Is Your Church
|Then they came for the dangerous cult groups, but I didn't belong to a dangerous cult group, so I said nothing.|
The Waco debacle in 1993, involving David Koresh, the Branch Davidians, the Bureau Of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, is one of the most disturbing chapters in the whole of American history. There are valuable lessons to be learned lessons which must be learned should we wish to avoid future Waco incidents. Tragically, the most important lessons have largely gone ignored, while the peripheral and often irrelevant issues are what most people have focused their attentions on.
David Koresh received the brunt of the blame for the incident, while BATF and FBI culpability has largely been ignored, if not deliberately avoided. Controversial "cult" figures are attractive targets for public ridicule, and dead cult leaders make for especially convenient subjects of scorn. No one is eager to defend an heretic, least of all me. Nevertheless, as the Ninth Commandment stipulates:
Implicit in not being a false witness is the obligation to be a true witness. This is why before a witness takes the stand in court he must swear an oath to "tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth." This is also why our criminal justice system requires that any exculpatory evidence that is known to law enforcement, or the prosecution, be disclosed, even where such disclosure would serve to exonerate the accused. Yet, I have often seen how the law enforcement system has deprived the accused of justice, not only through covering up exculpatory evidence, but even by outright fabrication of evidence and false testimony. Those who are tasked with enforcing the law have, all too commonly, exempted themselves from obeying the law.
The Waco incident is a case study in false witness testimony. Few events in the history of U.S. federal law enforcement can match Waco for cover-ups, falsification, deception, fabrication, manipulation, subterfuge and obfuscation. The government, having so much to lose in terms of reputation, was chiefly responsible for instigating the blame game. It's a game they play well, and a game they usually win; but it's not one they could routinely win without having so many complicit participants.
Chief among their shills are the mainstream secular media. No surprise there, especially in their treatment of David Koresh the secular press will never pass up an opportunity to demonize a "religious fanatic." Also eager to vilify any alleged "cult" leader are the secular "anti-cult deprogramers," as well as the Christian "heresy hunters" and Christian "counter-cultists."
However, what is surprising is the fact that the majority of Christian media outlets also joined in the game, often repeating verbatim whatever the government told them about David Koresh. Add to the list of players a number of Christian radio and television personalities. All of these players, who have worked diligently to influence public opinion about Waco, violated the Ninth Commandment, and they continue to do so to this day. Though I am in no way supportive of David Koresh's teachings and practices, I dare not commit the same transgression.
Until the full truth is known, and the facts widely exposed about Waco, we can never hope to learn anything useful from it; and unless we can learn something useful, there's every likelyhood that it can and will happen again. With a desire to be a "true witness," I present herein some exculpatory evidence on David Koresh and the Branch Davidians, as well as some disturbing evidence about the BATF and the FBI.
The deadly government assault on the Branch Davidians at Mount Carmel Center near Waco, Texas is one of the greatest atrocities ever committed by federal agents in U.S. history. While there are many good and honorable men and women employed by the federal government, the Waco incident clearly demonstrates that not all of them are always so good and honorable.
The first lesson to be learned from Waco is that the American People must demand, and achieve, a much higher degree of accountability from their public servants. Unchecked power always results in tyranny, and tyranny inevitably results in needless death.
The BATF and FBI, and even members of the U.S. military, not only assaulted American citizens, but at least half the Branch Davidians killed were foreign nationals, including British, Israeli, Filipino, Canadian, New Zealand, and Australian citizens. Most Americans are oblivious to the fact that Waco proved an international public relations disaster for the feds. Among the 82 killed were 22 minor children and 2 pre-born babies. Of the 58 adults, 32 were women.
Although I am frequently asked about government onslaughts on the First Amendment rights of specific churches and religious groups, only rarely have I been asked about the government's assault against the Branch Davidians. This appears to be because few Christians think of the Branch Davidians as a religious group that lived in a religious community. Rather, the Branch Davidians are usually characterized as a "dangerous cult," and Mount Carmel Center was a "compound."
Marginalizing the Branch Davidians as a "lunatic cult" dehumanizes them in such a way that serves to vindicate the government's assault against them. Not surprisingly, the government itself played a major role in popularizing the notion that the Branch Davidians were a "dangerous cult group," and some went so far as to allege that they weren't a religious group of any kind:
Ron Noble, Undersecretary of Treasury for Law Enforcement
Ron Noble's comments before Congress are indicative of the prevailing attitude of federal law enforcement. Though every federal agent must take an oath "to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States" a covenant between the People and their federal government which guarantees numerous legal protections from the tyrannies of despotic government that same government frequently exempts itself from affording the accused due process of the law. Such deprivations they excuse under "special cirsumstances," asserting that for certain people and certain groups "there is no protection." The BATF and FBI acted as judge, jury and executioner of the Branch Davidians.
Indeed, the Waco assault demonstrates just how far the federal government is willing to go to strip a group of people of their legal rights. When Treasury Undersecretary Ron Noble uses the phrase, "no protection" he means that literally NO protections, whatsoever. With such malice of forethought it's little wonder the BATF raid on Mount Carmel Center, and the subsequent FBI assault, proved so disastrous.
If the Branch Davidians were legitimate suspects of any federal crimes, they were still entitled to due process under the law, regardless of what the government thought of their unconventional religious beliefs and practices. Contrary to Treasury Undersecretary Ron Noble's despotic assertions about how our legal system works, there is no act or belief system of any kind where an alleged perpetrator can be stripped of his legal protections. Even serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, who committed acts of necrophilia and cannibalism, got his day in court. The BATF and FBI treat cannibalistic serial killers with greater regard than they did the Branch Davidians.
Not only did hundreds of federal agents violate the religious liberties and the constitutionally guaranteed rights of the Branch Davidians, they also committed some of the most heinous crimes ever perpetrated by federal agents in U.S. history. They sought to justify their crimes on the basis that the Branch Davidians held to some "crazy religious beliefs" and, amazingly enough, many Christians are of the opinion that such justifications are sufficient.
Such federal atrocities, though disturbing, aren't necessarily surprising, if we believe the biblical doctrine of the total depravity of man:
However, in practice, most American Christians deny the doctrine of total depravity, and this is most clearly evidenced by the trust and confidence they place in their federal government. Most Christians today believe the humanist doctrine that man is inherently good. Therefore, their federal government is also inherently good. Placing their faith in the federal government necessitates exonerating the despotic actions of that government and, thus, the Branch Davidians must have deserved what they got death.
