Explaining Scott Roeder’s journey from anti-government extremist to anti-abortion fanatic.
The revelation that Scott Roeder, the alleged murderer of Dr. George Tiller, belonged to an anti-government, white separatist group called the Montana Freemen might seem like an unlikely twist. After all, such groups are generally thought of as either indifferent to the issue of abortion or actively enthusiastic about its potential for reducing the nonwhite population. As it turns out, however, the journey from radical racialist to anti-abortionist isn't as unusual as you might think.
The Freeman's Goals
The Freemen aimed to rid the nation of "14th Amendment citizens" -- anyone who wasn't a white Anglo Saxon directly descended from God. Nonwhites, or "mud people," weren't really people at all, but God's failed attempts to create Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. A bad Xerox copy, they used to say. These beliefs derived from a school of thought known as Christian Identity, which holds that Jews, blacks, and other minorities aren't actually people and therefore don't deserve constitutional rights. Instead, those rights are reserved for so-called "white Sovereigns," who aim to take over government and run it through grand juries of the people, with laws enforced by old-time posses.
One might think that the divisions between pro-life Christians and far-right racists would preclude any sort of working alliance. Evangelical Christians thought that the creation of Israel was a sign of the Second Coming of Christ and became keen supporters of that country. The racialists, meanwhile, hated Israel and detested Jerry Falwell for supporting it. The Klan historically loathed Catholics, and modern far-right leaders like Tom Metzger in California thought abortion was a great way to stem the tide of brown and black babies who were burdening the welfare system and who as adults would threaten white political power.[...]
By the 1990s, the far right had started to attack abortion clinics.
The Bridge Between the Two
What was the bridge between the posse movement and anti-abortionist fanaticism? The Sovereign crowd viewed women as chattel, and the prospect of an independent woman deciding to seek an abortion didn't sit well with them. I gained some insight into this line of thinking in another piece I once wrote about a young woman in Oklahoma who aspired to join the Christian Identity group, hoping that its followers would teach her to shoot and become a guerrilla. Instead, the men asked her for sex. When the woman replied that she wanted a relationship first, one of them replied, "Women are for breeding." According to one faction of the group, women who have abortions are race traitors and should be stoned to death. With that in mind, the fact that some members of the far-right became violent anti-abortionists perhaps shouldn't come as such a surprise.