’s Digest,” and Flagg responds, “Yeah, sure. Take out the third, fifth, and sixth letters and what’ve you got? Red’s Digest.”

  27. #27 https://me.yahoo.com/a/Mp8Wm9ELrfiTtuncb2aC88lVjGGN#da6ff
    March 2, 2010

    I thought the Westboro Baptist Church people were bad.
    These people MAKE me feel violent contempt, even knowing that hurting them would only feed their cause.
    Has anyone ever lost it with these Stooges and given them a taste of the physical violence they seem to crave?

  28. #28 Alverant
    March 2, 2010

    It goes without saying that if an Islamic or Atheist group was doing the same thing no one would mind taking them down and sending them to Gitmo.

  29. #29 chicagomolly.myopenid.com
    March 2, 2010

    1. ‘Army of God’ — doesn’t that translate to ‘Hezballah’?

    2. “Breast cancer events such as “Race for the Cure” to illuminate the link between abortion and breast cancer.”

    I met up with this meme last year when Race for the Cure were gearing up for their meet here in Chicago, and it was even weirder than a simpleminded link between having an abortion and getting cancer. I was in the checkout line at a local coffee shop waiting to purchase a tasty baked good, when a large noisy male person lit into the cashier (who couldn’t say anything to a customer of course) with a ‘spontaneous’ rant about the upcoming race. The local sponsor of the event ran a number of radio commercials, one of which said that if you were looking for a way to help find a cure for breast cancer, raising money by running in the event was one thing you could do, and used the phrase ‘it’s your choice’. Well, he shouted, we all know what ‘choice’ means, don’t we?? This is just part of that whole Culture of Death Abortion is Wonderful conspiracy. And he got right in the poor cashier’s face and yelled, ‘Ya know what it means?? It means Murder your babies but save your boobs!!!’ Badword Badword Badword!!!!! If I’d been right behind him at the time I could have given him a good swift one in the back of the knee. Or maybe some other body part.

  30. #30 phi1ip
    March 2, 2010

    Ah. “Raven” is an acronym for “Restoring A Vision & Evangelizing Nations”, according to this rather scary blog. Apparently there are similar organisations elsewhere in the US.

    Their quotable quote: “If sinners be damned at least let them leap to hell over our bodies. Let them go with our arms around their knees. Let no one go there unwarned or unprayed for.” (C.H. Spurgeon, presumably…)

    Total nutcases; whoever called them the “American Taliban” isn’t far from the mark.

  31. #31 AJ Milne
    March 2, 2010

    …non-ketchup on their hotdog eaters…

    People with European accents.

    People with New England accents.

    People with accents we don’t recognize.

    People who notice Hannity’s a douche.

    People who watch The Daily Show.

    People who don’t own double wides.

    People who aren’t themselves double wides.

    (/People who completed high school…)

  32. #32 Rincewind'smuse
    March 2, 2010

    under mission;

    We do not protest. Protesting is political. We expose the darkness to the light of Jesus Christ, we reach out with the grace of Christ through a call to repentance, and we stand against the lies of the enemy by speaking the truth in love

    and not even a hint of irony….what, like MLK? Really?!

  33. #33 NovaC
    March 2, 2010

    The son of David Grisham (leader of the nutjobs) has a conviction for hacking into computer systems…Who wants to bet his nym is Raven and he’s used that particular talent to help daddy’s ego/power trip?
    As a former resident of Texas all I can say is…Bring it you sorry sacks of shit..I’m waiting for you to call on your sky fairy,still..Since the LAST time one of your ilk threatened me with that lil’ gem..
    Still here, still healthy, and still laughing at you.

  34. #34 hje
    March 2, 2010

    Haggard’s church used similar tactics in the past to harass their enemies in Colorado Springs. There was a scary article, “Soldiers of Christ” in the May 2005 issue of Harper’s magazine describing their activities.

    The Texas group may be related to the militant Latter Day Rain or Joel’s Army movements.

  35. #35 Die Anyway
    March 2, 2010

    Hey c’mon, there’s one good thing about the site… a map to all the porn shops in Amarillo.

    Really though, it’s kind of scary. Glad I don’t live in Amarillo. Although considering all of my bad experiences in Texas, there’s no way I would ever be living there.

  36. #36 nejishiki
    March 2, 2010

    I call Poe on this one. Please God, let it be a Poe…

  37. #37 MJP
    March 2, 2010

    Prayer warriors?

    Prayer warriors? Prayer warriors?

    Wha… prayer warriors?

    Prayer warriors?

    Prayer warriors?

  38. #38 hznfrst
    March 2, 2010

    I can’t wait until these pukes come after me, because they always run away within a few seconds after I give it back to them in spades and at high, profanity-laced volume. It doesn’t hurt that I’m 6’3″ and 250 lbs either, I guess – but I go after any and all, and even the really big ones are nothing but chickenshits when it comes down to it. They really do turn white when they realize what could happen to them.

  39. #39 Iris
    March 2, 2010

    Not sure what to make of it, but just eyeballing their little mission map, it seems like there are about as many (“heretical”) churches in Amarillo as there are sexually-oriented businesses. Wonder if there’s any good demographic data to be found with respect to church-to-porn-shop ratio per capita?

    ROTFLMAO re: the pentagram logo. And they target Halloween events. Wow. Just, WOW.

  40. #40 hznfrst
    March 2, 2010

    Forgot to mention the ghetto blasters – that works both ways when you have the 2 Live Crew screeching “Me So Horny!” at their maggoty faces.

  41. #41 'Tis Himself, OM
    March 2, 2010

    These boys better be careful in Amarillo. There’s folks down there who are in favor of things like strip clubs and who also carry firearms. Repent Amarillo might not just have their asses kicked, their asses could be blown away.

  42. #42 SC OM
    March 2, 2010

    Send that army to Afghanistan. Then it wouldn’t matter WHO won!

    Except that a) views not much/any less extreme than these are not exactly nonexistent in the actual US army, and b) the losers, in reality and in that hypothetical scenario, are primarily civilians.

  43. #43 DJSutton
    March 2, 2010

    Ugh. As one of those (I hope) smart Texans, who has actually served I’m the military, I’m disgusted. Wish I were more surprised. Doesn’t this count as harrasment? Isn’t there anyway we can turn Texas into Denmark or something?

  44. #44 raven
    March 2, 2010

    the Army of God, and sport Bible quotes glorifying warfare. They aren’t military, but they pretend they are, and bring shame to both our soldiers and their faith. They’re actually just cowardly busybodies who snoop and whine at their neighbors, and harass their employers until they get fired.

    They are nowhere near as benign as PZ makes thenm out to be.

    Several of the MD assassins have had links to The Army of god. They can and will kill people if they find a follower with severe mental illness and a martyr complex.

    Some states list the Army of God as a terrorist or hate organization. They are both.

    Don’t be too alarmed though. We’ve lived with xian terrorism for decades. Routine fundie behavior.

  45. #45 Feynmaniac
    March 2, 2010

    John Walker Lindh, I’m sorry but the term “American Taliban” is now going to be used to describe somebody else….

  46. #46 Neilgue
    March 2, 2010

    Isn’t this the Texas branch of the Salvation Army?

  47. #47 geoffmovies
    March 2, 2010

    What’s the big deal? We dyslexics are all for repainting armadillos.

  48. #48 rottenkitty
    March 2, 2010

    I’m from Texas and we have name for these guys: asshats.

  49. #49 Givesgoodemail
    March 2, 2010

    Ambrose Bierce once defined puritanism as the terrible fear that someone, somewhere, is having fun.

    It’s people like the Army of God that is the living manifestation of this. These alleged humans (hypocrites almost to a man if they run true to type) are sure that someone’s doing something they wish they could be doing, so they’ve decided among themselves that no one will be doing of it.

  50. #50 ckitching
    March 2, 2010

    I wonder how long it’ll take until they stop just using military imagery and start using military weaponry, too. I can see a “confused” member getting a little too ambitious and firebombing or assassinating one or more of “God’s enemies”. It has worked in the past — just ask Dr George Tiller’s poor family. The sacrificial lamb will be ready to take the blame, as they always are, and the ringleader will continue spreading his (and they’re always male) destructive message.

  51. #51 ambulocetacean
    March 2, 2010

    Wow, so they shut down a performance of Bent, a play about the abuse and extermination of gays in Nazi concentration camps. Unbelieveable.

  52. #52 NovaC
    March 2, 2010

    @MJP # 37
    Prayer Warriors=Woo Woo Booga Booga types not unlike the tantriks of India.They believe that reading passages from the big book of fairy tales to you will cure you of your “evil” ways (at least the variety I’ve had run ins with in Lufkin,Tx belived that).
    They really don’t like it when you read the rest of the passage and then conduct an impromptu pop quiz over what the WHOLE passage refers to.
    They really,really don’t like it when you inform them that they are no better than brainwashed cult members spouting the mantra of the day handed to them by a power mad loser.

  53. #53 raven
    March 2, 2010

    These kooks might serve some worthwhile purpose. Like cockroaches or slugs.

    Hard to say just what cockroaches and slugs contribute to the ecology but they must be doing something. I think slugs are food for garter snakes and amphibians.

    Xians who haven’t suffered total brain death might look at them and start to wonder if a religion that produces such kooks really has anything going for it.

    The state that has the highest per capita spending on online porn is also the most theocratic state in the USA, Utah. I suspect a lot of good xians in Armarillo are ticked off about the porn shop blockades. Really, what is the point of being a xian if you can’t be hypocritical.

  54. #54 Haley
    March 2, 2010

    Oh shit. I have a pretty high concentration of evil, being a liberal pro-choice pro-sex atheist feminist environmentalist. If they come within 100 miles of me, I’ll be their worst enemy.

  55. #55 sameoldplace
    March 2, 2010

    I received a “we’re watching you” letter once from the Army of God. It was pretty creepy.

    Archy

  56. #56 Sastra
    March 2, 2010

    raven #53 wrote:

    These kooks might serve some worthwhile purpose. Like cockroaches or slugs.

    Yes, my point from #25.

    And I see that you are not the same (R)aven as did the map. I am ever so relieved. ;)

  57. #57 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawn01OmbrUbekysrWehp_rdSQyvR_ijS3dQ
    March 2, 2010

    These guys are very definitely hooked up with the whole Joel’s Army movement – they use the same buzzwords and tactics. And if you don’t think they have real guns and intend to use them on any of those who won’t “repent”, you’re kidding yourself.

  58. #58 4mattb
    March 2, 2010

    Jesus Fucking Christ! What a bunch of retarded douche bags. An Army of Dicks.

  59. #59 Iris
    March 2, 2010

    @52
    …and they really don’t like it when you address them as “princess.”

  60. #60 atomjack
    March 2, 2010

    Went to the site. Snowflakes falling? Couldn’t tell about that, but as far as I can tell, “Raven” seems to have labeled every pushpin. ‘course, it’s Raven’s site. If I EVER go to Amarillo there are a couple of places I’ll know to visit…”Wildcats”? “Beavers”? I’m SO there.

  61. #61 NovaC
    March 2, 2010

    @ 59
    :D
    OT but the best thing I’ve ever heard from a rabid xian I work with(with regards to a goofy ghost hunting show on t.v. at the moment) is “I don’t believe in ANY of that supernatural crap. I’m a christian. I laughed,realized she was being perfectly serious then, laughed even harder.

  62. #62 raven
    March 2, 2010

    And I see that you are not the same (R)aven as did the map. I am ever so relieved.

    That other Raven seems to be obsessed and highly knowledgeable about strip clubs and porno shops.

    I suspect if you looked more than a millimeter below the surface, they all have far more than the average amount of porn floating around their doublewide trailers.

  63. #63 sameoldplace
    March 2, 2010

    These guys are not a joke. AoG has been involved in doctor shootings, Planned Parenthood attacks, and the Atlanta Olympics bombing. These guys are a terrorist group pure and simple.

    Archy

  64. #64 Kyorosuke
    March 2, 2010

    Guuh. Stuff like this really pisses me off. Some days I can’t help but think that society is doomed altogether…

  65. #65 Ben in Texas
    March 2, 2010
  66. #66 Becca
    March 2, 2010

    These guys scare the living daylights out of me. And, apparently, the Powers That Be in Amarillo are unwilling to do anything about them.

  67. #67 raven
    March 2, 2010

    8. Halloween events.

    Huh!!! What!!!

    This is stupid. What are they going to do, crash and disrupt children’s Halloween parties?

    Talk about clueless. Nothing gets parents more upset than obviously crazy terrorists wannabes getting anywhere near their kids. Would you let these crackpots near your kids?

    No telling what would happen in Texas but supposedly a whole lot of the population carries guns.

  68. #68 Kerffufle
    March 2, 2010

    Demonically based concerts?

    This group looks like they would have an easier time dealing with Celine Dion or Michael Bolton fans than dealing with a bunch of angry Slayer fans.