If you ask the typical American Christian, "Who were the Branch Davidians and who was David Koresh?", the standard response is, "The Branch Davidians were a crazed cult group and David Koresh was a mad cult leader who brainwashed his followers. David Koresh was like Jim Jones and the Branch Davidians were under his complete control. They lived in seclusion in a compound, armed to the teeth with hundreds of illegal weapons. They were abusive toward their children, and the government went in to save the children. Rather than giving themselves up, they set fire to the compound and committed ritualistic mass suicide."
How did Christians reach such conclusions, and where did they get their information? From the press. And where did the press get its information? From Janet Reno. And where did Janet Reno get her information? From the FBI. Does it seem logical that Christians would place their trust in such institutions and believe them? No, yet that's exactly what opinion polls show that most did, and continue to do.
The second lesson to be learned from the Waco disaster is that believing humanist doctrines, such as the inherent goodness of man, will inevitably produce tragic results. Once those results materialize a continued belief in the inherent goodness of man will only enable the criminal perpetrators to get away with their crimes. Unpunished criminals will go on to perpetrate further crimes. A classic example of this is Lon Horiuchi, the FBI Hostage Rescue Team sniper who murdered Vicki Weaver at Rubi Ridge, Idaho as she clutched her infant baby to her breast. Horiuchi received a commendation and, only a few months later, was assinged to head another sniper team at Waco, Texas.
Christian televangelists, such as Pat Robertson, repeated pretty much the same story as the mainstream press. The same Christian leaders who had so often claimed that they cherished religious freedom betrayed religious freedom by siding with the very government that had pulverized religious freedom under its tank treads, and then incinerated it in a fiery inferno. It calls into question what those Christian leaders actually mean when they speak of "religious freedom." Numerous Christian leaders rushed to judgement, both ridiculing the Branch Davidians as "mad cultists" and praising the federal government for keeping the rest of us safe from alleged terrorists.
"Countercult experts," such as Hank Hanegraaff of the Christian Research Institute, along with other CRI staff members, proved themselves loyal courtiers of the feds by placing all blame for the Mount Carmel Center slaughter on David Koresh, thus exonerating the actions of the BATF and the FBI. They wrote scathing articles and books attacking David Koresh as a sexual deviant with a Messiah complex who cruelly beat children. Whatever the feds said, Hanegraaff and his CRI staff were sure to parrot. However, as "The Bible Answer Man" should know, "people who live in glass houses shouldn't cast stones." 1
Countercultists, like Hank Hanegraaff, are often referred to as "heresy hunters," and for good reason. By the way in which Hanegraaff and his CRI staff excoriate David Koresh, many readers were likely to think, "Koresh was so evil I'm glad the government went after him the way they did. The world is a safer place without him." Yet, rather than rushing to judgement based upon an hysterical emotional appeal, we need to carefully examine the evidence to see if it has any merit.
In his article, Hanegraaff asks the loaded question:
If indeed David Koresh was "mad," the obvious conclusion must be that his followers were also either mad or brainwashed. And what are some of the indicia of madness or being brainwashed? Hanegraaff provides a doctrinal short-list of items, the very first of which is:
There are many KJV-only Christians in America, certainly thousands, and probably even hundreds of thousands. Under Hank Hanegraaff's litmus test, any KJV-only preacher could be a madman cult leader, and any KJV-only church could be a mad or brainwashed cult group.
Prophets of the Apocalypse, David Koresh & Other American Messiahs, written by Christian Research Institute staff members Kenneth Samples, Erwin de Castro, Richard Abanes, and Robert Lyle, is even yet more problematic. Prophets of the Apocalypse is a case study in how a group of men can masquerade as "researchers" while doing nothing more than constructing an artificial argument to arrive at a predetermined conclusion. These CRI hatchet-men consistently rush to judgement against David Koresh and the Branch Davidians, while carefully avoiding any criticism of the federal government. Could such contemptuous men, who have so little appreciation for keeping the Ninth Commandment, be capable of producing credible research?
If CRI staff hadn't taken credit for the book, bona fide researchers could easily assume that it was written by National Enquirer staff. Large portions of the book are comprised of nothing but speculation, inference, inuendo, and the hearsay testimony of often less than credible witnesses, such as disaffected former Davidians who had left Mount Carmel Center long before the government's assault. Aside from an interview with David Thibodeau (an interview so brief that it could hardly qualify as an "interview"), the book is devoid of interviews with Mount Carmel Center survivors. The bibliography is especially telling as to the thoroughness of CRI's "research" over three-quarters of the entries are nothing but newspaper and magazine articles of the secular mainstream press. The book calls into question CRI's definition of "research."
One of the authors' principal sources is Marc Breault, a former resident of Mount Carmel Center who had departed several years prior to the government's assault. The book attempts to portray Marc Breault as a credible source of information, when in point of fact Breault is anything but that. For example, Breault claimed to have been a sentry and to stand armed guard at Mount Carmel Center. Yet, Breault is legally blind! Marc Breault's blindness also calls into question how he could have been an "eye witness" to so many breathtaking allegations that he made against David Koresh, including allegations of things that supposedly occurred long after Breault had left Mount Carmel Center. Marc Breault publicly acknowledged that his departure was acrimonious, that he had a "vendetta" against Koresh, and that he intended to become a "cult-buster." Yet, CRI "researchers" conveniently omit this, as they did Marc Breault's blindness.
There are nine survivors of the Mount Carmel Center holocaust, including David Thibodeau and Clive Doyle, yet evidently these real witnesses, who were actually there before, during, and after the seige, weren't deemed worthy of legitimate interviews by CRI "researchers." However, the testimony of a blind and disgruntled former Branch Davidian is featured prominently, including accounts of alleged child beatings. Samples, de Castro, Abanes and Lyle state, "Vernon long held that children eight months and older ought to be disciplined by having their bottoms beaten with some type of paddle," and "The beatings lasted thirty to forty-five minutes" (pg. 58). They allege such beatings left the children black and blue with their bottoms bleeding.
If such beatings had occurred, it would have been impossible to conceal the evidence left on those little bottoms from the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Child Protective Services. Both agencies went to Mount Carmel Center, on more than one occassion, to investigate Marc Breault's hearsay allegations, and both agencies cleared Koresh of any wrongdoing. This is a matter of public record, yet CRI "researchers" fail to make mention of it.
