Christian Identity is a label applied to a wide variety of loosely affiliated believers and churches with a racialized theology. Many promote a Eurocentric interpretation of Christianity.
According to Chester L. Quarles, professor of criminal justice at the University of Mississippi, some of The Christian Identity movement followers hold that non-Caucasian peoples have no souls, and can therefore never earn God's favor or be saved. Believers of the theology affirm that Jesus Christ paid only for the sins of the House of Israel and the House of Judah and that salvation must be received through both redemption and race.
Christian Identity's key commonality is British Israelism theology, which teaches that white Europeans are the literal descendants of the Israelites through the ten tribes that were taken away into captivity by the armies of Assyria. Furthermore, the teaching holds that these (White European) Israelites are still God's Chosen People, that Jesus was an Israelite of the tribe of Judah, and that modern Jews are not at all Israelites nor Hebrews but are instead descended from people with Turco-Mongolian blood, or Khazars, and are descendants of the Biblical Esau-Edom who traded his birthright for a bowl of lentil stew. (Genesis 25:29-34).
The Christian Identity movement first broke into the mainstream media in 1984, when the white nationalist organization known as The Order embarked on a murderous crime spree before being taken down by the FBI. Tax resister and militia movement organizer Gordon Kahl, whose death in a 1983 shootout with authorities helped inspire The Order, also had connections to the Identity movement. The movement returned to public attention in 1992 and 1993, in the wake of the deadly Ruby Ridge confrontation, when newspapers discovered that former Green Beret and right-wing Christian fundamentalist Randy Weaver had at least a loose association with Christian Identity believers.
No single document expresses the Christian Identity belief system; however, adherents draw upon arguments from linguistic, historical, archaeological and Biblical sources to support their beliefs. Estimates are that these groups have 2,000 to 50,000 members in the United States of America, and an unknown number in Canada and the rest of the British Commonwealth.
Christian Identity believers reject the beliefs of most contemporary Christian denominations. They claim that modern Christian churches are teaching a heresy: the belief that God's promises to Israel (through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) have been expanded to create a spiritual people of "Israel", which constitutes the Christian "Church". In turn, most modern Christian denominations and organizations denounce Christian Identity as heresy and condemn the use of the Christian Bible as a basis for promoting anti-Semitism. Adherents of Christian Identity claim that Europeans are the true descendants of the Biblical Jacob, hence they are the true Israel, and that it is those who are against the interests of European-descended Christians that are the true anti-Semites.
Christian Identity developed out of British Israelism, a Protestant religious movement popular in the Victorian era of British history. It asserted that the Europeans, Anglo-Saxons, Germanics and Slavs were the original descendants of the twelve lost tribes of Israel, whereas British Israel teaches that The British are from the Ten Lost Tribes. The British Israel form of the belief held little or no anti-Semitism, its followers instead holding the view that Jews made up a minority of the tribes of Israel, with the British and other European peoples making up the remainder. However, some historians believe that this tradition's popularity in the United Kingdom grew out of the desire to justify imperialism in the Victorian period.
English banker Edward Hine (1825–1891) published an influential book on British Israelism in 1871 called Forty-Seven Identifications of the British Nation With Lost Israel. In 1884, Hine sailed to America to spread his ideas there. Howard Rand (1889–1991), born in Haverhill, Massachusetts, took Hine's ideas, added antisemitism, and called the result "Christian Identity".
Wesley Swift (1913–1970) is considered by the FBI to have been the single most significant figure in the early years of the Christian Identity movement. Swift helped popularize a new element: the "two-seed" (or "seedliner") theory, which holds that Eve was seduced by the Serpent, conceived Cain as a result, and that modern Jews are actually descended from Cain. However, some figures once prominent in the Identity movement (such as Pete Peters and Ted Weiland) believe that modern Jews are descended from the Khazars rather than from Satan.