  69. #69 Rey Fox
    March 2, 2010

    Terribly self-important acronym (see comment #30) nonwithstanding, going by the name “raven” seems kinda pagan to me.

  70. #70 bobingersoll#a3d48
    March 2, 2010

    This guy is a security guard that fancies himself a special forces warrior. How pathetic is that? It reminds me of the guys that drive old cop cars with all the accessories so that they look like police officers.

  71. #71 Bookeen
    March 2, 2010

    I, for one, am scared of these people. They are the types that pushed me off the highway in a ditch and almost made me lose control of my car, and why? Because I had a French flag on my bumper. They found my email address and sent me horrible French bashing emails. They are dangerous. Since I left Paris in the 60s I have noticed the change in this country, and not for the better. I lived in San Francisco and it was OK but here, in the deep south (I live in New Gingrich county!), it is super conservative and a French accent is no good ? I say sometimes that it is Swiss?. I think that people, educated people, should pay more attention to these fringe groups. There are so many ignorant people here who can easily be influenced.

  72. #72 daninorlando
    March 2, 2010

    They are mostly blowhards who use this kind of imagery and language to puff themselves up. “Christian soldiery” is nothing new. Course, they ARE idiots, so they may mistake their fantasies for reality.

    They already do that?

  73. #73 ckitching
    March 2, 2010

    This group looks like they would have an easier time dealing with Celine Dion or Michael Bolton fans than dealing with a bunch of angry Slayer fans.

    And you suppose they think Celine Dion or Micheal Bolton concerts aren’t demonic to these people? I’d be willing to bet that they think all music besides gospel and devotional country music is demonic.

  74. #74 phi1ip
    March 2, 2010

    Hi (lower case!) raven,

    you were mentioned in passing earlier in the thread (around #10 onwards), I hope you didn’t mind my reply…

    8. Halloween events.

    I presume this means disrupting anything Pagan or Wiccan, because anything non-fundie Xtian is in their view, “demonic”.

    (They probably haven’t heard of Yule, or what significance it has on the Christian calendar…)

  75. #75 cmadden35
    March 2, 2010

    What’s wrong with living in a double-wide? :-(

  76. #76 grandtheftigloo
    March 2, 2010

    Wow…

    Followed a few links from their website, I can’t believe that these people can even dress themselves in the morning. Scary.

  77. #77 Aquaria
    March 2, 2010

    These psychopaths are a known terrorist group.

    Doctor-killer Eric Rudolph was associated with Army of God.

    They make Stormfront look like a bunch of little old ladies.

    Someone needs to report the billboard company for supporting terrorism.

  78. #78 Kerffufle
    March 2, 2010

    what’s right with living in a double wide?

  79. #79 ctenotrish
    March 2, 2010

    Well, sh*t on toast, I AM *toast*!! They knock out pretty much all of my favorite things, favorite causes, and/or heart-felt beliefs. I am clearly obligated to fart in their general direction, actively oppose them where possible, and blow them off in all other situations. What a bunch of twits.

  80. #80 Kerffufle
    March 2, 2010

    Can we hope they protest only Creed and Stryper reunion shows?

  81. #81 Dave
    March 2, 2010

    From the map legend:

    “Compromised Church’s [sic]”

    ’nuff said.

  82. #82 raven
    March 2, 2010

    These guys are not a joke. AoG has been involved in doctor shootings, Planned Parenthood attacks, and the Atlanta Olympics bombing. These guys are a terrorist group pure and simple.

    google captures:

    Eric Rudolph HomepageThis is Eric Rudolph’s Homepage. All articles are written by Eric Rudolph and authorized by him to be posted on this site. …
    http://www.armyofgod.com/EricRudolphHomepage.html – Cached – Similar

    Eric Rudolph’s Written Statement when he pled guilty
    Following is the full text of Eric Rudolph’s written statement …
    http://www.armyofgod.com/EricRudolphStatement.html

    Eric Rudolph Lil
    Eric Rudolph’s story while on the lam. Recently transcribed from a …
    http://www.armyofgod.com/EricRudolphTil.html
    More results from armyofgod.com »

    Eric Robert Rudolph – Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaFull text of Eric Rudolph’s written statement Army of God website; ^ Harpers Magazine Terrorism; ^ Most Wanted Extremist, Eric Rudolph, Caught June 3, 2003 …
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Robert_Rudolph – Cached – Similar

    National Abortion Federation: Clinic Violence: Army of GodIn letters sent to the media, the Army of God claimed responsibility for the bombing of an abortion clinic and a gay bar in Atlanta, GA. Eric Robert Rudolph …

    Terrorists they are. The Army of God’s most distinguished member is Eric Rudolph, Olympic bomber, killer of two, and wounder of 116.

    Scott Roeder, Tiller’s assassin also had links to them.

    IIRC, some of the other MD assassins were also tied up with the Army of god.

    It is likely that they are under heavy surveillance by the FBI at least. They are a classic out front xian terrorist group. Read their website if you sleep soundly and aren’t prone to nightmares.

  83. #83 Kerffufle
    March 2, 2010

    Gay pride events?

    Does that include ice skating tournaments?

  84. #84 OpenMindedNotCredulous
    March 2, 2010

    Not surprisingly these people are technology morons. My attempt to send a, relatively polite, comment to them resulted in the error below indicating that their web site is wide open to SQL injection attacks.

    select count(element_6) total from ap_form_3 where element_6=’Please move to Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, or another region where your idea of a country run by a theocracy is welcome. You’re petty tyrants who should be ridiculed and marginalized. America’s founders would be appalled by your behavior (albeit not surprised given that such stupidity was all too common at that time).’ Query failed: You have an error in your SQL syntax; check the manual that corresponds to your MySQL server version for the right syntax to use near ‘re petty tyrants who should be ridiculed and marginalized. America’s founders wo’ at line 1

  85. #85 Sastra
    March 2, 2010

    cmadden #35 wrote:

    What’s wrong with living in a double-wide? :-(

    Nothing; some of them are darn comfortable. Someone’s invoking a stereotype…

  86. #86 Grewgills
    March 2, 2010

    I’m 80% certain that it is brilliant parody.

    Set your security settings on high before you go to this site.

  87. #87 raven
    March 2, 2010

    FBI.gov:

    Counterterrorism Case: ABORTION CLINIC ANTHRAX THREAT
    In October and November, 2001, two waves of threat letters signed by the Army of God and claiming to contain anthrax were sent to abortion clinics and women’s health centers. The first wave was sent through the US Postal Service; the second wave was sent by Federal Express. To date, the FBI Laboratory has received over 200 of these letters. Chemistry Unit personnel examined the powders and determined them to be flour and chalk dust. None tested positive for anthrax.

    FBI experts made a positive link between fingerprints on threat letters and fingerprints belonging to Clayton Lee Waagner, a 45-year-old fugitive on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List. Waagner was arrested on December 3, 2001.

    The FBI considers the Army of god a terrorist organization. Sleep well Amarillo. I wonder if that city is considering changing its name to Baghdad or Basra.

  88. #88 tamakazura
    March 2, 2010

    Isn’t “spiritual warfare” English for “Jihad?”

  89. #89 Angus McPresley
    March 2, 2010

    At first they were all:

    “undercover operations” where the groups show up together but are not publicly visible together to effect the outcome of a public meeting such as city commissioners meetings, etc.

    But then they were like:

    Only evil hides in the dark

  90. #90 Gyeong Hwa Pak, Pikachu para lang sa iyo.
    March 2, 2010

    When you say Army of God, I thought of these folks: The Lord’s Resistance Army.

  91. #91 pejmanr
    March 2, 2010

    As someone who has lived most of his life under the shitty Islamofascist government of Iran, I am too familiar with fuck heads like this and I will sacrifice my life if necessary to stop this disaster in my newly adopted country of United States.

  92. #92 hznfrst
    March 2, 2010

    If they are a genuine terrorist group, why the hell are they allowed to operate? We managed to shut down the White Aryan Resistance (WAR) after they killed a guy in Portland for being black, and these fuckers are only different in their choice of targets and already guilty of murder.

    Yeah, give them what they want and send them to the real war in Afghanistan where their enemies are also armed and dangerous, then see how brave they are.

  93. #93 ckitching
    March 2, 2010

    Apparently there is a webpage for the Amarillo Citizens Against Repent Amarillo group. I thought these folks were just terrorists-in-training. I guess they’ve already graduated to full-on terrorists (but we won’t hear that word uttered in the news because that’s only for a certain type of dark skinned people).

  94. #94 Trent1492
    March 2, 2010

    I am getting a malware warning when I visit the site.

  95. #95 ckitching
    March 2, 2010

    [...] the error below indicating that their web site is wide open to SQL injection attacks.

    Which probably also explains the malware warnings people are getting.

  96. #96 mxh
    March 2, 2010

    “undercover operations” where the groups show up together but are not publicly visible together

    Seems to me that they just want to go to a porn store and have an excuse when their wives find out.

  97. #97 Aquaria
    March 2, 2010

    Is there any information about who owns these billboards?

    If I’m calling the damn FBi, I want to know all I can.

    Plus, it might help to inundate the billboard company with irate citizen calls–swamp their phone lines. Picket them. Call them the terrorist enablers they are.

  98. #98 jcmartz.myopenid.com
    March 2, 2010

    They’re not much different than the Taliban. True ChristiansTM. Indeed.

  99. #99 dexitroboper
    March 2, 2010

    …said the Ticktock Man

  100. #100 Caine
    March 2, 2010

    Late to the party, but holy shit, that’s a world of ugly. The absolute nastiness humans can exhibit, and they put it on parade with pride. Eesh.

  101. #101 James F
    March 2, 2010

    There is some good news coming out of Texas tonight, though, folks!

    With 83% of the votes in, former Texas State Board of Education chair Don McLeroy is losing by almost two points to primary challenger Thomas Ratliff!

  102. #102 Utakata
    March 2, 2010

    …so do they wear black shirts?

  103. #103 dsmwiener
    March 2, 2010

    Money talks and bullshit walks. If people are being fired from companies based on what this group reports, those companies should be boycotted.

  104. #104 Ferris
    March 3, 2010

    Looks like there’s a red light district right nex to the airport, lol.

  105. #105 Haley
    March 3, 2010

    I also just noticed that their description, “Sexually oriented businesses such as pornography shops, strip joints, and XXX-rated theaters.” doesn’t include stores that sell sex toys, so maybe they don’t mind that. Or maybe they’ve never heard of a vibrator.

  106. #106 eddylinc
    March 3, 2010

    Hm. Don’t forget that this is the town where back in 1997, a kid was killed for the crime of being a punk.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Brian_Deneke

  107. #107 otrame
    March 3, 2010

    @101:

    WPPPPPPPT!!!!!1111!!!!!!!!!!

    See, PZ, not all Texans are idiots or terrorists. On the other hand, here in San Antonio, we do (to my shame) have John Hagee. Though even he has sense enough to stay away from the porn stores and strip joints.

    As for these guys, strongly suspect we are dealing with less than five people who like to talk big. Losers playing tin soldier and feeling all big and hairy on a web site. The only trouble is every now and then you get a genuine nutcase in amongst the losers, listening to the rhetoric, and then people die. Remember Tim McVeigh?

    Hehe, here in San Antonio, trying that harassment could get you into some serious shit with the local pachucos. Generally, if you are not a player, you don’t have to worry too much about the gangs here (a rule the bosses sometimes enforce with extreme prejudice), but pulling that “taking pictures and writing down licenses” shit in the wrong part of this town could get you dead.

    So if they are really all that brave, I say “Come on down. We got lots of Catholics down here. You can save their souls from the Whore of Babylon and all the porn shops. They’ll thank you for it. But, erm, better make sure your insurance is paid up.”

  108. #108 Ichthyic
    March 3, 2010

    doesn’t include stores that sell sex toys, so maybe they don’t mind that.

    maybe Gary Aldridge was a member once upon a time?

  109. #109 MadScientist
    March 3, 2010

    Thugs For Jesus: Just remember, if you’re the victim of a religious pogrom, that’s just you experiencing god’s love.

  110. #110 Steven Dunlap
    March 3, 2010

    @99 Nice Harlan Ellison reference. Good one.

    And on another subject:
    I vote not a hoax. The language comes across as too repetitive and insular, such as the use of “witness” as a verb for their practice of bothering people. Satire would have more wit. Or bad satire an obvious attempt at something witty.

    I love that map telling everyone where to find the porn and strip clubs. I’ll bet they witness some of that when they think none of their friends sees them. I wonder what happens when they run into each other in one?

  111. #111 Pareidolius
    March 3, 2010

    Uh, isn’t their logo a bit on the Satanic side?

  112. #112 AxonZ
    March 3, 2010

    Love the map. I was wondering where the Crystal Pistol was. Thanks.

