Most Identity groups teach
that the British (and by extension Americans, Canadians, and others) are the
spiritual and literal descendants of the 10 lost tribes of ancient Israel. After
the invasion of the Northern kingdom of Israel, the Assyrians scattered the
indigenous population. They resettled in the Caucasus Mountains, and later
drifted into Europe. The Identity movement extended that theory and
generated their own profoundly racist doctrine. They believe that the white race
(or the "Aryan peoples" or "White Anglo Saxon Protestants", or the "British
Peoples", or "White Americans") represent God's chosen people, as mentioned in
the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament). They have taken these beliefs in an
extreme direction to justify their hatred of Blacks, Jews, homosexuals and
The Bible records in the Old Testament how a schism occurred
among the ancient Hebrews, separating the land into:
The Southern Kingdom of Judah which included the tribes of
Benjamin and Levi, and
The Northern Kingdom of Israel which included the remaining
About 721 B.C., the latter was captured by the Assyrians. Its population was taken into
captivity, and assimilated. Gentiles were brought in the region and the Northern
Kingdom ceased to exist. However, British Israel writers developed the belief
that these "10 tribes" retained their identity, became lost to history, and
wandered far from the Middle East. They stated that the stone used in the
coronation of King David was transported to the British Isles where it exists
today as the Stone of Scone. The latter stone is still used for the
coronation of British queens and kings. The writers promoted the belief that
divine authority was transferred from ancient Israel to England along with the
stone. British Israelism formed a main part of the foundation of
Herbert W. Armstrong's Worldwide Church of God
The Identity movement is a movement of
many extremely conservative "Christian" churches and religious organizations,
extreme right wing political groups and survival groups. Some are independent;
others are loosely interconnected. The largest Identity movement has
traditionally been the Ku Klux Klan
which was reorganized in 1915 by William Simmons, a "Christian" pastor. He had
been inspired by the film The Birth of a Nation which portrayed the KKK as a
champion of white civilization. The KKK slid into obscurity by the second World
War, but was revitalized in the mid 1950's as a reaction to enforced racial
integration in the southern U.S.
Quoting the FBI's Megiddo Report on domestic terrorism:
"Wesley Swift is considered the single most significant figure
in the early years of the "Christian" Identity movement in the United States. He
popularized it in the right-wing by 'combining British-Israelism, a demonic
anti-Semitism, and political extremism.' He founded his own church in
California in the mid 1940s where he could preach this ideology. 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 Swiftís
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
"One of Swiftís associates, William Potter Gale, was far more
militant than Swift and brought a new element to "Christian" Identity churches.
He became a leading figure in the anti-tax and paramilitary movements of the
1970s and 80s. There are numerous "Christian" Identity churches that preach
similar messages and some espouse more violent rhetoric than others, but all
hold fast to the belief that Aryans are Godís chosen race."
Other current organizations which follow Christian Identity beliefs are:
American Nazi Party; Aryan Nations; Church of Jesus Christ Christian, Aryan
Nations; Confederate Hammerskins; Jubilee, National Association for the
Advancement of White People; The Order; radical modern offshoots of the
original Posse Comitatus; Scriptures for America, White Aryan Resistance
(WAR) and White Separatist Banner. Many small groups fade in and out
of existence frequently.
The leadership of the more radical Identity groups advocate, but
do not themselves engage in violence against Jews, Blacks, and Homosexuals but
are waiting for Armageddon to begin.
They have a very conservative interpretation of the Bible in regards to
other religions and homosexuality. This has led to a
hatred of homosexuality and of homosexuals and a rejection of followers of
They view the white race, the "Adamic race" or "True Israelites" as
superior. Other races are the "Satanic spawn" of Cain. This leads naturally to
a hatred of Blacks, Native Americans, and immigrants from "non-Aryan" lands
They believe that Adam and Eve were white. Many other "pre-Adamic" and non-white
people were already in existence when Adam was created. This leads to the
belief that Anglo-Saxon Protestants are the "true identity" of God's chosen
people of the Hebrew Scriptures. Non-whites are considered sub-human. These
beliefs confirm their concept of white racial superiority. At a
minimum, they call for racial separation; some call for extermination of what
they call the "mud races" (non-white races).
They believe that the commandment which forbids adultery does not refer to
extra-marital sexual relationships. Rather, it forbids "racial adultery"; i.e.
inter-racial marriages. Their reasoning is that the 10th Commandment (Exodus
20:17) which forbids coveting one's neighbor's possessions already bans
adultery; one of those "possessions" is the neighbor's wife. And, God would
not have repeated Himself.
They believe they are direct descendants Adam's son Abel
and thus are God's chosen people. They regard the Jewish people as having
descended from Cain. Thus the Jewish belief that they are the chosen people is
invalid. This has led to an hatred of the Jews within the Identity movement.
They believe in the inevitability of the end of the world
and the Second Coming of Christ. It is believed that these events are part of
a cleansing process that is needed before Christís kingdom can be established
on earth. During this time, Jews and their allies will attempt to destroy the
white race using any means available. The result will be a violent and bloody
struggle -- a war, in effect -- between Godís forces, the white race, and the
forces of evil, the Jews and nonwhites. Significantly, many adherents believe
that this will be tied into the coming of the new millennium.
The view of what Armageddon will be varies among Identity
believers. Some contend there will be a race war in which millions will die;
others 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
interpretation is that white "Christians" have been chosen to watch
for signs of the impending war in order to warn others. They are to then
physically struggle with the forces of evil against sin and other violations
of Godís law (i.e., race-mixing and internationalism); many will perish, and
some of Godís chosen will be forced to wear the Mark of the Beast to
participate in business and commerce. After the final battle is ended and
Godís kingdom is established on earth, only then will the Aryan people be
recognized as the one and true Israel.
They believe that God will use his chosen race
as his weapons to battle the forces of evil. Identity followers believe they
are among those chosen by God to wage this battle during Armageddon and they
will be the last line of defense for the white race and "Christian" America.
To prepare for these events, they engage in survivalist and paramilitary
training, storing foodstuffs and supplies, and caching weapons and ammunition.
They often reside on compounds located in remote areas.