Swift was born in New Jersey, and eventually moved to Los Angeles in order to attend Bible college. It is claimed that he may have been a "Ku Klux Klan organizer and a Klan rifle-team instructor." In 1946, he founded his own church in Lancaster, California. In the 1950s, he was Gerald L. K. Smith's West Coast representative of the Christian Nationalist Crusade. In addition, he had a daily radio broadcast in California during the 1950s and 60s, through which he was able to proclaim his ideology to a large audience. With Swift's efforts, the message of his church spread, leading to the creation of similar churches throughout the country. In 1957, the name of his church was changed to The Church of Jesus Christ Christian, which is used today by Aryan Nations (AN) churches.
One of Swift's associates was retired Col. William Potter Gale (1917–1988). Gale had apparently been an aide to General Douglas MacArthur, and had coordinated guerrilla resistance in the Philippines during World War II. Gale became a leading figure in the anti-tax and paramilitary movements of the 1970s and 80s, beginning with the California Rangers and the Posse Comitatus, and helping to found the militia movement. Numerous Christian Identity churches preach similar messages and some espouse more violent rhetoric than others, but all hold to the belief that Aryans are God's chosen race.
It was Col. Gale who introduced future Aryan Nations founder Richard Girnt Butler to Swift. Until then, Butler had admired George Lincoln Rockwell and Senator Joseph McCarthy, but had been relatively secular. The charismatic Swift quickly converted him to Christian Identity.
When Swift died, Butler took over the Church, to the apparent dismay of both Gale and Swift's family. Neither Butler nor Gale were anything like the dynamic orator that Swift had been, and attendance dwindled under the new pastor. Butler eventually renamed the organisation "The Church of Jesus Christ Christian/Aryan Nations" and moved it to Hayden Lake, Idaho.
Lessor luminaries were also present as Christian Identity theology took shape in the 1940s and 1950s, such as Baptist minister and California Klansman San Jacinto Capt[sic] (who claimed that he had introduced Wesley Swift to Christian Identity), and one-time San Diego Deputy City Attorney (and lawyer for Gerald L. K. Smith) Bertrand Comparet (1901–1983). But for the most part, today's Christian Identity groups seem to have been spawned by Wesley Swift, through his lieutenants William Potter Gale and Richard Butler.
Christian Identity asserts that the people of Europe are God's servant people according to the promises that were given to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It further asserts that the early European tribes were really the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel and therefore the rightful heirs to God's promises. The argument is that the lost tribes of Israel were taken into captivity and deported by Sargon, king of Assyria as punishment for failing to honour the terms of the first covenant, given by God to Moses. After the death of King Solomon, the Hebrew people experienced a civil war that resulted in two houses, the House of Israel, and the House of Judah. As punishment for their sinfulness, God warned both houses through Jeremiah, and the minor prophets that both houses would be punished for 2520 years ("seven times" or also known in the Bible as "the time of the Gentiles"), by being divorced as a people from their God, and removed from the land of their forefathers. From 745BC Tiglath-Pileser III of Assyria started this invasion of the House of Israel plus 2520 years comes to 1776, and Identity holds that America is the tribe of Joseph's younger son, Manasseh. In 721BC Tiglath-Pileser III continued his invasion plus 2520 years later was 1801, marking the Act of Union and the formation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland which Identity holds to be the great commonwealth of nations promised to Joseph's eldest son, Ephraim. Christian Identity believes that the remaining tribes are the other western European nations. By extension, the theory goes, this would mean that the European tribes inherited God's first covenant, subsequent punishments, and the "New Covenant" as well.
Christian Identity, through British Israelism, has formulated the belief that the historical House of Israel, which was captured by Sargon, did not stay long in the "City of the Medes", the Biblical destination of Sargon's deportation. Rather, the House of Israel became nomadic and was therefore the ancestral lineage of the invading Celto-Germanic tribes that ravaged the Roman Empire and Rome itself. Much is made of folk etymology such as the Hebrew word for exile (Glh, or Gal) compared to "Gaul", or "Issacsen" and "Saxons". In a similar way, some Identity believers claim that the Biblical "tribe of Dan" became the tribe known as Danes, claiming that they left alleged clues scattered about Europe (such as river names like Danube, Dnieper, Dniester ) or that part of the Biblical "tribe of Judah", that was taken with the House of Israel in the Assyrian captivity, became known as the tribe of Jutes.
