A Weakened Aryan Nations Spins Off Many Factions
Posted: January 16, 2009
Nearly five years after the death of founder Richard Butler in 2004, there is a scattered grassroots effort around the country to revive Aryan Nations, once the country's most active and influential neo-Nazi group. Aryan Nations lost its standing when the group disbanded into various factions after the loss of its compound in a lawsuit and Butler's subsequent illness and death.
Today, there are at least seven factions or offshoots of Aryan Nations, all with relatively small or Web-based memberships. Some emphasize Butler's neo-Nazi ideology while others have focused more on his adherence to the racist and anti-Semitic religious sect called Christian Identity.
There are numerous individuals who identify themselves as members of the group or use the group's symbology without having real ties to any of the current factions—a trend that shows the continuing power of "Aryan Nations" as a racist brand.
In addition to various factions of Aryan Nations, there are numerous individuals who identify themselves as members of the group or use the group's symbology without having real ties to any of the current factions—a trend that shows the continuing power of "Aryan Nations" as a racist brand.
A number of individuals and factions associated with the original Aryan Nations group have tried to reclaim its legacy, without much success.
- Clark "Brother Laslo" Patterson and Jonathan Williams, associated with the faction that Butler headed before he died, moved the group to Alabama in 2004 and renamed it the Aryan Nations/ United Church of Yahweh (UCOY). In 2007, UCOY decided to drop the Aryan Nations part of the name and also rid the church of explicit Nazi imagery. In October 2008, Williams suddenly left the church, which is now headed by Patterson.
- August Kreis, currently based in South Carolina and one of the leaders of an Aryan Nations faction that emerged in 2002, has chapters or contact points in South Carolina, Ohio, Arkansas and California. In 2007, Kreis released a statement on his site promoting the idea of "leaderless resistance," in which a group has no one leader and anyone who supports the goals and ideology of the group can be a member. Kreis may have turned to this concept because he has been unable to attract a significant following or gain much respect in the movement.
- Jay Faber, who had originally been associated with Kreis's faction, now leads a separate faction, Aryan Nations Revival, which claims to be headquartered in Texas and have five other chapters in New York, New Jersey, Arkansas, Georgia, and Missouri.
- The Church of the Sons of Yahweh/Legion of Saints, another faction of Aryan Nations that formed in 2002, was originally led by Morris Gulett (currently in prison on bank robbery and weapons charges) and the deceased Ray Redfeairn. Butler had officially appointed Redfeairn as his successor in September 2001 but Redfeairn subsequently stepped down from that position a few months later and formed his own faction. He died in 2003. Currently, the group has not much more than a Web presence but lists an address in Calhoun, Louisiana.
- Michael Lombard and Jerald O'Brien lead a small Aryan Nations faction based in Couer dAlene, Idaho.
- Church of the True Israel, a small group that distanced itself from Butler and his neo-Nazi ideology in the late 1990s, still exists in Hayden, Idaho.
- Lawrence Michael Craden, a Missouri prisoner, leads a group called the Aryan Nations Prison Ministry, which has members based in Missouri, Texas, Florida, Georgia, and California prisons.