In writing Prophets of the Apocalypse it's apparent that these men approached the subject with an agenda to vindicate the government. As such, all of their "research" was skewed to examine only those facts which placed the government in the best possible light, while ignoring the mountain of facts which showed the government to have been ruthless and diabolical. All of their "research" efforts, regardless of how lacking or speculative the evidence, are devoted toward portraying David Koresh in the worst possible light. Their strategy involves fomenting hysteria to elicit the reader's hostility against this "mad Messiah," while carefully avoiding a critical and logical examination of the cold, hard facts. Such conduct is far more consistent with the modus operandi of tabloid hacks, rather than legitimate researchers.
In Chapter 5, The Final Option, they dismiss, with no explanation, the possibility that the feds may have deliberately set the buildings alight. They also dismiss, again with no explanation, the possibility that the Army tanks, which bashed holes in the walls of Mount Carmel Center, might have run over or knocked down some of the approximately 30 gas laterns the Branch Davidians used, thus accidentally starting the blaze.
As far as CRI "researchers" are concerned, the Branch Davidians committed suicide by setting their home and chapel on fire. And what do they produce for evidence to support their predetermined conclusion? "The keys to the puzzle are notes contained in ex-member Robyn Bunds' Bible, which we obtained approximately three weeks before the siege's end." Samples et al attempt to decipher the margin notes of Robyn's Bible; but just as they are very selective in all other cases about what evidence they will "research," they very selectively examine only those notes dealing with God's judgement by fire. How convenient.
These tabloid inquisitors ask, "What did Robyn mean by her cryptic notes? Although somewhat puzzling, these clues provide important insights into Koresh's thinking that led to the fiery tragedy of April 19." Yet each and every one of their so-called "important insights" are hedged by such terms as, "strongly suggest", "is hinted", "it appears that", "indicating", and "aparently." Though having nothing but speculation to go on, these tabloid sleuths arrive at the conclusion that, even though David Koresh taught that suicide resulted in eternal damnation, the Branch Davidians must have committed suicide.
Since their book asks the question, "What did Robyn mean by her cryptic notes?", one would suppose that, being the "Christian" and honest "researchers" they hold themselves out to be, that the first person they would seek to interview would be the author of those margin notes, herself. Oddly enough, however, they never bothered to interview Robyn Bunds (or at least if they did they fail to make mention of it). Again, such practices are commonplace among gossip-sheet columnists and tabloid writers, but are hardly the makings of any credible researcher.
Robyn Bunds joined with other Branch Davidian survivors in bringing a wrongful death lawsuit against the government. Robyn Bunds believed at the time, and believes to this day, that the government was responsible for the fires. She also believes that the Branch Davidians, because of their religious beliefs, were incapable of committing suicide. On October 1, 1993 she publicly accused the BATF and FBI of killing the Branch Davidians:
According to CRI, the Branch Davidians committed suicide by not only deliberately setting their buildings on fire, they also committed suicide by shooting themselves, and one another, in the head. Indeed, autopsies showed the cause of death of at least twenty Branch Davidians, including David Koresh, to have been by gunshot to the head. Furthermore, the coroner determined they were dead sometime before the fire broke out no smoke residue was found in their lungs.
Notwithstanding CRI's self-serving (or rather government-serving) "research," Branch Davidian beliefs about suicide make it unlikely that any of the Branch Davidians would have committed suicide. The question then is who was responsible for the assassin-style shootings of twenty Branch Davidians, and how was it accomplished with no apparent resistance? This is just another of the many vital questions that Christian Research Institute "researchers" very conveniently avoid asking.
Early the morning of April 19, 1993 the FBI began rendering the Branch Davidians defenseless by deploying huge quantities of a dangerous chemical warfare agent known as CS gas. The United States first signed the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1969, which banned a number of chemical agents, including CS gas. The use of CS in war is considered a war crime. Yet the United States government continues to deploy this chemical warfare agent against its own citizenry. Janet Reno gave the FBI a green light to use an internationally banned chemical warfare agent on small children and nursing infants. Such an action, allegedly perpetrated for the purpose of "saving the children," can only be described as barbaric.
Those familiar with the devastating effects of CS gas know that the FBI's public statement that, "We deployed CS into the compound to force the Branch Davidians to come out," is either a bold-faced lie or demonstrative of an astonishing degree of incompetence. CS gas often does not compel people to come out of buildings, quite the opposite, and particularly so when used in large quantities. CS causes panic, disorientation and vertigo, often rendering its victims "immobile." In other words, once exposed the victim may be unable to get out of the building for the fresh air they so desperately need.
Every law enforcement agency in the world is well aware that CS gas, if they use it at all (and most do not), can only be "safely" used outdoors, as a "riot control" agent. If it had been the FBI's intention to force the Branch Davidians out of the building they never would have used CS, and they certainly wouldn't have used such massive amounts of it. The FBI deployed considerably more CS into Mount Carmel Center than any law enforcement agency had ever used in U.S. history. According to Col. Rex Applegate (U.S. Army, ret.), one of the world's leading authorities on "riot control," and a developer of the "ferret round" often used to deliver CS:
Had the FBI used something other than CS the Branch Davidians would have been able to find their way to the exits. However, given that the tanks rammed through the walls precisely where the stairwells were located, thus collapsing them, anyone on the second floor (where the women and children lived) would have still been trapped. This too casts serious doubt on the FBI's real intentions did they, by their actions, encourage the Davidians to come out, or did they actually prevent them from coming out? As one Army field manual states:
I can say from personal experience to repeated exposure that CS gas, even in relatively small doses, is excruciating and devastating in its effects. Each year in the Marines we had to pass through "the gas chamber" to test our competence with donning and clearing a gas mask. Once inside we had to remove our gas masks and yell out our name, rank and serial number, then put the mask back on and properly "clear" it. No one ever seemed to succeed without having to take a breath of that horrific gas. Even if you didn't take a breath it was impossible to open your eyes, and even with your eyes closed the tears poured down your face. Huge gobs of snot poured out your nose, and it burned your skin. Many Marines puked.
Even after we Marines redonned and cleared our gas masks, it took quite some time before we could actually see again. As such, it was often impossible to find our way out of the building, so we had to be led out. Our CS exposure as Marines was only a matter of seconds, and the effects were devastating. It's difficult to imagine what the Branch Davidians must have gone through.
