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Shofar FTP Archive File: orgs/american/california/bacorr/god-guns-terror

Archive/File: orgs/american/california/bacorr god-guns-terror
Last-Modified: 1994/11/13

By Tom Burghardt,
Bay Area Coalition for Our Reproductive Rights (BACORR) 
*              *              *              *              *
     Missionaries to the Preborn (MTP), is one of the most
dangerous and violent of the direct action anti-abortion groups
active in the United States.  Since its founding in 1990 in
Milwaukee, Wisconsin by the Rev. Matthew Trewhella, four of
Milwaukee's nine women's clinics have been closed; primarily as a
result of their relentlessly brutal attacks.  Missionaries to the
Preborn have recently re-located their national office to San
Bernadino county in California.
     Matthew Trewhella, Joseph Foreman and Gary McCullough, the
chief organizers of the group, are ardent proponents of the neo-
fascist, Christian Reconstructionist movement.  All three are
members of Howard Phillips' far-right, United States Taxpayers
Party (USTP).  Trewhella is a member of the USTP's National
Committee.  Additionally, MTP leaders have supported Rev. Paul J.
Hill's Defensive Action organization in Pensacola, Florida.  At
the May 1994, Wisconsin state party convention of the USTP, the
100 page "Principles Justifying the Arming And Organizing Of A
Militia," was sold to participants.1  
     Foreman and Trewhella signed Hill's Defensive Action
"Declaration," circulated widely among anti-abortion activists,
in the wake of the March 1993 assassination of Dr. David Gunn by
Rescue America militant, Michael Griffin.2  Dr. Gunn's killer was
an associate of "former" Klansman, John Burt, the Regional
Director of Rescue America.3  Rescue America activists including
Burt, Donald Gratton and Floyd Murray joined Pensacola anti-
abortion operatives, Michael Conroy -- and Paul Hill -- in a
covert operation that identified David Gunn's replacement.  Dr.
John Bayard Britton, assassinated by Paul Hill July 29, 1994 was
the physician.4 
     Gary McCullough, Editor of the "Prisoners of Christ," a
national directory of "pro-life prisoners of war," was listed as
Paul Hill's media consultant during Michael Griffin's trial. 
McCullough's name appeared under a Defensive Action letterhead
bearing the endorsement of some thirty national leaders of the
direct action anti-abortion movement.5
     The Christian Reconstructionist ideological connection to
the most violent wing of the anti-abortion movement is well-
documented and represents a serious threat to women's rights. 
Rev. Hill, the convicted assassin of Dr. John Bayard Britton and
clinic escort, James Barrett, was a former minister with the
Orthodox Presbyterian sect.  Many of the sect's top leaders,
including the Rev. Joseph Morecraft of Georgia, the Rev. Leonard
Coppes of Colorado and the Rev. Charles McIlhenny of California,
are close associates of Rousas John (R.J.) Rushdoony, the
President of the Chalcedon Foundation and chief ideologist of the
     Christian Reconstructionists' work towards the creation of a
totalitarian "Christian Republic" in the United States.  Many of
the movement's key leaders are members of diverse far-right
organizations such as the John Birch Society, the United States
Taxpayers Party, the American Independent Party, the secretive
Council for National Policy -- and Operation Rescue.7
     The Reconstructionists' work towards the elimination of
abortion, homosexuality, labor unions, divorce, pornography,
social welfare and secular education.  A growing number of
Reconstructionists are also proponents of armed "Citizens
Militia" organizations such as the Christian Patriots Defense
League, the racist, Christian Identity-influenced, Posse
Comitatus, and other white supremacist groups such as the Aryan
Nations and the American Front.8
     Other proponents of the movement include the Rev. Jay
Grimstead, Director of the Coalition On Revival (COR).  COR is an
umbrella group linking more than 100 Christian Reconstructionist
organizations in the United States.  Emanuele Cannistraci, senior
pastor of Evangel Christian Fellowship in San Jose, CA, is a COR
Steering Committee member as well as a top leader of COR's
National Coordinating Council (NCC).  During Operation Rescue
National's "Cities of Refuge" campaign in July 1993,
Cannistraci's church was OR's base of operations.9
     Sitting on Grimstead's Steering Committee, is avowed
Christian Identity racist, Barry Byrd, of the Washington-based,
Watchman Singers.  In 1988, Byrd joined the Rev. Pete Peters, a
top leader of the Christian Identity movement, and signed a
racist "Covenant Statement," at Peters' Rocky Mountain Family
Bible Camp, based in La Porte, Colorado.10  Currently Barry Byrd
is organizing "Agricultural Covenant Communities" in the Pacific
Northwest, a hot-bed of racist activity and violence.11
     In California, Brian Kemper, a top tactical leader of
Operation Rescue, is a "former" skinhead who was removed by
BACORR activists from the San Mateo Planned Parenthood clinic,
during OR's aborted "Cities of Refuge" campaign.  Though claiming
not to be a racist, Kemper's arms are adorned with neo-Nazi
tattoos, including the ominous "777" of the South African AWB. 
