Many of the most extreme members of the anti-abortion movement reveal themselves to HBO cameras for the first time in this disturbing verite documentary. The film focuses primarily on "soldiers" in the Army of God, a pro-life group bonded together by the Internet, by organized rallies, and by a common belief that abortions must be stopped at all costs. In addition to intimate footage of Army members at their homes, in their cars and at gatherings, the film includes harrowing footage of high-profile crimes targeted at abortion clinics, most notably the 1993 murder of two abortion-clinic workers in Pensacola, Florida. The documentary also features an exclusive death-row interview with the man who committed these murders: Paul Hill, who has become a hero and martyr to many Army of God zealots.
No topic on the American socio-political landscape is more divisive than abortion, but in a way, Soldiers in the Army of God
may actually bring reasonable folks on both sides of the issue together. That's because directors Marc Levin and Daphne Pinkerson's 70-minute documentary, made in 2000, chronicles the Army of God, a radical anti-abortion group who preach and practice violence as the best, indeed the only, means to end legal abortions, a stance that more moderate advocates on both ends of the spectrum must surely abhor. Granted, most of the people interviewed here make their cases calmly, even reasonably; they certainly don't come on like the fire-breathing fanatics their views might suggest. But there's not a lot to like about guys like Bob Lokey, an ex-con (he served 20 years for murder), an "activist" and smarmy hypocrite who claims he wouldn't harm a hair on an "abortionist"... but nor would he complain if someone else did; or the ultra-confident Neil Horsley, who does his propagandizing on the Internet (a vital source for spreading the word and identifying fellow protesters) and offers the usual argument that those who were killed merely got what they deserved. Regardless of one's position on abortion, the fact is that it's legal, and shooting people who perform them isn't. But these "soldiers'" belief that they are doing God's work muddies the waters, because faith is not fact; indeed, it is inarguable. As a result, Soldiers in the Army of God
ultimately leaves one with the sinking feeling that this issue is irreconcilable. Take the example of Paul Hill, who in 1994 killed Dr. John Britton. Hill regarded this "abortionist" as a murderer, so he shot him and his escort; interviewed here, the utterly unrepentant Hill languishes on a Florida death row, awaiting his own death (he was given a lethal injection in September '03). And the infernal wheel goes 'round and 'round. --Sam Graham