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 Identity Church Movement

Identity churches use Christianity to justify racism and anti-Semitism; they became widely-known as a violence-prone movement in the United States in the late 1970's and early 1980's. Identity followers believe that white Anglo-Saxons - not Jews - are the real Biblical "Chosen People;" that Jews are descendants of a sexual union between Eve and Satan; that the white race is superior to others, and that Blacks and other nonwhite races are "mud people" on the same level as animals, and therefore have no souls.

  Jew portrayed as Devil
--The Basic Identity Belief:
The Jew as the devil who tricked Eve
in the Garden of Eden.

The Identity Church movement promotes
the view that Christianity, when properly understood, supports anti-Semitic and racist beliefs and extremist violence.
In actuality, of course, the Identity version of Christianity completely distorts traditional Christian teachings. In 1987, the National Council of Churches, the leading organization representing mainline Christians, forcefully rejected all of the Identity movement's teachings.

Identity has its roots in a belief called Anglo-Israelism, which arose in England in the late 1800s. Anglo-Israelites believed that white Anglo-Saxons were descended from the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, who were exiled by invaders in biblical times. According to Anglo-Israel doctrine, England and the United States were the true Israel of the Bible - the lands in which biblical promises to the "Chosen People," Anglo-Saxons, were to be fulfilled.

Identity leaders hope that if hate and bigotry are presented as religion more people will listen and accept at least some of these beliefs. In the United States Identity groups have even tried to convince the government that they are actually "churches," and therefore deserve the tax benefits and respectability that true religious organizations receive.

Any examination of the activities of Identity Church followers would quickly reveal their true nature. In 1983 and 1984 members of a group called The Order committed a series of violent crimes, including murder, bombing, and armed robbery in support of their extremist views. This group closely followed Identity teachings and attended Identity churches (most of which celebrate Hitler as a prophet or even messiah). According to the testimony of one member of the group, "the end goal, bluntly, was the annihilation of the Jewish race."

Most recently, the Identity movement's bitter racist ideology and anti-Semitic philosophy has linked together an assorted collection of extremist groups. Organizations ranging from the neo-Nazi National Alliance to some militia groups have embraced Christian Identity beliefs. These racists have all found the Identity Church's views helpful in promoting and defending their violent and hateful ideas and actions.

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