IFAS | Freedom Writer | May 1996 | militia.html

Olson calls militia to Montana

By Skipp Porteous

The Rev. Norman E. Olson, commander of the Northern Michigan Regional Militia, accused the federal government of "planning and premeditating the murder of the Freemen in the besieged house near Jordan, Montana." Olson claims that "an undeclared conspiracy of intent exists between the media and the federal government and that the federal government is merely waiting until the level of nationwide consent rises to the point where the federal forces will be able to act.

"I fear [the Freemen] will never see justice...the media is constantly declaring them guilty," Olson said. "The FBI will carry out the execution."

Olson said that he has called for militia members from around the country "to go to Montana as quickly as possible." He reasons that the "presence of hundreds of militiamen will raise the ante substantially to the point where the federal government will decline to engage in a greater battle."

In an interview with Freedom Writer Magazine, Olson said he and chaplain Ray Southwell were going to Jordan, Montana on April 15 for about a week "to do some reconnaissance and hold some press conferences." He also hoped to meet with the Freemen. Olson said that although the Freemen are Identity Christians and he is a Baptist fundamentalist, he thinks he can reason with them.

Rev. Olson is also thinking about starting a national militia in an effort to get all the militias to work together. He said that since the FBI is crossing state and county lines, the militias need to do the same in order to protect each other.

Norman Olson epitomizes the differences of ideology represented within the hundreds of militias. A fundamentalist Baptist, pastor Olson rejects the Christian Identity message of many militia members.

Christian Identity adherents share the idea that white Christians are direct descendants of the ten lost tribes of Israel, which they believe ended up in northern Europe. A theologically similar group calls itself British Israelites.

The majority of Christian Identity devotees numbering about 40,000 in the United States are racist and anti-Jewish. Except for the "identity" aspect, most Christian Identity believers embrace classic Christian fundamentalism and a growing number are Pentecostal. The main difference between fundamentalists and Pentecostals is that Pentecostals believe in "spiritual gifts," such as speaking in tongues and faith healing, and fundamentalists do not. (It should be noted, however, that most Christian fundamentalists and Pentecostals do not espouse the Identity message.)

Christian Identity proponents also hold to various conspiracy theories concerning a New World Order in which the United Nations will take over the world. Behind the scenes, they believe, are certain European bankers (long recognized as a code referring to Jews) who hold the purse strings to bring this about.

According to leading experts, there are now as many as 400 various militia-type groups in the U.S. The vast majority of these are Christian-based, with those embracing the Identity message in the forefront.

© 1998 Institute for First Amendment Studies, Inc.