Angry White Guys

By Christopher Zoukis

Those emasculated young, white, ultra-conservative young men, hating that which they could not understand, they did the only thing they could.  The thing that gave them a sense of control, a sense of dominion.

They fought back.  Image courtesy amazon.com

Mathews started his own cultic group.  It would be a group like those he saw around him – the people in charge – people like bankers and lawyers and businessmen.  They had money.  They had power.  They had respect.  Mathews would have those, too. 

The Sons of Liberty.  That’s what he called his group.  The name was an obvious rip-off from the American Revolution.  In effect, then, Mathews had seceded from the society that had taken his manhood from him.

The Sons of Liberty were an anti-communist, extremist militia group.  Made up of mostly Mormons and survivalists, they numbered about 30 men.  They didn’t really know what to do to regain their manhood.  They just knew they were angry.  So they decided to revolt against paying taxes, because they felt that would be a good place to start.  At least it would make a statement:  “they were mad as hell and they weren’t going to take it anymore” – to quote the rabid newscaster in the movie Network

Mathews set the example.  He claimed 10 dependents on his W-4 form.  This wretched attempt was his idea of tax resistance.  It was more than wretched, it was pathetic.  The IRS arrested him for tax fraud.  He was tried in a court of law, where, when it was all over, he was found guilty.  Even his sentence highlighted his status as a loser:  six months probation.  He couldn’t even get thrown into prison.  At least then he could have felt like a martyr and laid claim to a bad-boy image.

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The Lunatic Fringe

By Christopher Zoukis

In the year of our Lord 2013, many Americans believe in the Bible and what it says – literally.  The Bible is right, according to eighty percent of all Americans.  Not only is it right, it is the divinely inspired Word of God.  In other words, God dictated the Bible, and his secretaries – people we call prophets and apostles – wrote it down.

Furthermore, more than thirty percent of Americans believe that God speaks to them directly.  Which, when you stop and think about it, means that the Bible has been superseded as far as these favored people are concerned.  These chosen people, of course, still believe the Bible is the Word of God.  It’s just that they get special memos from God when He has something to add or when clarification of some point of doctrine is needed.

What’s more, fully (which means more than) ten percent of all Americans believe God speaks to them out loud.  They ‘hear,’ in a very real sense, the voice of God. 

Unsurprising, then, that white supremacist groups pop up everywhere.  The Montana Militia, the Nazi Low Riders, W.A.R (white Aryan resistance) and the Aryan Brotherhood being just a few examples.  And while skinhead groups are viewed as the lunatic fringe by many people, there is little doubt that some radical-fundamentalist religious groups agree that people of color are somehow inferior.  Noah said so.  Moses said so.  The Bible says so.  And that means God says so.  Image courtesy vkb.isvg.org

Although theologians place the Flood and Noah’s curse in the year 6000 B.C., which means racism started about 8000 years ago, the term ‘white supremacy’ was born in 1902.  

‘White supremacy’ is a racist ideology – a strong belief – that white people are superior to other racial groups.  White people are superior not only as a race, but because they are God’s chosen. 

Most white supremacists are ardent racists, desire power over others, and are xenophobic.  What they don’t understand, they hate.  And since they automatically don’t understand anything or anyone that is different than they are, they hate almost everything and everyone.  The automatic (unthinking) part comes easily to them, as they are usually ignorant, uneducated and violent by disposition.  But not always – some are indeed educated.  Often their racist attitudes mask ulterior motives or are the product of environmental influences, such as parents, peers or churches.

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Church of Jesus Christ-Christian

By Christopher Zoukis

The next person to ride the British-Israelite wave was John Wilson.  In 1840, Wilson published his book Lectures on Our Israelitish Origin, which was well-received and went through four subsequent printings. 

John Taylor caught the wave in 1859, when he published The Great Pyramid, Why Was It Built and Who Built It?  Taylor maintained that the Israelites had built the Pyramid of Cheops.  His argument rested upon the fact that British feet and inches formed the basis of the pyramid’s construction. 

By 1871, the waves of British-Israelism were getting larger and coming more frequently.  For that was the year Edward Hine, who was a banker made a big splash with the publication of his book The Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, which became a bestseller, selling 250,000 copies.  Later, in 1884, Hine boarded a ship bound for America, where he intended to spread the gospel of British-Israelism.  And he did.  While traveling around, Hine advanced the notion of Americans being the lost tribe of Manasseh.  A few years later, a man named Howard Rand, who hailed from Massachusetts, borrowed Hine’s gospel as his own.  Only Rand made one significant change.  He supplemented Hine’s gospel with the centuries-old disease called anti-semitism.  For Rand believed the Jews were responsible for the ills of the world.  Rand called his gospel “Christian Identity.”

The wave of British-Israelism crested in 1946.  That was the year that Wesley Swift started his own church in Lancaster, California.  Baptizing his church with the peculiar name of the Church of Jesus Christ-Christian, he rapidly established sister-churches in San Francisco, Oakland, Riverside, Hollywood and San Diego.   Image courtesy covenantpeoplesministry.org

Swift, the only child of a prominent Methodist preacher, was born in New Jersey in 1913.  God called him to preach while he was a teenager.  By the time he was 18 years old, Wesley was a licensed preacher in the Methodist Church. 

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The Heresy of Christian Identity

By Christopher Zoukis

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, 50 new right-wing militia groups have been formed in the U.S. in the last two years.  More than a few of them are located in Alaskan cities.  For example, the Second Amendment Task Force in Fairbanks boasts 7000 members.  All of who carry guns and rifles on Saturdays and Sundays, when they’re not at work.  These groups post speeches and combat exercise videos on YouTube.  The speeches promote fear and spread extremist propaganda, while the combat exercise videos advance violence as an alternative.  Most of these groups claim to be Christians.  And many of them subscribe to the beliefs of Christian Identity.  Image courtesy www.kingidentity.com

The April 2009 murder of three police officers in Pittsburgh was perpetrated by a white supremacist, whose personal belief system was based on the doctrinal tenets of Christian Identity.  The cop-killer was afraid he was going to lose his right to “keep and bear arms.”  And Political Research Associates – a Massachusetts think tank – states that right-wing extremists are responsible for nine murders since the election of President Obama.

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