Will Bush Pardon an Antiabortion Terrorist?
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 11:57:33 AM EST
There is an effort underway by Rev. Michael Bray, a convicted terrorist and a leader of the underground Army of God network to free one of their captured members. Shelly Shannon, (aka "Shaggy West") is serving a long sentence for the attempted murder of Dr. George Tiller and for a series of arsons across the West in the 90s. Bray is organzing a petition requesting that president Bush pardon her before his term expires. In his letter to the president, Bray describes Shannon "as a biblical Deborah or Jael or a Joan of Arc."

I have written a great deal about Bray and the Army of God, which has played a central role in the politics of abortion in our time, and has been driving force behind many of the 17 murders and hundreds of bombings and arsons that have ravaged womens reproductive health facilities and staff over the past few decades.  And while I doubt that Bray's effort will succeed in getting Shannon released, the campaign serves as an opportunity to highlight just a few aspects of this particularly dark side of the war of aggression being waged by the religious right against the civil and constitutional rights of others -- that pundits euphemize as "the culture war."

Bray served four years for his role in a series of bomings and arsons of clinics in the mid-Atlantic area in the 1980s. In one article for Salon.com I wrote:

After serving four years in prison for clinic bombings in the 1980s, the Rev. Michael Bray, author of the antiabortion manifesto "A Time to Kill," emerged as an ACLA [American Coalition of Life Activists] leader in the 1990s, and was involved in the launch of ACLA's "Deadly Dozen" wanted posters campaign in 1995 and the Nuremberg Files project in 1996. In "A Time to Kill," Bray advocates "the principle of revolution and the goal of establishing or preserving a Christian government," and declares that "Revolution may well be justified in our time of legalized sodomy, national apostasy (in the name of separation of church and state) and taxation to support child slaughter." ...

Bray and his accomplices also bombed the Washington offices of the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Abortion Federation in 1984. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, headed the Washington office of the ACLU at the time of the bombing, and recalls how bomb fragments ripped a poster promoting the Bill of Rights that hung in his office. "These threats need to be taken seriously by anyone whose ideas run counter to these extremist groups."

The Army of God calls him a "Hero of the Faith", along with convicted murderers and arsonists and Clayton Waagner. I wrote for Salon:  

Only a couple of years ago, Clayton Waagner was one of three extreme-right American terrorists on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list, a self-styled avenging angel of the unborn. In the autumn of 2001, at the apex of national fear about terrorist strikes and deadly anthrax attacks, he mailed hundreds of envelopes stuffed with white powder and threatening letters to abortion clinics and reproductive rights organizations -- all in the name of the antiabortion Army of God. Doctors, staffers, clients and their families were terrified, and hundreds of clinics were shut down. That made Clayton Waagner a celebrity, of sorts, and to some, a hero.
 

The Kansas blog What the Judge Ate for Breakfast has an excellent run down on the Shannon situation.  

Rev. Michael Bray of Maryland has an online petition to ask Bush to pardon Shelley Shannon, who shot Tiller at his clinic on Aug. 19, 1993.

Shannon finished serving her Kansas prison time for attempted murder and aggravated assault in April 2005. But she's now serving a federal sentence in Dublin, Calif., in connection with the shooting. She also was convicted of fire and bombing attacks on other abortion clinics, including those in Oregon, California and Nevada, which authorities learned about through letters she wrote from jail following Tiller's shooting.

Bray said in a statement on his Web site, defending Shannon:

"Unfortunately, as with all anti-abortion cases where the defenders of the innocents are charged with crimes and brought before the judges in this land, there is no consideration given to the `defense of necessity' -- that these interventions were necessary because a true human being is murdered in every intentional abortion."
 

"The suggestion of pardoning a violent criminal for the attempted murder of Dr. Tiller and attacks on abortion clinics highlights the twisted notion of life held by these domestic right-to-life terrorists, " said Dan Monnat, a Wichita lawyer who represents Tiller. "Her letters, which you can find on the Internet, say `don't insult me by saying I've repented.'"

Bray goes on to say in his statement that:

There is a name for a kind of government which punishes excessively for ideological or political crimes. It is called a tyranny. We who know that Shelley's deeds were noble and just and that she acted in good conscience... We who say that Rachelle Shannon ought never to have gone to jail but to have been rewarded with honor and a U.S. pension greater than any Congressman, Judge, or President for her service say now that her sentence ought to be commuted.

We request that Rachelle Shannon be released from prison immediately.




Display:

