Encyclopedia of Modern Worldwide Extremists and Extremist Groups

By Stephen E. Atkins | Go to book overview

L

Lambs of Christ

The Lambs of Christ is a radical anti-abortion group which specializes in conducting illegal and intimidating protests outside clinics and doctors' homes. Father Norman U. Weslin, the founder and the leader of this group, is a former paratrooper and Green Beret lieutenant colonel, who became a Catholic priest, Oblates of Wisdom order, after returning from military service. Weslin formed the Lambs of Christ in 1988 shortly after being jailed with other anti-abortion activists in Atlanta, Georgia. His jail term was for participating in violent demonstrations while a member of Operation Rescue. He organized the Lambs of Christ along paramilitary lines, and the members display discipline in their demonstrations. Weslin has been arrested about seventy times for his anti-abortion activities. While

Weslin claims that his organization has 4,000 supporters, including 600 activists, the government maintains that these figures are on the high side. On any occasion, however, he is able to mobilize thirty or forty highly motivated demonstrators. Most, but not all, members of the Lambs of Christ are Catholics. Some tension has been noted between the members of the Lambs of Christ and members of the fundamentalist Protestant organizations. Weslin denies that his organization has had anything to do with bombing clinics and murdering abortion providers, but members of his group have been implicated in violent activity. They have also been active in physical and psychological harassment of pro-abortionists. James C. Kopp, a fringe member of the Lambs of Christ, was charged in the sniper killing of Dr. Barnett A. Slepian, an abortion doctor. Despite legislation passed to prevent demonstrators from denying access to abortion clinics, Weslin still leads the Lambs of Christ in demonstrations. In May 2001, he had to stand before a judge in a non-jury trial on four criminal contempt charges for demonstrations held in the fall of 2000. See also Anti-Abortion Movement; Kopp, James C.; Weslin, Norman U.

Suggested readings: Dallas A. Blanchard, The Anti-Abortion Movement and the Rise of the Religious Right: From Polite to Fiery Protest (New York: Twayne, 1994); Kurt Chandler, “Protests Pressure Abortion Workers, ” Star Tribune [Minneapolis] (October 20, 1991), p. 1A; Phil Fairbanks, “Going to Extremes, ” Buffalo News (February 12, 2000), p. A1; Phil Fairbanks and Lou Michel, “Lambs Leader Denies Violence, ” Buffalo News (November 16, 1998), p. 1C; Gina Kolata, “Nomadic Group of Anti-Abortionists Uses New Tactics to Make Its Mark, ” New York Times (March 24, 1992), p. A12; Jodi Wilgoren, “Punching a Clock to Fight Abortion, ” New York Times (November 7, 1998), p. B1.

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Encyclopedia of Modern Worldwide Extremists and Extremist Groups
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Chronology of Events vii
  • Introduction xxi
  • A 1
  • B 26
  • C 57
  • D 80
  • E 89
  • F 96
  • G 110
  • H 123
  • I 137
  • J 142
  • K 149
  • L 166
  • M 184
  • N 215
  • O 230
  • P 238
  • Q 252
  • R 253
  • S 267
  • T 291
  • U 301
  • V 304
  • W 306
  • Y 326
  • Z 328
  • Selected Bibliography 331
  • Index 339
  • About the Author 375
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