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the social movement that seeks to use the Bible as the sole basis of all governance and social interaction.

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Acquire the Evidence - on Ron Luce and Teen Mania Ministries ("Battle Cry" Campaign)

The Answer is No - Answering Operation Save America in Columbus, Ohio - July 2004

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The extremist in Rutherford's closet

The founder and head of the Rutherford Institute, while financing Paula Jones' attack on the President, insists that he's "not out to get Bill Clinton." The same can't be said for his close friend, associate, and onetime Rutherford board member Frank Schaeffer, who has called Clinton and the Democratic Party the "spearhead of the new neo-Nazi eugenic movement." Schaeffer made these comments at an event organized by a group whose leader advocates the formation of militias and violence against abortion providers.

Analysis and Commentary by Mike Doughney and Lauren Sabina Kneisly

The primary focus of this article, a 1992 video of Franky Schaeffer, is available here in its entirety.

Rutherford Institute founding board member Franky Schaeffer
"Let us call Clinton and the Democratic party what they are. They are the spearhead of the new neo-Nazi eugenic movement."
View transcript and video
The Rutherford Institute claims to be a staid legal organization, aiming to promote the cause of religious freedom. It often appears that it takes on cases of merit, challenging discriminatory and unconstitutional rules and protecting free expression.

Rutherford and its founder, John Whitehead, are now financing the sexual discrimination lawsuit against President Clinton by Paula Jones that has spawned the most recent allegations of perjury involving Monica Lewinsky. Many have asked, why has Whitehead decided to take on such a case? How does Jones' case fit in with the Institute's announced goals, and is there some other, not-so-public agenda at work? And is there some broader "right-wing conspiracy" out to get the President by any means possible?

Whitehead is a protege' of notorious Christian "reconstructionist" R.J. Rushdoony, who advocates the death penalty for, among other things, homosexuality. He is also a student of theologian Francis Schaeffer, writer of A Christian Manifesto. Schaeffer advocated Christian action and political involvement in every aspect of life, as he thought the Christian influence would remedy social ills. Whitehead once said, "The challenge of the Christian attorney... is to be a vocal dynamic spokesman for the true legal profession - the one with Christ at its center - and to stop at nothing less than reclaiming the whole system." Central to Whitehead's thinking is that the foundations of the legal system are decaying and that the courts are becoming 'secularized,' and that Christians must act to return America to its alleged Biblical roots. "Part of the blame for the rise of violence in modern life rests with those who have advocated a valueless secularism. Without the checks and balances of traditional religion and its moral absolutes, the only way to maintain order is by using force."

Key players
Rutherford Institute - From its 1985 book Arresting Abortion: "Founded by John W. Whitehead, an attorney specializing in constitutional law, as a non-profit legal and educational organization designed to educate the general public on important contemporary issues, including prolife concerns." It's bankrolling Paula Jones' sexual harassment lawsuit against President Clinton. More

John Whitehead - Founder, President and Chairman of the Board of the Rutherford Institute. Student and protege' of Francis Schaeffer and Christian reconstructionist R.J. Rushdoony. More

Frank (Franky) Schaeffer - Editor of The Christian Activist, advocate of Orthodoxy and film producer/director. Founding board member of the Rutherford Institute, longtime friend and associate of Whitehead who's worked with him on various projects including Religious Apartheid. More

Matthew Trewhella - signer of the Defensive Action statement endorsing "lethal force" against abortion providers, founder of Missionaries to the Preborn. Trewhella has called for the formation of armed militias, using legalized abortion as justification for armed resistance. He has also represented the Wisconsin Taxpayers Party on the USTP National Committee. More

Missionaries to the Preborn - Milwaukee, Wisconsin based compulsory pregnancy advocacy group, known for aggressive tactics. More

In a recent profile in the Washington Post, Whitehead claims to be a changed man, and that he's moved beyond his relationship with Rushdoony, claiming, "Back then I was an early Christian and very impressionable." He says his 1992 video, Religious Apartheid, no longer represents his thinking, and he regrets having used homophobia as a tactic in fundraising letters. Curiously, one of Whitehead's early cases - in which he defended a minister sued for having fired a gay church organist - is said to have encouraged him to form the Institute.

