+quot;Identity: A 'Christian' Religion for White Racists+quot; (an article from the Christ

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"Identity: A 'Christian' Religion for White Racists" (an article from the Christian Research Journal Cult, Fall 1992, page 20) by Viola Larson. The Editor-in-Chief of the Christian Research Journal Cult is Elliot Miller. ------------- Summary "Christian Identity" is the name of a religious movement uniting many of the white supremacist groups in the United States. Identity's teachers promote racism and sometimes violence. Their roots are deeply embedded in movements such as the Ku Klux Klan and the Nazis. They consider themselves true Israel and view the Jews as half-devils and arch enemies. They believe all but the white race are inferior creations. Identity's religious views are bizarre and occultic, and their view of history is often informed by conspiracy theories. Identity's use of the name "Christian" to promote racism and violence is blasphemous. Jesus Christ as redeemer of all races is God's supreme answer to Identity's outrageous claims. ------------- The headline read "Separatist Surrenders in Idaho." The story was about Randy Weaver, a man indicted for selling two sawed-off shotguns to undercover federal agents. During the FBI's attempt to force Weaver to leave his Idaho home and return to court, three people were killed: a federal agent and Weaver's wife and son. When the standoff was over, 15 handguns, shotguns, and rifles were collected from his cabin.[1] Randy Weaver is a member of a religious movement called "Christian Identity." This "Christian" wing of the larger white supremacist movement is composed of adherents who variously give allegiance to the burning cross of the Ku Klux Klan and the sun sign -- the twisted swastika -- of the Neo-Nazis. The movement, also called "Israel Identity," has become the uniting force among many white supremacist groups. Included in most religious teaching produced by its leaders are racist statements that echo the statements of other white supremacists. The most moderate groups publish hate literature; the more radical groups turn to violence, including murder. Among those attracted to Identity in recent years are racist and violent young "skinheads" -- some of whom were a part of the crowd of three hundred people who chanted racial slurs at federal marshals attempting to capture Weaver. Although Identity groups are small in number and diverse, their penchant for social agitation attracts widespread media attention. The recent discovery that racist groups in the United States are supplying both literature and organizational help to racist groups in Germany is of concern to the whole Western world. One article by the Associated Press states that "violent acts perpetrated by far-right German extremists rose from 270 in 1990 to 1,483 last year, mostly attacks on foreigners."[2] The article goes on to say that "police investigating KKK activities in Germany raided some 30 buildings in May."[3] Not understanding the violent and racist nature of Identity, Christians sometimes connect with this movement because of Identity's espousal of issues such as right-to-life and anti-Communism. Because of this vulnerability it is important for Christians to know and understand Identity's false and racist teachings. For the sake of non-Christians, it is also important for Christians to differentiate between biblical Christianity and Identity. Finally, it is the moral duty of Christians to stand against the evil intent of this form of white supremacist teaching. It is to further each of these three purposes that this article has been written. THE JEW AS THE GREAT ENEMY Identity adherents believe they are the only descendants of Adam and the only chosen descendants of Abraham. This is the reason for the name Identity -- they are convinced they know their true identity. They believe they are members of the supposed ten lost tribes of Israel. Identity adherents of today would include the British, Germanic, and Scandinavian peoples as those comprising the tribes of lost Israel. On the other hand, the Jew has for them become the great enemy. This insistence on singling out Jewish people as the enemy of the white race is the Identity movement's most clear link to Adolf Hitler and his Nazi ideas. The more extreme groups believe in what is referred to as the "serpent seed" teaching that Eve and Satan had sexual intercourse and produced Cain, starting a line of half-devil people. For many Identity groups this imagined half-devil line of Cain is the Jewish race. Pastor Arnold Murray, an Identity preacher from Gravette, Arkansas, calls them "Kenites" (an Old Testament people he identifies as "Cainites") and believes they were associated with Judah until they took over leadership of that tribe. These "Jews" were the people who killed Christ. Pastor Murray teaches that calling the Jews the chosen people of God is the gravest of sins. He says, "Bless your heart if you have ever been deceived by the Kenite, and I am speaking now on the spiritual level, if you have ever really believed that group was the chosen of God you were deceived by Satan. Repent of that even more so than your personal sins in the personal sense."