Here are the charges:
- Plotting to kill a Michigan law enforcement officer and then attack other police at the funeral.
- Seditious conspiracy.
- Attempted use of weapons of mass destruction.
- Teaching the use of explosive materials.
- Possessing a firearm during a crime of violence.
The group isn't preaching much new. The usual fundamentalist Christian, end-of-days, anti-government stuff. Also not new, they aren't being labeled as terrorists in the media. I'm not going to rail on the glib, "it's because they're Christian" angle. I don't think it's that simple. I don't think it could be that simple. Which isn't to say that their religion - or more specifically, their lack of the "right" religion - isn't part of it.
We can't tie these guys to Al Qaeda, or the Taliban, or Hamas, or Hezbollah, or any of the other Islamic villains du jour. We can't use them to justify our war "over there" so that we do not need to fight them "over here." They get to be a militia rather than terrorists not because Christians are too good to be terrorists, but because a non-Muslim terrorist organization undermines the war.
This isn't to cry racism, or if you don't consider a religion to be a race then whatever word you might use to express the hatred of a religion. It does pull back the curtain from the "Global War on Terror" a little, though. We are in Iraq and Afghanistan to fight the terrorists, so it goes to reason that if someone has no ties to the people we're fighting, they must not be a terrorist, right? Even though we're technically fighting against an insurgency. At least, so it goes in the wonderful world of wartime propaganda.
How do we reconcile this stubborn ignorance of the homegrown threat with this expensive, endless war against the foreign one? Is the "War on Terror" just our blanket excuse while we maintain a holding pattern and try to figure out what to do next? Is the war itself more important than its goal?
Or am I overthinking this? Is my faith misplaced? Is it really the case that the only difference between a fundamentalist militia and a terrorist organization is that the militia accepts Jesus Christ as their lord and personal savior?