The Phinehas Priesthood
Violent Vanguard of the Christian Identity Movement
by Danny W. Davis
October 2010, 238pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-36536-2
$61, £47, 54€, A84
eBook Available: 978-0-313-36537-9
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

James Kopp, killer of a New York abortion doctor, defended his action based on the same principles Western nations use to support the concept of just war—the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas. What happens when fervent religious conviction drives individuals to stand up against government and law, sure beyond any doubt that they are doing right?

This book is centered on the words of leaderless resistors, men labeled as Phinehas Priests or Army of God Warriors who use force to oppose what they consider unrighteous government or ungodly laws.

Positioned on America’s extreme right, they are guerrilla fighters; clandestine operators who work in small cells or individually against the government and specific laws, such as those that permit abortion. Their beliefs and actions are the subject of The Phinehas Priesthood: Violent Vanguard of the Christian Identity Movement. As the book reveals, individuals who follow the Phinehas model determine that there is a higher cause, a greater good that negates all or some portion of civil law. Based on that determination, they resist perceived evil, acknowledging only the leadership of their God.

The first part of this absorbing study examines organizational, resistance, and religious concepts and theories that drive these insurgents. The second part describes the beliefs, motivations, and actions of selected resistors, often using their own words to provide insights into the Christian Identity worldview and the extreme antiabortion movement. Individuals such as Walter E. Thody, Clayton Waagner, and James Kopp are quoted at length, offering firsthand perspective on the facts and events discussed.


  • Quoted material from letters between the author and men who have practiced Leaderless Resistance or Lone Wolf Strategy to oppose the government and/or abortion
  • Maps and figures, including a conceptual diagram of the Phinehas Priesthood
  • The doctrinal statements of Christian Identity churches
  • A matrix of biographical information on individuals convicted of crimes connected with the Phinehas Priesthood
Danny W. Davis is adjunct professor with the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, and was recently appointed as director of the Certificate Program in Homeland Security. Davis writes and teaches on issues of terrorism, homeland security, and the American Civil War.

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