October 9th, 2012
05:41 AM ET

Man arrested in plot to blow up 48 churches in Oklahoma

By Joe Sutton, CNN

Authorities in Oklahoma have arrested and charged a 23-year-old man who they say planned to blow up 48 area churches.

Gregory Arthur Weiler II was arrested last week at a motel in Miami, Oklahoma, according to Ben Loring, first assistant district attorney for Ottawa County.

Authorities were tipped off to the plot by workers at the motel about 90 miles northeast of Tulsa. One discovered a duffel bag full of Molotov cocktails near the outside trash, while a room service employee reported suspicious items in Weiler's room, said Loring.

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Church • Crime

soundoff (144 Responses)
  1. Atheist Hunter

    Attention All Atheists! Here's a good one for you!

    October 9, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • ME II

      As a neurosurgeon, this guy should know that his experiences do not equate to evidence nor "proof" as he calls it.

      He explains it very well:
      The brain is an astonishingly sophisticated but extremely delicate mechanism. Reduce the amount of oxygen it receives by the smallest amount and it will react. It was no big surprise that people who had undergone severe trauma would return from their experiences with strange stories. But that didn’t mean they had journeyed anywhere real.

      Just because he thinks that his experiences happened while his neocortex was inactive and not while he was regaining consciousness, does not make it "proof" nor even evidence.

      October 9, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  2. chad

    I can't wait to hear the atheist's excuse for why this godless evil-doer wanted to kill so many. so much for tollerance i guess right atheists?

    October 9, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      it's not in CNN's story – they are always 'light' on details for breaking news.

      Three years ago this young man left his Chicago area home to join what his family called a "cult" in Missouri. He was pretty messed up to start with and I don't think being in a cult helped him.

      Look below for better news links that this CNN piece.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • Concerned Citizen

      Unsure if this is the real chad, the writing doesn't sound like him but the reading comprehension is spot on. You didn't read the full article did you? This man wanted to blow these churchs up to create a unified church under the cult he is a part of. Still a believer like you and your ilk, just a step crazier.

      Also, even if this man were an atheist, one person does not speak for an entire group. Just because he was a christian terrorist going after other christians doesn't mean you're all like that, or all christians supported Anders Brevik or all muslims supported 9/11. There are evil people who do evil things and can sometimes justify their actions through religion but that doesn't make either the religion or its followers particularly evil because one man can twist it so he believes he can kill people. Where religion truely becomes evil is when a holy war is started (jihad) or people actively stop others from receiving equal treatment based strictly on their own ignorant beliefs (same se.x marriage).

      October 9, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Concerned Citizen,

      (lower case "c") Probably not our regular "Chad", but you never know.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • Keith A. Sillsbury

      why would you think he is godless? it's religious nuts that do this sort of thing not the smart ones that see through the religious BS. you jesus freaks are always out to blame someone.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Chad

      You know you’re good when people critique your trolls. That’s not me up there.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
  3. Steve

    That's a good little sheep. Do drastic things in order to win your God's approval.

    October 9, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
  4. Concerned Citizen

    What I find funny is that a lot of believers have been waiting for this exact story (or at least what it appears to be), a person actively trying to blow up churchs and then getting caught, it just makes it that much sweeter that this guy only wanted to blow these churches up in the name of his own church.

    Priceless stuff.

    October 9, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
  5. William Demuth

    This fine young Christian was active in Church ministries.

    Such a Good Christian!!

    Truly represenitive of the finest the rural Christian community has to offer!!

    October 9, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @William Demuth,

      these days I'd call Elk Grove Village the Chicago burbs.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
  6. Brooklyn

    if he was muslim this would be front page news.... hypocrits, he will be released with a slap on the wrist.

    October 9, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
  7. William Demuth


    All the Jeebus freaks that were blaming the non believers are silent


    All you Christians may now remove your feet from your mouths.

    This nut job was raised Christian, went to church and babbled the gospel 24-7!!!!!

    He is the veritable cream of the evangelical movement!

    October 9, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Thanks to @ME II's link in the Trib:

      Xtian cult – likely fundie WASP Catholic haters.

      When Weiler, 23, left several years ago to join a religious group in Missouri, his family knew they’d eventually hear that “Greg” had again gotten into trouble. ...

      About three years ago, Weiler joined a church in Missouri that his family called “a cult.” ...