One of the most distinguishing beliefs held by Identity Christians is the view that modern Jews are not the Biblical "House of Israel". Identity Christians hold that modern Jews are not even the Biblical "house of Judah", but rather claim that they are Edomites, descendants of Esau, who mixed with the House of Judah in Babylonian captivity, or are Khazars whose ancestors adopted Judaism in 838 A.D. to avoid warring with Christian Europe, or the emerging power of Islam in the Middle East. This is known as the single-seedline version of Christian Identity. Other Identity Christians, known as dual-seedliners, believe that Jews were conceived as a result of Eve and the serpent in the Garden of Eden having sexual intercourse. Some Identity Christians believe that a version of Christianity must have existed before Roman Christianity entered Europe. Proponents of this theology cite the existence of Celtic Christianity and its struggles with Roman Christianity as evidence, arguing that Celtic Christianity must have been a reflection of the native beliefs of many European tribes. On a related note, many Christian Identity churches display animosity towards the Roman Catholic Church, referring to it as the Whore of Babylon.
Some Christian Identity followers assert that Adam and Eve were preceded by lesser races identified as "beasts of the field" (Gen. 1:25); for example, the "beasts" which wore sackcloth and cried unto God (Jonah 3:8) are considered Negroes. Dual Seedliners, as they are called, believe that Eve was seduced by the Snake (Satan), shared her fallen state with Adam by lying with him, and gave birth to twins with different fathers: Satan's child Cain and Adam's son Abel. Cain then became the progenitor of the Jews in his subsequent matings with the non-Adamic races. This is referred to as the two-seedline doctrine. This doctrine is a revival of a medieval folk belief ascribing the ancestry of legendary monsters such as Grendel to Cain.
Fundamentalist Christians see this ancestral argument as absurd because to them a literal interpretation of Genesis would indicate that Noah, a direct descendant of Seth (another son of Adam), is the father of all modern day peoples since his bloodline was the only one saved in the flood. However, Christian Identity adherents claim that the flood in Genesis only rose high enough to drown the region of the Tarim Basin below sea level (Gen. 7:20) and that therefore the Hebrew word "eretz" which appears in those verses should be rendered "the land" (as in a specific place) rather than "the earth."
Two-seedline adherents believe that Jews are genetically compelled by their Satanic ancestry to carry on a conspiracy against the Adamic seedline and today have achieved almost complete control of the Earth through their illegitimate claim to the white race's status as God's chosen people. As a general rule, Christian Identity followers adhere to the traditional orthodox Christian views on the role of women, abortion, and homosexuality, and view racial miscegenation as a sin and a violation of God's laws as dictated in Genesis of "kind after kind". (Ex. 21:22, Lev. 20:13). They assert a variation on the creationism account of the Earth's creation; they say the pre-Adamic races inhabited the Earth for an unknown period of time before the six-thousand year long history of the Adamic people. Many Christian Identity ministries reject the two-seedline doctrine but still consider Jews to be evil as an entire race.
In addition to their racist views Christian Identity adherents distinguish themselves from mainstream Protestant Fundamentalism in various areas of theology. Most Christian Identity adherents follow the Mosaic law of the Old Testament (e.g., dietary restrictions, the seventh-day Sabbath, certain annual festivals such as Passover). It is also commonplace for adherents to follow the Sacred Name Movement and they insist on using the original Hebrew names when referring to God (Yahweh) and Jesus Christ (Yahshua). Some Christian Identity writers criticize modern Bible editions as well as the Jews for the removal of the original Hebrew name of God in the Bible. Although their adherence to Old Testament Mosaic law may make them appear "Jewish"; they claim that the Jewish interpretation of the law has been corrupted through the Jews' Talmud. Unlike many Protestant Fundamentalists, Christian Identity adherents reject the notion of a Rapture, believing it to be a Judaised doctrine which the Bible does not teach.