  113. #113 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    March 3, 2010

    4. Breast cancer events such as “Race for the Cure” to illuminate the link between abortion and breast cancer.

    Because women would not have breast cancer if they only had sex in marriage.

    I do not know if the group is connected to this? But seeing how easy it is to find this, the group must know of it and do not mind being associated with it.

  114. #114 procrastinator.myopenid.com
    March 3, 2010

    Slightly OT. The Texas Republican primary has propositions on 1. voter photo ID (92.82% for); 2. Controlling Government Growth (91.95% for); 3. Cutting Federal Income Taxes (93.14% for); 4. Public Acknowledgement of God (95.21% for); and 5. “medically unnecessary abortions” Sonograms (68.97% for). The above percentages are with 84.64% of precincts reporting.

    See here: http://www.cwfa.org/articledisplay.asp?id=18445&department=FIELD&categoryid=misc

    Less gov’t, #’s 2 & 3. More gov’t, #’s 1, 4, & 5. Seems a little confused to me.

    JB

  115. #115 jablair51
    March 3, 2010

    I don’t think that this group is related to the terrorist group. This group is called “Repent Amarillo” and just uses the phrase “Army of God” as an advertising slogan. They aren’t terrorists, they are just annoying pricks. They might want to do a little research next time though.

  116. #116 Butch Pansy
    March 3, 2010

    I know only one armadillo joke: Why did the chicken cross the road? To prove to the armadillo that it could be done. Perhaps if the armadillos were to be painted in reflective or glow-in-the-dark paints they would be roadkill less often, but it might just make them even easier targets. Maybe repainting them in shades of urban camouflage, heavy on the asphalt gray, is their best option.

  117. #117 squealpiggy
    March 3, 2010

    These are the kind of idiots who hide razor blades inside apples on halloween. Not to worry though. They’re also the kind of idiots who then eat the apples…

  118. #118 skeptifem
    March 3, 2010

    Man, this kind of thing is old news. The dude who does “Aquire the fire” had some soldiers for god thing years ago. Aquire the fire is a show that goes on in stadiums with sketches, speeches, and music that is aimed at teens. It is filmed and shown late at night on christian tv channels. The imagery and idea was hijacked long ago. The war show was mostly people in desert camo doing really obnoxious sketches about being ‘in the trenches’ for god and stuff. They were play acting the fear and hardship of war in some desert (in the south west I assume), but made it about winning souls for jesus somehow. They never panned away from the soldiers to show who the enemy was! It didn’t make a lot of sense and was acted out by teenagers. After that Acquire the Fire dude made some speech about witnessing being a war for the souls of the world, also in army gear (jerk). He will openly say stuff like “we need to get em while they are young, studies show that if you don’t they won’t be religious” (!!!!). I don’t remember his name, but yeah, he said something about joining the war via witnessing. This was right when I was seeing a lot of young people I knew come back from war missing limbs, so I found it really offensive to compare that to, you know, witnessing. I think part of the appeal is to *feel* like a brave soldier without having to actually be in harms way, so I am not sure that people who are into this are all that dangerous.

  119. #119 Aquaria
    March 3, 2010

    Perhaps if the armadillos were to be painted in reflective or glow-in-the-dark paints they would be roadkill less often, but it might just make them even easier targets

    Uh–the reason they get hit is…well, it’s complicated. It’s not that they can’t see what’s coming. They see it, all right, and it scares them.

    When they’re scared, they don’t run. But they don’t freeze, either.

    Nope, they jump. Up. About 3 or 4 feet.

    This is a nice evolutionary adaptation when you’re dealing with dogs and coyotes and ocelots and so on–it scares the shit out of them, and maybe they’ll run off and leave you alone.

    Cars? Well, they’re a whole different story.

  120. #120 Kobra
    March 3, 2010

    I want to be surprised by this, but I can’t be.

  121. #121 Q.E.D
    March 3, 2010

    Given how many Texans own guns and their reputation for not putting up with other people’s shit, it surprises me that strip-club visiting good ol’ boys haven’t opened a can of whup-ass on these fuckwits.

  122. #122 shonny
    March 3, 2010

    Remember Tom Lehrer’s The Folk Song Army http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yygMhtNQJ9M,

    but maybe it’s now time to get Tom to write, in ‘honour’ of these morons, The Fuckwits’ Army Song?

  123. #123 coughlanbrianm
    March 3, 2010

    Hey c’mon, there’s one good thing about the site… a map to all the porn shops in Amarillo.

    Wow. Porn shops still exist eh? Shouldn’t these guys also be targeting the ISP’s, cable and phone companies? Maybe we should suggest that.

  124. #124 Paul W.
    March 3, 2010

    James F:

    With 83% of the votes in, former Texas State Board of Education chair Don McLeroy is losing by almost two points to primary challenger Thomas Ratliff!

    Also, Cynthia Dunbar’s SBOE seat (District 10) is apparently NOT going to her designated heir apparent and fellow nutbar Brian Russell.

    Marsha Farney beat him by a nose (203 votes out of nearly 105,000). The moderate vote was split between her and Rebecca Osborne. Between the two of them, they trounced Russell, but the split made it a very, very near thing. (I hope her paper-thin lead doesn’t get somehow adjusted or recounted away.)

  125. #125 coughlanbrianm
    March 3, 2010

    Typed all this up but then the contact page didn’t work. Oh well.

    Hi Guys!

    At first I was pretty excited about your site. You really seemed to have your hearts in the right place. But on closer inspection, I noticed a number of things that concern me.

    1) You have a satanic pentangley thing on your home page!

    2) You call yourselves “The Army of God” which translates to “Hizbollah” in Arabic. They also call themselves the “The Army of God”. You may want to clarify which God so people don’t think you’re muslims; perhaps change the name to the “The Army of the Triune Jesus God” for example.

    3) You target strips clubs and porn shops, but that is so 20th century. You need to be hitting the ISP’s and phone companies. They spread far more porn than porn shops!

    Yours in Christ,

    Mike Tarchangle.

  126. #126 R. Schauer
    March 3, 2010

    Why can’t we encourage these crusaders to head on over to the mountains of Afganistan/Pakistan and have at it with the Taliban or alQaida? I’m thinking something exciting develops like a “two birds with one stone” situation.

    BTW, what is in the water down in Texas?

  127. #127 Larkus
    March 3, 2010

    Nobody expects the Armadillo Inquisition:

    From the section “What is a Soldier for Christ?”

    The Christian soldier has three weapons in his arsenal, prayer, praise and worship, and the Word of God.

    …and nice red uniforms.

  128. #128 coucou
    March 3, 2010

    Deary me, how has this thread got so far with no-one asking how to get to Amarillo?
    http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=8019905783428073153#

  129. #129 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnTAiIRbRIpbzIZTtwLDKEdcE21mgEUtpI
    March 3, 2010

    I wonder if the Army is legally entitled to enforce its intellectual property.

    Yes! The US Army is non-political and mostly non-religious (at least on paper). Lots of soldiers have been dishonourably discharged (like Gordon Klingenschmitt) for appearing in uniform as a political or religious statement. Of course I doubt any of these morons are actually serving, they don’t seemed qualified to serve in the National Guard, much less a combat unit. More likely they’re just a bunch of unemployed losers with nothing better to do than hang out in military surplus stores, talking about that really cool gun they have on layaway.

    Send that army to Afghanistan. Then it wouldn’t matter WHO won!

    I’m pretty sure that if any of them could actually qualify for military service, they’d already be shipped out. The only difference between these psychos and Timothy McVeigh is that McVeigh was in good shape, and had actually served his country.

  130. #130 roddick18
    March 3, 2010

    I think Texas may be one of those sick states that prohibit the sale of dildos and dildo-like objects.
    As for the the breast cancer/abortion connection, everyone knows that every woman who has had an abortion: 1) gets breast cancer; 2) goes crazy; and, 3) if, she has any more kids, they will be deformed, or at least red-headed. These are known facts. /snark

  131. #131 martin.benson
    March 3, 2010

    5. Opening day of public schools to reach out to students.

    No-one else seems to have queried this – but what on earth could anyone find upsetting about this one?

  132. #132 Quotidian Torture
    March 3, 2010

    Liberal queerboy atheist Texan here. I’m simultaneously relieved and disappointed that I haven’t seen anything like this where I live.

    Relieved, because I’d rather not have to put up with that kind of shit on a day to day basis, but disappointed because it would be an excellent excuse to try out my new paintball marker.

    “Repent, heathens!”

    *papf papf papf*

    “Jesus, ouch!”

  133. #133 Matt Penfold
    March 3, 2010

    Given how many Texans own guns and their reputation for not putting up with other people’s shit, it surprises me that strip-club visiting good ol’ boys haven’t opened a can of whup-ass on these fuckwits.

    Even in the Army of God it is probably considered bad form to whup-ass on other members.

  134. #134 happy_heyoka
    March 3, 2010

    to illuminate the link between abortion and breast cancer.

    obviously, a female foetus that doesn’t make it to full term can’t get breast cancer.

    Ambrose Bierce once defined puritanism as the terrible fear that someone, somewhere, is having fun.

    H.L. Mencken according to google, but nice quote.

    From the section “What is a Soldier for Christ?”

    The Christian soldier has three weapons in his arsenal, prayer, praise and worship, and the Word of God.

    …and nice red uniforms.

    No! Not the Comfy Chair!

    Send that army to Afghanistan. Then it wouldn’t matter WHO won!

    On a more serious note, please NO! Don’t even suggest this out loud. Afghanistan has problems enough with dim witted zealots.

    Incidently, “double wides” doesn’t cross the pacific language barrier… are we talking trousers, trailers or houses here?

  135. #135 Moggie
    March 3, 2010

    #73:

    And you suppose they think Celine Dion or Micheal Bolton concerts aren’t demonic to these people?

    See, it’s possible to find some common ground even with these idiots!

  136. #136 PhilJo
    March 3, 2010

    @ OpenMindedNotCredulous #84
    Are you suggesting that someone should post a comment of the form

    Let me see your layout'; show tables;

    And then let them know about little johnny Tables?

    As they are compromised and serving malware it might be considered public service, not to mention the crap they serve on purpose, though I too suspected Poe when I first saw the site.

  137. #137 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnTAiIRbRIpbzIZTtwLDKEdcE21mgEUtpI
    March 3, 2010

    The Christian soldier has three weapons in his arsenal, prayer, praise and worship, and the Word of God.

    Except that’s four. Obviously.

    The Atheist Soldier has three weapons in his or her arsenal; science, reason and the ability to count beyond three.

  138. #138 Walton
    March 3, 2010

    I can’t believe no one has yet posted this song, on an entire thread about Amarillo.

    (Maybe someone more creative than me could compose some appropriate parody lyrics.)

  139. #139 SelfishGene
    March 3, 2010

    Does your government not realise that we in Europe are completely baffled by this stuff – such groups would probably not be allowed to exist here. I mean these people probably own guns and believe that god wants them top have them!! The US education system must be really crap in places, the only good thing is that these people don’t usually travel abroad. Is GB not totally cool cause it wouldn’t let in benny hinn, fucking awesome. Hey PZ, heard your interview with William Crawley on Sunday AM, just great & greetings from Belfast.

  140. #140 Walton
    March 3, 2010

    Does your government not realise that we in Europe are completely baffled by this stuff – such groups would probably not be allowed to exist here. I mean these people probably own guns and believe that god wants them top have them!! The US education system must be really crap in places, the only good thing is that these people don’t usually travel abroad. Is GB not totally cool cause it wouldn’t let in benny hinn, fucking awesome.

    The fact that some European countries are insufficiently dedicated to freedom of speech is not “fucking awesome”. Far from it. In a free society, even the most insane religious nuts should be free to travel and to express their views without government censorship. As long as they’re not using actual violence, there should be no restrictions on freedom of religious and political expression. Freedom of speech doesn’t just apply to people we like. The US courts should be applauded, not condemned, for their strong protection of free speech even where this is unpopular.

    In Britain, we have no First Amendment. (We have the Human Rights Act 1998, which incorporates the European Convention on Human Rights into British law and does contain a qualified guarantee of free speech, but it doesn’t have the same kind of teeth as the US Constitution.) As such, our government routinely abuses its power to ban groups it doesn’t like. The radical Islamic group “Islam4UK” was recently banned, and last year Fred Phelps was prevented from coming to the UK to protest. As much as I despise both Islam4UK and Fred Phelps, I absolutely think we should defend their right to free speech.

    Look at it this way: if we allow the state power to ban groups which we find offensive, then those people who find atheism offensive (of which there are plenty) will seek to use that power to ban expressions of atheism. In order to guarantee free speech for ourselves, we have to guarantee it for everyone.

  141. #141 arachnophilia
    March 3, 2010

    “Masonic rituals and teachings in the upper ranks is based on Egyptian paganism. Full of secrecy. Only evil hides in the dark

    looks like somebody needs to read exodus again.