[4] Some other Identity teachers believe the Jews are children of Satan only in a figurative sense. But this really does not change their attitude toward Jewish people -- their statements about the Jews still reflect a deep hatred. One writes about the Jew: "We know that as a race, they have the sly characteristics of the serpent...We know they have intimidated and imposed their will on our own government and every government in the nations of Christendom, through their dominance of finance, government, church, education, and the media."[5] In this scenario, a political position begins to emerge: the Jews are placed in a position of conspirators with Satan to take dominion over the world. In an awful reversal of their biblical role, the true Jewish people are now cast as the archenemy of God and humanity. Claiming the sacred history and the sacred Book for themselves, Identity teachers remove all that is a part of the Jew's humanity. RACISM: THE BASIS OF IDENTITY TEACHING Racial bigotry extends far beyond the Jews in Identity teaching. Since the white race alone has descended from Adam, the other races are viewed as a _prior_ creation. They insist that Genesis 1:24, which describes the creation of animals and is prior to the creation of Adam, includes a description of all nonwhite races. In that list of created beings -- "cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth" -- they single out the word _beast_ as a description of other races. This of course means they believe the other races are inferior. All Identity teachers refer to the word _beast_ to explain how other races escaped the flood; they were included among the creatures that Noah and his sons rounded up for the ark. Because Identity teachers hold that the other races are of a different creation, they consider interracial marriage a sin. Identity teachers insist that interracial marriage was the cause of God's judgment on the people of Noah's time. Consistent with this twisted view of Scripture, they believe that to marry someone of another race is treason to one's own race. Pastor Pete Peters of La Porte, Colorado informs us that he teaches his children to never marry a person of another race. He adds: "I teach them also that if they ever did such a thing -- never to come around my house with their mate or their half-breed children because they've been traitors to their own sires."[6] Some teachers -- such as Richard Butler and his Aryan Nations, and Dan Gayman and his Church of Israel -- see the black race as aliens and cohorts with Satan, and all other races as creatures who, like animals, have no spirits. In the fantasy world of extreme Identity, when Lucifer rebels he uses spacecraft and fights battles against God with the help of beings from other planets. The alien beings are forced to earth according to one tape: "For the fleet...came to earth like crumpled birds and...some survived and...some were wiped out....the dark and curly-headed ones never before seen upon the earth, the coming of the Negroid race."[7] Although Arnold Murray affirms that all the other races are good, he offers the public, without apology, the book _Tracing Our Ancestors_ by Frederick Haberman. Haberman writes: "It must be noticed that there is a great difference between the three principal races of mankind...and there exists little relationship between the three. The white race were unquestionably the last comers, being in every way superior to the other two and constituting their leaders and teachers."[8] Pastor Murray also teaches that even among Christians the different races should have no fellowship.[9] All Identity groups certainly see the white race ruling over the other races. IDENTITY'S RACIST HISTORY *Racism as Science and History.* Many of Identity's racist ideas can be traced to the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Esoteric sounding theories, propagated by intellectuals and college professors of the day, were used to prove the inferiority of some races. These theories have been disproved by modern scholarship but are kept alive by the racist of today. One of the terms common to such theories was _physiognomy,_ an ancient method for determining human character by the study of facial features. This included comparing those features to animal ones.[10] Also, many historians of the time were highly nationalistic and, therefore, prone to write with a high regard for the white race. *Religious Racism.* Another form of racism developed along religious and nationalistic lines. The growing concern of the peoples in the West (including the United States) with their own national interest led to some strange ideas about national identity. In the United States a theory called "Manifest Destiny" evolved. That view included the understanding that it was the nation's God-given destiny to expand from the east coast to the west coast, and perhaps even to the southern end of Mexico. In England another movement began that would later blend well with the Manifest Destiny ideas held by some in the United States. This religious movement was nationalistic, assigning religious worth more to race than to righteousness. The movement, Anglo-Israelism, began in 1870. It was founded by the Rev. John Wilson, a nonconformist minister who expounded the idea that the Anglo-Saxons were the supposed ten lost tribes of Israel. Believing the nations of western Europe and the United States to be God's chosen people, they expected them to receive all the promises God gave to Israel in the Old Testament. Mr. Edward Hine brought the Anglo-Israelism movement to the United States in 1870, the same year the movement began in England. His efforts were mostly unfruitful, but his book, _Identification of the British Nation with Lost Israel,_ is still used by adherents of Identity in the United States. Hine's book was first among a spate of Anglo-Israel literature published in the U. S. -- including a periodical published by Yale Professor Charles A. L. Totten called, _Our Race, Its Origins and Its Destiny._[11] Today, with few exceptions (the Worldwide Church of God being one), most adherents of Anglo-Israelism are in the Identity movement. *The Turn toward Violence.