Repenting and Doing a Good Thing


14 January, 2002

By Michael Bray

Clayton Waagner was captured on 5 December in Cincinnati.  U.S. Marshals Director Ben Reyna, reading a prepared statement, said: "This is a major arrest.  After nearly 10 months of exhaustive investigations by deputy marshals across the country, the most wanted man in America is behind bars."

What made this burglar such a hot item was, of course, certain words he spoke to federal agents when he was arrested in Illinois in September, 1999.  “He told federal agents he was on his way to Seattle, where he hoped to shoot and abortion doctor.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 28 May 2001). So his escape from the Dewitt County jail in Clinton, Illinois, in February, 2001 while awaiting sentencing caused no small stir among abortion rights lovers. 

            The man, Clayton Waagner, had been hunted about as assiduously as an al-Qaida terrorist, and – in the mind of radical pro-aborts – was probably a greater threat to the peace and national security.  Carping PP leader, Gloria Feldt, exclaimed in response to his capture, “The head of the snake has been cut off, but the body is still out there.”  (She was referring to all us AOG folk, of course.) It is amazing to observe the influence of these harpies.  The screeching in the ears of skittish congressmen and assorted feds resulted in this common burglar being placed upon the Most Wanted lists of the big three:  U.S. Marshals, F.B.I., and A.T.F.  (Quite an honor in criminal circles.  Whenever Mr. Waagner is allowed out of his Sangamon County jail cell in Springfield, Illinois where he is in locked up solitarily for 23 hours per day, he will be “the man” among the regulars residing behind the walls. In the meantime, his notoriety, inspired by nothing other that the shrieks of ferocious feminists, will continue to require that five guards stand by as he speaks with his visitors through a phone as they view one another through thick plexiglass.)

            But what about this burglar-turned-baby-defender?  How shall we judge him?   He was facing 15 to life at sentencing.  When he added 500 Hoax anthrax letters to his anti-abortionist saber rattling, he threw himself on his own sword.  Having hitched himself to the anti-abortion movement has sealed his fate; he will probably remain in prison until death.

            The use of anthrax or the threat of the same is not popular, especially in the wake of  911. But it was certainly effectual.  Abortuaries were closed all around the country. Babies were, by all facts of statistics, saved from death.  Waagner disrupted abortuary operations throughout the country with the very fact of his being on the lam following his simple statement to the agents.  He added to the fears of abortuary personnel by re-issuing direct threats when he held Neal Horsley at gun point while informing him that he would proceed to kill 42 specific abortuary personal on whom he had already gathered data.  The chosen could be spared only by contacting Horsley so that their names could be seen on Horsley’s web site as having ceased to practice abortion and relieved.   Several abortionists did contact Horsley and notified him of their decision to abandon baby killing.

            So how do we judge Waagner?  In particular, what about his burglaring crimes?  (Can we excuse the bank jobs while he was on the lam as well as a mission?)

            I had occasion this past weekend to spend some time with a good friend of the Waagner family.  I read a two-part series on him by Lisa Thompson in mid December in the local The Derrick of Oil City, Pennsylvania.  There is this apparent sin of covetousness which has been made manifest on several occasions by burglary.  There is no doubt that we have some sin going on here.  It may not be worse than the covetousness of most Americans who forgo the multiplication of children in order to afford themselves a more luxurious portion of “the good life,” but it is sin.

Of course, he was driven by some bad experiences (the basic dysfunction that comes from having had four step fathers) so that he moved his family 30-odd times.   Perhaps “kleptomania” like “alcoholism” and other “addictions” elicits some sympathy from the liberal mind?  (Were it not for his particular anti-abortions actions, he might well have been excused by blameshifting, psycho-babbling liberals.)  Though an unsettled fellow, he sired nine legitimate children and is loved by his wife and children. 

There are others among us, like King David or Samson, who have had sordid pasts or struggles with sin right up to the point of performing glorious and self-sacrificing deeds.  James Mitchell had been struggling with homosexual attractions before he burned an abortuary in Virginia.  He followed up with an Alford Plea (a form of no lo contendere for which he was sentenced to more time than what he would have received with a straight guilty plea).  David Lane had been a juvenile delinquent. Upon repentance and conversion to Christianity, he devoted himself to the rescue of the innocent and took a sledgehammer to an abortuary in Denver.  When I visited him in prison a few years after he was jailed, I had the opportunity to visit with other prisoners while addressing a chapel meeting. I observed him in close Christian ties with others who were living out a Christian witness.

Robert Cook, more than any other prisoner, comes to mind when I think of Clayton Waagner.  On March 22, 1996 he was sentenced to 15 years for solicitation to kill abortionists, money laundering, and robbing $260,000 from a security van.  He was the first to be charged under FACE with “soliciting violence” against abortuaries.  The money obtained by the robbery was “used to buy weapons” according to prosecutors (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 23 March, 1996).

These folks sound like the ones who gathered around David when he was a refugee from Saul’s wrath:  “Everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him; and he became captain over them.  Now there were about four hundred men with him” (1 Sam. 22:2).  Flawed people, indeed.

Remember the many flaws of Samson: his anger, unfaithfulness, impetuousness, impatience, lust, and general self-indulgence.  Remember also that He was chosen by God – His very tool, an instrument of deliverance of Israel from the hands of their enemies.  Most importantly, remember that at the suicidal conclusion of his life, he was a man of faith.  He prayed just before his death, “O Lord God, please remember me and please strengthen me just this time, O God, that I may at once be avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes” (Judges 16:28).   We, who expect to be in fellowship with God in the afterlife, can expect to see Samson there (Hebrews 11:32).  His was a prayer of salvation of a sort we do not hear much about.

I am inclined to think that Clayton Waagner,  along with Robert Cook, James Mitchell, and David Lane will be in good company on that Day.

AUTHOR:  Michael Bray is the author of A Time to Kill, an ethical treatise on the use of force in defense of the child in the womb.  The book was cited in the $ 1.4 billion Planned Parenthood complaint filed against Mr. Bray and 13 other defendants in the U.S. District Court of Oregon in the fall of 1995.  He spent four years in federal prison (1985-1989) in connection with the destruction of several abortion facilities in the D.C. area.  Prevailing defendant in the Supreme Court decision known as Bray v. Alexandria.   Appearances on numerous radio and TV talk shows discussing the justification for protecting the “fetus” with deadly force, Pastor of Reformation Lutheran Church in Bowie, MD since 1984.  M.A. Denver Seminary.  Host with Reformation Lutheran Church of the annual White Rose Banquet since 1996.  Banquet, held in Washington D. C., honors convicts for their anti-abortion deeds.  Co-founder, Bowie Crisis Pregnancy Center, 1982.

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