|August 11, 1999|
Buford ONeal Furrow, 37, the suspected gunman in the shootings at a Jewish
daycare center in Los Angeles, reportedly lived with Debbie Mathews, the widow of Robert
J. Mathews. Furrow allegedly met her at the headquarters of Aryan Nations, a neo-Nazi and
Identity group based in Hayden Lake, Idaho. Robert Mathews, who died in 1984 in a
shoot-out and fire while trying to hold off federal agents who had surrounded his hideout
on Whidbey Island, Washington, had been head of The Order, (also known as Bruders
Schweigen or Silent Brotherhood), the most violent and notorious domestic terrorist group
of the 1980s. Robert Mathews had also been a recruiter for the National Alliance,
currently the largest and most active neo-Nazi organization in the United States. Members
of The Order were drawn from the National Alliance, Aryan Nations, and various Klan
splinter groups. There are reports that Furrow attended an event at the Aryan Nations
compound in the early 1990s, and worked as a security guard there. These groupsThe
Order, the National Alliance, and Aryan Nationshave long been connected to violent
A police search of Furrows car yesterday reportedly revealed a
copy of War Cycles/Peace Cycles, a book written by Richard Kelly Hoskins, an
adherent to the racist and anti-Semitic "Identity" movement. Hoskins 1990
book, Vigilantes of Christendom: The Story of the Phineas Priesthood, is a lengthy
manifesto that perverts passages of the Bible to justify anti-Semitic and racist acts of
What follows is a brief backgrounder on The Order and Phineas
- The Order committed a number of violent crimes during its reign of terror, including the
1984 murder of Denver talk show host Alan Berg, various bank robberies that netted the
group millions of dollars, and the bombing of a synagogue.
- The Order modeled itself after a group depicted in The Turner Diaries, a novel
written by William Pierce, head of the National Alliance. Many of the crimes for which
Order members were arrested resembled terrorist acts described in the book.
- The Order reportedly gave large sums of the money it stole to various white supremacist
groups, including the National Alliance, one of the most dangerous hate groups in America
- A year after Mathews death, in 1985, members of The Ordernine men and one
womanwere convicted following a four-month Federal court case in Seattle. They were
sentenced to terms of 40-100 years in prison, as well as stiff fines.
- Although The Order is now defunct, several incarcerated members, most notably David
Lane, continue to propagandize from their prison cells and continue to wield influence in
the hate movement. Lane coined one of the most popular rallying cries of the white
supremacist movement, known as "14 Words." They are: "We must secure the
existence of our people and a future for white children."
- As recently as January 1999, James Arthur Wallington, who had been a member of The
Order, was arrested after being a federal fugitive for 14 years. In 1985, Wallington was
indicted for possession of an unregistered submachine gun and a firearm with an
obliterated serial number, but he never showed up for his hearing.
- White supremacists gather every year on Whidbey Island in Washington State for a
memorial ceremony honoring Robert Mathews.
- Members of another white supremacist group, The New Order, which modeled itself after
The Order, were arrested in 1998, when it was discovered that the group planned on
carrying out a series of bombings against a number of targets, including the
- The "Phineas Priesthood" is a violent credo of vengeance that has gained some
popularity among white supremacists and other extremists in recent years. Unlike other
extremists groups, the Phineas Priesthood is not a membership organization in the
traditional sense: there are no meetings, rallies or newsletters. Rather, extremists
become "members" when they commit "Phineas acts:" any violent activity
against "non-whites." In this way, achieving Phineas Priesthood status has
become the goal of extremists committed to perpetrating violent crimes.
- Hoskins is a Lynchburg, Virginia, investment advisor who has become a leading ideologue
in the "Identity" movement. " Identity" is a pseudo-religion that
preaches that white Europeans are the true chosen people and that Jews are descendants of
Satan. Identity also regards blacks and other non-whites as sub-human or, in their words,
- In 1990, Hoskins published his bizarre magnum opus, Vigilantes of Christendom: The
Story of the Phineas Priesthood where he claimed that the "Phineas
Priesthood" are Christian guerillas who avenge Judeo-Christian traitors. While
assuming a posture of impartiality, he speaks with clear sympathy of The Order, of Adolf
Hitler, and of murderers of homosexuals and interracial couples.
- Letters left at the scene of an April 1996 bank robbery in Spokane, Washington,
contained Identity propaganda, diatribes against the banking system and were signed with
the symbol of the "Phineas Priesthood." The three men arrested, Charles Barbee,
Robert Berry and Jay Merrell, were linked to white supremacist and "Identity"
groups and were also charged with setting off bombs at a newspaper office and a Planned
Parenthood clinic. All three were convicted.
- In 1994 and 1995, the Aryan Republican Army (ARA) robbed 22 banks in seven Midwestern
states in order to finance white supremacist causes and overthrow the U.S. government.
Following their arrest, the FBI found a video in which ARAs leader, Peter Langan,
rants at length about the gangs plans to "take over the U.S.A." and
encourages like-minded extremists to kill law-enforcement agents. The video also promotes
Hoskins Vigilantes of Christendom.
- Paul Hill, the anti-abortion activist, was convicted of murdering Dr. John Bayard
Britton and his escort outside a Pensacola, Florida, abortion clinic in 1994. Hill had
written an essay advocating the commission of "Phineas actions" a year before.
- Hoskins writings drew public attention in October 1991, when prosecutors in
Mississippi linked white supremacist Byron de la Beckwith, then imprisoned while awaiting
trial (and later convicted) for the 1963 slaying of civil rights leader Medgar Evers, to
the Phineas Priesthood. Earlier in the year, Hoskins had printed a letter from Beckwith in
his newsletter that concluded, "Phineas for president!"