  142. #142 Richard Eis
    March 3, 2010

    Other events that may arise that the ministry feels called to confront.

    People on mah lawn. Damn kids.

    Ugh, cranky whining christians who will cry and run away at the first bitch slapping they will fully deserve.

    From their vision of “spiritual warfare”, the mormons have been attacking the US for years. With (ss you can see) very little success. I don’t think this bunch of asswipes will do much better.

    Well, you know what they say, the only people who benefit from war are the weapon makers. Too true in this case.

  143. #143 a.human.ape
    March 3, 2010

    Good news from Texas – the retard Don McLeroy was not reelected to their State Board of Education.

  144. #144 toth
    March 3, 2010

    Makes sense to me. Where do I sign up?!!

  145. #145 negentropyeater
    March 3, 2010

    As long as they’re not enticingusing actual violence or hate, there should be no restrictions on freedom of religious and political expression. Freedom of speech doesn’t just apply to people we like.

    The radical Islamic group “Islam4UK” was recently banned, and last year Fred Phelps was prevented from coming to the UK to protest, because of their enticement of violence and/or hate

    if we allow the state power to ban groups which we find offensiveentice violence or hate, then those people who find atheism offensive (of which there are plenty) will not be able to seek to use that power to ban expressions of atheism.

  146. #146 Fred The Hun
    March 3, 2010

    ckitching @ 50

    and the ringleader will continue spreading his (and they’re always male) destructive message.

    Will you please stop with the male bashing! It really has gotten old.

    There are plenty of wacko females out there within the hierarchy of organizations such as “Operation Rescue”and others.

    As a matter of fact a woman, Shelley Shannon, actually shot Dr. Tiller five times with a semi automatic pistol On August 19, 1993.

    And if you Think the Sarah Palins of the world don’t qualify as ring leaders then you are truly naive.

  147. #147 makyui
    March 3, 2010

    @Happy_Heyoka #134:

    Incidently, “double wides” doesn’t cross the pacific language barrier… are we talking trousers, trailers or houses here?

    Double-wide trailers. :)

    Though I think someone made a double-wide trousers joke, too.

  148. #148 Walton
    March 3, 2010

    negentropyeater @#145: I totally and unequivocally disagree with you, and I’m frankly disturbed by your illiberal attitude.

    “Hate” is not a sufficiently objective, well-defined concept to be a basis for censoring free speech. Bill Donohue thinks that Crackergate was “hate speech”, and would gladly have such actions banned if he had the power to do so. And how many times have you heard religionists denouncing secular organisations as “hate groups”? Ultimately, I do not trust government to decide what constitutes “hate”.

    If you start banning “hate speech” and “hate groups”, it doesn’t stop at Fred Phelps or Islam4UK. It ends up expanding to cover anything that the government of the day thinks is “hate speech” or a “hate group”.

    The only way a group should ever be banned, or prevented from expressing its views, is if it is (a) actually using violence, or (b) conspiring to commit acts of violence, or providing other people with the means to do so. The latter would include, for instance, the radio station in Rwanda which co-ordinated and directed the militia groups who carried out the horrific 1994 genocide. But anything short of that should be covered by the protection of free speech. In my view, the US First Amendment and the US courts get it about right (though they sometimes don’t quite go far enough for my liking).

  149. #149 Hurin
    March 3, 2010

    Wow. This is fucking creepy. And they target breast cancer events?! WTF is wrong with these creepers? Sounds like the WBC with a military fetish.

  150. #150 Knockgoats
    March 3, 2010

    Ultimately, I do not trust government to decide what constitutes “hate”. – Walton

    No indeed: deciding what constitutes “hate speech” is up to the courts, same as with any other crime, if laws against it are passed. I’m uncertain about this issue myself, seeing good arguments on both sides, but try and stop your knee jerking quite so automatically, Walton.

  151. #151 strange gods before me ?
    March 3, 2010

    Of course inciting hatred should be legal. Some people deserve to be hated.

  152. #152 negentropyeater
    March 3, 2010

    And how many times have you heard religionists denouncing secular organisations as “hate groups”?

    And how many times have you seen the justice system condemning secular organisations for hate speech in one of the many European countries that prohibit it under incitement to hatred legislation?

    Ultimately, I do not trust government to decide what constitutes “hate”.

    Is there something you trust the government to decide ?

  153. #153 Q.E.D
    March 3, 2010

    Knockgoats, Walton, and negentropyeater

    I think the US first Amendment’s maximalist view on free speech is the best approach. I have issues with “hate speech” legislation. It starts out with good intentions such as protecting vulnerable minorities, however, it is always get co-opted and claimed by other groups to be used as a sword and shield to demand suppression of other’s speech and special protection for their ideas (e.g.. Bill Donohue and Crackergate).

    Here in the UK, free speech is seriously hobbled by outrageously stupid libel laws that promote censorship under threat of litigation.

    http://www.libelreform.org/

  154. #154 Walton
    March 3, 2010

    No indeed: deciding what constitutes “hate speech” is up to the courts, same as with any other crime, if laws against it are passed.

    Sorry for the confusion – I was using “government” in the broader sense of the term more usually found in US English, referring to the entire network of state institutions that exercise public-law powers over the citizen, including the courts. I didn’t mean “government” in the narrower sense of “Her Majesty’s Government”, as it is most often used in British English.

    What I meant was that I do not trust any state organ to determine what constitutes “hate”, or to decide whether or not the content of someone’s speech is acceptable. And while I have more faith in the courts than in elected politicians, bear in mind that the courts, when applying a statute, are constrained by the wording of the Act – which is the work of elected politicians.* The courts do have some leeway in interpretation, and the Human Rights Act 1998 requires them to interpret all statutory law, as far as possible, in light of the rights guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights (which does contain a, albeit lamentably weak, guarantee of free speech). But this has limits; they cannot refuse to apply an Act that does not conform with the ECHR, though they can issue a non-binding “declaration of incompatibility”.

    Essentially, I do not think we should be giving any state official the power to differentiate between acceptable and unacceptable speech. Speech should not be criminalised unless it directly causes physical harm to others (as with shouting “Fire” in a crowded theatre, or organising and co-ordinating genocidal attacks). A person can obviously be liable in civil law for certain types of speech, such as slander or libel; but the ultra-coercive tool of the criminal law should not be used to censor speech unless there is a direct causal link between that speech and actual physical harm.

    *(Strictly speaking, more often the work of the Parliamentary Counsel Office acting on the instructions of elected politicians. But that’s not relevant to my point here.)

  155. #155 Aquaria
    March 3, 2010

    if we allow the state power to ban groups which we find offensive, then those people who find atheism offensive (of which there are plenty) will seek to use that power to ban expressions of atheism.

    Except, Walton, that the US government in particular can (and does) limit the First Amendment.

    You can’t yell fire in a public theater.

    You can’t libel or slander.

    You can’t incite treason or violence.

    Government may not be able to outlaw peaceful speech/association of dissidents, but they can do more underhanded things.

    I don’t know if it’s true now, but as of 1995 when I applied for a federal job, I had to state if I had ever supported the Communist party. In 1986, I had to answer that on my Air Force enlistment paperwork, too. Most state and local governments have the same drivel in their employment applications. And some private corporations that have government contracts (which is a startling number of them), also require an answer to that.

    The FBI to this day routinely infiltrates leftist groups (there’s still the idea that left = Communist in the US); this has not been true for rightist groups, save for a few exception. Even then, rightist groups usually have to be openly violent to get infiltration in most cases (think KKK). Left wing groups can get it just for advocating peace, or supporting striking workers (think MLK).

    All of these actions against leftists and Communists is not a direct declaration of their illegality, but it’s definitely harassing them and blackballing them for their ideas, their speech, and their choice of association.

  156. #156 Carlie
    March 3, 2010

    They’re also likely to be the type of people who are in love with military imagery and machismo and the like, but are too chickenshit to go join the military themselves. So instead they play soldier where they can feel all manly and brave and push people around without even getting a scratch on their little fingers.

  157. #157 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 3, 2010

    The FBI to this day routinely infiltrates leftist groups (there’s still the idea that left = Communist in the US); this has not been true for rightist groups, save for a few exception. Even then, rightist groups usually have to be openly violent to get infiltration in most cases (think KKK). Left wing groups can get it just for advocating peace, or supporting striking workers (think MLK).

    I find this hard to believe. Do you have something supporting that this is the case over the last few decades?

  158. #158 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 3, 2010

    let me be more specific.

    Do you have something supporting the idea that the US Gov’t doesn’t infiltrate right-wing groups as frequently as left-wing.

  159. #159 strange gods before me ?
    March 3, 2010

    Is there something you trust the government to decide ?

    The government would do well to focus on the more important job of deciding what constitutes “inciting violence.”

  160. #160 Walton
    March 3, 2010

    You can’t yell fire in a public theater.

    You can’t libel or slander.

    You can’t incite treason or violence.

    Libel and slander are torts, not crimes. You can be subject to a civil action if you commit a libel or slander against a person, but you cannot go to prison for doing so (unless you refuse to comply with a court order and are imprisoned for contempt of court – which is IMO an illiberal measure, and one I would abolish).

    As to incitement to violence, that’s a grey area for me. This particular area of the criminal law has often been grossly abused by state authorities. At the same time, I do think those who co-ordinate and organise acts of violence – such as the leaders of international terrorist organisations, or the Rwandan radio station to which I referred earlier – should be criminally liable.

    I don’t know if it’s true now, but as of 1995 when I applied for a federal job, I had to state if I had ever supported the Communist party. In 1986, I had to answer that on my Air Force enlistment paperwork, too. Most state and local governments have the same drivel in their employment applications.

    That’s obviously different. Working in a specific government job is not a civil right guaranteed to all citizens. It’s legitimate for those jobs which entail a high security clearance to be restricted on the basis of a person’s political history.

    But you should not be stopped from exercising any of the rights of citizenship based on your current or past political affiliation.

    The FBI to this day routinely infiltrates leftist groups (there’s still the idea that left = Communist in the US); this has not been true for rightist groups, save for a few exception. Even then, rightist groups usually have to be openly violent to get infiltration in most cases (think KKK). Left wing groups can get it just for advocating peace, or supporting striking workers (think MLK).

    I know, and I think that’s entirely wrong. That’s why I support much stronger judicial scrutiny of covert law-enforcement operations.

  161. #161 MikeTheInfidel
    March 3, 2010
  162. #162 MikeTheInfidel
    March 3, 2010

    In fact, here’s a video about the group and website from a local news station.

  163. #163 Julie Stahlhut
    March 3, 2010

    What’s their take on “people who fantasize about dropping live giant centipedes into the underwear of sadistic bastards who harass cancer patients”?

    Just wondering if they’re coming after me next, you understand.

  164. #164 negentropyeater
    March 3, 2010

    it is always get co-opted and claimed by other groups to be used as a sword and shield to demand suppression of other’s speech and special protection for their ideas (e.g.. Bill Donohue and Crackergate).

    True, but that’s why there are courts who much more often than not do not grant them that special protection.
    It’s not sufficient to demand suppression for it be granted.

    Here in France there are numerous examples of cases where a person or organisation was not found guilty of incitement to hatred in the case of purported hate speech towards a religion or religious group.

    Oh, and I do agree that the UK libel laws are completely stupid and need to be reformed.

    I agree that this is a complicated matter for our justices, but I don’t think the laissez-faire attitude of Americans is the right choice in this matter. It doesn’t mean that the European legislation can’t be improved, and I think over time we will see convergence towards a place that lies somewhere in between the American free-speech legislation and the more illeberal European legislations. See for example what are the recommendations in this regard made by the Coucil of Europe.

  165. #165 Aquaria
    March 3, 2010

    It is still a crime to libel or slander, Walton, and that’s a limitation on speech. Dance around it all you want–I’m not even disagreeing with you or advocating libel or slander–but you cannot say that its not a limit on speech.

    I don’t care if it’s a right or not to work for the government. It’s hypocrisy for them to say that you can have free speech and association, then say, well, except for this.

    And just how are Communists any greater of a threat than any other citizen? If you’re going to go with the percentages of who’s likely to betray his country, look for people in financial trouble. Look for people with secrets about their sex lives. And so forth.

    Being Communist or Nazi or Socialist or any other non-taditional political supporter is not in and of itself an indicator of being a traitor, and none of them deserve to be denied equal access to employment just because a nation is consumed with pants-wetting terror of an “other: out there.

    If you’re going to ban Communists, then how can Nazis be privileged into employment access, when they have an ideology that can be very dangerous to domestic tranquility, as much as any Communist does?

    Do you not see how it’s not about the government having the right to hire who they want, but how they decide who deserves it and who doesn’t?