World's end and Armageddon
Christian Identity adherents believe in the inevitability of the end of the world and the Second Coming of Christ. The view of what Armageddon will be varies among Christian Identity believers. All contend that there will be a race war in which millions will die; These End Times events are seen as part of a cleansing process that is needed before Christ's kingdom can be established on earth. During this time, Jews and their allies will attempt to destroy the white race using any means available to them. The result will be a violent and bloody millennial struggle, which will be a race war. Some white Christian Identity adherents see themselves as God's agents battling what they see as the forces of evil (Jews and non-Whites) and they believe that they will physically struggle with the forces of evil against sin and other violations of God's law (e.g., miscegenation and internationalism). Many believe that the United Nations, backed by Jewish representatives of the anti-Christ, will take over the country and promote a New World Order. One Christian Identity interpretation holds that white Christians have been chosen to watch for signs of the impending war in order to warn others. Many will perish as a result of refusing to wear the Mark of the Beast which they believe will be necessary to participate in business and commerce. After the final battle is ended and God's kingdom is established on earth, only then will the Aryan people be recognized as the one and true Israel.
Some Christian Identity adherents believe that God will use what they believe is the Chosen Race as his weapons to battle the forces of evil. These Christian Identity followers believe that they are among those chosen by God to wage this battle during Armageddon and that they will be the last line of defense for both the white race and for Christianity in general. To prepare for these events, they engage in survivalist and paramilitary training, storing foodstuffs and supplies, and caching weapons and ammunition.
Christian Identity followers who are Preterist however, view the end-times as being a mistranslation of the 'end of the age' rather than as a literal reference to the end of time, and they also believe that the Kingdom of God is here and now and is merely waiting for good Christian men of Adam-Israel stock to take hold and build the Kingdom of God here and now, and thus they are neither awaiting a second coming, Armageddon, nor are they awaiting any race war.
Christian Identity groups include the Aryan Nations, Church of Jesus Christ Christian, Thomas Robb, Mission To Israel, Folk And Faith, Jubilee (newspaper), Yahweh's Truth (James Wickstrom), Kingdom Identity Ministries and White Separatist Banner. Christian Identity is a major unifying theology for a number of diverse groups of white nationalist Christians. It is a belief system that provides its members with a religious basis for racial separatism. Herbert W. Armstrong is inaccurately described by some of his critics, as well as by supporters of Christian Identity, as having supported Christian Identity, due to his belief in a modified form of British Israelism, and the fact that during his lifetime, he propounded observances favoured by many Christian Identity groups, such as seventh-day Sabbatarianism and Biblical festivals. The Worldwide Church of God that Armstrong founded did not subscribe to the anti-Semitism commonly espoused by the Christian or Israel Identity groups but instead adhered to the traditional beliefs of British Israelism; i.e., the belief held that modern day Jews were descendants of the Tribe of Judah whereas the Anglo-Saxons, Celts, Danes, etc. were descendants of the remaining Ten Tribes of Israel formerly known as the Northern Kingdom. Note: LaPorte Church of Christ is often mischaracterized as sympathetic to Christian Identity, but the organization explicitly rejects this association.
The Aryan Nations (AN) is a group that adheres to the Christian Identity belief system. The group espouses dislike towards Jews, blacks and other minorities, as well as the United States federal government. The original ultimate goal of the AN is to forcibly take five northwestern states - Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Washington and Montana - from the United States government in order to establish an Aryan homeland. This particular ideology is known throughout the White power movement as the Northwest Territorial Imperative. The AN was headquartered at Hayden Lake, Idaho from the late 1970s until February 2001. Its annual World Congress attracted a number of different factions from the far-right. The World Congress was a sort of round table to discuss racialist issues. Since the main Aryan Nations property in Idaho was dismantled following a costly lawsuit against the group and the death of Richard Butler, there have been several struggles over control of the movement that are as yet unresolved.