Over a two-hour period the FBI shot almost 400 CS ferret rounds into Mount Carmel Center. Firing ferret rounds into a building is an exceedingly dangerous tactic, in and of itself if a ferret round hits someone the impact could easily kill them. Two M-60 Army tanks also bashed holes into the building and then sprayed huge quantities of CS through their nozzles. All the while the FBI announced over the loudspeakers, "This is not an assault." One has to wonder what the FBI's definition of "assault" is?
Many of the adult Branch Davidians had gas masks. However, gas masks aren't manufactured that can fit small children, and the FBI well knew this. They also knew that, if mothers were unable to get their children out, those children would die a slow and agonizing death. During congressional hearings, several congressmen described the children's CS exposure as "death by torture." As for the adults who had gas masks, most of their masks would only be effective for up to an hour. After that the filters saturate and fail, and the gas mask is useless. CS is a white powder that coats everything it comes in contact with. CS is touted by its manufacturer for the swiftness with which it will clog gas mask filters. The FBI's gas assault lasted for at least two hours, and some sources claim as long as six hours.
Aside from the dangers of deploying massive amounts of CS into a building, the FBI magnified the dangers to the Branch Davidians by what they chose as a CS propellant, as it was pumped from the nozzles of the M-60 tanks. Those who have seen videos of the Mount Carmel Center inferno can readily recognize that the buildings burned far more rapidly, and with a tremendous intensity, than could have occurred had there not been huge quantities of a fire accelerant present. At least one accelerant present in bulk, and used by the FBI as a CS propellant, was ethanol. Ethanol is also commonly used in conjunction with acetone as a CS propellant. Autopsies of a number of Branch Davidians revealed ethanol in their blood and urine (the coroner did not test for acetone).
The FBI could have used an inert propellant and aerosol agent, such as carbon dioxide, but chose instead a highly flammable and dangerous chemical. When ignited, the combination of CS powder and ethanol will burn at over 4200 degrees. The FBI set the stage to create an impressive conflagration.
Conveniently enough for the feds, the intense fire also destroyed a great deal of evidence. The BATF, in particular, had a vested interest in the building being eliminated as evidence. The trajectory of the many bullet holes through the building roof would have proven unequivocally that BATF agents fired indiscriminately from their helicopters, the morning of February 28. They recklessly machine gunned through the roof with wanton disregard for the women and children who lived immediately below that roof.
Should anyone have believed the FBI when, for some six years, they claimed that they had no responsibility for the three fires which appeared, almost simultaneously, at opposite ends of the building? For six years the FBI vehemently denied that they had used any incendiary or pyrotechnical devices on April 19, 1993, devices which could have started the fires. However, in 1999 the FBI did a sudden about face, acknowledging that they had, indeed, used pyrotechnic devices on that fateful day. The fact of the matter is that the FBI has frequently lied about what they did or did not do at Waco, and they continue lying to this day. In spite of this pattern of lies and cover-ups, many Christians still elect to believe whatever the FBI says about the Waco holocaust.
It's clear that the FBI planned for a significant fire. On day 19 of the 51 day siege, an FBI negotiator asked Branch Davidian Steve Schneider, "How many fire extinguishers do you have?" Steve responded that they only had one. FBI's James Cavanaugh was heard to say, "Someone ought to buy some fire insurance." Then on day 51, only a few hours before the FBI commenced the gas attack, the FBI contacted the local hospital to inquire how many beds they had in their burn unit.
CS, when burned, is also extremely toxic, producing hydrogen cyanide gas. Autopsies showed that forty-four Branch Davidians had hydrogen cyanide present in their blood. The picture shown is of six-year old Star Koresh, her body grotesquely contorted and twisted over backwards. The effects of cyanide cause such violent muscle contractions that it normally breaks the back of the victim. Death by cyanide is excruciating, typically requiring 9 minutes, and is accompanied by violent muscle spasms and seizures. Hydrogen cyanide is used in execution gas chambers. Execution victims are securely strapped into a chair with multiple leather straps, not so much to prevent their escape (gas chambers are escape-proof), but to prevent the body from contorting backwards, a sight considered too horrific for witnesses to have to bear.
Like so many other Christian organizations, Christian Research Institute claimed to have "researched" the Branch Davidians and the government siege at Mount Carmel Center. Yet, their published materials make it obvious that they are extremely selective about what evidence they choose to "research." It's difficult to understand why an otherwise reputable publisher, Baker Book House, would have agreed to publish such schlock masquerading as "research." The Christian Research Institute's opinions were thoroughly supportive of Janet Reno's "Justice" department, and they proved themselves to be little more than a government shill organization.
Christian countercult organizations not only parroted Janet Reno and the FBI, they also parroted the claims of "secular anticult deprogrammers," such as the now thoroughly discredited Rick Ross of the Cult Awareness Network. Rick Ross is a convicted jewel thief and kidnapper (kidnapping is a routine practice among cult deprogrammers). On his own, Marc Breault had little success in convincing any government agency with his hysterical hearsay. However, once Rick Ross got involved things changed dramatically.
In consulting for the BATF and FBI on the Branch Davidians, Rick Ross took Marc Breault's outrageous stories, which then became the primary souce of the numerous exaggerated, if not completely bogus, accusations that were leveled against David Koresh. Cult deprogrammers specialize in manufacturing fear, and then using it for their own financial gain. Rick Ross proved effective at fomenting a palpable sense of hysteria against David Koresh and the Branch Davidians.
Even prior to working for the government, Rick Ross served to incite trepidation over the Branch Davidians in the local community of Waco Texas. The Waco Tribune-Herald was first in line among the muckraking media to serve as a willing gossip controversy sells. Rick Ross succeeded in then turning an insignificant local controversy into a big national controversy, attracting the national press, and even some international press. The press proved themselves only too gullible in buying Rick Ross' malicious stories. The press, and in particular the Waco Tribune-Herald, bear considerable responsibility for the eagerness with which they served as government bootlicks.
