Army of God adherent and Georgia gubernatorial candidate Neil Horsley is under arrest for a series of bizarre diatribes against pop star Elton John.
Gay rights activists are also demanding an investigation into perceived death threats directed at a gay New York travel agent on a website bearing an eerie similarity to Horsley's infamous "Nuremberg Files." Kenyan abortion providers are named on the site under "not-wanted" banners sporting animated illustrations of dripping blood.
Horsley's most recent legal problems though stem from a rant-filled protest staged outside the singer's Atlanta high-rise condominium where he hoisted a sign proclaiming "Elton John must die. Hebrews 9:27."
The openly gay pop star apparently angered Horsley after telling Parade magazine in a Feb. 17 interview:
I think Jesus was a compassionate, super-intelligent gay man who understood human problems. On the cross, he forgave the people who crucified him. Jesus wanted us to be loving and forgiving. I don't know what makes people so cruel. Try being a gay woman in the Middle East -- you're as good as dead.
Later, in the video posted Feb. 28 on YouTube, Horsley was joined streetside by Jonathan O'Toole, a long-time associate in the Army of God, an organized confederation of militant anti-abortion activists around the nation. Horsley and his Georgia-based cell are fairly unique within the terrorist group for incorporating anti-gay threats into their grisly anti-choice activities.
Horsley was arrested March 10 by the Atlanta Police Department's fugitive squad and the U.S. Marshal Service. The putative candidate of the Creator's Rights Party has been charged with "terroristic threats, criminal defamation and using the Internet to disseminate threats," according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Bond was set at $40,000 on all three charges.
Should Horsley make bond Magistrate Judge James Altman ordered the notorious anti-abortion activist to reside with his son, Nathanael, who is serving as his father's lawyer, and to maintain a household telephone land-line.
It's unknown if Horsley currently remains in the Fulton County slammer but he's long been a fixture in the federal court circuit. In 1999, Horsley unsuccessfully sued Gloria Feldt and Kim Gandy, then-presidents of Planned Parenthood and the National Organization for Women, respectively, for libel, assault and slander. He demanded a whopping $107 million judgment. A similar suit against TV talk show host Gerald Rivera was also dismissed.
Along with other Army of God members, Horsley was the subject of a 2003 court injunction granted to a Buffalo women's clinic after a protester invasion blockaded its entrance. In 2002, Horsley was ordered by a federal appeals court to take down the "Nuremberg Files" website, a thinly-veiled hit list of 12 abortion providers containing personal information, maps and photographs of family members. To encourage further violence, Horsley marked the images of those who had been killed or maimed by fellow extremists in a macabre death tally. Active links to the "Nuremberg Files" remain on Horsley's other website, Christian Gallery, which is replete with gory photographs, graphic illustrations of sex acts, fiery Biblical justifications for murder and his secessionist platform for the State of Georgia.
Project SEE, the group's newest Internet threat, borrows heavily from that not-so-disbanded site. One page contains photos of and calls for information about 26 women's health care providers in the African nation of Kenya accusing them of participating in an international abortion conspiracy. Kenyan laws restrict abortion care only to prevent maternal death. Like the previous U.S. website, the "not wanted" posters are simply designed to inflame political tensions between health care providers and fundamentalist vigilante groups.
Also featured on the site is a threat directed specifically at Kenneth Hieber, the owner of Gay2Afrika, Inc., a New York-based firm that organizes excursions for gay and lesbian travelers. An English language "not wanted" poster bears Hieber's image and a homosexual slur. The Swahili version contains a crude depiction of anal sex. The website lists his address, phone number and email. It also claims the firm is promoting gay sexual tourism, a claim Hieber vigorously denies.
Same-sex relationships are illegal in Kenya and subject to long prison terms. Recent news reports document a steep increase in anti-gay violence near the capital city of Mombasa. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center , Hieber contacted the New York City Police Dept. but "they did not believe the Web site constituted a direct threat."
The hate crimes watchdog group also notes:
Meanwhile, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Campaign, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and other human rights and faith-based groups are discussing how to challenge the Web site without further endangering the leaders in Africa who are being targeted by it.
Hieber lodged an abuse complaint with GoDaddy.com, the Internet host for Project SEE. However, the firm refuses to remove the site because it claims while the content could be perceived as obscene it is not illegal. The individuals involved in Horsley's latest terrorist effort should give the GoDaddy legal department plenty of room to pause over the group's violent history.
The local Kenyan supporters are affiliated with The Ark of Kenya, a militant fundamentalist Christian group led by Pastor Peter Bushnell.
O'Toole who also appeared in the Elton John protest video, is reportedly married to Esther Njenga, a Kenyan woman he met while scouting the western African nation for the new Army of God outpost. The site notes that O'Toole is the site editor.
Rev. Michael Bray is also listed as contact for the group and posted an endorsement of Horsley's new Christian mission. Bray, a founding member of the Army of God, was convicted in 1984 and was sentenced to six years in federal prison for a series of bombings at abortion clinics in the mid-Atlantic states and the Washington, DC, offices of the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Abortion Federation.
All of the men have signed a letter condoning the vigilante-style execution of abortion providers as Biblically justified. The Army of God is linked to dozens of murders, assaults, bombings, arsons and clinic blockades throughout the U.S. over the last two decades.