Guilt By Association: The Injunction Hearing

Well kids, this week’s installment is at the end of the week instead of the beginning because my body decided that having a food allergy attack so I had to be doped up on Benadryl was a good way to keep me away from this barely readable novel. As I keep mentioning by calling our hero lawyer variations on, “Author Avatar Peter,” the character is a pretty obvious self-insert author avatar, down to the character matching an idealized depiction of his physical characteristics, and while Farris has mixed some things up so it’s not a one-to-one match, he’s not a good enough writer that it’s not obvious that he sees the character as an especially heroic version of himself. It’s time to soldier on, because as unreadable as this book is, it’s a glimpse into the mind of Michael Farris and this stuff needs to be documented so it’s out there.

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Guilt By Association: The series returns

It’s time to dust the series off because in the intervening two years the changes in the political climate and Michael Farris’s recent hire as president of Alliance Defending Freedom makes this especially relevant. When I started writing this series in 2015, it was an experiment in the serial book review format, and the book was only relevant to a small niche of people researching the religious right and the Christian homeschool movement. Today, Michael Farris is no longer the fringe religious right figure who I used to describe as the most influential man in the religious right that no one ever heard of […]

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Inside the Army of God Manual

Introduction Several years ago I happened across an archived copy of most of the anti-abortion domestic terrorism handbook the Army of God Manual.  I thought it might be useful for background research somewhere down the line, so I saved PDFs of the archive and they’ve been sitting in a Google Drive folder ever since. With the news in the New York Times that Planned Parenthood attack terrorist Robert Dear was influenced by the domestic terror group Army of God, I’ve decided it’s time to publish some excerpts from the Army of God Manual. All of the parts of the manual that I have were at one point readily available on the Army of God website. I’m not going to link you to the website because I have a policy against linking to terror groups. Today and tomorrow I’m going to publish excerpts that are still available on the Army of God website as of the time I’m writing this. These are materials that were readily available for Dear to access. After that, I’m going to publish excerpts from my archives. It’s still possible to find those archived documents without too much trouble, however because they do include detailed how-to instructions for making bombs and incendiary devices I’m not going to provide links or publish those portions of the manual that could provide others with the information necessary to carry out a terror attack. The reason for this series is because I believe it’s important for the general public to understand that this isn’t lone wolf terrorism. Just like Al Qaeda and ISIS publish online “terrorism starter kits” that enable others to take up the cause without contact with the main group, the Army of God website provides plenty to inspire would-be terrorists. The excerpts that I’m posting today show that[…]

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What happens after Colorado Springs?

You may think Planned Parenthood is wrong, you may think they’re immoral. Dehumanizing their employees, which is something I’ve been seeing a lot of on social media over the last few months, helps fuel violence like the kind that happened today. I haven’t said a lot on social media about the Planned Parenthood videos and the associated reactions other than to point out that one of the board members of the group that released the heavily edited videos is a bona fide terror group leader closely associated with the man who murdered George Tiller. My general silence on the matter aside, I’ve been worried for the last few months because the tenor of the rhetoric, both from the chattering class and Republican politicians, reminded me eerily of the talk I heard in the months leading up to David Gunn’s murder in Pensacola. There are times I hate being right and this is one of them. We saw today what happened because people who should have known better were more interested in playing with fire and amping up the rhetoric in hopes of defunding Planned Parenthood than they were about the consequences. The last go round in the ‘90s, what happened next was a mix of halfhearted denunciations, insistence that “most” pro-lifers were peaceful, and a whole lot of debate that played out in living rooms, churches, and the pages of Life Advocate Magazine arguing back and forth about the theological and ethical merits of a philosophy of justifiable homicide. It was a debate that shouldn’t have happened at all and went on for far too long before Flip Benham pulled a power play and marginalized the justifiable homicide proponents. Meanwhile, the debate and the dillydallying successfully legitimized the justifiable homicide camp as holding a valid position worthy of debate. The[…]

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Guilt By Association: Plot Twist!

Chapter Six take two | Main | Recap Alright, my pretties. I had to take a bit of a break because this book was driving me batty, but now I’m back and ready to go so let’s jump right in to chapter seven. Rhonda is pacing the clinic hallways nervously while waiting for the results of a pregnancy test. PLOT TWIST! She’s pregnant! Now, maybe it’s just me, but I’d think that a doctor would be a wee bit more careful in the not-having-unprotected-sex-with-your-serial-cheater-ex-boyfriend department. You know, the whole STD thing and all. Since Farris hasn’t given us anything about her lamenting her failed birth control pills or a broken condom (something I half expected, all the better to carry on the contraceptives-don’t-work meme), evidently we’re supposed to assume that she just wasn’t using anything. I’m not much of a fan of storylines that require us to assume that our characters are unnaturally flaky or uninformed. This is what happens when you set out to write a novel because you have a specific message in mind rather than allowing your characters to drive the story. Oh, and it’s specifically noted for us that she received a “How to Have Peace With God” pamphlet in the mail with the note, “We love you, Dr. Marsano. We pray for you every day. And for the babies.” As I’m sure this will pop up again later, from here on out I shall refer to it as Checkov’s Pamphlet. Switching gears, Author Avatar Lawyer Peter arrived in Seattle and is now being ferried to Bellingham by Colonel Control Freak. We get a bit about how the Creepy Colonel has learned from this whole pro-life activism thing that children are a blessing, and wishes he’d had more children if only military life hadn’t been so stressful.[…]

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Guilt By Association: Here comes the lawsuit