Kemper, however, claims his "only" concern is "saving babies" and
creating a "Bible-based society."12
     A major tenet of Reconstructionist doctrine is the formation
of paramilitary militias for the imposition of "Biblical Law,"
through force of arms.  When combined with the "leaderless
resistance" doctrine of Aryan Nations/KKK leader, Louis Beam, and
Tom Metzger, leader of the murderous White Aryan Resistance
(WAR), it is chillingly clear that proponents of anti-abortion
direct action, have in their grasp an operational model for
waging a campaign of terror against women and abortion
     As reported by Michael Novick in "Turning The Tide,"
Chalcedon Board member, John Saunders III, spoke from the same
platform as Aryan Nations leader, Louis Beam, at the racist
"Jubilation" conference held last August in Bakersfield, CA.  The
group's "Jubilee" newspaper is a major propaganda arm of the
Christian Identity movement.14
     In May 1994, MTP leader, Matthew Trewhella gave a speech at
the USTP's Wisconsin state convention, urging churches to "hold
militia days and teach their men how to fight."15  In June 1994,
Trewhella participated in a weapons training exercise at the
rural farm of MTP members, Robert and Mary Briedis.  More than 20
MTP/USTP members attended the training.  Cadres practiced using
semi-automatic assault weapons, according to news reports.16
     What differentiates Missionaries to the Preborn from other
"rescue" organizations such as Joseph Scheidler's Pro-Life Action
League (PLAL), Donald Treshman's Rescue America (RA), or Jeff
White's Operation Rescue of California (ORC), is the full-time
commitment made by MTP cadres to the organization.  Trewhella
believed that Operation Rescue had "peaked" by the summer of
1989.  According to Joseph Foreman's account:
     "If we could not make this peak the basis of the next step,
then we would slump and all those who had joined the effort for
the quick WIN would be shaken out..."17 (emphasis in original)
     Therefore, "rescue's" next focus would be the forging of
cadre-style organizations that wage a ceaseless low-intensity
warfare campaign that directly target abortion providers: 
Randall Terry's "weak link."  Organizations such as Missionaries
to the Preborn use all available means at their disposal, from
legal political organizing and electoral venues to street-level
clinic violence and covert terrorism, to destroy women's access
to reproductive health care.  
     The dual-track strategy of such groups bear an alarming
resemblance to fascist organizations such as those spawned
throughout Europe during the 1930's -- and today.  Electoral
politics on the one hand, terror on the other:  demagoguery and
violence remain the quintessential signs of fascist terror.   
     According to the definition above, MTP represents the next
stage of the transformation of amorphous "rescue" groups into a
violent reactionary vanguard:  "Rescue's" terrorist shock troops. 
Missionaries to the Preborn is the Protestant analog of the
predominantly Catholic, Lambs of Christ.  There are, however,
important differences between the two organizations.
     Unlike the Lambs of Christ, who enter a city for a limited
period, generally as an auxiliary "rescue" force during a
specific mobilization, MTP cadres take up residence and focus
their attention on a particular city for an extended period. 
According to Foreman's account:
     "Missionaries focus on their particular city, perhaps even a
single abortion clinic within that city.  They do not shift their
focus, and they rescue whenever free.  Thus they have changed
some of the tactics which have come to be associated with Rescue. 
THROUGHOUT THE SYSTEM.  Instead, missionaries cooperate in
custody because they want to make the single focus of their work
that they would rescue whenever free..." 18 (emphasis in
     MTP operatives, unlike their Lambs of Christ counterparts,
who often languish in jail for months at a time, cooperate with
authorities when in custody and will accept bail.  They are often
more inclined to play hardball with their opponents.  