The Order and The New Order
Robert Jay Mathews formed a clandestine cell in part from members of Aryan Nations called The Order (1983-1984) which committed a number of crimes, including the murder of Alan Berg. While the group had a number of Christian Identity adherents, Mathews himself followed Odinism, as did several other Order members. Dennis McGiffen, who also had ties to the AN, formed a cell called The New Order, over a decade later, in imitation of The Order, the members were arrested before they could follow through on their plans to attack the Southern Poverty Law Center.
South African groups
Christian Identity has a longer history in South Africa (where it is often called "Israel Identity") than it does elsewhere, and due to the apartheid era, during which South African leaders made frequent use of religion to justify their ideals, it may be said to have gained greater societal acceptance among certain sectors of the population than it did in other nations. Ideas similar to the Christian Identity belief system have continued to survive in certain areas, and some South African commentators blame this on the high crime rate in South Africa and on increased unemployment among Whites, especially Afrikaners, since the ANC took power. Some members of these Israel Identity groups follow the teachings of Siener van Rensburg, an Afrikaner prophet who lived during the Second Boer War and predicted, amongst other things, the death of Koos de la Rey.
Opposition and support
Most Americans are unaware of the Christian Identity Movement. Despite its low profile, Christian Identity has influenced many white supremacist and extreme anti-government movements. Some Neo-Nazis reject Christian Identity because they see Christianity as a religion based on the Hebrew Bible and since they reject all things seen as influenced by Jews, they reject Christianity. They believe that both modern Jews and the Biblical Israelites are genealogically related. Some modern neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members and White Power groups place an emphasis on their belief in God and on their version of Christianity. Whether neo-Nazi and Fascist movements promote Christianity or a form of neo-Paganism depends on the beliefs and on the ideology of the specific leadership of the organisations or movements, and as a general rule is never strictly one way or the other. Other White Nationalists, particularly among Pan Europeans (White Nationalists who define all peoples of European origin as White) and Pan Aryans (White Nationalists who define race strictly biologically and extend acceptance not only to all Europeans, but extra European Whites as well) reject Christian Identity as a divisive North European supremacist movement that divides racial Whites along sub-racial and religious lines and as a movement and in so doing gravely imperils the White race at a time of great demographic, social and political decline. They also view its rejection of Non-Nordic Whites as being irrational and lacking in any scientific foundation.
^ Quarles, Chester L. (2004). Christian Identity: The Aryan American Bloodline Religion. McFarland & Company. pp. 68. ISBN 978-0786418923.
^ http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.h ... nted=print
^ Reason Magazine - Ambush at Ruby Ridge.
^ Barkun, Michael (1996). "preface". Religion and the Racist Right: The Origins of the Christian Identity Movement. University of North Carolina Press. pp. x. ISBN 0-8078-4638-4.
^ Christian Defense League by D. Boylan 2004 Revision.
^ http://www.churchoftrueisrael.com/who-d ... deny4.html
^ Khazaria.com - History of Jewish Khazars, Khazar Turk, Khazarian Jews.
^ "Carl Story, Vincent Bertollini and the 11th Hour Remnant Messenger: The Ideology of Hate". Anti-Defamation League. 2000. Retrieved 2007-08-17.
^ Crosswalk - Devotionals, Christian Music, Family, Christian News, Forums & more.
^ WHO ARE THE JEWS? By: Bertrand Comparet.
^ Adam was not the First Man.
^ Welcome - Mission to Israel.
^ Kinsman Redeemer Ministries.
^ I Come As A Thief.
^ [dead link]
^ The Dust of Conflict - South African Military History Society - Journal.
Barkun, M. (1994). Religion and the racist right: the origins of the Christian Identity movement. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
Hill, David. The Gospel of Matthew. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1981.
Ingram, W.L., (1995). God and Race: British-Israelism and Christian Identity, p. 119-126 in T. Miller, Ed., America's Alternative Religions, SUNY Press, Albany NY.
Kaplan, Jeffrey, (1997). Radical Religion in America, Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press. pp. 47–48.