Immediately after the BATF's initial disastrous raid, huge numbers of press converged on Waco, Texas. The large number of media outlets served to create a feeding frenzy of competition. Adding to the frenzy was the fact that the press was sequestered three miles away from Mount Carmel Center at "Satellite City," making it impossible for them to clearly see and hear what was happening. The only thing the press found out is what the government told them, which wasn't very much, nor was it truthful (not that the mainstream press is necessarily interested in truth, anyway). Given those competitive circumstances, the veracity of any reported story is often compromised for the sake of scooping other news outlets; and the agenda of a man like Rick Ross, who was only too eager to bask in the press' limelight, will typically go unquestioned.
Some have charged that Rick Ross is contemptuous of religion and religious faith of all kinds, with the one exception of his own religion (Ross is a professing Jew). Rick Ross is especially ambivalent toward Christianity. However, for marketing purposes, Rick Ross attempts to conceal his religious bigotry. Anyone who makes any religious expression of devotion to any religious faith, according to Rick Ross, must be under some form of "mind control" by a "mad cult leader." Any such "cult member" is in need of "deprogramming." Conveniently enough, Rick Ross is a "professional cult deprogrammer," or as he prefers to be called, an "exit counselor." Rick Ross has often charged from $8,000 to $25,000 for his cult deprogramming services, which he is of the opinion that a great many people are in need of.
In David Koresh and the Branch Davidians, Rick Ross found an easy target to publicly vilify and dehumanize as a group of religious nut cases. The Branch Davidian brand of apocalyptic eschatology did, for the many who were unfamiliar with Armageddon scenarios, make them sound fanatical. Christian "countercult experts" like Hank Hanegraaff were swift to label the Branch Davidians a dangerous cult for, among other things, their eschatology.
As an offshoot of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, the Branch Davidians were pre-millennial futurists. Davidian eschatology was strikingly similar to the futurist pre-mil eschatology held by millions of other Christians, as evidenced by the runaway success of Hal Lindsay's Late Great Planet Earth (published 1971, 28 million copies sold). Koresh himself had early been influenced in his eschatology by Late Great Planet Earth, when Koresh was still a member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. The popularity of pre-millennial futurism and doomsday Armageddon prognosticating has hardly abated, as evidenced by the remarkable success of Tim LaHaye's Left Behind series (published 1995, 75 million copies sold, $650 million in sales):
The above quote could be attributed to David Koresh, except for the fact that he wasn't the one who said it. Though Koresh made remarkably similar pronouncements, and claimed that God directly gave him "special insight" into biblical prophecy, the above quote actually comes from Hal Lindsay (The Apocalypse Code, page 37). However, in the world of prophetic interpretations and prognostications, Hal Lindsay is a Johnnie-come-lately. In point of fact, the above quote could be attributed to any number of earlier "prophets," including John Nelson Darby, William Miller, C.I. Schofield, or Ellen G. White. They, and many others, have made the same claim of God-given "special insight" into biblical prophecy.
Millions of American Christians sincerely believe in apocalyptic Armageddon eschatology and, regardless of what anyone else thinks, it is still their right to believe as they so choose. However, unbeknownst to them, there are "heresy hunters" who brand such beliefs as "dangerous." Under Hank Hanegraaff's litmus test, any pre-mil futurist preacher could be a dangerous cult leader, and any pre-mil futurist church could be a dangerous cult group. And how should "dangerous cults" be treated?
Prophets Of The Apocalypse, pg. 135
Indeed, it is clear from CRI's tendentious "research" that they are intolerant of those who "go against the grain of societal norm."
It would be a fair characterization to say that most "countercult" organizations are religious bigots. While countercultists are quick to malign non-orthodox groups as "dangerous cults" because of their failure to conform to the "norms of society," countercultists are oblivious to their own bigotry, and how their bigotry and intolerance is the real danger to society.
As James D. Tabor and Eugene V. Gallagher have noted in their book, Why Waco?, the criteria used by heresy hunters and countercultists is so broadsweeping that, if they were to have lived in the first century, they would have most certainly branded Jesus Christ and his disciples as a "dangerous cult group."
There is no question but that Jesus had a reputation for "going against the grain of societal norm." Christ's teachings were, at the very least, radical, if not revolutionary. "Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life" (John 6:54) was the most shocking, offensive and outrageous religious teaching that any Jew had ever heard. The religious leaders repeatedly accused Jesus of blasphemy. If we were to transport today's heresy hunters back to the first century, it's likely they would raise their voices, in chorus with the Pharisees and scream, "Crucify him!" After the deed was done, they might congratulate one another with, "Such intolerance is often well justified."
Heresy hunters like Hank Hanegraaff, and Christian radio and television personalities like Pat Robertson, were quick to lend their support to the Davidian antagonists (this is ironic, given that Robertson is also a pre-mil futurist, and has often spoken of apocalyptic Armageddon scenarios). Yet they rarely, if ever, condemned the actions of the Reno Justice department. The message they sent, thereby, was clear and unambiguous: It's dangerous to be in a cult group. The Branch Davidians got what was coming to them. The government's "intolerance is well justified." Let that be a lesson to us all.
David Koresh was hardly a saint (and he certainly wasn't the "Seventh Angel" of Revelation), nor do I endorse his theology, or his polygamous marital practices. However, unlike Hank Hanegraaff, I do more than pay mere lip service to religious liberty. The Branch Davidians were entitled to believe anything they wanted to, and practice anything they wanted to, provided they committed no crimes.
A huge federal cover-up followed in the wake of the Waco debacle, and it began even before the fires died out. Two of the four BATF video cameras mysteriously "malfunctioned" the morning of the raid, and the video tapes of the other two cameras mysteriously "disappeared." Tons of vital evidence that survived the fire was deliberately destroyed, or was said to be "missing."
The FBI declared Mount Carmel Center a "crime scene." Yet they violated every law in the book regarding protecting the evidence of a crime. The tanks rumbled all over what little remained of the structures, and even over the corpses of the Branch Davidians. "Combat engineering vehicles" pushed potentially vital evidence into the fires. Then they swiftly brought in bulldozers and completely graded every square inch of the property. The FBI "sanitized" the crime scene.
The Clinton Administration's strategy of retaining Sen. John Danforth as an "independent investigator" of the Waco incident was viewed by some as nothing more than a ruse. Indeed, Danforth's "investigative report" proved to be little more than a whitewash. However, the most blatant of all whitewashing is the way that Christian countercultists gave succor to the federales, vindicating them entirely, and placing 100% of the blame on David Koresh and his followers:
Even if government shills like Hank Hanegraaff were 100% correct in their theological assertions of David Koresh, that factor does nothing to lend justification to the government's militaristic assault against the Branch Davidians. However, in the minds of so many statist Christians, and statist Christian organizations like the Christian Research Institute, the label of "dangerous cult group" was sufficient justification for the government's assault on the Branch Davidians, and the resultant deaths of the Branch Davidians were, likewise, the fault of the Branch Davidians. When it comes to "dangerous cult groups" the government can do no wrong.
