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Poisoning the Web: Hatred Online
Internet Bigotry, Extremism and Violence
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Responding to Extremist
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10 Frequently Asked Questions
Identity Church Movement:
The Worship of Hate

The Identity Church movement, a pseudo-theological manifestation of racism and anti-Semitism on the far right, first came to light in the U.S. during the late 1970s and early 1980s, though its roots lie in the late years of the last century, with the British movement known as Anglo-Israelism.

Anglo-Israelism held that white Anglo-Saxons are descended from the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel. Adherents to this doctrine believed that England and the U.S. are the true Israel in which Biblical promises to the "Chosen People" are to be fulfilled. The Identity movement takes the position that white Anglo-Saxons not Jews are the real Biblical "Chosen People;" that Jews are the descendants of a union between Eve and Satan; and that the white race is inherently superior to other races. Identity believers assert that Blacks and other nonwhites are "mud people," on the same spiritual level as animals, and therefore without souls.

A nationwide movement, Identity has filled dozens of "churches" with its hate. Additionally, Identity has become the "religion" of choice for many hate groups, including Aryan Nations and the Posse Comitatus, in addition to some factions of the Ku Klux Klan.

Numerous Identity "churches" have established a Web presence in recent years, among them America's Promise Ministries, Stone Kingdom Ministries, and Kingdom Identity Ministries. Many of these organizations have made good use of the Web to market their pamphlets, books, and videotapes to their supporters. America's Promise Ministries offers Web users a vast
Many of these organizations have made good use of the Web to market their pamphlets, books, and videotapes to their supporters.
online catalog of books, pamphlets, audio tapes, and video tapes filled with their racist beliefs. Along with a section full of online Identity books and book reviews, the Stone Kingdom Ministries Web site lists hundreds of "Bible Studies on Audiocassettes" for sale. Among bumper stickers, decals, charts, and other merchandise, the Kingdom Identity Ministries Web site retails Identity-based books written for children. Also at the Kingdom Identity site, Web users can enroll in a correspondence course, which consists of studying almost 300 pages of Identity materials, to receive a "Certificate in Christian Education."

With links to these "churches" at its Web site, the bimonthly newspaper The Jubilee of Midpines, California, serves as a national umbrella publication for Identity believers. Like the Web sites for those groups, the Jubilee site puts the power of the Web to use to raise funds. In addition to selling books and videotapes that the Jubilee guarantees "you won't find in the B. Dalton bookstore," visitors to the Jubilee site can sign up for subscriptions to the newspaper's print edition; buy advertising in its print or online versions, and purchase inexpensive, long distance telephone service that will benefit The Jubilee.

While some Identity "churches" focus on the Web's commercial potential, paramilitary Identity groups such as the Posse Comitatus and Aryan Nations have used it to encourage action. Ideologically, early Identity "theologians" William Potter Gale and Wesley Swift deeply influenced these particularly vicious organizations.

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2001 Anti-Defamation League