Toxic mix: Antifaith and antigovernment violence

Hate and extremism
In 1981, white supremacist James W. von Brunn tried to kidnap members of the Federal Reserve in Washington, D.C., in a bid to overthrow a financial system he believed was controlled by Jews.

Experts say violent anti-Semitic outbursts, like the incident June 10 in which von Brunn shot and killed a security guard inside the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, are often fueled by extreme antigovernment views.

Such antigovernment extremism can also be found on the violent fringes of the antiabortion movement. Thirteen years before he allegedly gunned down abortionist George Tiller in the lobby of a Wichita, Kansas, church on May 31, Scott Roeder was affiliated with the Freemen, a right-wing antigovernment group.

Both cases, experts say, highlight a toxic mix of religious bigotry, apocalyptic militarism, social paranoia and antigovernment radicalism that can lead to violence.

 

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