This is the first article where the author has done some homework. Unfortunately, they still want to blame the Church for the actions of the Gray family, and they still label the Church as anti-government.
The Embassy of Heaven Church promotes the Kingdom of Heaven as God's Government on earth as it is in Heaven. That does not make the Church "anti-government." The only purpose of government is to do the Will of God. If something calls itself "government," but does not do God's will, it is no government at all. It is only color of government. In other words, it is not the real thing.
The true power to rule and govern upon the earth comes from Jesus Christ. Jesus states, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth" (Matthew 28:18). Everyone else are thieves and robbers (John 10:8). In order to have the Power, you must be under Jesus Christ.
Here is the question before us. Are the Grays under the Authority of Jesus Christ? The same question can be posed of the secular forces. Are the secular forces under the Authority of Jesus Christ? Do either of them have the Power?
The Grays have expressed that they want to be separate from the world. They are willing to use carnal weapons to remain separate. The secular forces (the world) do not want to recognize the separation of the Grays. They are also willing to use carnal weapons to prevent the Grays from being separate. Both sides are prepared to spill blood to get their way. Who will win? Is there a winner? Is this the way of Christ?
Embassy of Heaven Church
Paul Revere, Pastor
P.S.: Embassy of Heaven Church, in the past, has always complained that certain words are being used incorrectly in the secular media. The reason is because we are the Church and we are not militant. Since the Grays have chosen to take up arms to defend themselves, they are truly located in a "compound" and are using "bunkers." The military words are now appropriate.
Aug. 18, 2000, 9:40AM
By JIM HENDERSON and MALLORY COUNTRYMAN
Copyright 2000 Houston Chronicle
TRINIDAD -- Reconnaissance helicopters buzzing the Trinity River bottoms. High-tech digital surveillance cameras hidden in the trees half a mile away. Undercover FBI agents infiltrating his militia organization.
It might smack of anti-government paranoia, but John Joe Gray believes it all is happening to him.
For most of this year, Gray has been holed up with more than a dozen family members on his wooded 47-acre spread near Cedar Creek Lake, 70 miles southeast of Dallas, defying efforts by lawmen to serve him with two felony warrants.
This week, as false rumors spread that armored vehicles were poised to enter his property, the bearded, 51-year-old Gray stood at the metal gate beside a dusty country road and said he was prepared to fight to the death to avoid submitting to the laws of the state.
"I'm not worried, it's in God hands," he said.
Two pistols were strapped to his hips. Nearby, his son, Jonathan Joe, stood quietly with a rifle across his back and sidearms, a knife and a machete attached to his legs. His wife, Alicia, also wore a pistol.
"We're doing what we believe and what we know God would have us do," Alicia Gray said.
Gray's militia activities, intertwined with an anti-government church known as the Embassy of Heaven, have embroiled him and his family members in a long-running dispute with authorities in Henderson and Anderson counties.
He and one of his daughters have been arrested for driving without Texas license plates or Texas driver's licenses -- instruments they believe to be "marks of the beast" because their church does not recognize government authority.
Jared Judd / Lakeside News / Gun Barrel City
For 18 months, John Joe Gray, the bearded man in the center, has managed to avoid efforts to serve him with warrants charging him with assaulting a law officer and removing an officer's weapon. The others in the photo are relatives holed up with Gray at his compound on 47 acres southeast of Dallas.
Last year, one of Gray's daughters left her husband and moved back onto her father's property and for 16 months has defied a court order that granted her husband custody of their two sons.
Then, last Christmas Eve, Gray was charged with two felonies -- assaulting a law officer and removing a law officer's weapon -- following an altercation with two state troopers who stopped a car, in which he was a passenger, for speeding near Palestine.
Gray was carrying a pistol in a shoulder holster, and several rifles were in the car. He refused an order to get out of the car, police said, and bit the hand of a trooper who tried to remove him.
After posting bail, he retreated into his compound, where he has remained, heavily armed, ever since.
Gray said this week that he decided to jump bail and become a fugitive shortly after he was released from jail.
"I called the probation department and they told me I couldn't be around any firearms during the probationary period," he said. "We had a family meeting to decide what to do."
They opted to hunker down in the family compound.
Gray considers himself a patriot who is standing up to the state laws, which he says conflict with God's laws.
While he stood at the fence talking with two reporters, a car drove up and an elderly couple Gray did not know handed him several bags of food and clothes and then drove away.
"Patriots are people who care for one another," Gray said, his eyes tearing up and his voice quivering with emotion.
Jared Judd / Lakeside News / Gun Barrel City
If police mount an assault, John Joe Gray says, the sign on this storm cellar will indicate that children are inside. His daughter refuses to turn over her two young sons to their father, defying a court order.
Although law enforcement officers consider him dangerous, some of his neighbors defend Gray and his family.
"I've known them about 15 years," said Keith Woods, who lives about a mile from the Grays. "He got mixed up with that church and he's changed a bit, but they are good, decent, hard-working folks."
Other neighbors and sympathizers have helped keep the family -- 10 adults and at least six small children -- supplied with food and other necessities. Some supporters merely supply information.
The Grays are without electricity and phone service, but communicate with the outside via shortwave radio.
"If something would happen, we would know about it," Gray said, referring to movements of law enforcement and other outsiders who might try to snatch the children involved in the custody fight from the compound.
There were reports that Gray had fortified his house with bunkers. This week, he allowed a photographer inside to photograph the only bunker he has built. It is a storm cellar structure with a large red sign on top that says "KIDS."
If lawmen attack, Gray said, he wants them to know where the children are.
Tuesday evening, Alex Jones, an Austin-based talk radio host, told his audience that he had received word that federal agents had set up a command post outside Gray's property and were preparing to attack with armored vehicles.
If an attack was planned, it was not carried out, but dozens of reporters and Gray sympathizers swarmed to the scene.
After talking to a few reporters Wednesday, Gray retreated back into the woods. His wife and three of their adult children made occasional appearances at the gate, mostly to reaffirm their determination to "fight to the death."
"He's not coming out," Alicia Gray said.
She was asked if Gray would be willing to talk to the authorities and try to work something out.
"You don't deal with the devil," she said.
With that, she climbed into a Jeep with her children and returned to the house. The standoff would continue through another long, hot night.
Mallory Countryman is a free-lance writer with the Lakeside News of Gun Barrel City.