“Hallelu-Yahweh! May the WAR be started! DEATH to His enemies, may the World Trade Center BURN TO THE GROUND!…We can blame no others than ourselves for our problems due to the fact that we allow…Satan’s children, called jews [sic] today, to have dominion over our lives…. My suggestion to all brethren, if we are left alone, sit back and watch the death throws [sic] of this Babylonian beast system and later we can get involved in clean up operations. If this beast system looks to us to plunder, arrest and fill their detention camps with, then by all means fight force with force and leave not a man standing!”
— “Pastor” August B. Kries III, Sheriff’s Posse Comitatus
The attacks of September 11 focused the nation’s attention on terrorist threats from abroad, but even as the World Trade Center towers were collapsing, hate groups were scheming about how to turn the situation to their advantage in the United States. “Wonderful news, brothers!!” crowed Hardy Lloyd, the Pittsburgh coordinator of the racist, anti-Semitic World Church of the Creator. Referencing ZOG–the supposed “Zionist Occupied Government” of the United States–Lloyd alerted supporters throughout western Pennsylvania on September 12 that “maybe as many as 10,000 Zoggites are dead.” He also called for vigilante street violence. “The war is upon us all, time to get shooting lone wolves!! [September 11] is a wonderful day for us all…. Let’s kick some Jew ass.”
Lloyd and other militants may have been excited by the suicidal hijackers of Al Qaeda, but like the Oklahoma City bombing six years earlier, the events of 9/11 enraged the American public and undermined those on the radical right devoted to criminal violence. Additionally, fear and resentment over the prospect of heightened government surveillance has prompted numerous rightists to denounce the passage of antiterrorism legislation, while others are mulling over whether to go underground. “The Feds are clamping down with the definition of a domestic terrorist,” warned Christopher Kenney, the “Commander” of the Republic of Texas, a “Christian Patriot” group whose original leaders are serving long prison terms for earlier crimes. “I am sure there will be even more restrictions coming down the pike. We must prepare while we can.”
Although most of the Christian right has avoided the kind of violent antigovernment rhetoric embraced by many neo-Nazis after 9/11, some have not. Militant antiabortion campaigners were quick to take advantage of public fears by mailing hundreds of letters containing fake anthrax to family planning clinics across the nation. And homophobes like the Rev. Fred Phelps of Topeka, Kansas, celebrated 9/11 by gleefully declaring that “the Rod of God hath smitten fag America!” and “the multitudes slain Sept. 11, 2001 are in Hell–forever!” The response was different from Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson and other more mainstream leaders of the religious right, but they also tried to turn the tragedy to their political advantage by attacking Arab immigrants, Islam, liberals, feminists, gays and other enemies both secular and allegedly profane. As for militia and “patriot” groups–whose numbers have been dwindling since the late 1990s–some seized on events to unload their inventory of survivalist paraphernalia left over from the marketing bust of Y2K, while others proclaimed their loyalty to the Republic–or threatened to overthrow it.
Bloodthirsty endorsements of 9/11 won’t win hate groups many recruits. But like the conspiracy theories hatched after Oklahoma City (i.e., that Timothy McVeigh was a government patsy who killed 168 people to give the New World Order a pretext to repress the patriot movement), many of the statements made by right-wing militants have been aimed at hardening the movement faithful, not attracting those on the outside looking in. As others on the radical right have done, Hardy Lloyd both praised and vilified the September 11 hijackers. “My only concern is that we Aryans didn’t do this and that the rag-heads are ahead of us on the Lone Wolf point scale.” Other neo-Nazis called the attackers “towel heads” and worse, yet hailed them as “very brave people [who] were willing to die for whatever they believed in.”