Indivisible: the American Redoubt

“Most of my readers live in what we call The Inland Northwest, an area of somewhat fuzzy boundaries generally consisting of eastern Washington, eastern Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. Many of you may not know that same area is also the American Redoubt, a chilling concept that contains an active invitation to certain people to congregate here. If you consider the American Redoubt as just one more fringe movement, you need to pay closer attention. In the decade since the early Obama administration and the rise of the Tea Party, the American Redoubt has grown from an idea to an insular media system that has allied elected Representatives in at least two state capitols.

The American Redoubt was first proposed in 2011 by survivalist author and sovereign citizen James Wesley, Rawles (the comma is part of his legal name) who self describes as a Constitutionalist Christian libertarian. For a primer on the background of the movement I recommend A Gathering of Eagles: Extremists Look to Montana.

The word redoubt refers to “a place of refuge or retreat,” a refuge with military, defensive quality. The American Redoubt invokes the (paranoid? fearful?) concept of a “National Redoubt” defined in wikipedia as “an area to which the (remnant) forces of a nation can be withdrawn if the main battle has been lost or even earlier if defeat is considered inevitable.

As such, the American Redoubt speaks of withdrawal of “us”, the like-minded, upright, God-fearing Christians (and some Jews) into the defensive redoubt of the Inland Northwest. In Rawles own words: “People who recognize that they are of the [Christian] remnant, that they are God’s elect, will in increasing numbers choose to vote with their feet.

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The American Redoubt provides its own media bubble, from which all competing ideas are easily brushed aside. I encourage you to visit Redoubt News. Browse the headlines. Consider the person with a mindset that possesses no reference to an opposing view. Then visit Radio Free Redoubt or consider buying a defensible property through Revolutionary Realty in Coeur d’Alene that welcomes you to “the Heart of the Great American Redoubt, North Idaho!” Here are the sort of people Revolutionary Realty says you’d be joining:

“All with the same thoughts about our situation as a whole, all seeking security from what they, and I see as an oncoming storm. The people I work with aren’t tinfoil hat wearers, they are generally all the same group, common sensical, down to earth, both conservative and libertarian in their leanings, very much “to each his own”.

As a Group, North Idahoans are BIG Second Amendment Supporters, they believe in their guns, and it’s awful strange, because they come pretty close to NEVER shooting each other….”

Among the bits of chilling material on the Redoubt News website is a link to Amrron (The American Redoubt Radio Operators Network), established in 2011 along with Redoubt itself. Visit. They self describe as “the largest conservative mostly-Christian radio network outside of a faith-based organizational structure (such as Salvation Army and LDS).” Is what you see at Amrron preparation for the defense of America or for establishment of a Christian Fundamentalist state?

The idea behind the American Redoubt is just nebulous enough that it can be dismissed as a slightly over-the-top version of the Boy Scouts’ motto “Be Prepared,” but to think of it that way without a more detailed look is a mistake.

The American Redoubt is a dismissal of American unity, a calling together of Christian Fundamentalists of a certain stripe into a region in which they believe they are on the verge of electoral domination.

The American Redoubt with its internet news, radio, and “Christian” preachers can call out a hundred heavily armed “Patriots” on short notice to defend against a rumored threat of “antifa terrorists” converging on Sandpoint, Idaho, in buses and SUVs. These folks do not necessarily share every tenet of faith that underlies the Redoubt, but they stand ready to shoot with only a little excess agitation. This is exactly the way people come to shooting each other–hived off in a media bubble, not listening to the voices and ideas of others.

For my readers living in Eastern Washington take note of the similarities between the concept of the American Redoubt and Rep. Matt Shea’s, and candidates Rob Chase’s and Bob McCaslin’s “State of Liberty,” the proposal to split Washington State in two along the Cascade mountains. In their imagined state Christian Fundamentalists would hold sway as the majority–and those not of that stripe could be ignored.

That the State of Liberty and the American Redoubt are kindred ideas should be no surprise. There is fluid interweaving of the Fundamentalist Christian ideologues that support both concepts. To name a few: Matt Shea (WA LD4 Rep), Heather Scott (ID District 1A Rep), ally and provocateur Ammon Bundy (of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Occupation fame), Joey Gibson (founder of Patriot Prayer, frequent flier in Spokane and north Idaho and recently in the news in Portland OR); Pastors Ken Peters and Matt Shea (again), with Gabe Blomgren, Caleb Collier and others of the Covenant Church and TCAPP (The Church at Planned Parenthood); and the Byrds of the Marble Community Fellowship in northern Stevens County. All stoke fear of “liberals”, wave guns, flaunt supposedly Christian credentials, and advocate for Christian separatist movements.

Read about the American Redoubt. Pay attention to the associated names so you recognize them in the media. Those names appear again and again. With the help of inexpensive electronic media, they have assembled and continue to spread a poisonous separatist ideology. Never underestimate the power of a few determined individuals possessed of pernicious ideas to lead others, often initially well-meaning people, down paths they would not otherwise tread.

Keep to the high ground,

P.S. I am chillingly reminded of this quote from Margaret Meade, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Clearly, Ms. Meade had a different sort to group in mind, not Christian Separatists, White Supremacists, or Nazis but her quote applies just as well.