Lakeland, P. (1997). Postmodernity: Christian identity in a fragmented age. Guides to theological inquiry. Minneapolis: Fortress Press.
Quarles, C. L. (2004). Christian Identity: the Aryan American bloodline religion. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland.
Roberts, Charles H. (2003). Race over Grace: The Racialist Religion of the Christian Identity Movement, Omaha, Nebraska: iUniverse Press. ISBN 0-595-28197-4.
Militia Movement; inside the Michigan Militia
MICHIGAN (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – The Michigan Militia, a group of well-armed activists, has been in and out of the news for more than a decade. Often, they say that media attention has come for the wrong reasons.
The militia has been controversial because of its axe to grind with the U.S. Government, and its link to Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.
But are they really training to be home-grown terrorists as some suggest?
In a special report, Newschannel 3 took a look at the militia, and got a first-hand account of their marching orders.
They do their training in firearms and first aid, but ultimately few really know what the volunteer militia is getting ready for, other than to arm themselves against the government should the need arise. It's the guns that scare people who think the men and women of the Michigan Militia are actually training to kill.
“We are not training to kill Muslims,” said Michigan Militia member Lee Miracle, “we would gladly kill terrorists, but not all terrorists are Muslims and not all Muslims are terrorists.”
Militia members say they're not that scary.
“People probably think we sit in our basement all day sharpening our knives, and that we pray for some apocalyptic turmoil, really nothing could be further from the truth,” said Miracle.
Miracle has been with the militia since it began in the early 90s, and has now taken on a leadership role in the group. The militia's original founder was kicked out for being too radical and now they say it's a kinder, gentler, militia.
“We don't want people who want to hurt Americans,” said Miracle. “we don't want people who want to hurt babies, we don't want people who want to blow things up because they're mad.”
Miracle is referring to Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, who at first was believed to have ties to the Michigan Militia. Current members still get fired up about what was, at best, a very distant connection.
“Let's say after the Oklahoma City bombing they said Timothy McVeigh, a known bread eater, blew up a building. Now when you go the store and buy some bread they're going to say, 'Oh he's eating bread just like Timothy McVeigh,'” said Miracle.
Miracle and others do however admit that there have been numerous people joining and then leaving the militia who have committed horrible crimes. One of those is Scott Woodring, a man most in West Michigan remember. Woodring shot and killed a state trooper in 2003.
“We really don't want angry people to come here,” said Miracle.
A look at the Michigan Militia's videos on YouTube paints a slightly different picture, with many shots of guns, ammo, and camouflage, essentially a recruiting tool to get more members.
While militia members say they want peace, a recent study by the Southern Poverty Law Center suggested that the political conditions were ripe for the Michigan Militia to grow and do harm. The center alleges that militia groups are often racist, and have the potential to resort to domestic terrorism.
Newschannel 3 asked Miracle if that could happen, or whether he could be considered a terrorist.
“No, I'm a postal worker,” said Miracle, “it's probably equally frightening to some people. No, I work at the post office, I'm not a terrorist.”
Militia members will admit that the organization's disorganized and isn't growing, currently the militia has few hundred members at most, and on the weekend Newschannel was there, West Michigan members of the group chose not to participate in the training in protest, clearly some friction and lack of cohesion is haunting the group.
“We're not the catch all anymore, and people can find groups that fit in better with their idea of what needs to be done,” said Michigan Militia member Michael Lackoman.
However, militia members say they're there for a reason, a constitutional right, and they don't want anybody to stop them.
“We just basically want to do what we want to do and be left alone to do it,” said Lackoman.
After being kicked out of Michigan, the militia's founder moved to Alaska where he runs a similar group.
At its peak, the Michigan Militia claimed it had 10,000 members.
compared2what? wrote:Because I can't, off the top of my head, even think of any closed patriarchal religious communities that don't systematically abuse children, especially female children. With the possible exception of Fred Phelps, of the Westboro Baptist "God hates [****]" Church, about whom I've never heard anything like that. And probably others I'm forgetting too.
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