Chenoweth Speech An Asset To Militia Montana Group Uses Video Of Talk To Attract Members, Money


Standing in front of a blue curtain and wearing a red blazer with white blouse, Helen Chenoweth talks about the spiritual war between God-fearing Americans and environmentalists.

“Ladies and gentlemen, today as I stand before you, we are in a battle today that is far more insidious and far more dangerous as far as conquering our people, their soul and this great nation.”

Chenoweth’s words struck a chord with the Militia of Montana, which is using a video of her speech to recruit money and members.

The Chenoweth tape, titled “America in Crisis,” appears in the Montana militia’s November 1994 mail-order catalog. Other videotape titles include “The True Story of Waco,” “America in Peril,” featuring Mark Koernke of the Michigan Militia, and “Reclaiming our Public Lands Conference,” with Idaho Secretary of State Pete Cenarrusa as one of four speakers.

The hour-long Chenoweth tape goes for $15.

Chenoweth is identified in the catalog as a “newly elected congresswoman” and in the tape as a “natural resources consultant.” She denounces environmentalists and connects their movement to the erosion of private property rights and to the Communist threat.

Chenoweth cites the decision to protect spotted owl habitat in the Northwest as breaking down state sovereignty and possibly leading to one-world government.

She also tells her listeners that they cannot expect the government to always act within the law.

This was not a tape the Militia of Montana asked Chenoweth to make. Her press secretary said Chenoweth does not know how it got the video, but she did not give her permission to sell it. She doesn’t mention the word militia in her talk.

But the message would appeal to many militia members who fear losing their livelihoods to excessive government regulation.

On Thursday, Capitol Hill’s daily newspaper, Roll Call, listed her among conservative members of Congress who are “on the hot seat” for their contact with militia sympathizers and for refusing to denounce the militia concept.

Chenoweth this week said she does not believe in violence, but feels the U.S. Militia Association has the right to exist.

Videomaker Mark Knoepfle made the tape during a September 1993 campaign speech at Chenoweth’s Boise church. He sells it for $15 through the American Opinion Bookstore.

But Knoepfle said he did not sell it to the Militia of Montana. Militia leader Randy Trochmann replied his group did not pirate the tape, which did not have a copyright.

The Militia of Montana catalog also offers Cenarrusa as part of a sixhour public lands discussion. Cenarrusa has spoken to militia meetings, but he said he is not a supporter of the movement.

“Oh no. This is news to me,” Cenarrusa said Thursday. “Why do they do those things?”



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