Soldier of God

A cheerleader for murder, Rev. Donald Spitz says his anti-abortion message is finally getting through

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“If it’s true that he’s gaining legitimacy in any sense, that’s astounding,” Potok says. “The idea that Spitz could be quoted as some kind of legitimate commentator is absolutely mind-boggling. He’s an omnivorous hater, and he doesn’t limit his hatred to people who carry out abortions.”

Lately, Spitz has added other kinds of content to the Army of God website. “At first, he started saying that anyone who commits abortion should be murdered, and then he went to some pretty remarkable comments about black people,” says Potok, who has been following the reverend’s activities since 1997. “It was after that that he got into Islam and gay people.”

Spitz denies being racist, but his viewpoint on homosexuality is as unwavering as his stance on abortion. “My speaking out against it is more my response to the publicity that [gays] have been getting. There doesn’t seem to be anyone else speaking against it. So I feel it is incumbent upon me to let people know that homosexuality is not normal; it is sinful, and gay people need to repent of their sins and obsession with sexual deviancy and turn to Jesus Christ and receive forgiveness.”

Can a homosexual be a good Christian? “No,” he says. “The bible says homosexuals shall not inherit the Kingdom of God. It’s a very grievous sin. It’s against the laws of nature. Men should love their wives, woman should love their husbands ... it’s God’s plan.”

“Let us give thanks,” Reverend Michael Bray, the Army of God’s designated “chaplain” wrote on the website after Saudi Arabian officials beheaded two gay men in 2002. “Homo fag TV channel will soon be broadcasting their filthy crimes against humanity,” screams one headline on the site. Another is emblazoned: “Homosexual fag Elton John says he’s lucky not to have AIDS.”

Spitz claims that he isn’t disseminating hate and violence. He says he spends much of his time counseling people. “My two prongs are to reach the women going into the abortion clinics, to change their minds and work with the prisoners who are in jail for their convictions against abortion clinics. And I try to spread the gospel to as many people as I can.”

What does he say to the women at the clinics? “I tell them that God loves them and their baby and that their baby wants to live. How do they respond? “Oh, people do change their minds.”

For a long time, Spitz and his bullhorn were fixtures at the Hillcrest Clinic, one of the first abortion providers in Virginia, but lately he claims to set up at Planned Parenthood’s Virginia Beach office. “They’ve built a new mega center on Newtown Road,” he says. “So I’ve transferred my activities to that one.”

“You know, he may be saying that he comes here, but we’ve only ever seen him one time,” says Planned Parenthood’s Erin Zabel. “He doesn’t regularly protest here.” She adds that there are a few regular protesters at the two Hampton Roads-area offices of Planned Parenthood, “but they are pretty peaceful. It’s very rarely more than two or three people.”

Zabel says that, since the Newtown Road clinic is set far off the road, it is difficult for picketers to speak directly to incoming patients. “The trouble is that about 97 percent of our patients are coming in for pap smears and breast exams. Abortion is really a small percentage of what we do, so they are really hassling women who are coming in for preventive care, and for birth control. We obviously respect their legal right to protest, but we wish that they would use their energy to help us with preventive care, so people don’t get pregnant in the first place.”

Donald Spitz says that he doesn’t believe in birth control, just as he doesn’t think that rape and incest victims should be allowed to obtain abortions. “Me and my wife never had any kids,” he says when asked. “We would have a houseful of them if my wife had been pregnant, but she never got pregnant.

“So I feel that God had a plan for me.” And that plan, according to the minister, is that he should save other people’s babies. By any means necessary. Would Rev. Donald Spitz ever attempt to be one of those Army of God “heroes” and try to murder an abortion provider?

“I really don’t think so. People have different callings. And my call has always been to be as verbal as I can. I would never want to say never about anything, but I have no plans or thoughts to do that. It’s like me smuggling bibles into China. I support that, but I doubt that I’ll be doing it. It’s possible I might but it’s unlikely.”