Let's just say, for the sake of argument, that all of Marc Breault and Rick Ross' allegations were true. Did the BATF have jurisdiction to intervene? Much of the BATF's Affidavit For Search Warrant were allegations of Koresh's sexual practices. As the name of the agency asserts, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has jurisdiction over alcohol, tobacco and firearms. The BATF has no jurisdiction to police alleged sex crimes, ever, under any circumstances, even if the alleged sex crimes are of the most grievous sort. Yet a federal judge rubber stamped the search warrant without ever questioning it. That sort of judicial abuse is commonplace, and federal judges typically give federal goon squads anything they want without ever questioning the agency's jurisdiction, or demanding credible evidence of the alleged crimes.
When it subsequently becomes apparent to the judge that the testimony in the affidavit was falsified, or that evidence was fabricated, or that exculpatory evidence was deliberately withheld, does the judge ever hold the affiant in contempt of court for perjury and throw them in jail? That's what judges do to anyone else. However, they never hold "one of our own" accountable. The system of checks and balances that made American government the envy of the world is in grave peril.
For the sake of argument, let's just assume that the BATF did have jurisdiction, and they had compelling evidence that the Branch Davidians possessed illegal firearms. Were the BATF's actions proper? Were the BATF's actions in any way justifiable? Amazingly enough, many Christians have said yes, their actions were justified. Apparently, it has become acceptable for the government to deal with "mad cult groups" by assaulting them with Army tanks and helicopter gunships, in direct violation of the Posse Comitatus Act.
Policing the Branch Davidians of Mount Carmel Center was a local, not a federal matter, and it most certainly was not a military matter. In point of fact, the policing of the Branch Davidians had already been dealt with, specifically by the McLennan County Sheriff Jack Harwell. The Sheriff knew David Koresh,and a number of the Branch Davidians personally. Sheriff Harwell had been to Mount Carmel Center on a number of occasions to investigate the myriad of rumors and allegations that inevitably swirl around an alleged "mad cult group."
As to the allegations that the Branch Davidians had "huge caches of illegal weapons," Sheriff Harwell personally inspected the Branch Davidians' arms and verified that they were all completely legal. Sheriff Harwell has also publicly stated that, "The Branch Davidians possessed fewer weapons than the average Texan." Indeed, Texas has a population of 17-million who own over 68-million registered guns. Comparatively speaking the Branch Davidians were lightly armed. Sheriff Jack Harwell never found anything worthy of charging David Koresh and the Branch Davidians for, nor did any of the other Texas government agencies that had also investigated.
Not only had David Koresh invited the Sheriff to Mount Carmel Center, Koresh even invited the BATF. Sheriff Harwell took Koresh up on his offer, more than once. However, the BATF wasn't interested in a bona fide investigation, so they refused Koresh's invitation to prove to them that the Branch Davidians didn't have any "illegal weapons." Koresh offered BATF a full inventory, as well as copies of all his gun purchase receipts. But a calm, cool and peaceful investigation wasn't on their agenda.
Treasury Undersecretary Ron Noble's allegation that the Branch Davidians were manufacturing hand grenades and machine guns was just one among many fabrications that government agents concocted in order to cover for their crimes. But to give BATF a very brief benefit of the doubt, let's just assume that the Davidians really were manufacturing machine guns. Would that have been a crime? No, it would not. Possessing machine guns, and their manufacture, is perfectly legal, provided you have a license to do so. Branch Davidian Paul Fatta was a licensed gun dealer and possessed an FFL (federal firearms license). Fatta was legally entitled to manufacture and possess machine guns, as well as to form business alliances with others for that purpose, including with David Koresh or anyone else.
Furthermore, Paul Fatta's FFL entitled BATF to search the Davidian facilities anytime they wanted to, without prior notice, and without a search warrant. Clearly, however, a peaceful, if not mundane, firearms investigation wouldn't provide the kind of adrenaline rush that BATF thrill-seekers would get from a militaristic armed raid, or as the government prefers to call them, a "dynamic entry."
At no time did Koresh hide from the authorities. He made a point of meeting with anyone who wanted to, anywhere they wanted to. Contrary to mischaracterizations of the press, the Branch Davidians never secluded themselves in a "compound." In point of fact, many of the men had day-jobs and worked in town. Koresh himself was in town frequently, and they knew it. The BATF could have easily apprehended David Koresh peacefully almost any day of the week, and if a peaceful solution is what they were after they would have apprehended Koresh away from Mount Carmel Center. Instead, they chose to apprehend Koresh at Mount Carmel Center, and they deliberately chose a day when they knew that every man, woman and child would be there Sunday thereby unnecessarily endangering many innocent people.
First to arrive were U.S. Army National Guard helicopters. They circled the back of the building, creating a diversion, while BATF vehicles converged out front. Their "diversion" included firing on the Branch Davidians. Upon arrival of the BATF "ground" agents, they immediately announced their hostile intentions by shooting the Davidians' dogs. The dogs posed no threat, yet they even shot the puppies. David Koresh promptly came out the front door, arms raised high in the air, shouting "Hold on a minute! There are women and children here! Let's talk!" David Koresh was unarmed and offered no resistance, Yet, they immediately opened fire on Koresh, wounding him in the hand and abdomen.
If there had been any doubt before as to the government's intentions, all doubt was now removed. The Branch Davidians knew without question that the BATF wasn't there to investigate illegal weapons, or apprehend anyone, or "save the children," but only to kill. It was then that the Branch Davidians did what any person has a right to do defend their own lives. That's what real men do they defend their women and children, and they defend their pastor. They returned fire on the BATF assassins.
Specifically what had these 120 "religious nuts" (most of them women and children) done to warrant being violently assaulted by the BATF? Did anyone ever allege that this "dangerous cult group" was a threat to their neighbors? No, in point of fact, though some of their neighbors thought them a bit odd, no one thought them dangerous.
