Kerry Noble: Former Extremist Died in 2023

As a documentary exploring the deadliest act of domestic terrorism in our country, HBO’s Marc Levin-directed ‘An American Bombing: The Road to April 19th’ can only be described as haunting. That’s because it incorporates not just archival footage but also exclusive interviews to really underscore the dangers of homegrown violence through the eyes of those to have experienced it. Amongs them was actually Kerry Noble, a former right-wing extremist better known as one of the founders of the cult paramilitary group The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord (CSA).

Who Was Kerry Noble?

Although not much is publicly available about Kerry’s early years or upbringing, we do know he was such a devout Christian he managed to become a minister at a relatively early age in 1972. It thus comes as no surprise that when his wife Kay was pregnant with their second child in 1977, they decided to relocate to rural northern Arkansas to be closer to a Community Church. According to reports, their original plan was to stay in this non-racist, non-violent, peaceful small town for only a short while before returning home, yet everything turned upside down in 1978.

Per Kerry’s own account, he gradually began believing in the survivalist the ologies rising in their society too, making him deem it a sign when they suddenly came across a stranger like them. This man was storing clothes, food, plus other supplies to be ready for the imminent chaotic apocalypse, but he was also preparing to face “looters” with guns, ammunition, as well as military gear. That’s how even he/his entire area got involved in extremism, ultimately training until they formed a paramilitary squad before evolving into arguably the number 1 civilian SWAT team in America.

Then came late 1979, when they were “introduced to a theology known as Christian Identity. [People we met along the way in life] taught that the Jews were a counterfeit race, descended from Eve having sex with the devil in the Garden of Eden, and that the white race was the true Israel of the Bible and that the non-white races were inferior races, created before Adam. This was pretty foreign to us but by the spring of 1980 we had adapted it into our own theology. Now we were racists.” The name The Covenant, the Sword, and the Arm of the Lord (CSA) was hence formally adopted by them in 1981.

However, it was merely three years later that things changed again for Kerry as he almost committed what would’ve been the largest, most hate-filled domestic terrorist act in US history at that time. This “Member of the Council,” alongside James “Jim” Ellison and William Wade, had actually walked into a gay-affirming church carrying a bomb with intent to murder over seventy congregants. “We sort of had this stereotype image in our head that there was just going to be a sexual orgy going on [inside the church], which of course there wasn’t,” he candidly explained in the aforementioned film.

Kerry continued, “I started seeing people lift their hands up, lift their eyes up, look up, and start worshipping God. I identified with them, so instantly, they seized being homosexuals in my eyes and became Christians. I couldn’t kill Christians.” This 1984 scheduled attack was reportedly Plan B — the CSA’s initial scheme was to blow up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, but it didn’t pan out owing to technicalities. Though Timothy McVeigh overcame them to bomb the same over a decade later on April 19, 1995, precisely two years following the Waco siege involving the Branch Davidians.

“Later, I’m trying to talk to God,” Kerry expressed in the original production. “I said, ‘Lord, I want to leave. You know, I can’t handle this no more.’ The Lord spoke to me and said, ‘You can’t leave.'” Less than a year later, on April 19, 1985, federal agents arrived at CSA’s do or for their illegal weapons acquisition, only for him to become the primary middleman between the two organizations. In the end, following a 4-day armed standoff with zero casualties, leader James “Jim” Ellison willingly surrendered for good, just for the evidence then uncovered to lead to the former’s arrest by the end of May too.

How Did Kerry Noble Die?

According to reports, Kerry pled guilty to conspiracy charges without dragging out the legal proceedings for long, as a result of which he was handed down a sentence of five years with parole. He was thus released in 1990 upon serving around 26 months — it was during this period that he got his “head straight” and turned his back on the right-wing movement as well as racism. Yet what’s even more positively surprising is that this Minister turned ‘Tabernacle of Hate’ author then began publicly speaking out against domestic violence, fascism, racism, plus more — his experiences made him an expert.

Kerry once said, “Religious organizations today need to understand that scripture says that judgment begins in the house of God – with the church. Judgment is not what Jesus came to do. Most churches preach judgment and “sin” of others, while ignoring the sins of their own congregation or of other Christian organizations. It’s the same old “us vs. them” mentality of covering up one’s own failures while pointing the fingers to others they disagree with.”

[With my book, I want people to] understand the depth of deception that surrounds and penetrates those who are involved in right-wing extremism, from evangelical church to the KKK and to the Lone Wolf ideology of war.” Kerry added. “It all has a common thread of fear and hate and division, which, unfortunately, still exists today and is tearing this country apart.”

It’s true that these are sadly times of war, but this consultant/expert on the mindset, philosophies, and dangers of right-wing/religious-right extremism isn’t seeing it — he passed away on January 9, 2023. He was reportedly hospitalized on December 29, 2022, with pneumonia, and his condition continued deteriorating until he had a fatal heart attack the morning before he was due to have an angioplasty procedure.

Read More: Where is William “Bill” McVeigh Now?