     Missionaries will target judges, prosecuting attorney's and
cops with phone campaigns, residential pickets and the like. 
Citizens for Life/Missionaries to the Preborn operative, Monica
Migliorino Miller, declared during her January 1993 trial:  "If a
police officer is escorting a woman into an abortion clinic and
somebody were to shoot the police officer...I could not say that
pro-lifer did something immoral..."19
     Cadres have targeted clinic defenders and patient escorts,
the ubiquitous "deathscorts" of anti-abortion propaganda, with
residential picketing campaigns, death threats and physical
violence, especially during the initial phases of clinic
invasions.  Their support for no-holds-barred clinic violence is
one reason behind Joseph Foreman and Gary McCullough's move to
California.  According to one account, Foreman and Matthew
Trewhella have had a major clash over personal differences;
Foreman was unwilling to play second fiddle to Trewhella, who
continues to call the shots, at least in Milwaukee.20  In any
event, they have much in common with Operation Rescue of
California, and Jeff White, the group's Director.  White's
"Minuteman Strike Team," similarly employs violent, paramilitary
tactics during attacks on California women's clinics.21  
     Cheryl Sullenger, a "No Place to Hide" team captain in San
Diego, is a convicted clinic bombing co-conspirator.  Sullenger
was a key organizer in a plot to bomb women's clinics in southern
California during the late 1980's.  Along with John Birch Society
operative, the Rev. Dorman Owens, Sullenger procured explosive
devices, gasoline and detonators for a campaign of terror in San
     Missionaries to the Preborn is multi-tiered; there are
different levels of commitment from individual cadres.  Though
seemingly a hierarchial, "top-down" entity, MTP may function more
autonomously than Joseph Scheidler's front-groups.  As a
paramilitary "rescue" formation, each "cell" functions more or
less independently.  Though Foreman and Trewhella occupy the
pinnacle of the organization's pyramid, cadre development
dictates that strategic/tactical/political tasks remain
     This makes sense from a purely "military" perspective.  If
prominent cadres' take a "hit," there is another layer of
"missionaries to take their place.  Organizational continuity, is
therefore assured.  Branches of the organization exist in
Milwaukee, Wichita, Atlanta and now, California.
     The purpose of the organization, in contradistinction to the
Lambs of Christ, is to set up shop in a particular locale and to
make life as miserable as possible for women and health care
providers.  Since the core-group is full-time, they will be at
the targeted clinic every day that it's open.  This strategy, as
mentioned above, has been successfully employed in Milwaukee.
     MTP tactics cover the entire spectrum of anti-abortion
direct action:  "legal" picketing, "No Place to Hide" residential
pickets at physician/clinic worker homes; clinic blockades and
violent clinic invasions.
     Similar to the Lambs of Christ, Missionaries to the Preborn
go to great length to close clinics during blockades/invasions. 
Their tactics are derived from those described in the terrorist
"Army of God" manual.23
     Recently obtained by BACORR, the "Army of God" manual
provides the "pro-life termite" with a host of dirty tricks for
permanently closing women's clinics.24   
The "advice" provided in this clandestine manual is NOT
theoretical; this a detailed, step-by-step, practical guide for
violent anti-abortion terrorism.  Among the topics covered in "99
Covert Ways to Stop Abortion," the authors provide detailed
instructions on obtaining and using butyric acid ("Liquid Rescue
or LR"); explicit "how-to" instructions for structural sabotage
of clinic facilities using ready-mix concrete and pvc pipe; the
fabrication of explosive devices -- firebombs, pipe bombs and the
     There is incontrovertible evidence in this writer's opinion,
that Missionaries to the Preborn operatives, are either the
author's of certain of sections described in the manual -- or
have intimate knowledge who compiled portions of the "Army of
     Missionaries to the Preborn tactics include staging
elaborate clinic blockades and invasions using junked cars that
are steered in front of the doors of women's clinics.  
     "Rescuers," using elaborate kryptonite bicycle chains,
locks, 55-gallon drums filled with ready-mix concrete, will
oftentimes weld themselves underneath or inside the vehicles;
effectively closing the clinic for hours at a stretch.  According
to the "Army of God," such tactics are termed "Krypto Park-Ins."
     "The most beautiful Krypto park-ins to date are where
rescuers lock their ankles to the axle or feather springs of a
junked car which they have towed to the doorway of the mill.