  166. #166 Cerberus
    March 3, 2010

    I’m not easily spooked by any stretch of the imagination, but that frightened me a little. These terrorists are dangerous psychopaths and seeing their hate and militarism with nice convenient dots on the map just makes me start counting in my head before the first unfortunate shop worker or set of broken windows.

    Cause shit like that pretty much is guaranteed to end in violence and terrorism.

    Keep safe Amarillo.

  167. #167 Orson Zedd
    March 3, 2010

    “Masonic rituals and teachings in the upper ranks is based on Egyptian paganism. Full of secrecy. Only evil hides in the dark.”

    I counter with the Picard, “Villains who twirl their mustaches are easy to spot. Those who clothe themselves in good deeds are well camouflaged.”

    Also, if these bastards ever tried to march in my classroom and preach this vile shit, they’d be out on their asses.

  168. #168 strange gods before me ?
    March 3, 2010

    Here in France there are numerous examples of cases where a person or organisation was not found guilty of incitement to hatred in the case of purported hate speech towards a religion or religious group.

    And why should those people have had to bear the immense burden of paying for lawyers, taking time off work to show up in court for weeks or months, and then living forever with the lingering bad reputation that comes from being a criminal defendant?

  169. #169 MikeTheInfidel
    March 3, 2010

    raven:

    They are nowhere near as benign as PZ makes thenm out to be.

    Several of the MD assassins have had links to The Army of god. They can and will kill people if they find a follower with severe mental illness and a martyr complex.

    Some states list the Army of God as a terrorist or hate organization. They are both.

    When I was a fundie, our prayer group called itself Army of God Special Forces. We had no connection to any formal group called Army of God. It’s a common name for Christians to give their groups to make themselves feel like they’re waging war against Satan. Do you have insight into whether this group is actually part of the larger group you mentioned?

  170. #170 Aquaria
    March 3, 2010

    Argh. I fucked up with libel and slander being a crime. I agree they’re not Crimes, per se, but that you can be punished for committing either, even if it’s financially (and if you can’t pay…?) was my point.

    I’m not fully awake yet.

  171. #171 MikeTheInfidel
    March 3, 2010

    Oh, for fsm’s sake. Blockquote fail.
    raven:

    They are nowhere near as benign as PZ makes thenm out to be.

    Several of the MD assassins have had links to The Army of god. They can and will kill people if they find a follower with severe mental illness and a martyr complex.

    Some states list the Army of God as a terrorist or hate organization. They are both.

    When I was a fundie, our prayer group called itself Army of God Special Forces. We had no connection to any formal group called Army of God. It’s a common name for Christians to give their groups to make themselves feel like they’re waging war against Satan. Do you have insight into whether this group is actually part of the larger group you mentioned?

  172. #172 Orson Zedd
    March 3, 2010

    oh, just looked it up. Apparently there’s more to the quote.

    “Villains who twirl their mustaches are easy to spot. Those who clothe themselves in good deeds are well camouflaged … waiting for the right climate in which to flourish, spreading fear in the name of righteousness.”

    Wouldn’t have bothered, but the coda was eerily appropriate.

  173. #173 strange gods before me ?
    March 3, 2010

    but I don’t think the laissez-faire attitude of Americans is the right choice in this matter.

    What, precisely, is the problem with the US Supreme Court’s broad interpretation of free speech? Please give specific examples of wrongs that are not being righted.

  174. #174 Q.E.D
    March 3, 2010

    Rev. BDC I don’t think the point is whether the US is equally infiltrating right and left wing groups. Surely they should be disproportionately infiltrating groups likely to perform criminal acts.

    As for infiltration of left wing groups by the Government, there have been outrageous infiltration of peaceful left wing groups. (particularly prior to Republican National Convention meetings)

    http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2008/08/31/raids/

    http://www.aclu.org/national-security/aclu-maryland-lawsuit-uncovers-maryland-state-police-spying-against-peace-and-anti

    http://www.aclu.org/national-security/documents-obtained-aclu-expose-fbi-and-police-targeting-political-groups

  175. #175 negentropyeater
    March 3, 2010

    And why should those people have had to bear the immense burden of paying for lawyers, taking time off work to show up in court for weeks or months, and then living forever with the lingering bad reputation that comes from being a criminal defendant?

    I agree that this is a big problem, but I think that over time the many unsuccesful precedents will discourage groups to engage in costly and time consuming lawsuits that have not a chance of getting anywhere.

    Oh, and I don’t think Philippe Val’s reputation has been tarnished after being found not guilty of incitement to hatred for having published the Danish caricatures in Charlie Hebdo. Quite the contrary.

  176. #176 Rey Fox
    March 3, 2010

    “get em while they’re young”

    Always makes me think of Ken Shabby.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhm4SMlGnbk

  177. #177 negentropyeater
    March 3, 2010

    Please give specific examples of wrongs that are not being righted.

    Phelps.

  178. #178 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 3, 2010

    As for infiltration of left wing groups by the Government, there have been outrageous infiltration of peaceful left wing groups. (particularly prior to Republican National Convention meetings)

    Yes I’m well aware of this and it is shameful, but the feeling I got from the comment I was responding to was that the government is essentially ignoring right wing groups save the most violent ones.

    While that may be true I would just like to see some supporting evidence past pointing out that the government unfairly targets peaceful left wing groups.

  179. #179 Butch Pansy
    March 3, 2010

    Aquaria @ 119:

    I had no idea! Now I’ll me daydreaming about jumping armadillos.

  180. #180 Knockgoats
    March 3, 2010

    It starts out with good intentions such as protecting vulnerable minorities, however, it is always get co-opted and claimed by other groups to be used as a sword and shield to demand suppression of other’s speech and special protection for their ideas (e.g.. Bill Donohue and Crackergate).

    How many cases are there where it has been successfully used in such a way? Clearly, such laws have to be very carefully framed – the original draft of the recent UK law against incitement to religious hatred was rightly seen as potentially outlawing some forms of criticism of religion; fortunately it was amended, and there have been, AFAIK, no attempts to use the law that was passed in that way.

    but the ultra-coercive tool of the criminal law should not be used to censor speech unless there is a direct causal link between that speech and actual physical harm. – Walton

    So if someone incites others to carry out a campaign of harassment against a specific target that does not include actual physical harm, you think the target should have to get a court injunction against them, and even if the injunction is granted, and they continue their incitement, they should not be subject to criminal sanction?

    It’s all very well to feel this when you’re not part of a vulnerable minority and have never been subject to such a campaign, Walton. (I should say I am only familiar with these things at second hand.) You are, rightly, always concerned about the state’s coercive power; but you appear not to realise the extent to which non-state actors can coerce and oppress if the state does not stop them.

  181. #181 strange gods before me ?
    March 3, 2010

    I have counterprotested the Phelps family face-to-face. I have never felt that I, as a gay man or as a friend of veterans’ families, was in any danger from them. (I did wonder if the Phelps family was in danger, but there are limits to my sympathy.) I cannot imagine what would be the justification for banning their nonviolent demonstrations.

  182. #182 Q.E.D
    March 3, 2010

    Negentropyeater @ 164

    I have lived in France, the US and now the UK and my perspective is that the US tends to get it right on Free Speech (in theory, it gets abused in practice particularly when the Republicans are in power). The default position should be that people and groups should not be investigated, infiltrated or prosecuted based on their speech – unless there is strong evidence and probable cause to suspect criminal activity.

    I was just wondering whether I would be arrested in London if I wore a T-shirt expressing my loathing of the Pope during his “State” visit to the UK. My point is that I should not have to worry about publicly stating that the Pope is a co-conspirator in a paedophile ring and has blood on his hands for his policy on condom use. (T-shirt slogan ideas welcome from Pharyngulistas)

  183. #183 strange gods before me ?
    March 3, 2010

    I agree that this is a big problem, but I think that over time the many unsuccesful precedents will discourage groups to engage in costly and time consuming lawsuits that have not a chance of getting anywhere.

    On the contrary, if a lawsuit causes the defendant to lose time and money, then the goal has been achieved, regardless of the ruling.

    The whole point of a SLAPP strategy is that there’s no need to win at trial.

  184. #184 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 3, 2010

    I cannot imagine what would be the justification for banning their nonviolent demonstrations.

    100% agree

  185. #185 negentropyeater
    March 3, 2010

    Please give specific examples of wrongs that are not being righted.

    IANAL, but I think this Repent Amarillo group might possibly be convicted of Incitement to Hatred and/or Violence under French or German Volksverhetzung law.

    I doubt anything could be done to stop them with US courts.

  186. #186 strange gods before me ?
    March 3, 2010

    Stop them from doing what? Yelling?

  187. #187 Big Boppa
    March 3, 2010

    Hope I’m not too late with this. Here the whois listing info for their web site:

    Domain Name: repentamarillo.com

    Registrant Contact:
    repentamarillo.com Private Registrant repentamarillo.com@proxy.dreamhost.com

    DreamHost Web Hosting
    417 Associated Rd #324
    Brea, CA 92821
    US
    +1.2139471032

    Contact abuse at http://www.dreamhost.com/contact.cgi

  188. #188 MAJeff, OM
    March 3, 2010
    Please give specific examples of wrongs that are not being righted.

    Phelps.

    I’ve been in locations with the Phelps family a couple times. Once, they were picketing a hotel I was staying at–along with a few thousand other LGBT activists–for the NGLTF Creating Change conference. That time, the biggest problem was that by the time I’d made it up to my room to get my camera and then back down to the lobby, they were gone. No picture with Freddy.

    The other time was at Cambridge City Hall the night of May 16, 2004. Same-sex couples were going to begin legally applying for marriage licenses at midnight, so Cambridge had a celebration and some of the Phelpses showed up to protest. They were gone by 10:00pm, overhwlemed by about 10,000 people throwing a big-ass party.

    What’s would you have us do with the Phelps? Jail?

    I prefer the “point and laugh” approach. Show up and make fun of them. It’s all their worth.

  189. #189 nigelTheBold
    March 3, 2010

    I cannot imagine what would be the justification for banning their nonviolent demonstrations.

    Because we don’t agree with them, and they are assholes!

    Okay, that’s not a justification for banning their demonstrations. (Oh, yeah. These aren’t “demonstrations.” That’s a political term, and they are not a political group. This is “witnessing.”

    (Or so they claim, anyway.)

    It is justification for a fierce glare, though. And some stern words. And perhaps a rude gesture or two. Oh, and maybe a few rants on teh innertubes.

  190. #190 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 3, 2010

    I prefer the “point and laugh” approach. Show up and make fun of them. It’s all their worth.

    That and a great example to point to figuratively as what religion can do to people.

  191. #191 Jan Witkowski
    March 3, 2010

    Now I know the best places to visit the next time I am in Amarillo

  192. #192 JamesPGH
    March 3, 2010

    I sent them a lovely email which they will probably not read.

  193. #193 MS
    March 3, 2010

    Sigh. I grew up in Amarillo. I wish I could say this was a shock.

    A very, very mixed place to grow up. This kind of stuff was fairly normal, but the public schools have terrific music and theater programs, there is a far-better-than-you-would-expect-for-a-town-this-size-in-the-middle-of-nowhere symphony, a decent regional ballet and other things that would really surprise you.

  194. #194 lordshipmayhem
    March 3, 2010

    “they don’t seemed qualified to serve in the National Guard, much less a combat unit.”

    They don’t seem qualified to serve at a McDonald’s.

    Um, guys? AoG guys? Did you know that guys get breast cancer too? Yes, guys just like you. And last time I checked, guys didn’t get abortions.

    So, tell me again, what’s this link you’re talking about between breast cancer and abortions? You know, the one the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists couldn’t find.

  195. #195 AJ Milne
    March 3, 2010

    That and a great example to point to figuratively as what religion can do to people.

    This, exactly.

    It’s like: do you really want to share any part of your worldview with these people? Do you even want anyone to imagine you might? Do you particularly want to be seen breathing the same air as these people?

    Rhetorical questions, all, obviously. The point being, again, obviously: no, you don’t. These people have numbnuts cooties. Mad numbnuts cooties. It’s a stench that just won’t wash out. You do not want to get it on you.

    So people ask why mainstream Christian types don’t say more about ‘em, disassociate ‘emselves more strenuously, and honestly, I think part of the reason is they’re so embarrassed by ‘em, they don’t even want to mention ‘em, if they can help it. They just want to hope no one else even makes the association that might spread some of that ugly their way…

    It’s like :’What? With me? These goons? Oh, no no no… Never seen ‘em before in my life. Whatever gave you that idea?…’

    So yeah, repugnant as they are, I guess they do serve their limited purpose. As a nice little reminder that while sometimes religion just makes people vaguely weasley about certain matters touching mostly upon epistemology, and means they’ll occasionally at worst say amusingly stupid things like ‘Well, technically, you can’t prove my completely pointless ‘n archaic metaphysical dumbassery is false, exactly (insofar as I’m going to refuse to define it clearly enough that anyone could, exactly)’ and muddy up their brain with trying to make that stupid work in the real world, messing around with that kind of essential dishonesty does in other cases progress beyond such relatively minor annoyances to full-blown psychotically authoritarian antisocial nastiness, in which persons failing to submit to their pushy shit get beaten, shamed, and generally treated like garbage, for just so long as the rest of us let them get away with it.