      A Sept. 25 entry - apparently written from his motel room - referred to his childhood and focused on the Catholic Church, whose leaders he claimed are responsible for “hypocrisy, murder and deceit.”

      He ends: “I have not opened a bible in a while, and I haven’t stepped foot into a church building in quite some time - and though I may be very lonely right now, I am hoping that someone, and maybe someday in the future, someone will take notice.”

      October 9, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      I so hate this filter. Here's the link:


      October 9, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
  8. William Demuth

    I am amused by Mark from Middle River

    Jumps in to blame we non-believers.

    Marky, do some research. This nut case was a CHRISTIAN CULT MEMBER.

    He was going to bomb for the greater glory of Jeebus!

    You see this when religions begin to sink. The rats that have lived on it for centuries turn on each other.

    You MUST worship as he sees fit, or he will burn your damn altars down!

    It seems now and forever, nothing out crazies a Christian more than a more Christian Christian!

    Coming soon to a diocese near you!

    October 9, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • Middle River must be a real cesspool

      Mark has a long history of ignoring facts and inventing fantasy alternatives. Bot a surprise at all.

      October 9, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Funny William. OK, I will admit that I did jump the gun. 🙂 I did mis read the separate article. Not to big to admit I was wrong on this article.

      October 10, 2012 at 10:43 am |
  9. snowboarder

    thankfully, most of the folks that engage in this type of behavior are generally not the most intelligent. that is why they get caught.

    October 9, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      almost by definition I'd say!

      The exceptions to this rule are truly terrifying.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
  10. Plumbline

    God is Love........

    .........Romans 13:10
    Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

    October 9, 2012 at 11:32 am |
  11. William Demuth

    A Christian cult member, from crazy parents wanted to blow up things.

    A regular pattern we see.

    It seems if you raise them Christian, you raise them crazy.

    October 9, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • Topher

      Where does that story say he was Christian?

      October 9, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • William Demuth


      If this is the only thing you read, it REALLY explains a lot about you.

      Read the Kansas City Star.

      He wanted to build a UNIFIED Church

      Crazy Christian to the core

      October 9, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • ME II

      @William Demuth,
      The KCStar article was talking about the church of the Pastor of the shelter where this guy stayed, not the Weiler's religious beliefs.

      "Perry's church opposes denominational divisions and advocates for one Christian church in each community."
      Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/10/08/3857686/ill-man-faces-terrorism-charge.html#storylink=misearch#storylink=cpy

      October 9, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Please re read it!

      He was in a CULT dude, it is QUITE clear.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
  12. William Demuth

    Another crazy Jeebus freak

    Religion and bombings go hand in heand.

    October 9, 2012 at 11:23 am |
  13. snowboarder

    the mentally unstable are really becoming activists.

    October 9, 2012 at 11:16 am |
  14. ME II

    It's hearsay, but:
    "A 23-year-old Illinois man accused of planning to attack dozens of churches in Oklahoma with Molotov co[]cktails has struggled with mental illness, substance abuse and grief, said his cousin, who expressed relief that no one was hurt in the plot."

    October 9, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • ME II

      "...his mother committed suicide in 2002 after years of depression and alcoholism, she said.

      Weiler's father suffered from alcohol and drug addiction before he killed himself in 2005.

      And, a sister is hospitalized for mental illness after several suicide attempts, said Meyers."

      "About three years ago, Weiler joined a church in Missouri that his family called 'a cult.'"


      October 9, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • ME II

      Poor guy seems to have been seriously messed up.

      Glad no one was hurt.

      October 9, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • therealpeace2all

      @ME II

      *Cue*... He really was an Atheist then... or ... he had Satan in him, etc...

      Good research -ME II !!!


      October 9, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • Carl, your neighbor

      It's his beard. That must be it. His beard was so itchy it drove him insane and he thought those churches had itchy-bugs.
      Yeah, that makes sense...why didn't we think of that before? It all seems so clear now.

      October 9, 2012 at 11:13 am |
  15. Carl, your neighbor

    Look, the guy's a nutcase. He's messed up in the head. Just because religious people are also crazy is no reason to burn down their churches. That's not the right way to treat mental illness, but then the guy's a nutcase himself, too. Ironic.

    October 9, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Hear, hear.

