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


Thoughts on the Finale of the Finn Debacle
Now that Bishop Robert Finn has finally resigned his leadership of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri -- here are some final thoughts......
By Frank Cocozzelli (3 comments)
DeVos and School Privatization Funders Backing Philadelphia Democratic Mayoral Candidate
The Betsy DeVos-led American Federation for Children (AFC) and its core funders have spent more than fifteen million dollars in Pennsylvania over the last......
By Rachel Tabachnick (2 comments)
Religious Right Rabbi: Christian Coalition Favorite Daniel Lapin Resurfaces
Back in the 1990s when I was regularly covering the antics of TV preacher Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition, one part of the job was......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
Christian Right leaders escalate anti-LGBTQ threats
As marriage equality has advanced around the country, and the U.S. Supreme Court is set to rule on the issue in June, threatening language......
By Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Could Support for LGBTQ Rights Disrupt the Coalition of Jews and Evangelical Christian Zionists?
Some might say that the relationship between the conservative US Jewish community and Evangelicals is inviolable, with support for Israel being the cement that......
By Bill Berkowitz (1 comment)
Whine Festival: Second-Tier Religious Right Leaders Still Don't Like Marriage Equality
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments tomorrow in Obergefell v. Hodges, the marriage equality case.In preparation for this, a sad collection of......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
Whither the Christian Right in the Democratic Party?
You don't have to be a Hillary hater (and I'm not) to recognize that Clinton and other Democratic Party leaders have had long and......
By Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Bishop Robert Finn Resigns Leadership of St. Joseph-Kansas City Diocese
Bishop Robert W. Finn, the Opus Dei Bishop who was convicted by a Missouri court for failing to report suspected child abuse by a......
By Frank Cocozzelli (5 comments)
Two Overlooked Indiana Outcomes that Could Haunt the Christian Right
I think there are two underreported features of the fallout from Indiana that we should make sure do not get lost in the hoo......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Terms, Definitions & Glossaries for Writing about the Religious Right
One of the challenges in writing about the Religious Right and what to do about it is the matter of terms and definitions. That's......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
President Obama Can Help Stop Religious Discrimination
Barry Lynn, the longtime executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, recently posted an important essay at Huffington Post. In......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Marriage Matters: Thoughts On The Recent Unpleasantness In Indiana
Last week I taped an interview with Sister Maureen Fielder, host of "Interfaith Voices," a popular radio program exploring religious issues that is carried......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
The Campaign Against Pro-LGBTQ Denominations
The recent endorsement of marriage equality by the Presbyterian Church (USA) seemed like a good moment to discuss the campaign to divide and conquer......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Upcoming Conference: From Abortion Rights to Social Justice
The 29th annual conference From Abortion Rights to Social Justice: Building the Movement for Reproductive Freedom will be held from April 10-12 at Hampshire......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Why Is Bishop Robert Finn Still In Power?
As I reported in September 2014, Bishop Robert Finn, head of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri has been under Vatican investigation to......
By Frank Cocozzelli (2 comments)

Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (0 comments)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (0 comments)
Evangelicals Seduced By Ayn Rand Worship Crypto-Satanism, Suggest Scholars
[update: also see my closely related stories, "Crypto-Cultists" and "Cranks": The Video Paul Ryan Hoped Would Go Away, and The Paul Ryan/Ayn Rand/Satanism Connection Made Simple] "I give people Ayn Rand with trappings" -......
Bruce Wilson (10 comments)
Ted Cruz Anointed By Pastor Who Says Jesus Opposed Minimum Wage, and Constitution Based on the Bible
In the video below, from a July 19-20th, 2013 pastor's rally at a Marriott Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa, Tea Party potentate Ted Cruz is blessed by religious right leader David Barton, who claims......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Galt and God: Ayn Randians and Christian Rightists Expand Ties
Ayn Rand's followers find themselves sharing a lot of common ground with the Christian Right these days. The Tea Party, with its stress on righteous liberty and a robust form of capitalism, has been......
JSanford (3 comments)
Witchhunts in Africa and the U.S.A.
Nigerian human rights activist Leo Igwe has recently written at least two blog posts about how some African Pentecostal churches are sending missionaries to Europe and the U.S.A. in an attempt to "re-evangelize the......
Diane Vera (1 comment)
Charles Taze Russell and John Hagee
No doubt exists that Texas mega-church Pastor John Hagee would be loathe to be associated with the theology of Pastor C.T. Russell (wrongly credited with founding the Jehovah's Witnesses) but their theological orbits, while......
COinMS (0 comments)
A death among the common people ... imagination.
Or maybe my title would better fit as “Laws, Books, where to find, and the people who trust them.”What a society we've become!The wise ones tell us over and over how the more things......
Arthur Ruger (0 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 (1 comment)
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 (5 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 (5 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 (5 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 (2 comments)
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 (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.