  196. #196 Darreth
    March 3, 2010

    As usual, they can’t spell.

    The index page of their website uses the phrase ‘Compromised Church’s’, which is, of course, the possessive form of the word, instead of the plural of church.

  197. #197 negentropyeater
    March 3, 2010

    The whole point of a SLAPP strategy is that there’s no need to win at trial.

    The first amendment doesn’t seem to be a good protection against SLAPPs from what I see. From a cursory google search in French, I found that such practice is still very infrequent in France … and comes here from the USA.

  198. #198 MosesZD
    March 3, 2010

    Here’s a typical terrorist whose actions are supported and endorsed by the Army of God:

    Matthew Derosia was convicted late last week for ramming his car into the entrance of a Planned Parenthood clinic on Ford Parkway in St. Paul in January during an anti-abortion protest.

    Derosia was sentenced to time served, but the state is seeking to have him permanently committed for mental illness. Derosia has faced at least two commitment proceedings in the last decade.

    His family is opposing the current commitment, saying Derosia was only doing the Lord?s work.

    Crazy and dangerous and supported by the fundies… Great…

    http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2009/05/21/army-god-defends-man-who-drove-car-abortion-clinic

  199. #199 KOPD42
    March 3, 2010

    Darreth, I was just about to comment on that same thing. It appears on their “Warfare Map” as well. They can’t even spell the plural of “church” but I’m supposed to believe that their interpretation of the Bible is correct? They must be using a Bible pop-up book (incidentally, I’d be interested to see Ezekiel 23 rendered in pop-up form, just for the novelty of it).

  200. #200 MosesZD
    March 3, 2010

    By the way, the Army of God is listed as a terrorist organization by Homeland Security. In case there is any one stupid or foolish enough to defend them and their terrorist activities.

    Further, depending on a recent Supreme Court case (not yet decided) the owner of the billboard will have to take down the advertising as could be construed to fall under the “material support” provisions of the entirely too-broad law being decided.

  201. #201 MikeTheInfidel
    March 3, 2010

    … Do I need to repeat that “Army of God” is sufficiently generic a term among Christians that it’s totally unjustified to assume that this group is associated with the terrorist organization?

  202. #202 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    March 3, 2010

    Mike, I will repeat that it is easy enough to look up the phrase “Army Of God”. They have to know of the violent anti-abortion group and it it did not bother them enough to not use the motto.

  203. #203 Steven Dunlap
    March 3, 2010

    As for infiltration of left wing groups by the Government, there have been outrageous infiltration of peaceful left wing groups. (particularly prior to Republican National Convention meetings)

    Yes I’m well aware of this and it is shameful, but the feeling I got from the comment I was responding to was that the government is essentially ignoring right wing groups save the most violent ones.

    While that may be true I would just like to see some supporting evidence past pointing out that the government unfairly targets peaceful left wing groups.

    Out of curiosity, how does a government “fairly” target a peaceful group? It may come across as nit-picking, but I think it’s an important point. Any infiltration of a peaceful group is abuse of the power of government against people whose politics someone in government does not happen to like.

    I also think we can infer the lack of intense scrutiny of right-wing violent groups (for whatever reason, maybe not negligence or indifference) by measuring, well, violence. Take, for example, the murders of medical people who provide abortions. Although the murderers tend to be lone nuts, the lone nuts have a history of membership in organizations that issue thinly veiled exhortations to violence (or even overt ones). If law enforcement had these groups under surveillance and infiltrated to the same extent as the documented activity regarding lefty peace groups would that not have the effect of preventing violent acts? Just a thought.

    Also, none of this verifies causation in the sense of whether the right wing groups are more difficult to crack or indifference on the part of law enforcement. Lefty groups tend to be more open and therefore easier to infiltrate. But all the more reason not to waste time, money and resources on avowedly peaceful groups with no history of violence whatsoever.

  204. #204 Matt Penfold
    March 3, 2010

    One problem with deciding which groups to target is that people are not confined to membership of just one group.

    If we take the animal rights movement as example, there are groups which are non-violent but that does not mean that no members of that group are non-violent. It is known that the extremists in the animal rights movement have members in the more moderate groups and look for potential recruits amongst the members of those more moderate groups. The same is known to happen in far-right groups as well.

  205. #205 AJ Milne
    March 3, 2010

    Out of curiosity, how does a government “fairly” target a peaceful group? It may come across as nit-picking, but I think it’s an important point. Any infiltration of a peaceful group is abuse of the power of government against people whose politics someone in government does not happen to like.

    This by no means comes across as nit-picking to me. Yes, infiltration of peaceful groups is absolutely an abuse of power, and an incredibly inappropriate thing for the government or security apparatus of a democratic nation to do.

    It is my impression, speaking of, that we have become far too surveillance-happy for our own good in the west. There’s this oft-stated opinion that hey, it does no harm, better safe than sorry, and so on.

    I disagree strongly with this opinion. I’d rather the security apparatus miss a few incoming terrorist attacks, even if it does mean an increased risk of my own demise, than live in a world–or sentence my children to live in a world–in which you always have to worry about who is watching, and why, and what it will cost you.

    It isn’t that I have anything on my conscience–tho’ this, of course, is the accusation certain authoritarian minds seem terribly fond of when you express such sentiments. It is rather my observation that from such measures arises a certain restrictive anxiety. People censor themselves, people worry too much about what they’re saying, what they’re doing, what those in power they can’t even see might think of the same, and what arises is a very unpleasant and dangerous tendency toward a paranoid form of conformity. In such an atmosphere, worse absolutisms than those carried by presumed terrorists can too readily breed.

    You could see it as a quality of life issue, but people tend to think of those as of secondary importance against such issues as security, and again, there, they’re wrong. This is a quality of life issue in which, when you allow such corrosion to your own and your community’s freedom of expression, the costs in the long wrong can be very high indeed. Societies overtaken by those anxieties, beyond being much less pleasant places to live, also tend to be less creative, less flexible, less capable in the face of shifting challenges.

    Considering this aspect of the issue, a sense of freedom to create and to express oneself isn’t just a nice thing to have. It’s vital, in the long run, for our survival as a species. Homo sapiens have lousy claws, a pathetically easily injured epidermis, and we don’t even run terribly fast, for that matter. Our freedom to imagine and to create is what makes us successful, and is part of what makes being human worth these other inconveniences in the first place. Constraining it in the interests of an ‘imagined’ security is like a cheetah nicking the tendons of its own legs because it’s worried it might sprain something otherwise. Beyond being not an especially pleasant way to live, it’s just incredibly unwise.

  206. #206 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 3, 2010

    Out of curiosity, how does a government “fairly” target a peaceful group? It may come across as nit-picking, but I think it’s an important point. Any infiltration of a peaceful group is abuse of the power of government against people whose politics someone in government does not happen to like.

    You’re trying to find an argument there where one isn’t. Unfairly targeting peaceful groups v.s fairly targeting not peaceful groups. My point.

    I also think we can infer the lack of intense scrutiny of right-wing violent groups (for whatever reason, maybe not negligence or indifference) by measuring, well, violence. Take, for example, the murders of medical people who provide abortions. Although the murderers tend to be lone nuts, the lone nuts have a history of membership in organizations that issue thinly veiled exhortations to violence (or even overt ones). If law enforcement had these groups under surveillance and infiltrated to the same extent as the documented activity regarding lefty peace groups would that not have the effect of preventing violent acts? Just a thought.

    It might, and IANAP but lone wolf types of questionable mental stability are going to act regardless, I would guess.

    And again, I’m not saying that right wings groups are or aren’t being investigated less than left wings ones, I just don’t think that pointing out the known investigation of peaceful left wing groups necessarily means than right wing groups is sufficient evidence to then assume that right wing groups aren’t. It was just a question about supporting a point that was made above.

    Also, none of this verifies causation in the sense of whether the right wing groups are more difficult to crack or indifference on the part of law enforcement. Lefty groups tend to be more open and therefore easier to infiltrate. But all the more reason not to waste time, money and resources on avowedly peaceful groups with no history of violence whatsoever.

    I agree and I hope neither you or anyone else thinks I was saying the infiltration of peaceful left wing groups was fine in my book.

  207. #207 fauxrs
    March 3, 2010

    Mike, I will repeat that it is easy enough to look up the phrase “Army Of God”. They have to know of the violent anti-abortion group and it it did not bother them enough to not use the motto.

    I think perhaps you give too much credit to this group. They dont strike me as the sort that even if they did look up “Army of God” that they would put 2 and 2 together and realise the implications of it…they probably saw 37 million hits on google and said…ooooo army of god is big lets be that.

    The likelyhood of them reading the right links and realising the implications seems to me to be very low.

  208. #208 Thorne
    March 3, 2010

    It would seem to me that the best way to counter these terrorist-wannabe’s would be to show up where they are “witnessing” with cameras and notepads and start taking down THEIR license plate numbers. Make a point of getting really clear close-ups of their faces. Soon enough they’ll get the message and go home to pull out their bedsheets.

    I agree with MAJeff #188: ridicule works wonders.

    And with Big Boppa #187: expose them, and watch them like hawks. As soon as they break the law, and you can document it on video, turn them in. Let the law handle it, legally.

  209. #209 Pierce R. Butler
    March 3, 2010

    The anti-abortion movement has long claimed that abortions lead to breast cancer.

    The logic is that cells in breast tissue change in preparation for nursing. When that process is interrupted, the natural cycle is thrown off and the cells grow out of control. This is plausible to many laypeople, and some health care professionals too.

    There’s even a bit of epidemiological research to back it up: breast cancer patients report having more abortions, as a group, than do control groups.

    You’ve probably spotted the first gotcha right there: cancer patients reveal full medical histories with much more thoroughness than do healthy people, especially things drawing social opprobrium. This discrepancy is much reduced in areas without abortion-relating shaming, such as Scandinavia.

    There’s another factor: women who give birth do have lower rates of breast cancer. Quite possibly there is something to the “mammaries are meant to lactate” hypothesis; at any rate, nuns in particular have BC rates above normal. (Haven’t seen any studies on lesbians, and lack the PubMed-fu to look that up today.)

    Adjust the stats to account for the nulliparous breast cancer rate, and the purported abortion effect disappears into statistical white noise (we’re talking about only a few more cases per 100,000, after all). One or two serious researchers think there may be something more to this than anti-choice propaganda, but not the National Cancer Institute and major medical societies. Nonetheless, various authentic-sounding (but completely crapalicious) outfits like the Population Research Institute and the Elliot Institute continue to bang this drum as hard as they can, and are uncritically echoed across wingnut media.

  210. #210 pdferguson
    March 3, 2010

    MikeTheInfidel wrote:

    … Do I need to repeat that “Army of God” is sufficiently generic a term among Christians that it’s totally unjustified to assume that this group is associated with the terrorist organization?

    The point is that the expression “Army of God” has been usurped by the violent fringe, so it no longer is a generic term but has become associated with specific terrorist groups and activities in many people’s minds. One can assume the term was chosen by these Amarillo Asshats for this very reason.

  211. #211 Matt Penfold
    March 3, 2010

    I agree with MAJeff #188: ridicule works wonders.

    I know a woman who when confronted by a flasher pointed as his genitalia, laughed, and told him it looked just like a penis only much much smaller.

    It seemed to work.

  212. #212 jordin
    March 3, 2010

    It’s three assholes in Buttfuck, Texas.
    Nice message board they have..6 entries…total, so it’s not like these douchebags are rallying the masses. That dude obviously was rejected by the military at some point in his life, hence the security guard job and rocking the cammo gear. The only thing that kinda scares me is that he works guarding a nuclear site, which may be BS. I’m not exactly visualizing the interviewer sitting there across from him saying ‘this is my guy’.

  213. #213 MikeTheInfidel
    March 3, 2010

    One can assume the term was chosen by these Amarillo Asshats for this very reason.

    Or because it’s generic. I’d never heard of the terrorist group before. I’d wager that most people haven’t. Much more reasonable to assume that these people haven’t, either.

  214. #214 mathemaniac
    March 3, 2010

    These people made a name for themselves in the Amarillo media when they located a local swinger’s club and the meeting place and showed up there to protest at their parties. They’ve resorted to dirty tactics like taking down license plates, looking in car windows to find addresses and calling places of employment to tell employer’s about their employees’ activities. Turns out that “Repent Amarillo” is a bunch of yahoos mostly comprised of one family, much like the Phelps crowd. Like a dog, they are more bark than bite. (the employers they contacted more or less told them to get lost.)

