Christian militia group arrested

March 29, 2010 • 3:02 pm

I’m just posting this because these people, members of a Christian militia group in Michigan called Hutaree, constitute the scariest-looking group I’ve ever seen.  These are their mug shots, as they were just arrested for conspiring to murder law-enforcement officers.

Fig 1.  The militia.  Check out their website. Discussion groups include “Chaplain’s Corner” and “Evil Jew Forum”

As The New York Times reports:

The Web site, which describes the group as “preparing for the end times,” featured video clips of people running through woods in camouflage gear and firing assault rifles, along with links to gun stores and far-right media. It also features an elaborate system of military ranks for its members. The site says it coined the term Hutaree, intended to mean Christian warrior.

“Jesus wanted us to be ready to defend ourselves using the sword and stay alive using equipment,” the Web site says, adding, “The Hutaree will one day see its enemy and meet him on the battlefield if so God wills it.”

Here are the ranks in their militia:












PARABLES OF THE SOLDIER Ranking officers and commanders; serve your men for you lead them; humble before your team. Cause you may be a leader of flesh but in heaven leaders are of spirit.

LOW RANKING SOLDIERS AND GRUNTS Respect the officer above you and obey your commander with dignity. Each man holds his place in flesh and spirit, heaven and earth.

I won’t blame this one on religion; to do that, you’d have to assume that if there were no faith, these people would be law-abiding citizens.  I doubt it.

78 thoughts on “Christian militia group arrested

  1. These folks are professedly Christian so blaming religion is not inappropriate. They are indeed nuts but the two terms are not mutually exclusive.

    I note with amusement that for a group that professedly spends much time scampering through the woods almost none of them have an appearance of the outdoors. They are a pasty faced bunch of trolls.

  2. It is refreshing that, in a change of approach, the authorities decided to start arresting these nutjobs BEFORE they starting killing people.

    Can you imagine the emails that are flying around in similar groups now? “Hey — don’t actually say that we’re going to kill the evil Satanic government thugs! That’s supposed to be secret!”

  3. Oh dear lord. You really must take a gander at their website -Jerry’s transcription of their ranking system is just a taste of the mirth awaiting you.

    Standard-issue 1995-vintage site, complete with scrolling “alerts” to “contact headquarters” and the “andjutant” about “training.” Links that flash and jump around when you hover over them, and lots of text-on-complicated-picture-backgrounds.

    I know the group itself is not funny, but I can’t stop laughing. The picture they present to the world is just so. . .pathetic and silly.

    You might start with Beast Watch:

      1. Actually, their web-site is not particularly scary. Sort of like a rock band site. Goofy, but no hate or threat info that I could find. Odd, given the news.

  4. Is there a difference between them and Sarah Pailin, Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, Sean Hannity and so many other christians? The messages seem to be very similar. If all else was the same except replacing christianic with islamic would you give them a pass then? It looks to me like one or another of the christian’s gods are involved.

  5. A country in which education is mocked and religion and guns are revered… these kind of people will be produced. This kind of shit is going to happen.

    1. These folk are sticking to the tenets of the Old Testament with far more fidelity than ‘ordinary’ Christians.

  6. You woulnd’t “blame this one on religion?” Me thinks you may be speaking a little too soon. I predict that the more we learn about these jackasses, the clearer it wil become that religion was the motivating source of most of their madness.
    ~Rev. El

  7. Crazy? Sure. But the dude in the lower right is rockin’ that mullet!

    Can you say Skinhead in the front and party in the back?

  8. You can imagine a group of Intelligent Design Orangutans using this group portrait as an argument: Do you really believe we descended from Humans!?!

  9. These people live near me. I do atheist activism in the area. You would be on the right track to assme that I should be careful for my safety with these kind of people around.

    Maybe if these people were not Christians they would still not be law-abiding citizens. But their religion makes their law-breaking potential a function of their Christian ideology.

    I prefer my crooks to have psychotic or economic motives. Religious motives are of such a kind as to have the patina of respectability and narrow acceptance in our culture. We don’t put up with career or insane criminals, but there is a lot of sympathy out there for religiously motivated criminals. (Anyone who needs me to cite examples of this has not been paying attention to the news.)

