Christian Identity

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Sources:
http://www.tolerance.org/maps/hate/group.jsp?map_data_type_id=2
http://www.anthropoetics.ucla.edu/ap0702/skandalon.htm
http://www.carm.org/list/christian_identity.htm
 

Also known as Anglo-Isrealism, Israel Identity

Founder

There is no single founder of the movement (Some think it to be Wesley Swift born in the 1800's. Others claim it can be traced back to the 1600's.), which developed over a period of seventy years and is still changing. Three people who were significant to its evolution are Reverend John Wilson, Edward Hine, and Howard Rand. Wilson and Hine began the movement as British Israelism in 1840. It developed into the Identity Movement when Howard Rand founded the Anglo-Saxon Federation of America in 1930 with the help of Wesley Swift, who was a member of the KKK. Later, Swift founded his own church, called the Church of Jesus Christ Christian, which developed into the Aryan Nations.

Membership

Less than 50,000. In America only.

Origins

This movement has its origins in the 1800's America where it grew in the shadow of this country’s developing and successful conquering of the American continent combined with racial prejudices. Many of the whites believed that North America was ordained by God and blessed by Him to be supreme in the world. All other racial groups were considered inferior. Early contributing movements to C.I.M. were the Nativist movement and Anglo Israelism.

Nativism was a philosophy that those not born in America (excluding American Indians) and were not Protestant, were harmful to the American System. In particular, a strong anti-catholic disposition was advocated. Manifestations of this philosophy resulted in physical persecutions of many Catholics in New York.

Anglo Israelism (also known as British Israelism) is the belief that the British and, therefore, the Americans and Canadians, are the true descendants of the ancient Israelites — the 10 lost tribes. The present Jews in Israel are really a false group descended from Cain. Identity believers usually act out their faith through social, military, and political agendas.

An early proponent of this movement, Charles Carroll, wrote a book called The Negro a Beast. He considered Negroes to be subhuman. The KKK is usually associated with this group.

Description

The Christian Identity religion asserts that whites, not Jews, are the true Israelites favored by God in the Bible. In most of its forms, Identity theology depicts Jews as biologically descended from Satan, while non-whites are seen as soulless "mud people" created with the other Biblical "beasts of the field." Christian Identity has its roots in a 19th-century English fad called British Israelism, which asserted that European whites were descended from the ten "lost tribes" of Israel and were thus related to Jews, who were descended from the other two Hebrew tribes mentioned in the Bible. But British Israelism, which was initially friendly to Jews, was adopted and transformed in the 20th century into a rabidly anti-Semitic creed by a number of racist preachers in the United States.

For decades, identity has been one of the most important ideologies for the white supremacist movement. In its hardest line form, it asserts that Christ will not return to earth until the globe is swept clean of Jews and other "Satanic" fluences. In recent years, deep doctrinal disputes, the lack of a central church structure, and a shift among white supremacists towards agnosticism and racist variations of neo-Paganism have weakened the Identity movement and reduced the number of its adherents. The total number of groups counted in 2001 was 31.

The Christian Identity Movement is comprised of many radical fundamentalist Christian churches, extreme right-wing political groups, and survival groups. It is a complex, highly varied, and loosely organized movement whose fundamental teachings are based on the ideology that Anglo-Saxons are the direct descendents of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel and are thus the true chosen people of God. Current groups that practice Christian Identity are associated with preaching hate, racism and genocide and condoning violence towards minorities, especially Jews. However, the original movement evolved from the British Israelism movement of the mid-nineteenth century, which did not start as a hate group nor did its leaders preach violence. Christian Identity took shape in early twentieth-century America, when it was influenced by American Nativism, the Ku Klux Klan, and various strands of anti-Semitism. By the 1970s and 1980s, Christian Identity ideology merged with anti-tax and paramilitary movements and rhetoric, and its actions became more violent. In its current form, Christian Identity is the unifying theology for a number of diverse groups; it provides its members with a religious basis for racism and a religious doctrine that allows believers to fuse religion with hate, conspiracy theories, and apocalyptic fear of the future.