* Extreme racism entered Anglo-Israelism because some of its most prominent adherents were also connected to the Ku Klux Klan, and the Klan in turn had become interested in the Nazis. The KKK was born, without overt racist intentions, in 1867. Thomas F. Gossett, author of _Race: The History of an Idea in America,_ notes that "the Klan originated as a lark among young men in southern Tennessee who -- so the story goes -- chose this method of visiting their sweethearts attired in their version of the costume of Knights of old and discovered accidentally that they were terrifying the Negroes."12 The Klan grew in its attempt to control black people during the Reconstruction period. The methods included "assassination, whipping, tarring and feathering."[13] The Klan during the 1920s added the Jew and Catholic to their list of enemies in an attempt to attract more members. By 1923 membership had reached between three and six million people. Decline came with the depression of the 1930s and also with the Ku Klux Klan's overtures to the American arm of the Nazi party before the Second World War.[14] The merging of Klan and Nazi extremism into the Anglo-Israelism movement -- which then produced the Identity movement -- can largely be traced to one man: Wesley Swift. However, it was not Swift but Howard B. Rand (whose writings are published by Destiny Publishers) who first coined the term _Identity._ According to James Coates, Rand's intention was "to describe Hine's concept of Anglo-Israelism, in which Jesus was not a Jew of the tribe of Judah but an Aryan of the ten lost tribes of Israel and an ancestor of the present British, Germanic and Scandinavian people."[15] Wesley Swift was a prolific speaker and his tapes and written messages are frequently used by Identity speakers. His connections to the Nazism of Hitler's Germany are unquestionable. Swift was at one time both a friend and advance man for Gerald L. K. Smith, a racist whose radical career began when he joined the "Silver Shirts," an American Nazi group formed by Willam Pelley. James Ridgeway, author of _Blood in the Face_ (a "who's-who of hate"), notes that "with Pelley as their 'Chief,' the Silver Shirts openly supported Hitler, cooperated with the pro-Nazi German-American Bund, and embarked on a program of vicious anti-Semitism."[16] Swift was also a member of the Ku Klux Klan when he founded the Identity Church of Jesus Christ Christian in 1946. Richard Butler, who was led into the Identity movement by Wesley Swift, inherited Swift's church and founded an Identity compound called the Aryan Nations, located near Hayden Lake, Idaho. Butler is an advocate of Nazism, and his yearly Aryan Nations meetings attract Klan members, Nazi groups, and skinheads. Some Identity teachers, although racist, reject Nazism in name, attributing its cause to the Jews. This trend has started a new controversy within the ranks of Identity. The Identity groups who reject Nazism also do so because they are perceptive enough to recognize Nazism's ingrained hatred of true Christianity. IDENTITY'S SPIRITUAL HISTORY The list of spiritual influences touching Identity resembles a religious vanity fair. The Neo-Nazi movement embraces the zodiac of astrology as easily as it does the teaching of the quietest mystic Madame Guyon. Its teachers write against the New Age movement while embracing occultist Edgar Cayce. They also welcome the deliverance ministries (those ministries that specialize in the controversial practice of casting demons out of Christians) while embracing the world of the occult. *Occult Influence.* Some of the groups that reject Nazism seem to feature less occult teaching within their published material. However, except for racist literature, occult teachings have probably had the greatest influence on most Identity groups and individuals. This may have partly developed from prewar occultic German groups that were also anti-Semitic. German cults such as the Alder and Falken and the Geusen worshiped the sun. And one influence on Hitler was a group whose emphasis on German nationality was connected to their interest in the Druids -- an ancient pagan people many Identity groups also embrace.[17] Wesley Swift used occult legends as "truths" in his sermons. His bizarre teachings included stories about Atlantis and Lemuria, fictional civilizations included in most occult philosophy. Identity teachers of today such as Pastor Arnold Murray maintain that the great Pyramid was built by the Israelites and is a second revelation of God. The idea that the measurements of the pyramid are encoded with a revealed message is occultic, since the message is both supernaturally given and esoteric, known only by those initiated into that knowledge. Identity also embraces astrology and occultic tales of Jesus visiting Britain. *Other Streams of Religious Influence.