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
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
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."
|Many of these organizations have made good use of the Web to market their
pamphlets, books, and videotapes to their supporters.
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
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.