The Southern Poverty Law Center has them listed as an organization that bears watching.
Oath Keepers, the military and police organization that was formed earlier this year and held its April muster on Lexington Green, may be a particularly worrisome example of the Patriot revival. Members vow to fulfill the oaths to the Constitution that they swore while in the military or law enforcement. "Our oath is to the Constitution, not to the politicians, and we will not obey unconstitutional (and thus illegal) and immoral orders," the group says. Oath Keepers lists 10 orders its members won't obey, including two that reference U.S. concentration camps.If you do a Google search, you'll find lots of folks concerned about the Oath Keepers.
I've taken oaths, both in the military and as a cop. They require me to protect and defend the Constitution. I really don't see anything right-wing or reactionary about taking such an oath. In fact, my oaths are to the Constitution, not the government. Governments change quite regularly and it's my job to go about my duties without worrying about the government.
As I read the Oath Keepers list of orders they won't obey, I myself have been guilty of raising hell when some overzealous bureaucrat tried to order something that would have gotten him in trouble. I once risked my career by offering to arrest a Chief Deputy if he insisted on giving an order that was plainly unlawful. He came to his senses and backed down, and we remained friendly associates.
The Oath Keepers isn't about taking up arms against the government. If you look at the oath, it's about peaceful non-violence in the face of unlawful orders. When you consider that the oath is about "standing down", it is fairly remarkable that a group of armed citizens is willing to do nothing when faced with orders that might violate the Constitution. That's what the oath is all about.
The "just following orders" defense died at Nuremberg. As an armed officer of the law and a retired military officer, I see no conflict. I followed lawful orders under Carter, Reagan, Bush(1), Clinton and Bush(2). I'm still following orders under Obama, but I refuse to follow any orders that violate the laws of the State of Louisiana or the Constitution of the United States.
This isn't about armed resistance. It's about standing down, something that a few of us have done over the years against plainly illegal orders. That's the beauty of the whole concept. Peaceful non-compliance. Ghandi would be proud.
I'm having trouble understanding why they're considered a right-wing hate group. I guess dissent isn't patriotic, after all.