* Because many Identity adherents are people with a history of looking for "new truths," they often come to Identity from other religious movements, bringing some of their unique doctrines with them. Thus the teachings of several smaller religious groups have been added to the racist teachings of Identity. These include the Sacred Name movement (using only _Yahweh_ for God and _Yehoshua_ or some equivalent for Jesus); Jesus Only teaching (the belief that there are not three persons in the Godhead, only three offices); and the fringe teachings of the "manifest sons of God" (the expectation that an elite group of the church will deliver creation, overcome death, and help God bring in the kingdom). A few people came out of the restoration and charismatic movements and added their unique doctrines to Identity. The restoration movement teaches that God is restoring lost doctrines to the church. Utilizing this framework, the Identity teachers include Identity as one of the lost doctrines. (It is important to point out that although Identity teachers variously link Identity to the above movements and teachings, properly speaking these movements have nothing to do with Identity.) THE BONDING LINK OF CONSPIRACY The Identity stand against the Jews as a people without value who are enemies of the white race aligns the movement with other groups that feed constantly on conspiracy theories, including ones that are Nazi without teaching Anglo-Israelism. This taste for anti-Semitism is most responsible for the intermingling of Identity, Neo-Nazi, and other racist groups. Different groups will often use the same speakers at their various churches and survivalist camps. And individual members of different groups will order the same books from racist publishers. For instance, many Identity groups offer books by E. Raymond Capt and also use him as a speaker, since his specialty is supposedly archaeology and history. Capt's writing includes such books as _Stonehenge and Druidism_ and _The Traditions of Glastonbury: The Silent Years of Jesus between 12 and 30._ Another speaker used by most groups is Lt. Col. Jack Mohr, whose specialty is anti-Communism. Mohr offers such tapes as "Background to Betrayal: How America Has Been Betrayed by Zionists Both Jewish and Christian." Many racist groups, including Identity groups, sell or refer to the book, _Protocols of the Elders of Zion._ This fraudulent book is supposedly a document of conspiracy by Jewish leaders to take over the world. Most conspiracy theories have developed from a particular fear -- and the need to master that fear, by identifying a cause and then supposedly gaining control of the situation. For instance, the cause of the Black Plague in the Middle Ages was attributed to the Jew. The solution espoused was to kill or remove the Jews. Then the plague would supposedly end. The disastrous condition of Germany after the First World War was attributed to the Jew by some fearful Germans. Eventually their evil solution brought about the Holocaust. And while the John Birch Society changed most of the leading players in their conspiracy theory to what they call the "insiders" rather than Jews, many others still see the Jew as the monster controlling world events. For these anti-Semites the Jew is often referred to as the "International Banker." All of these groups together, both Identity and non-Identity white supremacist, hold a dangerous sociopolitical view. Their mutual solution to this supposed "Jewish control" is a race war. This war is considered by many Identity teachers to be the last great battle, Armageddon. According to these teachers, at the head of this conspiracy that leads to the final battle is ZOG: Zionist Occupation Government. Zionist Occupation Government simply means to Identity adherents that the Jewish conspiracy has taken over the government of the United States. Since they also believe that Jewish leaders are using other races to destroy the white race, the final battle pits the white race against virtually all others. And, because they constantly feed on conspiracy theories that involve those whose beliefs or politics oppose their own, Identity's political and religious opposites are also considered their enemies. Furthermore, they do not have to love their enemies because they consider most of them subhuman. THE PARASITIC EXISTENCE OF IDENTITY The farm crisis is an important source for Identity propaganda. Using such tapes as "A Biblical Look at the Farm Problem," they prey on farmers who are losing their farms.[18] Some Identity teachers are suggesting that ZOG or the Jews are behind the loss of the farms. They have managed to pull a few farmers into the movement through these tactics. This kind of parasitic existence is typical of Identity extremism. They appeal to other conservatives concerning such issues as AIDS, abortion, and prison reform. _This is where some Christians have been pulled into the circle of Identity._

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