    Religion, like bureaucracy, breeds a certain kind of complacency with regard to treating people with respect. Maybe these people would not be law-abiding citizens if they were atheists. But they definitley wouldn’t be plotting to kill law enforcement officers for Jesus.

    I agree with Steven Weinberg.

    1. If they had been charged in the UK, they might hope to get Judge Cherie Blair to hear their case. Since they are all religious people, they can be let go with just a stern “you know better”.

  10. I’ve never set foot in the Upper Peninsula, but based on the only two Yoopers I’ve ever met, I expected this collection to be from there. Instead, looks like their HQ is barely over the OH line.

    1. I’m from the UP and I’m quite sure we’d look twice at this kind of idiocy. That said … I stay out of OH myself. Hahahahahahahahaha!

  11. “I won’t blame this one on religion: these people are just nuts!”?? I don’t agree. This actually sounds too much like religious moderation, or at least accommodation to me. Too many people actually still believe that religion is the necessary basis for morality, or at the very least that it is harmless. The evidence refutes that contention and we should not be afraid to say so. I share Sam Harris’ view that religious moderation is really just a cover for people like these – because religious moderates can’t bring themselves to admit that the fundamentalists actually know (and practice) what the religious texts say far more accurately than they do. We must call attention to explicitly religious lunacy wherever we find it, and call it such. Otherwise we could actually be construed as contributing to the problem in some ways.

  12. Clearly we need a program of Midnight Basketball in rural/suburban Michigan/Ohio/Indiana, to keep these people off the streets and give them something productive to do with their time.

  13. What bizarre ranks. “Boromander” sounds like a bad D&D monster, perhaps a cross between a boar and a salamander, as in “As you come around the dungeon corner you see an owlbear and two boromanders”.

    The rest could come from a lame space opera.


  14. I think they’re the scariest looking because they look pretty normal.

    And the idea that’s scariest is that normal people behave like this.

    1. “And the idea that’s scariest is that normal people behave like this.”

      Hmmm,… something about the “banality of evil” comes to mind.

  15. Hey, why are you picking on ugly people? I’m ugly and I’m a peace-loving liberal atheist. The dregs shown at top aren’t bad because of the way they look or vice-versa!

    1. Yes, speaking as an upstanding member of the ugly community myself I have to say that the real problem here is downright brain – dead stupidity. Of course being religious is a big help in that direction.

      1. Yep.
        If you don’t do what they say, you’ll get tortured for eternity.
        Can’t get more terror than that.

  16. They look pretty normal, if none too intelligent, to me. Most of you seem to be extrapolating from what they were intending to do to how they appear, rather like 19th-century phrenologists commentring on the criminal physiognomy. Andrew Sullivan is bleating that they are ‘Christianist’ not ‘Christian’ because no true Christian would behave in such a way… Ask, among others, Hypatia. Or perhaps the victims of Father Marciel. It really is no good to divide the very complex phenomenon of Christianity into the nice parts which you can accept, and therefore claim to be ‘truly’Christian, and the nasty parts which you can dismiss as merely ‘Christianist’. And I think that Jerry Coyne is being a little too kind (to religion), and a little irresponsible (where people are concerned), in suggesting on the basis of their appearance (few people look good in a mug-shot) that these people are just so congenitally nasty that they would use any excuse to justify their nastiness, and that therefore the nastier side of Christianity can be dismissed as an influence. Christian echatology has been responsible for a number of atrocities in the past, as Norman Cohn, for one has shown. Don’t fondly suppose that because you can’t take it seriously intellectually it is not dangerous.

    1. Tim: “They look pretty normal, if none too intelligent, to me.”

      Maybe I shouldn’t admit this, but none of these people would look out of place at a reunion of either side of my family.

      Much worse: most of their beliefs would not be out of place, either.

  17. Nah, #2 from the left on top could clean up pretty nicely, I think.

    Get a bit of colour, get rid of the acne. Could end up yummy.

  18. If these bozos ever got into a gun battle with police, would their HMO deny treatment on the grounds of pre-existing terminal stupidity?