      October 9, 2012 at 10:05 am |
  16. Which God?

    This guy is such a loser.You don't attack people or the church buildings. You go after the doctrines of religion. Religion is a falsehood, a fairy-tale.

    October 9, 2012 at 9:31 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      .... and if they refuse to change? Did this guy just come to a point where, like I have said, when your argument fails to convert, or diminish... what is going to be the next logical step in some extremist mind? A guy states that he wants to begin to remove churches from his state as a foundation.

      It is that Atheist, just like the other Religions, feel that if they just present their arguments to people than they will automatically convert and those that do not must be mentally ill or just simply evil. That opens the door for folks to make the logical step that since dialogue and debate will not change you or make you go away then maybe physical violence will.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:48 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      How is atheism a religion?

      October 9, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • Which God?

      Marky. You aren't the brightest bulb in a pack. Explain how atheism is a religion. Also, I prefer debate over violence, but if l meet violence, I'll meet it with as much force that I can muster. I'm saying if I have to fight, I fight to win. I do attack abusudities, like religion, when they rear their heads in politics, or the schools.

      October 9, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • aaron

      Wow. Are you sleep-thinking, Mark from MR?

      October 9, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Even though that question and arguments have been posted many times here on the Belief Blog, It seems that to Gregory Arthur Weiler II, is another weight on the scales to bolster the argument that Atheism is becoming a Religion. Some Atheist might not agree with the argument but the examples are becoming clearer everyday. Especially, because they, with all the science can do no better of a job proving that there is not a God than a Faithful can to prove there is.... from Middle Ground, Atheism's Faith in no God is the same as the Faithfuls Faith that there is a God.

      Gregory Arthur Weiler is just one of the first of your terrorist extremist wing and with folks such as Tramma's post down below, and the soon coming attacks on the Faithful from Atheist, I predict that in my life time Atheist will join the rest of the Faith groups with its list of current atrocities.

      Sorry, basic Sociology. Those that leave the current Faiths.... Ask yourself, are yall' getting the nice and peaceful former Christians, Muslims, and Jews only? My thought is that some of the same ones that would have been prone to burning down a Gay bar, will bring that hatred with them into their Atheist life.

      L'Chaim. School time.

      October 9, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Atheism= the rejection of belief in deities. Again, how does this equate to religion?

      October 9, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • ME II

      @Mark from Middle River,
      Atheism by itself does not provide any basis/motivation for action, it is a negative statement, that's all.
      That being said, however, you are correct that any group wanting to promote their agenda/policies, can produce extremists regardless of their position.

      I would be interested to know what this guy's objective was. It seems too obvious/simplistic to be the removal of religion, but that may be an initial step in his "setting foundation for the years to follow."

      October 9, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • Carl, your neighbor

      Mark, I think you're going to be disappointed when they tell us WHY he was going to burn those churches. Just sayin.

      October 9, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • ME II

      @Mark from Middle River,
      Do we even know that this guy claims to be an Atheist?
      I didn't see that in the linked article.

      October 9, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • aaron

      I think the one that would be most likely, Mark, to burn down a gay bar would be this "pervert alert" poster that everyone here knows as "truth be told" or "Atheism is not . . .". With posts like "QUE ERS, THE ONES WHO GAVE AIDS TO AMERICA". You know, the Evangelical twit.

      October 9, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • William Demuth

      Mark from Middle River

      You are bluffing

      He was a BELIEVER dude, and you know it.

      Believer equals bomber.

      We see that truth every day

      October 9, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • ME II

      @William Demuth,
      Isn't that just as bad as what @Mark was assuming?
      He assumes atheist. You assume theist.
      Neither of which currently appears to be a factor; he seems to be severely troubled mentally.

      October 9, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • William Demuth

      ME II

      Read more talk less.

      Christian Cult trying to unify the Christians.

      Religious inspired bombings. How clear does the pattern need to be????????????????

      October 9, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • ME II

      @William Demuth,
      "Read more talk less."

      Please take your own advice.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
  17. Where is your atheism now?

    I bet he is an atheist.

    If so,atheists will feel pretty stupid to blame religion for the evil in this world.

