I recently wrote an article about a Pastor from a small Alabama town who advertised a Pastoral Conference inviting “All White Christians.” This man is a Pastor of a Church of God (Christian Identity), and at the time of the article, this writer had no understanding of the term “Christian Identity.” As a result, a great disservice was done to members of a small town that in no way deserved to be identified with this hate group.
In an effort to repair some of the erroneous misconceptions my previous article generated, this article will edify readers about Christian Identity and present some facts for consideration. These facts will not exonerate Alabama or any other Southern State of racism, which exists everywhere, but it will help to put into perspective the false notion that the South is nothing but a bunch of racists, which is definitely not true.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, (ADL):
One of the most remarkable developments in the extreme right in the United States in the past few decades has been the rise of an obscure religious ideology known as Christian Identity. Penetrating existing racist and anti-Semitic groups and movements, it has inflamed their bigotry with religious fervor and also sparked the creation of many new groups. Adherents have committed hate crimes, bombings and other acts of terrorism. Identity’s current influence ranges from Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazi groups to the anti-government militia and sovereign citizen movements-yet most Americans are unaware that it even exists.
Here are a few facts about Christian Identity:
Adherents to Christian Identity believe that whites of European descent can be traced back to the “Lost Tribes of Israel.” They advanced the belief that white Europeans are the true Israelites. This belief is known as British-Israelism.
On the shores of America in the early twentieth century, British-Israelism helped to advance anti-Semitism, and later evolved to embrace other types of racism, militia movements, and anti-government groups, particularly the anti-tax movement.
According to an Analysis of the Department of Homeland Security released in 2009, “[DHS is] warning law enforcement officials about a rise in “rightwing extremist activity,” saying the economic recession, the election of America’s first black president and the return of a few disgruntled war veterans could swell the ranks of white-power militias.”
Christian Identity theology teaches that we are in the “End Times” and that we are approaching or are already in, the time of “Tribulations” wherein a great battle between good and evil will occur (Apocalypse). Christian Identity followers believe this will be a racial battle.
Christian Identity believes in the imminent collapse of world’s institutions and, “They hold themselves to “God’s laws,” not “man’s laws,” and many do not feel bound to a government that they consider run by Jews, the New World Order or some other sinister entity. This anti-secularism has led to reclusiveness among Identity Christians, with some living by themselves or with like-minded people in isolated locations…” Read more.
According to Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLA) Hate Map, the state with the most hate groups is California, which is where Christian Identity began in America. The second highest hate group state is Georgia, followed by Florida, Texas, Mississippi and Tennessee. (It should be noted that the next highest hate-group rates include non-Southern states (New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio and Illinois).
Alabama has the same hate-group population as Ohio. None of these states should be demonized or categorized as “Racist States.” It is clear from one of the largest Christian Identity groups who call themselves “Crusaders For Yahweh” and whose motto is “Bringing the White Voice back to Government,” that bigotry is widespread in America.
The connection between extreme right-wing conservatism, religion and Christian Identity groups is coming increasingly blurred since America voted in a Black President. The infiltration of bigoted hatred and the false erroneous belief that liberals are in control of government, coupled with growing anti-government sentiments, is serving to unite once moderately conservative individuals with the ideas and rhetoric of extremists. That most Americans have not heard of Christian Identity which has an origin nearly as old as America, does not bode well for Democrats who often marvel at the hatred and paranoia that has suddenly become so blatant with the Tea Party and even gripped the GOP in its influences.