     "Remember, the general principle of daylight krypto usage is
to attach a human being as closely as possible to the place where
the fire department must cut to remove the rescuer -- so that the
fire department will hesitate to risk injury to the rescuer in a
clearly non-emergency situation.  In fact, some krypto
applications are so intimate (the mini-lock on to ankles) that
many fire departments have refused to even attempt removal and
the mill remains shut the whole day."26
     Such tactics have routinely been employed by Missionaries to
the Preborn and have been adapted by a score of "rescue" groups
across the country.  Detailed accounts of these tactics appear
regularly in Andrew Burnett's LIFE ADVOCATE magazine.  Burnett,
and his organization, Advocates for Life Ministries (AFLM), 
endorse and are key advocates of Paul Hill's "justifiable
homicide" position.  
     Rachelle "Shelley" Shannon, currently serving an eleven year
prison term in Kansas, is a long-time member of Burnett's group
as well as the attempted assassin of Dr. Tiller in August 1993. 
Oregon State Police retrieved the "Army of God" manual from
Shannon's home in Oregon.  Shannon had been arrested in Milwaukee
along with other MTP militants.  
     In February 1993, Shelley Shannon journeyed to Milwaukee and
visited MTP operative, Dwight Monagan, who was in custody at the
time.  Monagan, also a member of the Lambs of Christ, is a super
glue "specialist."  Monagan's "Lamb" name is "Handbag."27  The
Army of God manual provides detailed instructions for using super
glue in order to sabotage women's health care facilities.28
     The violent upsurge by the anti-abortion movement is not
accidental.  Having lost in the courts, legislatively, and more
importantly for pro-choice activist's -- in the streets, the
"rescue" movement has reached an impasse.  Terror is now their
preferred method of operation.
     Despite posturing by Janet Reno and the Justice Department,
the violent terrorist campaign launched by the anti-abortion
movement is far from over.  According to BACORR's analysis, the
escalation of violence -- clinic bombings, arson, butyric acid
attacks, vicious campaigns of harassment, assault and murder --
will continue.
     With the political shake-out currently underway within the
Christian Right, key leaders of "rescue," Randall Terry, Joseph
Foreman, Matthew Trewhella, Jeff White, Joseph Slovenec, David
Shedlock, and probably hundreds of direct action anti-abortion
cadres are forging political ties and direct links with openly
racist and fascist political forces.
     The significance of Missionaries to the Preborn's alliance
with "secular" far-rightists and Christian Reconstructionists
such as the United States Taxpayers Party, John Birch Society,
Coalition On Revival, Chalcedon Foundation, Christian Patriots
Defense League, Posse Comitatus and probably also with neo-Nazi
gangs such as the American Front, White Aryan Resistance and
Confederate Hammerskins, lies not with their chances of winning
elections.  Clearly, their prospects of electoral success are
bleak, at best.  This, however, misses the point.  
     As organizations such as MTP openly embrace a fascist
political orientation, their willingness to ally themselves --
and adapt -- paramilitary terror tactics in order to wage a
clandestine guerilla war against women's rights, becomes a
practical exercise, and object-lesson, for racists and xenophobes
     As demonstrated by the covert circulation of manuals such as
the "Army of God," and the widespread adaptation of the tactics
it describes, we are witnessing the potential birth of anti-
abortion death squads.  Analgously, the movement's apparent
adoption of Aryan Nations leader, Louis Beam's "leaderless
resistance" doctrine serves both as a theoretical model -- and a
hammer -- that increasingly will be used by the far-right to
terrorize their opponents.  The ominous escalation of racist,
anti-immigrant and homophobic attacks across the country,
underline in blood, the seriousness of the threats we currently
face today.
     Debate with such forces or a search for "common ground" is
both a fruitless exercise and a suicidal strategy that will
disarm our movement in the face of escalating rightist
provocations.  Such a retreat only prepares the ground for an
ever-more vicious and brutal campaign of terror.  