WWW Talk To Action


Bishop Finn Under Vatican Investigation
Bishop Robert Finn, head of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri has long been a symbol of the ongoing institutional intransigence in addressing......
By Frank Cocozzelli (2 comments)
"The $1-Billion-a-Year [Religious] Right-Wing Conspiracy You Haven't Heard Of"
In honor of the 2014 incarnation of the event known as The Gathering, I've given an interview with Jay Michaelson, writing for the Daily......
By Bruce Wilson (4 comments)
(Un)Fantastic Five: A Remembrance Of Values Voter Summits Past
The Religious Right's annual "Values Voter Summit" (VVS) takes place this weekend. Americans United staffers Simon Brown, Sarah Jones and I will be there.......
By Rob Boston (5 comments)
The Christian Right's Voter Mobilization Strategy for 2014
My latest post at Political Research Associates is about how this weekend's Values Voter Summit fits into the Christian Right's wider electoral strategy for......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
NYT's David Brooks to Speak at Antigay Luncheon of Billionaires Who Fund Racist Preacher
Recently, government-encouraged outbreaks of mob violence against LGBT persons in countries from Uganda to Russia, and draconian new anti-gay legislation in those countries too,......
By Bruce Wilson (2 comments)
D'Souza's Downfall: Religious Right Favorite Sentenced For Campaign Donation Violations
Yesterday conservative commentator Dinesh D'Souza was sentenced to five years of probation and a term of community service for violating federal campaign laws. He......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
Short Takes -- Taking Action Edition
Banned Books Week is being celebrated this year from Sept. 21-27.  Yes its time for the annual celebration of the Freedom to Read, sponsored......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Archbishop Schnurr Throws Cold Water on the Ice Bucket Challenge
The Ice Bucket Challenge has been an outstanding success in raising both awareness and research money needed to find a cure for Amyotrophic lateral......
By Frank Cocozzelli (1 comment)
The Secret Antigay U.S. Money Behind The WCF and the Global Evangelical War on LGBT Rights
[note to readers: this is an excerpt from my first installment in a Twocare.org/Center Against Religious Extremism series that will examine extensive ties -......
By Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Race as Religion
Reading Edith Beer's book, The Nazi Officer's Wife, I ran across an interesting account of her fake marriage license.  She married a Nazi officer......
By wilkyjr (2 comments)
Dark Discussions on the Christian Right
The Neo-Confederate movement has been trying to jump start itself of late.  It has been an especially heady few months for the League of......
By Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Oath Oaf: Religious Right Columnist Calls For Religious Tests In Military
Bryan Fischer, the director of issues analysis for the American Family Association (AFA) is like a demented, right-wing geyser: You can count on him......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
Deeper Background on Dominionism -- Revisisted
In the Fall of 2011, there was an extraordinary -- and extraordinarily scurrilous -- wave of criticism aimed at those of us who had......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Fall From Grace: What The Religious Right Should Learn From The McDonnell Scandal
Leaders of Religious Right groups are fond of telling us that if we elect more fundamentalist Christians to office, we'll have less corruption. Biblical......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
A Visit To The Reality Community: Americans Have Sex. Americans Use Birth Control. Let's Move On.
Over the weekend, Americans United Senior Litigation Counsel Greg Lipper took part in a panel discussion about the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision at......
By Rob Boston (3 comments)

Deconstructing the Dominionists, Part VI
This is part 6 of a series by guest front pager Mahanoy, originally dated November 15, 2007 which I had to delete and repost for technical reasons. It is referred to in this post,......
Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Republican infighting in Mississippi
After a bruising GOP runoff election for U.S. Senator, current MS Senator Thad Cochran has retained his position and will face Travis Childers (Democrat) in the next senate election. The MS GOP is fractured......
COinMS (2 comments)
America's Most Convenient Bank® refuses to serve Christians
Representatives of a well known faith-based charitable organization were refused a New Jersey bank’s notarization service by an atheist employee. After inquiring about the nature of the non-profit organization and the documents requiring......
Jody Lane (3 comments)
John Benefiel takes credit for GOP takeover of Oklahoma
Many of you know that Oklahoma has turned an unrecognizable shade of red in recent years.  Yesterday, one of the leading members of the New Apostolic Reformation all but declared that he was responsible......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
John Benefiel thinks America is under curse because Egyptians dedicated North America to Baal
You may remember that Rick Perry put together his "Response" prayer rallies with the help of a slew of NAR figures.  One of them was John Benefiel, an Oklahoma City-based "apostle."  He heads up......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Yes, that's right. We have totally lost our religious freedom in Mississippi and it must be restored by our legislators. ......
COinMS (1 comment)
Bill Gothard accused of harassing women and failing to report child abuse
Surprised no one's mentioned this, but one of the longest-standing leaders of the religious right is in a world of trouble.  Bill Gothard has been active in the fundie movement for over half......
Christian Dem in NC (1 comment)
Eugene Delgaudio may lose his day job as Virginia county supervisor
Surprised no one's noticed this, but one of the nation's most virulent homophobes is in a fight to keep his day job.  Eugene Delgaudio is best known as the head of Public Advocate......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents
This caught me by surprise. I guess times are a changin in Dixieland. ------------------------------------- Cross posted from the HRC blog. Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents January 21,......
COinMS (0 comments)
Robert Knight: Running against evolution could potentially be a winner for the GOP
In one of the starkest instances yet of how far gone the religious right is, one of its leading activists thinks that he's found another potential wedge issue that could drive more people into......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
First Catholic official convicted in child sex abuse scandal has conviction overturned
Last year, Monsignor William Lynn, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's secretary for clergy, was convicted of reassigning a priest whom he knew had molested a young boy to a parish that had a school attached......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Quotes From Sarah Palin 'War on Christmas" Book v. Quotes From 1920s Anti-Jewish Propaganda
The point of this comparison is not to cast Sarah Palin as a Nazi. Rather, my intent is to underline uncomfortable similarities between contemporary "war on Christmas" talking points propagated by elements of the......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Francis sets up commission on how to deal with pedophile priests
Late yesterday Pope Francis announced--apparently after some prodding--that he will set up a panel to advise him on how to deal with child abuse by priests. The announcement was a forthright acknowledgment by the......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
John Hagee: Jews will make deal with Antichrist before End Times
When John Hagee opens his mouth, you expect to hear lunacy.  An appearance earlier this month on TBN was no different.  On Friday, People for the American Way stumbled on a special prophecy-focused edition......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Doug Phillips Resigns From Vision Forum over "Inappropriate Relationship"
Doug Phillips resigned as president of Vision Forum earlier this week, citing an "inappropriate relationship."   Phillips posted an announcement on the Vision Forum website, stating, There has been serious sin in my life......
Rachel Tabachnick (2 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.