Only after the initial disastrous BATF raid was the allegation raised that the Branch Davidians were a threat to themselves. When Janet Reno subsequently took charge of the situation, she justified sending in hundreds of FBI agents, and even the U.S. Army, in order to "save the children." Yet, the helicopter gunships and the hundreds of federal assassins who fired indiscriminately into the buildings, indeed, firing at anything that moved behind the windows, knowing full well that there were women and children in those buildings, easily disproves the theory that the government was there to "save children."
The BATF's disastrous raid cost the lives of six Branch Davidians and four BATF agents. Numerous BATF agents fired recklessly and indiscriminately as fellow agents assaulted the building, leading many researchers to conclude that there is high probability that at least some of the killed and wounded agents were victims of "friendly fire." However, even if the Branch Davidians had been responsible for the deaths of all four BATF agents, they later successfully argued in court that they were acting in self-defense. Indeed, the law fully supported their actions, per the Texas Penal Code:
The BATF was promptly relieved and the FBI assumed command. As we all know, the FBI is a kinder and gentler cadre of spies and assassins. Since the FBI was dealing with a bunch of "irrational crazies," they of course acted prudently. Day and night the FBI blasted the Branch Davidians with loud music, sounds of animals being slaughtered and dentist drills. The FBI frequently barraged the Davidians with Nancy Sinatra's, These Boots Are Made For Walking. In the subsequent Joint Congressional Hearings, Rep. John Dingell (Dem.) referred to BATF and FBI agents as "jackbooted American fascists."
The FBI's message to the Branch Davidians couldn't have been more obvious. Perhaps even far more ominous and foreboding of the FBI's intentions was the line in Nancy Sinatra's song:
The Branch Davidians got the message loud and clear. In phone conversations with FBI "Hostage Rescue Team" negotiators, David Koresh and Steve Schneider frequently asked if the FBI was planning on burning them alive. As prophecy pundits, the Branch Davidians believed strongly in the power of the spoken word. They followed closely current events in the world, always attempting to determine how any event might be a fulfillment of prophecy. The FBI well knew this. Is it really just mere coincidence that the Branch Davidians were burned up in a raging inferno after the FBI barraged them day after day after day with, "You keep thinking that you'll never get burned; well, I just got me a brand new box of matches?"
All the Christian countercultists have asked, "Why didn't David Koresh and the Branch Davidians just give themselves up and come out?" For men like Hank Hanegraaff to ask such a stupid question, and then fail so miserably to answer it, only demonstrates what a hoax their "research" really is. Anyone who has legitimately studied Branch Davidian doctrine can easily answer that question.
Even years before David Koresh became their fourth "prophet," the Branch Davidians taught and believed that the "world system" was "Babylon," and Babylon was the archenemy of the bride of Jesus Christ. Various of their prophetic interpretations showed that "Babylon" would violently attack them and murder them, but that they would return with Christ to judge Babylon. Right before their eyes those prophecies started being fulfilled. Though they feared for their lives they also believed that, whatever the outcome, it was God's will.
For some Branch Davidians their fear was greater than their faith. Many of the original 120 came out, surrendered, and threw themselves on the mercy of the Babylonians (this easily disproves the allegation that David Koresh "controlled his followers" the fact of the matter is they had freedom to come and go as they pleased). However, most of the Branch Davidians were resolved to remain in Mount Carmel Center with their "prophet" and, if it was God's will, to even be killed by the Babylonians. For them, surrendering to Babylon would have been a grave sin.
Those who remained did so not only out of their faith in their prophecies, and their devotion to their "prophet," but also out of their lack of faith in the tender mercies of their enemies. Indeed, there was little cause to assume that surrendering to Babylon would produce any better results than resisting Babylon. They had already experienced the mercies of the BATF. Did the FBI give the Branch Davidians any cause to believe that they were any less hostile than the BATF? If anything the FBI only showed itself the more creative in the hostility of their tactics.
The FBI cut the Davidians' water and electricity. Searchlights circled the buildings all night, as did the chop-chop-chop of Army helicopters. Was the FBI seeking to restore these "loonies" to sanity by depriving them of sleep, and by barraging them with threats these "these boots are gonna walk all over you"? Why would the FBI engage in blatant psychological warfare, using tactics proven to drive even sane people to the brink of insanity? Did the FBI demonstrate regard for the health of Davidian children by depriving them of heat as the night temperatures dipped to 20-degrees? Could such malicious conduct convince the Davidians that the FBI meant them no harm, and thereby encourage them to come out?
Several theologians who had studied Branch Davidian doctrine (e.g. James Tabor, Phillip Arnold, and others) offered to intervene as negotiators; but their offers were rebuffed. Tabor and Arnold repeatedly warned the FBI that they were playing the role of Babylon. These theologians asserted that FBI actions were only confirming, in the minds of the Davidians, that the FBI was fulfilling the apocalypse of the "fifth seal" of Revelation 6:9-11. The FBI claims that it sought to discredit and alienate Koresh from his followers, and thus encourage mass defections. However, the FBI's hostile "Babylonian" actions only confirmed to the Branch Davidians that David Koresh was a true prophet, thus intensifying their allegiance toward him. Everything Koresh had predicted would happen was being fulfilled, right before their eyes.
To support their kinder and gentler image, the FBI repeatedly told the press, "We've never fired a single shot on the Branch Davidians." Yet, the FBI's own FLIR video tapes implicates FBI agents as having fired hundreds of rounds into the building, even after the buildings were on fire, thus preventing the escape of all but a few Davidians. The FBI also prevented the fire trucks from putting out the fires and rescuing anyone.
Why do most people, Christians included, justify the federal government's actions at Waco, Texas, on the mere pretense that the Branch Davidians were an alleged "dangerous cult group?" Why do they show such callous disregard of even the innocent children that were shot up by federal agents and then incinerated? People often choose to believe what they will based upon their own comfort level. The thought of the federal government targeting a religious community for extermination by an overwhelming military force, which included helicopter gunships, M1A1 and M-60 tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, and even the Army's elite Delta Force, is too uncomfortable, and certainly too scary. The easy way out is to deny that the Branch Davidians were a religious community, but rather vilify them as "a dangerous cult group."
Dehumanizing the Branch Davidians as a "dangerous cult group" brings comfort to those Christians who believe that they aren't members of "dangerous cult groups." But what is the definition of a "dangerous cult group" and who gets to define a "dangerous cult group?" It is the same government who defined the Branch Davidians as a dangerous cult group, and government toadies like Hank Hanegraaff and the Christian Research Institute.
