Anti-Faith, Anti-Government Violence a Toxic Mix

June 11, 2009

Author: Kevin Eckstrom

Source: Religion News Service

In 1981, white supremacist James W. von Brunn tried to kidnap members of the Federal Reserve in a bid to overthrow a financial system he believed was controlled by Jews.

Experts say violent anti-Semitic outbursts, like von Brunn's shooting Wednesday (June 10) that killed a security guard inside the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, are often fueled by extremist anti-government views.

Such anti-government extremism can also be found in the violent fringes of the anti-abortion movement. Thirteen years before he gunned down abortionist George Tiller in the lobby of a Wichita, Kan., church on May 31, accused gunman Scott Roeder was affiliated with the Freemen, a fringe right-wing, anti-government group.

Both cases, experts say, highlight the toxic mix of religious bigotry, apocalyptic militarism, social paranoia and anti-government radicalism that can lead to violence.