Not Terrorism in Texas

Following on the heels of Spudsy's post about the explosion of right-wing extremist groups in the last year, this story in the Texas Observer is even more terrifying: A conservative militant group called Repent Amarillo has spent the last year terrorizing a swingers club, gay bars, and liberal churches, among others. Led by David Grisham, a security guard at nuclear-bomb facility (!) who moonlights as a pastor, Repent Amarillo's "special forces" have protested and harassed everyone who makes their way onto the group's enemies list by virtue of being insufficiently right-wing conservative Christian (as defined by them, natch):
Jobs have been lost, families estranged, assault charges filed and businesses shuttered. So far, no public official has stood up to defend these businesses, which operate legally. To the contrary, Repent Amarillo has managed to turn the city's own laws and employees into an effective weapon. Amarillo, it turns out, doesn't have the stomach to stick up for gays, swingers, strippers or even Unitarians.

…Repent Amarillo became an almost-constant presence [at the swingers club, Route 66], shouting through bullhorns, blasting Christian music, haranguing club members, following swingers in vehicles and sticking video cameras into people's faces. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has been called out twice. Police records show that nearby businesses have called frequently with noise complaints. Repent even showed up on occasion when the Route 66 building was rented out for non-swinger events. "They have been here every time we open our doors, regardless of what kind of functions we have, whether I'm down here doing maintenance, cleaning, whatever," Mac [one of the club owners] says.

…Perhaps the most insidious tactic Repent uses is trying to destroy the reputation of the swingers. In Amarillo, people can be ostracized over a whiff of impropriety. On one tape, Grisham directs followers to get the license-plate numbers in the Route 66 parking lot. "A new couple can be here three or four hours," says Mac. "Whenever they leave, the Repent Amarillo group will call them by first and last name, know where they live, know where they work, just within a very few hours."

Randall Sammons says he was fired from his job of 13 years in August after his boss learned Sammons was a swinger from another employee, a Repent member. … Russell Grisham, David's 20-year-old son who has a conviction on his record for hacking the computer system at his high school, has posted the names, photos and workplaces of swingers on the Internet, including one man whose wife works for a school district. … In at least two instances, Repent members called swingers' employers.
Repent Amarillo's website (to which I won't directly link, but it's easy enough to find if you're so inclined) explains that the group is "comprised of two groups…working together to compliment [sic] and support one another for the purpose of spiritual warfare." The groups are the Intercessory Prayer Group, who are tasked with "do[ing] battle within the spiritual realm to prepare the ground for the planting of God's seeds, tear down demonic strongholds, and cast out demonic spirits that harass our efforts," and the Soldier Group, staffed with "bold believers willing to confront the world," and tasked with "plant[ing] God's seeds in the ground" after being "schooled in the 'Way of the Master' method of witnessing to the lost."

The website goes on to list "some of the possible missions that these two groups may be called upon to work."
1. Gay pride events.

2. Earth worship events such as "Earth Day"

3. Pro-abortion events or places such as Planned Parenthood

4. Breast cancer events such as "Race for the Cure" to illuminate the link between abortion and breast cancer.

5. Opening day of public schools to reach out to students.

6. Spring break events.

7. Demonically based concerts.

8. Halloween events.

9. Other events that may arise that the ministry feels called to confront.

These large events may involve both the intercessory prayer AND the soldier groups. Some of the smaller events that can be accomplished in between the larger events may be:

1. Sexually oriented businesses such as pornography shops, strip joints, and XXX-rated theaters.

2. Idolatry locations such as palm readers, false religions, and witchcraft. Many of the smaller missions listed above may be just prayer oriented missions for tearing down demonic strongholds or they may involve more aggressive use of soldiers and prayer warriors. Some other missions occasionally employed may be "undercover operations" where the groups show up together but are not publicly visible together to effect the outcome of a public meeting such as city commissioners meetings, etc.
I utterly fail to see how this is not being regarded as a terrorist manifesto.

Except, of course, for the usual: It's not terrorism when it's white men committing it or only marginalized groups and their allies targeted by it.

Try to imagine, for one moment, a brown-skinned man with a foreign name being allowed to wage a campaign of intimidation of this scale, including openly hosting a website with militaristic rhetoric, against Upstanding Christian White MenTM for an entire year while working as a security guard at a nuclear facility, without the authorities paying him any mind at all.

Yeah. Try to imagine that for one moment without bursting into laughter at the absurdity of the proposition.

[H/T to CaitieCat, via email.]

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