While Whitehead may claim to be a changed man, other indications are that his changes may be primarily cosmetic. Whitehead shares with Rushdoony, along with many other far-right members of the Biblical America establishment, membership in the secretive Council for National Policy (CNP). As of 1996, both Whitehead and Rushdoony, along with others such as Pat Robertson, Howard Phillips of the U.S. Taxpayers Party, Oliver North, Jesse Helms and Lauch Faircloth, were members of the CNP.

Also disturbing is his relationship with Frank (Franky) Schaeffer, son of Francis Schaeffer and a founding board member of the Rutherford Institute. As recently as the summer of 1995, Schaeffer was a featured speaker as part of Rutherford's internship program. Schaeffer also produced Religious Apartheid and a number of other videos with Whitehead throughout Rutherford's history, including the film version of Whitehead's 1982 book, The Second American Revolution. An essay by Schaeffer appears in a 1985 Rutherford Institute report, Arresting Abortion.

We recently obtained a video of a speech Schaeffer made in Wisconsin in July 1992. The circumstances of the production of this video are of particular interest, as Schaeffer spoke at a prayer rally during the summer-long siege of Milwaukee abortion clinics organized by Missionaries to the Preborn. The Missionaries were founded, and are today led, by Matthew Trewhella, who is a signer of the Defensive Action statement endorsing violence "for the purpose of defending the lives of unborn children." Trewhella has also called for the formation of armed citizen militias. He has described Congress and others in the federal government as "low-life swine" and "totalitarian dogs."

Schaeffer was apparently quite aware of the Missionaries' activities and reputation. "Without people like Missionaries to the Preborn," he said, "there would be no letter writers to Congress because they would forget about the issue."

"These people... have about them the air and the stench of the concentration camp, the whip, the bullet in the nape of the neck, the curette, the saline solution, the oily smoke of human remains as it fouls our air."
View transcript and video
Schaeffer continued with more candid observations of the relationship between groups such as the Missionaries and more 'mainstream' pro-life work. "The fact that we get a hearing is because we are blessed in this movement to have a lunatic fringe. We are blessed in this movement to have a fanatical cutting edge." He asserted that pro-life work "only makes sense because of the people who are willing to be arrested."

Schaeffer then launched into his vision of a totalitarian future with a remarkable misinterpretation of the Ridley Scott film, Bladerunner, claiming that the film "is the future of the United States of America if the pro-abortion side wins." He claimed that the film showed "yuppie fascists that control the society living in the high towers of Los Angeles, while on the street, it rains perpetually on second-class citizens, mutants, mere creations of genetic engineering in which false life forms are toyed with." That the genetically engineered "replicants" were not allowed on Earth, a fact central to the movie's plot, seems to have been missed completely by Schaeffer.

"These people, these people are indeed our opponents. But they should be to us opponents in the same way that in Nazi Germany Hitler, Goebbels, Goering, Eichmann and company were opponents to Winston Churchill."
View transcript and video
In Schaeffer's vision, the human genome project and "amoral modern technology" will reform humanity in the image of some scientific or ruling elite. "Now aided and abetted by the real and naked fist of amoral modern technology as it rolls up its sleeves in the human genome project and gets ready once and for all to sort out this sorry mess called the human race, and to see that none survive but those created in the image of the knowledge elite. That is the future."

Schaeffer may well be accused of projecting Rushdoony's Reconstructionist vision onto a science fiction film. A different kind of sorting imposed on the human race is implied when Rushdoony writes, "The law here is human and also unsentimental. It recognizes that some people are by nature slaves and will always be so. It both requires that they be dealt with in a godly manner and also that the slave recognize his position and accept it with grace." Here the ruling elite are Christians, all others, slaves.

Having laid out the totalitarian future, Schaeffer then made it clear that the Democratic party and candidate were responsible for bringing that future closer to reality. "We have no excuse to tolerate any longer in our midst, whether they call themselves Democrats or not, such uncivilized behavior as that proposed by the national Democratic platform." The phrasing, "in our midst," is repeated later in his speech, when he says, "You have two tasks... One is to confront the uncivilized and barbarous second nation in our midst, those yuppie fascists who would tear the heart out of our country as they tear the limbs from children." It is clear that Schaeffer views our secular government as an illegitimate 'second nation,' that is not to be tolerated but instead removed and replaced with a government of a true nation from his viewpoint, solely based upon a particular interpretation of the Bible.