    October 9, 2012 at 7:51 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One


      You inflate the importance of religion. Religion is only one of the evils in the world.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • Stupidity reigns with you

      Tom, I agree, religion is one of the evils of this world–that's why I am not religious, I am in a relationship with Jesus! And as for the other evil in this world, I am writing to them, TOM! It's thinking like yours that may have provoked this man to make plans to blow up church buildings with people in them....Such a sick minded generation we live with....

      October 9, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      I often feel stupid for various reasons. My atheism is never one of these reasons.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • aaron

      Even if he is, that doesn't mean much. He definitely has a problem. Should we blame all of Christianity for Hitler?

      October 9, 2012 at 10:10 am |
    • Ting

      'I bet he is an atheist.'

      Why? He probably doesn't know the definition of atheist. Could he not be a Christian trying to get the whole rapture thing going? If he is not a Christian, he will most likely become a Christian in prison. Someday maybe the two of you can share a good laugh about it while you sit in your heavenly church worshiping the world's biggest murderer and torturer.

      October 9, 2012 at 10:38 am |
  18. 24 Hour Crisis Center

    God is omnipotent and omniscient. As such God is a cruel and evil presence in the universe. Shame on anyone who worships evil. Pity for anyone who is fooled by God.

    October 9, 2012 at 7:03 am |
  19. Where is your God now?

    A Texas mother of five is expected to be sentenced Tuesday after admitting to gluing her 2-year-old daughter to a wall and beating her over potty training.

    Elizabeth Escalona, 23, was in a Dallas County, Texas, court Monday as witnesses - including her mother and the pediatrician who cared for the toddler - testified in the first day of her sentencing hearing, while prosecutors showed pictures of the little girl's hands and bruised body and forehead.

    "The entire picture was very shocking," said Dr. Amy Barton, then a child abuse pediatrician at Children's Medical Center of Dallas, choking back tears on the stand. "I see a lot of children, and this was one of the most shocking cases that I have seen."

    October 9, 2012 at 6:39 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      What's your point?

      October 9, 2012 at 9:36 am |
  20. Tramma lamma la

    You know what you call 48 blown-up churches? A good start.

    October 9, 2012 at 6:23 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Now, if you said blow up 48 black churches, they would call you a racist. If you said blow up 48 mosque, they would call you racist and anti-Islamic. If you said blow up 48 Planed Parenthood offices, they would say you are anti-women. If you said you wanted to blow up 48 Gay establishments then you are hom'ophobic. If you say blow up 48 Synagogues, you are anti-Semitic.

      What is it with you folks on the extremes that really feel that this line of action against anyone that dares to be different than you, is a worthy cause? Think about, you are saying the same thing that every hate group in history has said, what makes you think that you call to blow up what you dislike any different than the Klan, Black Panthers, Taliaban or any other groups call?

      October 9, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      I agree with your sentiment Mark, but the Black Panthers were not a hate group.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:41 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Sorry, but I would disagree and maybe agree. Growing up I witnessed the Black Panther type of rhetoric that was shown in the open and the vitriol that was expressed in private. I also balance this with the transition from maybe the Black Panthers of my fathers generation and the new Black Panthers that appeared and brought that kitchen table message to the national stage after killings of Robert Byrd in Texas and more recently Trayvon in Florida. Their speech is no different than those of Neo-Nazis. Same as this guy, to some this extremist mentality will seem as to be the only logical answer.

      Do a google search on the phrase "Suit Up and Boot Up"

      October 9, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      The New Black Panthers have nothing to do with the Black Panthers.

      October 9, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      ....and the New Klan declares it has nothing to do with the old Klan.

      Hate repackaged is still hate.

      Time for classes. L'Chaim. 🙂

      October 9, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • Carl, your neighbor

      Has anyone said WHY this guy was all geared up to cause damage? Is it for religious reasons?
      Did they pee in his coffee?
      What does he think these churches did or whatever to cause him to want to firebomb them?
      Atheism is merely the lack of a belief. It is not an ideology. It has no tenets. No organization. So I doubt he did it from some hatred at religion in general. He would not have focused on churches but would have included mosques, temples, and whatnot.
      He didn't. That suggests he has specific reasons for targeting those churches and not any other sorts of religious buildings.
      You should ease up on the getting excited over this. They bust dozens of people like this every year.

      October 9, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      You're using the actions of one group to deni.grate an unrelated group. You need classes, maybe join a debate club also.

      October 9, 2012 at 10:22 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.