Many who have investigated the teachings of David Koresh and the practices of the Branch Davidians (as have I) have come to the conclusion that if the Branch Davidians were a "dangerous cult group," then there are many "dangerous cult groups" in America, likely in the hundreds, with millions of members.
Of course, none of those branded as "dangerous cult groups" would ever admit to being such. They would all claim to be churches and religious organzations with certain "distinctives." The Branch Davidians certainly considered themselves to be a church, and a Bible-believing church at that, and David Koresh was their Pastor.
If we leave it to people like Janet Reno and Bill Clinton, or George Bush and John Ashcroft, or any government official to define "dangerous cult group," or to government apple-polishers like Hank Hanegraaff, then there are already millions of Americans who meet the criteria, and Bible-believing Americans, at that. For all you know, you may already be on the government's "dangerous cult group" list. However, courtesy of John Ashcroft, now you would just be known as a "terrorist leader," or a "member of a terrorist organization."
Is it the U.S. federal government's official position that "dangerous cult groups" should be "terminated with extreme prejudice"? Perhaps so. By the government's "rules of engagement," and by the government's subsequent whitewashing of its own crimes through sham "investigations," the answer is self-evident. By the church's lack of outcry against the lawless assault on the Branch Davidians, it's not at all unlikely that there will be more Waco's.
How can we determine official government policy when that government keeps so many secrets (i.e. lying, deceiving, cover-up, etc.) from the very people it's supposed to be accountable to? Hitler's "final solution for the Jews" was never a written policy. Tyrants aren't stupid enough to put their despotic plans plainly into writing. Just like the U.S. government, the Nazis kept many secrets from their people. However, we can look to the Nazi government's actions toward the Jews and other "disfavored persons" and draw some obvious conclusions about Nazi government policy.
By the same token, the U.S. government's actions against the Branch Davidians, and its exoneration of its criminal agents, is an obvious indication of the U.S. federal government "final solution" for any deemed worthy of the label "dangerous cult group." However, in the U.S. it's not known as "the final solution," it's known as "anti-terrorism policy."
The U.S. federal government, and virtually all of it's agencies, have a long history of corruption and despotism, a breathtaking measure of arrogance, and an astonishing capacity for incompetence, coverups and deceptions. There is simply no logical basis upon which the U.S. federal government should be trusted or believed. It's especially incongruous how anyone could trust a "spy" agency (i.e. FBI). Nevertheless, most Christians are all-too eager to trust and believe their federal government.
Most American Christians are naive and gullible, and they seem to enjoy being naive and gullible "ignorance is bliss." Most American Christians are also statists. American Christians are statists because their teachers and preachers are themselves statists, and overtly teach statism from their government-licensed 501c3 pulpits and their government-licensed 501c3 radio and television programs. These statist Christian teachers and preachers are obedient partisans of the State, rendered mute by their much-coveted 501c3 tax exempt status, a legal status they never needed. They have taken the government hushmoney.
What a hue and outcry rose up from the church over Bill Clinton's marital infidelities with Monica Lewinsky! Yet the church's lack of response to the militaristic assault on the Branch Davidians, indeed even multiple public endorsements of the Reno Justice department by prominent Christian leaders, sent an unambiguous message to the government: "Be faithful to your wife, but if you ever wish to assault Americans with helicopter gunships and tanks and hundreds of federal agents and Army soldiers, just be sure that you only target members of dangerous cult groups. Such intolerance is well justified."
The church's testimony to the world regarding the Waco Branch Davidians is shameful. It's a travesty that God's prophetic voice to the world the church can stand mute in the face of such monstrous tyrannies, leaving non-Christians to take over the church's role of being "salt and light."
Indeed, most of the genuine investigatory work on the Waco massacre has been performed by non-Christian civil libertarians. Moreover, relatively few Christians have ever bothered to seriously review the massive amount of accumulated evidence, nor do they have any interest in doing so. This is proof positive that 21st century American Christians are no different from 1930's and 40's German Christians they are both statists. Statism under the guise of "democracy" is no less perilous than statism under "national socialism."
God is the author of justice. Those who do not cherish justice, and who do not demand justice, will lose justice, and the justice they lose will be their own. To quote the Nazi resistor and founder of The Confessing Church, Pastor Martin Niemöller:
To bring Martin Niemöller's illustrious quote current, we might insert, "Then they came for the dangerous cult groups, but I didn't belong to a dangerous cult group, so I said nothing. Then they came for the terrorists, but I was not a terrorist, so I said nothing."
Should the church not soon repent of it's "render unto Caesar" obeisance to the messianic state, we are almost certain to see the rise of a Fourth Reich, a police state that might even include concentration camps not a German Fourth Reich, but an American Fourth Reich. In the words of George Santanaya, "Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it."
1. The integrity and objectivity of Hank Hanegraaff has often been challenged through allegtions of plagiarism, fiduciary malfeasance, mail fraud, and highly questionable secret negotiations with the Worldwide Church Of God resulting in CRI's stamp of approval. Hank Hanegraaff has been accused by former CRI staff members of being a greedy opportunist who assumed the Presidency of CRI by deception. Rather than responding to the allegations, and making himself accountable to donors, or to anyone else, Hank Hanegraaff has a nasty habit of suing his detractors. In 1994 Hanegraaff even threatened to sue thirty CRI staff members who sought to hold Hanegraaff accountable.
The Ashes of Waco, Dick J. Reavis
A Place Called Waco; A Survivor's Story, David Thibodeau
Why Waco?, Eugene V. Gallagher, James D. Tabor
Armageddon in Waco: Critical Perspectives on the Branch Davidian Conflict, Stuart A. Wright (editor)
This Is Not An Assault, David T. Hardy and Rex Kimball
The Davidian Massacre, Carol Moore
The Unwarranted Warrant: The Waco Search Warrant and the Decline of the Fourth Amendment, by David B. Kopel & Paul H. Blackman
No Confidence: An Unofficial Account of the Waco Incidence, by: Timothy Lynch of the Cato Institute
The Posse Comitatus Act: A Principle In Need Of Renewal, Washington University Law Quarterly
Peter Kershaw is the founder of Heal Our Land Ministries, a First Amendment religious liberties legal research ministry, and the author of In Caesar's Grip. Further information is available at:
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