Schaeffer's comments about Clinton, therefore, should be viewed as nothing less than a call to civil war, which he openly acknowledged. "What we are engaged in, ladies and gentlemen, is not, is not a conflict of civil disobedience, it is not a political debate, it is not even a religious debate. We are engaged in the beginning of the second American civil war. That is the state of the union tonight." He echoes Whitehead's writing, in The Second American Revolution, "Like it or not, the church is at war."

As Schaeffer's comments are a call to war, he freely and openly uses wartime rhetoric, first evoking images of wars past. "Let us call Clinton and the Democratic party what they are. They are the spearhead of the new neo-Nazi eugenic movement." He then casts his enemy as uncivilized and barbaric, barely human. "These people are not civilized opponents with whom one can bandy words and arguments. These people for all their smiles and middle-class goodwill have about them the air and the stench of the concentration camp, the whip, the bullet in the nape of the neck, the curette, the saline solution, the oily smoke of human remains as it fouls our air."

"We are engaged in the beginning of the second American civil war. That is the state of the union tonight."
View transcript and video
To Schaeffer's way of thinking, individual choice is never an issue. He is addressing a mythical totalitarian state, that uses genetic technology and abortion en masse as a system of applied eugenics. That abortion is legal, to him, is direct and convincing evidence of totalitarianism, and endorsement of abortion rights by the President only places him in the same catagory as other historical tyrants.

"These people, these people are indeed our opponents. But they should be to us opponents in the same way that in Nazi Germany Hitler, Goebbels, Goering, Eichmann and company were opponents to Winston Churchill. That is the perspective on those who use death as a solution to social problems. They are beyond the pale."

Perhaps John Whitehead has done well in his attempt to develop his image of a reasonable, lawful man, distancing himself in the press from the more radical elements of Biblical America. The same cannot be said for one of his close associates, who has candidly and clearly laid out the terms of engagement of a new civil war - one that seeks to discredit, demonize and remove the leaders of our elected secular government and replace them with those who are sympathetic to the Biblical worldview and its literal interpretation by government.

The tape of Franky Schaeffer serves as a vivid illustration of exactly how some individuals feel about our elected government. The questions remain, to what degree do such attitudes fuel attacks on government leaders, are such attitudes widely held among our government leaders and functionaries, and is there any evidence of a 'conspiracy' of individuals or groups orchestrating such attacks?

We note that John Whitehead and R.J. Rushdoony, along with Rutherford founding board member Howard Ahmanson, are members of the Council for National Policy, a secretive organization that has been called the "virtual who's who of the Hard Right." Two members of the CNP, Jesse Helms and Lauch Faircloth, were seen lunching with a member of the judicial panel that appointed independent counsel Ken Starr. We see that allegations of abuse by Starr and his staff - the kinds of abuses that one might expect from people who have demonized their opponents, resorting to any means necessary to bring them down - are now surfacing.

The closest thing to a conspiracy may center on the Council for National Policy. Certainly this group is loaded with individuals who seek to use the Bible as a basis for American government, who attempt to rewrite our nation's history to make it appear as if that was the intention of this nation's founders, and who may be prepared to use antidemocratic methods to achieve their goals.

But perhaps a different, but no less dangerous, mechanism is at work. Three decades of the development and popularization of the ideology of Biblical America has created an enormous web of interaction among individuals and groups, which can be seen in the relationship among Whitehead, Schaeffer, Rushdoony, Ahmanson, and others. Whitehead wrote in The Stealing of America that the "rise of cosmic secularism" has created a situation with "ominous parallels to pre-Nazi Germany and the beginning of claims of total ownership by the state," using milder but very similar language that seems to have come from Schaeffer's vocabulary. While Biblical America views the secular world as the harbinger of the totalitarian state, its faithful minions have begun to act, not as a conspiracy but as a subculture, subverting democratic institutions to eventually warp our government into something resembling a fascist theocratic state. It is their vision of a future totalitarian regime, in which only approved Christians would have full citizenship, the Bible the basis of all law, and many of us live as slaves, that drives them.

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