     As BACORR has argued many times over the years, only a
comprehensive strategy -- and uncompromising hardball tactics
that rely on independent mass mobilizations, mutual aid and
collaboration with anti-racist and anti-fascist forces, using
DIRECT ACTION --  are capable of breaking the enemy's will to
fight, thus driving off and DISPERSING the fanatical mobs who lay
siege to our clinics.  We will continue to do so -- without
*              *              *              *              *
1. John Goetz, "Missionaries Leader Calls For Armed Militias,"
Vol. 1, No. 2, August 1994, p. 1, FRONT LINES RESEARCH, Public
Policy Institute, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, 14th
Floor, 810 7th. Ave., New York, New York 10019
2. "Declaration," 1993, DEFENSIVE ACTION, Pensacola, FL
3. Michael Novick, "Women's Rights: Target For Racist Terror. 
Neo-Nazi Involvement in the Anti-Abortion Movement," 3rd.,
Revised Edition, 1993, People Against Racist Terror (PART), P.O.
BOX 1990, Burbank, CA 91507
4. NA, "Florida pro-lifers ID replacement for Gunn," LIFE
ADVOCATE, Portland, OR, September 1993, p. 19
5. "Declaration," op. cit.
6. Skipp Porteous, "SWAT Teams for Jesus," re-printed 1993 in,
Frederick Clarkson & Skipp Porteous, "Challenging the Christian
Right: The Activist's Handbook," Institute for First Amendment
Studies (IFAS), P.O. Box 589, Great Barrington, MA 01230
7. Russ Bellant, "The Coors Connection:  How Coors Family
Philanthropy Undermines Democratic Pluralism," 1990, Cambridge,
MA, Political Research Associates, multiple citations; see also,
Tracey Jeffries-Renault & Jerry Sloan, "WITHOUT JUSTICE FOR ALL: 
A Report on the Christian Right in Sacramento and Beyond," 1994,
multiple citations; Planned Parenthood of Sacramento Valley,
Public Affairs Department, 2415 K Street, Sacramento, CA 95816-
8. Loretta J. Ross, "Anti-Abortionists and White Supremacists
Make Common Cause," October 1994, THE PROGRESSIVE, pp. 24-25. 
Ms. Ross is the national program research director for the Center
for Democratic Renewal (CDR), P.O. BOX 50469, Atlanta, GA 30302-
9. Tom Burghardt, "Mobilized for Repression:  Operation Rescue of
California," June 1994, San Francisco, CA, Bay Area Coalition for
Our Reproductive Rights (BACORR)
10. Sara Diamond, "Spiritual Warfare:  The Politics of the
Christian Right," 1989, Boston, MA, South End Press, p. 141
11. Ann Byrd, "Agricultural Covenant Communities:  We Must Build
Winter 1992, Coalition On Revival (COR), P.O. Box A, Sunnyvale,
CA 94087
12. Author's on-site observations, July 18, 1993, San Mateo, CA
Planned Parenthood; author's conversation with Brian Kemper, July
9, 1994, Rolling Hills Community Church, Danville, CA; Operation
Rescue of California's "Summer of Missions '94" caravan
13. Frederick Clarkson, "HardCOR," reprinted, op. cit., 1993,
Clarkson & Porteous, pp. 23-25
14. Michael Novick, "In Bakersfield:  Coalition Challenges
Racism," TURNING THE TIDE, Vol. 7, No. 5, September-October 1994,
People Against Racist Terror, p. 12
15. Goetz, op. cit., p. 2
16. Mike Mulvey, "Trewhella tied to 2 who held arms training. 
Pair are in abortion foe's church," THE MILWAUKEE SENTINEL,
August 19, 1994, p. 1
17. Joseph Lapsley Foreman, "Shattering The Darkness:  The Crisis
of the Cross in the Church Today," 1992, Montreat, North
Carolina, The Cooling Spring Press, p. 183
18. ibid., p. 182
19. Judge Charles B. Schudson's judgement of January 26, 1993,
filed as No. 92-1602-CR, State of Wisconsin; Goetz, op. cit. p. 2
20. Joan Clark, Milwaukee Clinic Protection Coalition (MCPC),
September 1, 1994, personal communication with the author
21. Burghardt, June 1994, op. cit.
22. Dallas A. Blanchard & Terry J. Prewitt, "Religious Violence
and Abortion:  The Gideon Project," 1993, University Press of
Florida, pp. 201-205
23. NA, "When Life Hurts We Can Help...THE ARMY OF GOD," 1993,
Third Edition
24. ibid. pp. iii-v
25. ibid., multiple citations
26. ibid, pp. 11-12 
27. Joan Clark, "Dossier" on Missionaries to the Preborn, 1994,
Milwaukee Clinic Protection Coalition (MCPC)
28. THE ARMY OF GOD, op. cit., pp. 10-11

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