  215. #215 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    March 3, 2010

    Mike, look up “Army Of God” on google and see what you get. Anyone who is setting up a website will look up the terms they are using to see what comes up. These people must have known about the terrorist group Army Of God and it did not bother them that others could confuse the two.

  216. #216 Petzl
    March 3, 2010

    The ironic thing is: they’re against palm readers, but for the wrong reasons. palm readers are obviously, at best, a diverting entertainment, but at worst a parasitic con job that extracts LOTS of money from its victims (how /else/ can they pay for those expensive storefronts?).

    But the church objects to them because they’re an alternative, dark religion. essentially, they give /credence/ to palmistry: as if to say, “it works. but you shouldnt use it because its unholy.”

    Just. Crazy.

  217. #217 Jon A
    March 3, 2010

    People have alluded to this already but their map represents a spectacular own-goal. Anyone in Amarillo can now look up their local porn outlet etc using one site.

  218. #218 MikeTheInfidel
    March 3, 2010

    My point is this: If people make wild jumps to conclusions and start attacking this group because they’re using a slogan that is the name of an obscure terrorist group, assigning them the guilt for acts committed by terrorists, etc., we’re not being very rational.

    Their group is not called “Army of God.” It’s a slogan in an image. Their group is called Repent Amarillo.

    Seriously, why are people assuming malice when ignorance is much more likely? Do you honestly think these people care who might already be using that name? They probably thought they were being original and clever.

    Janine:

    Mike, look up “Army Of God” on google and see what you get. Anyone who is setting up a website will look up the terms they are using to see what comes up. These people must have known about the terrorist group Army Of God and it did not bother them that others could confuse the two.

    Why do you keep assuming that they would bother looking to see if the name was being used? It wouldn’t even cross my mind. This isn’t exactly a professional website they’re setting up here.

  219. #219 Richard Eis
    March 3, 2010

    One can assume the term was chosen by these Amarillo Asshats for this very reason.

    Maybe, but we aren’t exactly dealing with socially clued in people here.

    I’m guessing the real (haha) army of god won’t want to be associated with these losers though.

  220. #220 Bob L
    March 3, 2010

    You know fourteen strip clubs and porn shops in kind of a staggering number of them for city of only 170,000. The city of 200,000 I live in liberal and permissive California only has a single porn store.

    Anyway who goes to a porn store in these days of the intertubes?

  221. #221 sotonohito
    March 3, 2010

    For those of you calling Poe, I live in Amarillo and I can tell you that, unfortunately, they are for real.

    And they are a lot more effective than they should be.

    Other than shutting down a local alternative theater (Avenue 10), their main activity has been harassing local swingers. They have succeeded in getting one fired, and shutting down the swinger’s meeting place.

    They are going after the weakest victims they can find. Avenue 10 had a few good shows, but mostly specialized in shock theater (if a show didn’t have at least three rapes, a torture scene, and most of the cast murdered the director wasn’t interested) and had a very limited audience and appeal. The swingers had, prior to Repent getting involved, stayed so secret I didn’t even know Amarillo had a swinger’s club, and I’ve lived here over 30 years. Most of the people in Amarillo are sufficiently prude that the guy who got fired for being a swinger is effectively blackballed and will never find a job here again.

    I’ve had only one interaction with them, they were protesting a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (not because of Shakespeare, but because this specific production had the fairies nude). They read various Bible verses (they didn’t take my suggestion and read Ezekiel 23:20), and wrote down every license plate they could. Those of us waiting for seats mocked them.

    Getting physical would be a very bad idea, the local police department is generally mildly supportive of them, as are most “upstanding” citizens around here.

    Repent/RAVEN made one mistake, early on, and did protest the local Episcopal church, which alienated a lot of Christians, but since then they’ve focused only on the weak and powerless, and they have been depressingly successful in harming those people.

    This article on the Texas Observer gives detail if you can stomach it: http://www.texasobserver.org/dateline/he-who-casts-the-first-stone

  222. #222 skeptifem
    March 3, 2010

    Oh fuck, the whole US free speech vs everyone else thing. I think it comes down to what people believe constitutes harm (as a result of hearing speech). I get the impression that people believe having hateful speech banned will make the hate go away somehow, when really it just gets hidden and it is harder for normal people to figure out who to avoid. Things don’t change when people cannot openly discuss their ideas, and it feeds right into the persecution complex a lot of the loser racists and misogynists have. If it isn’t that then it is something about being disgusted or offended at speech, and, well, too fucking bad. I may not like that someone wrote a book saying that the holocaust didn’t happen, but I don’t know why they would need to suffer legal consequences in addition to the social ones. What the hell happens when/if something extremely offensive to the majority turns out to be true? The only real way to deal with that is to let all the info exist for people to research, so they can decide for themselves.

  223. #223 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 3, 2010

    amen skeptifem

  224. #224 KOPD42
    March 3, 2010

    The Christian soldier has three weapons in his arsenal, prayer, praise and worship, and the Word of God.

    If that’s their arsenal then we don’t have much to worry about. They’d be more effective if they were armed with uncooked spaghetti, some shoelaces, and chewing gum.

  225. #225 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 3, 2010

    I don’t know, chewing gum to the hair is very annoying and the potential of cooking that spaghetti brings about the possibility of being whipped with a wet noodle.

  226. #226 KOPD42
    March 3, 2010

    Rev:

    That’s what I’m saying. It would give them options. I would say choices, but apparently “choice” is a bad word to them. At least I don’t have to worry about the chewing gum in the hair. I am impervious to that tactic. Um, at least from the neck up. Hmm, chewing gum in the chest hair or lower could be an interesting way to torment somebody. Now we definitely have to make sure these clowns don’t figure out how to chew bubble gum and walk at the same time.

  227. #227 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 3, 2010

    I am impervious to that tactic. Um, at least from the neck up

    Yeah me too, except my face.

    Lets not discuss below the neck…

  228. #228 Hurin
    March 3, 2010

    It is still a crime to libel or slander, Walton, and that’s a limitation on speech.

    No, it is a tort, meaning it is against civil law, and there are really important differences between the civil and criminal system. The criminal justice system doesn’t bring civil suits against people, so you will never have cops harassing you for suspicion of defamation. Similarly you will never face prison time or be considered a convict if a court finds you liable for defamation.

    The defamation torts specifically empower individuals wronged by the propagation of damaging untruths to recover restitution from the person who wronged them.

    IMO no torts belong in a discussion about whether the government can limit hate speech, unless you are specifically arguing that hate speech should be grounds for bringing a lawsuit.

  229. #229 jasonmacker
    March 3, 2010

    Hizbollah means Party of God, not Army.

    Hizb means party as in political party, (ex. “Democratic Party” would be “Hizb democratic”)

    “Army” in Arabic would be Jaish, and I can’t find any notable organizations that call themselves Jaishallah. The closest would be ither Jaish-e Mohammed, or Jundallah (Soldiers of God).

  230. #230 hankroberts
    March 3, 2010

    Compare these two images.

    Each shows a big round explosive thing with a cross sticking out of the top.

    Coincidence?

    http://www.texasobserver.org/media/k2/galleries/16301/jesus.jpg
    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_F2J0cH7F2FQ/ST13rnBD6MI/AAAAAAAADEQ/jlVrae8O9wY/s320/Holy+Hand+Grenade+papercraft.jpg

  231. #231 jack-ralph
    March 3, 2010

    although, to be fair, there is a plus side to this. that warfare map means i’ll never need be bored if i ever visit amarillo.

  232. #232 The Gregarious Misanthrope
    March 3, 2010

    I think “Repent, Armadillo” has a chance at being the new “Goats on Fire!”

  233. #233 Lynna, OM
    March 3, 2010

    Hmmm, considering that blaring “Christian music” is one of the Christian Warrior tactics, they might want to check their sources. It’s likely that they’re blasting music produced by gays.

    In his book, “The Gospel Sound,” Anthony Heilbut presented evidence that the gayness of gospel was not exactly a secret — everyone knew, they just opted not to mention it out loud. He quotes one gospel singer as saying, “There’s more sissies and bull daggers in the Sanctified churches, and they all think they’re the only ones going to Heaven.”

    Gospel singer Kirk Franklin writes, “homosexuality is a problem today in gospel music–a major concern–and everybody knows it.”

    Journalist Kelefa Sanneh writes, “Gospel music has offered generations of same-gender-loving singers a place to call home, in exchange for their obedience or their silence. This tricky and sometimes hard bargain shaped the genre, guiding its transfigured love songs, its expressions of praise and sorrow, its twinning of the orthodox and the outrageous. And there’s no telling what gospel will sound like when that tacit arrangement no longer holds.” (Excerpt from The New Yorker, see http://www.newyorker.com/go/outloud; and see the February 8, 2010 issue.)

    Another excerpt from Sanneh: “For most of its history, gospel music has had two missions: to smuggle secular thrills into church, and to smuggle spiritual fervor out of it. Three missions, really, since the first two often turned out to be quite lucrative.”

    Which brings me to the money question. The self-righteous christian warriors in Amarillo, what are they getting out of this besides the considerable jollies of dissing everyone not in their group? What’s the business side? Is there an in-group of business partners? Is there an in-group that receives donations from conservative deep pockets?

    Tonéx (pronounced Toe-Nay”, Anthony Charles Williams II, talks about growing up in a conservative, hyper-religious family: “From a sexuality point of view, its bananas [referring to religious conventions], because now you’ve got all these closeted freaks in the same place. The adult-channel audience goes up sixty percent. We’re so repressed that when we do wrong we don’t even do wrong the right way!”

    And that reminds me of the recent discussions on Pharyngula about Catholic kids going wild once they hit college; and about hotels in Salt Lake City reporting a big upsurge in on-demand porn during the LDS Church’s biannual conferences.

    They can watch all the porn they like as far as I’m concerned, but then they don’t get to punish others for watching it. Hypocrisy is not acceptable.

    Tonéx lost his contracts to sing at religious conventions and in churches after he announced on a radio show that he was gay. Everyone loved him when they knew he was gay, but no one said it out loud. His “Out the Box” DVD sold really well. Now that he’s out of the closet, he’s broke and living with his mother. Hypocrites took him down.

  234. #234 swgish
    March 3, 2010

    Not that they care, but their warfare map is in violation of Googles TOS –
    Appropriate Conduct; Compliance with Law and Google Policies. You agree that you are responsible for your own conduct and content while using the Products, and for any consequences thereof. You agree to use the Products only for purposes that are legal, proper and in accordance with the Terms and any applicable policies or guidelines Google may make available. By way of example, and not as a limitation, you agree that when using the Products or the Content, you will not:
    (a) defame, abuse, harass, stalk, threaten or otherwise violate the legal rights (such as rights of privacy and publicity) of others;

  235. #235 truthspeaker
    March 3, 2010

    Posted by: PZ Myers | March 2, 2010 9:26 PM

    Looking at their hit list, they already hate most of the American xtian groups, so I suspect they’ll reciprocate.

    Based on past behavior of “moderate” American Christians, I doubt it.

  236. #236 pdferguson
    March 3, 2010

    My point is this: If people make wild jumps to conclusions and start attacking this group because they’re using a slogan that is the name of an obscure terrorist group, assigning them the guilt for acts committed by terrorists, etc., we’re not being very rational.

    No, you’re not being very rational because you’re just making a strawman argument. No one is assigning the Amarillo Asshats guilt for acts of violence committed by others. This is about condemning the acts they have committed already, and may commit in the future.

    My point is this: the term “Army of God” is not a harmless Sunday School expression referring to some nonsense about defeating the make believe evil in the Bible, as you claimed. It has a much darker, more sinister connotation. When a group uses it to describe themselves, they are waving a big red flag indicating they have no regard for the rights of others. It is a declaration of willingness to use threats, intimidation, and even militaristic violence against anyone who disagrees with their world view, a blunt expression of intolerance and hatred. Just as in the middle East, the term “Army of God” is intended to strike fear into their declared enemies. As such, it represents a clear and present danger to any peaceful society.

    That’s being very rational.

  237. #237 Gregory Greenwood
    March 3, 2010

    Religious sociopaths like this bunch of fundies can seem ridiculous, even funny. A bunch of sad, physically unimpressive, mostly over-weight and middle aged people pretending that they are Rambo.

    It is easy to laugh at such ludicrous peacocks…right up until the lynchings start. And make no mistake, the lynchings will start if these maniacs are not brought to heel.

    Today it is bigoted pronouncements and lists of events they want to disrupt, but tommorrow it could all too easily be hit-lists (it is already a question of hit-lists if you happen to be an abortionist). Palin is so scary because she is just the thin end of the wedge. Cretins like this in every town are what comes next.

  238. #238 simonator
    March 3, 2010

    “Repent or perish” ??? The simple fact is, EVERYBODY dies. The good and the bad, the just and unjust. ISTM that inability to deal with this simple truth is a big reason for the survival of religion in our modern society.