Interlude | Main | Chapter Six take two Hello my pretties, are you ready to find out what happens next with our Merry Band of Protesters? I can’t wait! Remember last time we were left with Vince, who really needs to grow a mustache so he can start twirling it, and Rhonda meeting with the clinic owners and their lawyers in LA to plot out a lawsuit against our poor innocent protesters who have never done anything wrong (except of course for the time that random college student protester tried to punch a guy, but we’ll ignore that because he was egged on by Stephen Vince). I still don’t think a name partner at a major law firm would go along with knowingly submitting a doctored tape in to evidence, but whatevs. Creepy Colonel Control Freak is mad, very mad. He’s being sued in federal court, even after all of his control freak efforts to make sure the protesters behaved. While he’s busy storming about the room, poor little Suzie is sitting quivering in fear over the lawsuit. “She was being sued in federal court–one million dollars plus attorney fees. Suzie O’Dell, college sophomore and mobster.” The mobster thing must mean this is a RICO action, so I’m super stoked because I know all about the controlling legal precedent. I researched NOW v. Scheidler back when I was writing a paper on everyone’s favorite masked internet vigilantes, Anonymous. We shall see whether Michael Farris knows what he’s talking about with RICO and it will be splendid. Creepy Colonel Control Freak is still ranting and raving. “I will have this lawyer’s license. He has to know all this is a wicked sham. These people have no shame, no, shame!” The colonel’s voice echoed down the hallway. “How can these people say these things?”[…]

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Guilt by Association: Now illustrated with Freddie Prinze Jr. GIFs

Chapter 5 take one | Main | Interlude — Well kiddies, because I know you’re all dying to find out what happens next, I’ve decided to venture back in to be belly of the beast and power the rest of my way through chapter 5. I think I’m going to mix things up a bit since these long chapters of mind-numbing exposition aren’t lending themselves well to reaction comments as I read. Instead, I’ll write some overall impressions after I finish the chapter. Turns out I gave up on the chapter just before it got interesting. For one, now we know why Farris had Rhonda notice that Single Person Lisa wasn’t as attractive as Ginny (who I can’t really call “Handsy Ginny” anymore since she’s basically become a persona non grata in the story). It’s so that it’s plausible that Single Person Lisa is rapidly falling head over heels for Stephen, I mean Vince, who is way more handsome than any guy who has ever paid her attention. Did Michael Farris spend the better part of the ‘90s watching teen romcoms or something, because I swear that this hot-guy-chasing-movie-ugly-chick-for-nefarious-purposes trope is straight out of the sort of movie Freddie Prinze Jr. would have starred in. You know what, I’m just going to illustrate the rest of this post with GIFs from Freddie Prinze Jr. movies, because I can. By the way, wasn’t Bugle Boy an awfully dated fashion reference by the late ‘90s? Because Farris specifically notes that Stephen, I mean, Vince is wearing a sport coat and white Bugle Boy shirt. Just another anachronism, like him apparently being unaware that cappuccinos were a thing outside of Seattle by the time his book was written. Anyway, Vince as Stephen is trying to infiltrate the college students so he can radicalize them[…]

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Guilt By Association: Our Merry Band of Protesters demonstrates that they’re The World’s Most Naive Activists

Chapter Three | Main | Chapter Five — Welp, I made the mistake of trying to knock out a few days worth of posts in one day, and after taking a break to watch Agents of Shield (if you’re not watching it yet, seriously do, it’s getting really good), I decided to power on to chapter four. I now remember why livetweeting Anonymous Tip over the course of a few days was such a chore. Michael Farris’ writing style can best be described as, “trying to write a novel like it’s a legal brief.” The whole thing is stilted and not at all like people actually talk in real life. I’m pretty sure my middle school attempt at Hardy Boys fan fiction was more true to life, and that story included the Hardy Boys thinking someone was trying to sell them weed when they were really being offered “pizza hash,” a delicious pizza with a bunch of random toppings (I’m only just now realizing that sounds like excellent stoner food). Enough about my Hardy Boys fanfic though, on to the story. The first part of the chapter is rather dull, blah blah, detailed description of the outside of Creepy Colonel’s house, blah blah, Suzie likes to show up early for their pro-life meetings because she likes being in a real home instead of her heathen coed dorm, blah blah, Suzie is super polite, blah blah, I’m putting myself to sleep just typing it out. Also, college is the farthest away from home Suzie has ever been, even though it’s only 360 miles. Oh, and Shirley Alper rode there with Pastor Randy Wallace because she doesn’t like driving at night, apparently because she’s sixty-five going on ninety. I continue to hold fast to my assertion that Colonel Danners is creepy, he just[…]

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Wichita anti-abortion activists need to stop calling themselves “pro-life”

If you call yourself “pro-life” you need to actually be just that–pro life. As in, you don’t support killing people. As in, you believe in a culture of life, not one of death. That you care about the lives of more than just those who are yet to be born.  You know what it doesn’t mean? Asking the city to zone an abortion clinic out of existence on the grounds that people keep shooting abortionists there.Yes, you read that right. Anti-abortion activists in Wichita are asking the city to keep an abortion clinic from opening because they can’t manage to stop shooting at people.  If you use the violence that your own associates have committed as the excuse for why a clinic shouldn’t be allowed to open, I’m not going to call you pro-life. You aren’t. You can’t call yourself pro-life and then use the specter of violence like this. It’s not pro-life. If it’s pro anything, it’s pro-birth, but as much as I know that the movement hates it when people use the term “anti-abortion”, that’s all you are.  As I’ve written about before, this is the kind of thing that caused me to become disillusioned with the pro-life movement. If you think I’m being overly harsh, snarky, or sarcastic in this post, you try being trotted out in front of cameras at 12 years old to play the role of the “innocent kid who will be made a criminal if you pass abortion clinic buffer zone laws” and to insist that the movement is non-violent, not knowing that the people who had sent you out in front of the cameras had already gotten word that the movement had turned deadly that day and see how you react. And try being a 13 year old picketer and having clinic defenders screaming[…]

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