The activities of Aryan Nations and similar groups led to a study conducted by the FBI, announced on October 20, 1999 as "Project Megiddo." This study was intended to alert US law enforcement to what is described as "the potential for extremist criminal activity in the United States by individuals or domestic groups who attach special significance to the year 2000." An accompanying FBI statement mentioned that, "The threat posed by extremists as a result of perceived events associated with the year 2000 is real. The volatile mix of apocalyptic religious and New World Order conspiracy theories may produce violent acts aimed at precipitating the end of the world as prophesied in the Bible." The data for the report was collected over nine months by the FBI's domestic terrorism unit and was not supposed to be made public. However, the Center for the Study of New Religious Movements, CESNUR, a cult apologist organization, obtained a copy and placed it on their web site, at http://www.cesnur.org/test/FBI_004.htm (http://www.cesnur.org/test/FBI_004.htm) . The Christian Identity movement was discussed at length in the Project Megiddo report because of its apocalyptic beliefs.

Doctrines

A theological system centered on a racist/anti-Semitic and white supremacy. It seems to use religious arguments to justify political agendas.

The following beliefs are held in common by most Christian Identity groups:

(1) A very conservative interpretation of the Christian Bible, which is their main sacred text. This interpretation includes a hatred of homosexuality and homosexuals, and a strict rejection of followers of other religions.

(2) A view of the white race, which is sometimes referred to as the Adamic Race or True Israelites, as superior to all others. The view that other races are the satanic spawn of Cain leads to a hatred of African Americans, Native Americans, and any person from "non-Aryan" countries.

(3) The belief that other pre-Adamic and non-white people were already in existence when Adam was created and that Adam and Eve were white. This leads directly to the belief that Anglo-Saxon Protestants are the true descendants of God's chosen people of the Hebrew Scriptures.

(4) That the commandment which forbids adultery does not refer to extramarital affairs but to racial adultery and interracial marriages. The tenth commandment in their view already bans adultery.

(5) That they are the direct descendents of God's chosen people, the Jewish people having descended from Cain. This belief is associated with extreme anti-Semitism within their movement. These beliefs can be summed up in what is referred to as the "two-seedline" doctrine: "Christian Identity followers assert that Adam was preceded by other, lesser races, identified as 'The beasts of the field' (Gen.1:25). Eve was seduced by the snake (Satan) and gave birth to two seed lines: Cain, the direct descendent of Satan and Eve, and Abel, who was of good Aryan stock through Adam. Cain then became the progenitor of the Jews in his subsequent matings with the non-Adamic races. Christian Identity adherents believe the Jews are predisposed to carry on a conspiracy against th

Practices

Structure

Christian identity does not have a national organizational structure; rather, it is a grouping of churches throughout the country that follow its basic ideology. Some of these churches are as small as a dozen people and some have memberships in the thousands. The Southern Poverty Law Center currently lists 602 active hate groups, of which 32 are specifically identified as Christian Identity groups ( http://www.splcenter.org/intelligenceproject/ip-index.html (http://www.splcenter.org/intelligenceproject/ip-index.html)). Some of the better known organizations that follow Christian Identity beliefs include: Aryan Nations, American Nazi Party, Church of Jesus Christ Christian, Confederate Hammerskins, National Association for the Advancement of White People, Kingdom Identity Ministries, Posse Comitatus, Christian Research, Scriptures for America, White Aryan Resistance (WAR), and White Separatists Banner. Although many Internet search engines will not link to racist web sites, the Nationalist Observer prides itself on having the world's largest white racist internet links page: http://www.cwporter.com/RACISTLINKS.html (http://www.cwporter.com/RACISTLINKS.html) .

Recruitment

Through extreme right-wing churches, survival groups, and word of mouth.

Adherents

Generally are Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Nation, Nazi Party, White Separatists groups, etc.

Texts

Old and New Testaments of the Bible, some think sections of the U.S. Constitution were divinely inspired.