This past weekend, in a conference room at the Hilton Garden Inn near the airport, the publisher of an anti-taxation newsletter told a room of about 60 people that the real war -- not the one waged against terrorism but, rather, the one against taxes -- won't end until the Lord comes down and barbecues the enemies.
"There are numerous people running [the government] who are positively evil," the Patriot Network's Nelson Waller said. "We must topple the satanically oppressed government."
Waller's fiery lecture, delivered in an all-day class titled "Constitution, Your Rights, Freedom, Law and the Income Tax," was part of a four-day relay of talks on such topics as "Is the IRS Lying to You?" and "How the Banks are Robbing You Blind."
Like most Americans these days (at least according to the latest polls), Waller is disappointed with his government. But he and his like-minded political radicals aren't critical of the war in Iraq or the Valerie Plame scandal. They're enraged that the government continues to force taxpayers to give their hard-earned money to the poor and elderly.
After all, according to Waller's logic, the true patriots who founded our country fought tea taxes; why should hardworking citizens have to answer to today's tariffs?
The Atlanta Freedom Conference, organized by the California-based Freedom Law School, which protests almost all forms of taxation, and the Patriot Network, a conservative Christian group boasting 2,000 members, drew a total 200 or so participants. Both groups push for a small, frugal and limited government -- and have been monitored by the Anti-Defamation League.
While other groups monitored by the ADL stir up violence or racism, groups like the Patriot Network are watched because they might provoke people to deceive the feds. Just last month, Patriot Network founder Robert Clarkson was sued by the Justice Department for allegedly selling materials that show customers how to illegally evade federal taxes.
As one session wound down, Rick, a Patriot Network member since the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal, prayed with a minister who was asking that the country be returned to a conservative republic.
After the prayer, numerous anti-tax pamphlets in hand, he leaned over and said: "Here, have these and tell your friends about us. The more people we can get involved the better off we'll be. Remember, we're doing God's work."