  239. #239 ErnestPayne
    March 3, 2010

    Well written article. It is crazed idiots like this that make the US seem as though it has been religious crazy since 1620. I have known a few muslims and none of them are as fundamentalist as this group.

  240. #240 Scrapefoot
    March 3, 2010

    Ugh. I’m from Amarillo. Yes, they’ve done some damage, but it’s a fairly small group. And they don’t act very often. I did see them at the Race for the Cure with their anti-abortion signs though.
    To Amarillo’s credit, I don’t know of anyone that supports them. Most people don’t even take them seriously.
    There are a lot of religious, conservative nuts, I admit. That’s why I left to go to college in Austin. It’s much nicer here, discounting the fact there are still plenty of asshats. A week and a half ago, two gay men were assaulted, but soon after there was a big anti-hate crime rally. That’s something at least.

  241. #241 defides
    March 3, 2010

    It must be frustrating. They really, really want to get out there and shoot guns, run about in disused buildings and KILL PEOPLE. But instead, they have to sing Koom-bah-yah and get down on their knees. The irony just crackles.

  242. #242 DominEditrix
    March 3, 2010

    If they’re blaring Xian music at top volume, aren’t they at least disturbing the peace?

    From that TO article, it appears that the local cops are doing zip to enforce noise regulations or trespassing.

    I’m all in favour of allowing the haters to speak freely – I agree with skeptifem that it’s better to know what people think/believe and whom they hate: Know your enemy. However, outing someone doing something completely legal, be it swinging or sexuality, to an employer with the intent of getting said employee fired or interfering with a legal business isn’t “freedom of speech” so much as it’s just sheer nastiness. [Hell, there's probably a commerce clause tort in there...]

    I do think we ought to start the rumour that these folks are really Satanists and cite the prominence of that well-know Satanic symbol on their billboard. [/snark] Complain to the billboard company! I can play Outraged Xian Lady with the best of ‘em…

    Um, tho’ this worries me:

    Their leader, David Grisham, a security guard at nuclear-bomb facility Pantex who moonlights as a pastor

  243. #243 Knockgoats
    March 3, 2010

    Um, tho’ this worries me:

    “Their leader, David Grisham, a security guard at nuclear-bomb facility Pantex who moonlights as a pastor” – DominEditrix

    Worries you??? It fucking terrifies me!

  244. #244 Knockgoats
    March 3, 2010

    I get the impression that people believe having hateful speech banned will make the hate go away somehow, when really it just gets hidden and it is harder for normal people to figure out who to avoid. – skeptifem

    That’s an empirical claim that requires evidence, skeptifem; it’s quite plausible that allowing the open expression of hatred makes it respectable, and so encourages those with some inclination to it, to let it grow. Sorry to Godwin the thread, but I kind of wish the Weimar Republic had banned Mein Kampf and Hitler’s speeches for inciting racial hatred. There’s also the point that although there should be no right not to be offended, it’s by no means so clear there shouldn’t be a right not to be intimidated. Hate speech is intended to intimidate, and it does.

  245. #245 John Kinder
    March 3, 2010

    Whatever else these idiots are, they are thieves.
    Look at this website: http://modernspearhead.net/
    They copied the whole thing, including the music and the gunshot, and put their text over the original. The original website is a table-top war-gaming site with no religious content. I believe the webmaster is from New Zealand.

  246. #246 KOPD42
    March 3, 2010

    @244

    Sorry to Godwin the thread…

    What? 244 posts on a topic like this and it hadn’t already been Godwinned? Overdue, I think.

    @245
    Have you contacted the webmaster of Modern Spearhead? If not, I will. Being a webdev myself, I know I’d vomit in my mouth a bit of I found out a website I made had been cloned and used like that.

  247. #247 Qwerty
    March 3, 2010

    You’re right Kinder, but they even have the gaul to put a copyright notice in the same place as the New Zealand website except their copyright is 2009 while modernspearhead’s is 2006.

    Hmmmm… Christian thieves. Maybe they need to REPENT!

  248. #248 cbpooh
    March 3, 2010

    This is my home town and it saddens me to see this kind of lunacy on display. It also sounds like they may be bordering on criminal harassment. I actually heard about the group from some fb friends about a month back. It doesn’t sound like they’re backing off one bit. Maybe some bad national attention will negatively affect their activities. Amarillo has plenty of religion without this group of fanatics.

  249. #249 KOPD
    March 3, 2010

    I emailed the webmaster of Modern Spearhead about the site. Now I’m tempted to email Repent Armadillo with the subject “Exodus 20:15″ and a link to the Modern Spearhead site.

  250. #250 truthspeaker
    March 3, 2010

    Posted by: MikeTheInfidel | March 3, 2010 11:12 AM

    One can assume the term was chosen by these Amarillo Asshats for this very reason.
    Or because it’s generic. I’d never heard of the terrorist group before.

    Really? Eric Robert Rudolph’s bombing spree was pretty big news when it happened, and at least some sources mentioned his ties to Army of God.

  251. #251 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawmi0enWEr3aTvuG9Z9VYXrYemhjnDKbjKo
    March 3, 2010

    All right, folks, we MISSED the most significant think about “Repent Amarillo.”

    They cannot SPELL “Spiritual.”

    They spell it “SPIRTUAL.” Yes, SPIRTUAL warfare.

    Damn wankers!

  252. #252 Walton, Special Special Dumpling of Awesome
    March 3, 2010

    They cannot SPELL “Spiritual.”

    They spell it “SPIRTUAL.” Yes, SPIRTUAL warfare.

    Spirtual warfare: where we spirt at the enemy until they surrender. “Spirting” would presumably be a combination of spitting and squirting.

  253. #253 KOPD
    March 3, 2010

    Maybe Spirtual warfare is like virtual spiritual warfare.

  254. #254 Shadow
    March 3, 2010

    #99

    I’ll agree — good HE reference. Now if Amarillo gives the proper response: “Get Stuffed!”

  255. #255 Shane
    March 3, 2010

    for anyone saying its stolen. Its not…its a template.

    http://www.templatemonster.com/website-templates/10028.html

  256. #256 Snacktime
    March 3, 2010

    I’m really, really considering a donation. The more money this group has, the more publicity it will be able to attract.

  257. #257 mick.long
    March 3, 2010

    Lame, fundamentalist Christianity’s answer to the New Black Panthers and the Nazi Skins and just as pathetic. Overgrown children playing at being soldiers, what a bunch of fucking wankers!

  258. #258 SteveM
    March 3, 2010

    All right, folks, we MISSED the most significant think thing about “Repent Amarillo.”

    They cannot SPELL “Spiritual.”

    They spell it “SPIRTUAL.” Yes, SPIRTUAL warfare.

    Damn wankers!

    What is that rule of the Internet that every post noting someone’s misspelling is destined to make its own spelling error?

  259. #259 Walton, Special Special Dumpling of Awesome
    March 3, 2010

    What is that rule of the Internet that every post noting someone’s misspelling is destined to make its own spelling error?

    Oooh, I know this one… the Bierce-Hartman-McLean-Skitt Law of Prescriptivist Retaliation. :-)

  260. #260 tomdoc
    March 3, 2010

    I’m suprised these guys didn’t add Catholics, Jews, and Mormons to their hate list.

  261. #261 ironflange
    March 3, 2010

    I guess they don’t like fried chicken; I assume that’s what “Compromised Church’s” means. SATANIC BISCUITS!!

    I’d also like to express my appreciation for this map. If I’m ever in Amarillo, it’ll be really easy to find the strip joints and naughty stores.

  262. #262 strange gods before me ?
    March 3, 2010

    The first amendment doesn’t seem to be a good protection against SLAPPs from what I see. From a cursory google search in French, I found that such practice is still very infrequent in France … and comes here from the USA.

    I don’t suppose that the First Amendment is very useful against a SLAPP. I don’t know whether similar tactics were known in the 1700s — though I can’t see any necessary reason why they could not yet have been used, I’m just not informed about that aspect of history — but in any case the First Amendment was intended to concern criminal law, not civil disputes.

    But I didn’t suggest otherwise:

    And why should those people have had to bear the immense burden of paying for lawyers, taking time off work to show up in court for weeks or months, and then living forever with the lingering bad reputation that comes from being a criminal defendant?

    I agree that this is a big problem, but I think that over time the many unsuccesful precedents will discourage groups to engage in costly and time consuming lawsuits that have not a chance of getting anywhere.

    On the contrary, if a lawsuit causes the defendant to lose time and money, then the goal has been achieved, regardless of the ruling.

    The whole point of a SLAPP strategy is that there’s no need to win at trial.

    You hoped that a track record of losing frivolous lawsuits would discourage further abuse of hate speech laws. I brought up SLAPP to show that this does not follow; a lawsuit can be an end in itself, regardless of the trial’s outcome.

    As you note, SLAPP is a serious problem in the USA, and the First Amendment does not solve that particular problem. Well, introducing hate speech laws here will just provide yet another avenue for SLAPP, compounding the problem further.

    Thankfully hate speech laws are simply not a question that US citizens have to argue about. While SLAPP may not violate the First Amendment, hate speech laws unequivocally do, and as such will never be passed here as long as the Constitution endures.

  263. #263 Nick
    March 3, 2010

    Q.E.D #182

    (T-shirt slogan ideas welcome from Pharyngulistas)

    Cafepress.com has a fine selection of Pope-unfriendly t-shirts, including one I couldn’t resist. A foto of the rat-in-the-hat with the slogan ‘Do ‘er old school, no rubbers’.

    It still makes me laugh when I put it on. And go to Mass.

  264. #264 Nick
    March 3, 2010

    Is there any relationship between the lunacy of the extremness of the subject matter, and the number of comments on here? If so, maybe we could have some sort of ‘crazy-index’, with prizes for oustanding acheivement in comment-garnering.

  265. #265 KOPD
    March 3, 2010

    for anyone saying its stolen. Its not…its a template.

    Ah. Good catch.

  266. #266 Info Giver
    March 3, 2010

    For more information about Repent Amarillo/ Raven Ministries, please go to http://www.repentamarillo.NET or sign up as a fan on Facebook: Amarillo Citizens Against Repent Amarillo.

    http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?v=feed&story_fbid=343689030964&id=594387590#!/pages/Amarillo-TX/Amarillo-Citizens-Against-Repent-Amarillo/210413812023?ref=ts

    We have been dealing with this small group of 7 or so people for over 1 year. The group consists of David Grisham (a security guard at a Nuclear Bomb making place), Tracy Grisham (his 4th wife), Russell Grisham (his 20 yr old son who lives at home with his wife, because he has a deferred adjudication for HACKING into the local school district), Angie Grisham (Russell’s wife), Big John Leinen (a 24-25 yr old who says that he has been in the Crips and does not mind going back to jail), Mark Shelton (another 20 something), and Todd Bohn (whose brother is the head of Raven Ministries that calls itself a non-profit, but is not signed up with the IRS).

    Please go these sights to gain more understanding and to get links to other sources about this group.

    Thank you for your support.

  267. #267 t2a.wilson
    March 3, 2010

    Hey PZ Meyers,

    My work on this transnational movement has been cited in Congressional testimony.

    This isn’t restricted to Texas.

    Here’s a primer

    http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/religiousright/1273

  268. #268 discernible.chaos
    March 4, 2010

    I can only imagine the chaos that would follow if these creeps tried their nonsense here in the San Francisco Bay Area.

  269. #269 Shteevie
    March 4, 2010

    This is a fascinating group. I learned about them after reading this post and I’ve spent about an hour reading about them.

    One thing about PZ’s original post puzzles me a little:

    “I am speaking of a vicious vigilante organization called Repent Amarillo.”

    How are these guys a vigilante organization? I’ve yet to come across any evidence that these people are known for taking the law into their own hands.

  270. #270 btb
    March 4, 2010

    I have personally dealt with this group on a personal bases many times in the last year.. they intimidate people and try to push them to violence. They stalk people even to the point of following them, weather its down the street or out of town. They intimidate and invade privacy of people, and call this witnessing, one member personally threatened to run me over with a car, and called it witnessing. I am ashamed of the fact that someone like this gives Amarillo a bad name.. this group has many police reports against them and one lawyer said they are being investigated as a hate group…. and the leader works for Pantex out by Amarillo.. this by the way is a nuclear weapons plant and he is a guard there.. want to know more.. just ask… Bob The Builder

  271. #271 https://me.yahoo.com/a/3HZJFp5uwIH6vV1ukExGY5aKrdfDksgqxw--#fff76
    March 13, 2010

    I live in Amarillo, and I cant thank you enuf for taking intrest in the insane people and shedding light on them. Even tho you are how far away. Check this out:
    http://www.texasobserver.org/dateline/he-who-casts-the-first-stone#

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