APut 07/20 1554 Butler COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho (AP) -- The Rev. Richard G. Butler, head of th

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APut 07/20 1554 Butler COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho (AP) -- The Rev. Richard G. Butler, head of the Church of Jesus Christ Christian (Aryan Nations), says he does not know who might succeed him as leader of the white supremacist church based at nearby Hayden Lake. In an interview published Sunday by the Coeur d'Alene Press, Butler, 69, also said he has completely recovered from quadruple bypass heart surgery. Butler was among 15 white supremacists indicted by a federal grand jury in Fort Smith, Ark., on sedition charges in April. On May 1 he underwent emergency heart surgery in Spokane, Wash., and in a court appearance 18 days later he appeared pale and weak. In the newspaper interview, however, he seemed healthy and said he had made a complete recovery and resumed all his usual Aryan Nations work. As in the past, he dismissed the indictments as a "vendetta" by the government "to shut up certain segments of the population." Government lawyers lack the evidence to sustain convictions, and the case will wind up strengthening the white supremacist movement, Butler said. He added that no one had emerged as a potential successor for the day he retires as Aryan Nations pastor. He said his beliefs dated back to his early childhood in Bennett, Colo., adding that he had always suspected his father was a member of the Ku Klux Klan. "He was a white separatist. He felt you didn't live with the other races," Butler said. Butler said he didn't oppose the existence of racial minorities but feared for the future of the white gene pool. "I don't hate rattlesnakes. I just don't want my bed full of rattlesnakes," he said. "They have their place and I have mine." Last page !

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