  19. The government has not charged these people with any actual criminal deed. The accusations are all in the form “they were planning to do X,” “they were conspiring to do X,” “they wanted to do X,” “there was an imminent threat of them doing X.” Doesn’t this raise any suspicion at all in critical minds? Haven’t we seen time and again how the government alleges “conspiracy” and “threat” to destroy people it doesn’t like but who have committed no actual crime?

    1. They were under constant government surveillance, and were arrested when it seemed that the murders were imminent. Would you have preferred that they kill people before they were arrested?

      1. Exactly how do you know that murders were imminent? You are merely parroting the government’s accusation. Accusation is not evidence. An “imminent” crime is not a crime at all because it hasn’t happened. And if these people were under constant surveillance, then under what possible circumstances could these people have tried to commit crime that the government would not have been able to thwart?

        1. I expect this evidence will come out at trial, and if it’s weak there won’t be a conviction. And of course the government did THWART the crime–they arrested people before it was committed. SHEESH!

          1. You don’t know that. All you know is that the government claims that these people were planning to commit a crime sometime in the future, and you merely parrot the government’s accusation to justify your satisfaction that people who hold religious opinions you despise are now in custody. “Conspiracy to do X” is a favorite tool of tyranny: conspiracy to sell drugs is used to imprison uses of medicinal marijuana; conspiracy to commit property crimes is used to imprison strikers and eco-protesters; conspiracy to commit violence is used to imprison political protesters. These and similar abuses are well known. Injustice is still injustice even if you despise the victims of the injustice for your own personal reasons. Sheesh!!!

            1. ME:

              Did you see thier website. Did you read their sef-described purpose. These were not a group of elderly church grandmothers who liked to go on picnic’s in the countryside every weekend. They were a paramilitary group focussed on combatting SATAN! They had guns and they were not sane. That they are in custody right now should be a relief to everyone. Give me a break from the knee-jerk liberal “innocent until proven guilty” BS. They may not have committed any crimes, but that makes them none the less frightening.

            2. “Government is in conspiracy” is a favorite tool of paranoid nut jobs that the government is out to get ‘us’

            3. People on this blog would profit from reading Robert Bolt’s “A Man For All Seasons,” particularly the latter part of Act 1. If you cut down all the laws–like the assumption of innocence or the requirement that accusations allege actual crimes and not fictitious ones-—to get at men you fear and despise, what’s left to protect you? Other men may fear and despise you. What will keep you from being on the receiving end of a conspiracy charge?

            4. And that’s a big problem with current anti-terrorism laws; but real police forces don’t act with the split-second timing of spy organizations on TV shows.

            5. Your nonsensical rant is missing the word “sheeple” and is a little light on CAPS and exclamation points. Aside from that, it hits all the standard conspiracy talking points adequately.

              You ask “What’s to keep me from being on the receiving end of a conspiracy charge?” The same thing that keeps other innocent people from such a fate: A burden of proof. See, outside of imaginationland, speculation, special pleading, logical leaps of faith, and accusational questions mean shit. Although it may seem perfectly Ok and natural for you to establish the existence of a conspiracy based on, well, nothing, that doesn’t fly in a court room.

  20. I find it amusing that conspiring to kill the President is considered to be over-the-top grumbling rhetoric, but conspiring to kill police officers–now that’s serious! Nip it in the bud!

  21. Stan Clark:
    This actually sounds too much like religious moderation, or at least accommodation to me… We must call attention to explicitly religious lunacy wherever we find it, and call it such.

    Tim Harris:
    Jerry Coyne is being a little too kind (to religion), and a little irresponsible

    Look out Jerry, the pitchforks are coming out for you!

  22. Hey, kids! Remember when I said that there was something fishy about the government’s accusations against this militia group? Remember when y’all dumped all over me?

    Well, guess what? Looks like the federal judge in the case agrees with me!

    Read about it here:

    DETROIT – Nine members of a Michigan militia will be released from jail pending trial after a federal judge on Monday harshly criticized the government’s claim they had conspired to overthrow the U.S. government.

    The decision is a significant defeat for federal authorities, who spoke in tough and triumphant terms after arresting members of a southern Michigan group called the Hutaree in March and charging them with conspiracy to commit sedition and attempted use of weapons of mass destruction.

    (the story continues here:)

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