Book Proposal

By Christopher Zoukis Killing God’s Enemies relates the origin, history and activities of the church of Christian Identity and its violent outgrowth called the Phineas Priesthood.  In doing so, the book reveals the group’s philosophy of hate; their methodology, which is death to all blacks, Jews, homosexuals and abortionists; and their goal, which is an […]

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A Georgia Cadillac

Christopher Zoukis

In the Spring of 1987, Hoskins was speaking at an Identity gathering in Georgia.  Sponsored by the Georgia Peach Church of the Last Days, the event was held at a local amusement park.  Lakeside Amusement Park was run by one of Georgia’s great showmen, David Beck.  Of Germanic descent, Beck described himself as “an impresario of the old school.”  Which meant he had a taste for fountains and fireworks, along with rollercoasters.  Beck, who had been married four times, was an ardent believer in Christian Identity.  And his park reflected his religious beliefs.  Image courtesy ajc.com

Lakeside had an array of fountains – most of which were topped with water-spouting eagles or mystical warriors – designed by Beck himself.  Beck had expanded Lakeside’s gardens, turning them into outdoor wonders.  There was a huge ballroom.  Its ceiling supported by great wooden arches from which dangled Teutonic chandeliers.  A platform had been erected at one end and hundreds of chairs sat in neat rows in front of the speaker’s podium.

As the event unfolded, Hoskins sat in a chair behind the podium, waiting his turn to speak.  There were a total of five guest speakers.  Three of who sat near Hoskins.  The fourth man was already at the podium, exhorting his listeners in a high-pitched, darting voice. 

Thirty minutes later, Hoskins arose and approached the podium.  His features were heavily Germanic in structure and provided him with a powerful presence.  His voice, deep and sturdy, could rumble easily or roar vehemently.  Whichever he did, galvanizing blue eyes gazed steadily, gauging reaction to his words.  All in all, Richard Kelly Hoskins was a handsome man and a persuasive orator.

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Hell, Fire, and Damnation

By Christopher Zoukis

Up to this point, Hoskins would not have been described as a religious or spiritual or mystical personality.  This changed in the mid-1960s.  For Hoskins got religion.  His spirituality, previously dulled by insufficient stimulation and by a lack of human compassion, emerged and shone in zealous splendor.  Hoskins was narrow-minded and saw no need for religion, because to his way of thinking religion was weak.  It preached tolerance, love, forgiveness, and turning the other cheek.  Hoskins had no tolerance for such namby-pambyism.  He wanted the Jesus of the Second Advent, not the whimpy Jesus of the First Advent, which was what religion taught.  At the Second Advent, Jesus came back with eyes like fire and a tongue like a sword, with which he killed his enemies.   Image courtesy www.nndb.com

Hoskins finally found it.  And when he did it was transforming, life-changing.  For his spiritual awakening nurtured the seeds of a new and fervent vocation:  unreasoning religious fanaticism.

It happened like this.  Hoskins had descended into the pit of alcoholism.  “On April 28, 1965, at 4:00 in the afternoon, in the green rocking chair on the front porch,” Jesus showed up.  Only this Jesus wasn’t a Jew, he was a Nordic from the great Aryan race.  As Hoskins said, “When He saved me all He got was a drunk with a nervous breakdown who couldn’t work and who had no money.” 

Hoskins became a devotee of the hell-fire and damnation preaching of Jerry Falwell.  Falwell was an old-line fundamentalist, who hated Jews, abortionists, non-whites and government interference.  But Falwell was smart too.  He didn’t want to be stamped as a rightwing nutcase.  It was more profitable to be conservative than radical.  So he preached a watered-down version of Christian Identity, a version that made it more palatable to the average champion of the status quo Christian.

Falwell’s preaching was music to Hoskins’ ears.  He had found a kindred soul, a fellow warrior of the White Way.  Hoskins began attending Thomas Road Baptist Church, where Falwell held sway every Sunday, preaching the truth of God’s word.  Which in reality had little resemblance to the truth or to God.  More accurately, it was the Jerry Falwell show and the word being preached was the Gospel of Jerry Falwell.

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A Crazy Ballad of Crazy People

By Christopher Zoukis

Taking a cue from the zealous Levitical priest Phineas, who, with a thrust of his holy spear, dispatched Zimri and his girlfriend, one group of supremacists calls itself the Phineas Priesthood. 

The Phineas Priesthood is a Christian Identity group in the United States.  They oppose interracial intercourse, mixing of races, homosexuality and abortion.  They also hate Jews, any kind of cultural pollution and paying taxes.  And in general, they don’t like women much either.  In fact, the Phineas Priesthood is so opposed to everything that they have no governing body, no meetings, and no membership process.  You become a Phineas Priest by simply adopting the beliefs of the Priesthood and acting upon them. 

Blowing up federal buildings, bombing abortion clinics, robbing banks and murdering immoral people who participate in interracial relationships are approved methods of acting upon your beliefs, according to the Phineas Priesthood and Christian Identity.

Robert Jay Mathews was a Phineas Priest, only he didn’t refer to himself by that term, because the term wasn’t invented until 1990, which was when Richard Kelly Hoskins coined it.  More about Richard Hoskins later.  Yet the idea of a “solitary warrior” did exist.  And that’s the way Mathews thought of himself – as a “solitary warrior” for God.  Robert Jay Mathews / Image courtesy en.wikipedia.org

Mathews decided he could “accomplish more for God” – those were his words – if he was a little more organized.  If his organization combined violence with a system, the sky was the limit.

If still alive, Robert Mathews would be almost 60 years old now.  Instead, he was dead at the age of 31.

The ballad began in Marfa, Texas.  Where, on January 15, 1953, Una Mathews delivered the last of her three boys.  She and her husband Johnny named the baby boy Robert Jay Mathews. 

As you can tell by the spelling of the name ‘Mathews,’ they were of Scottish descent.  And the Scots are noted for being stubborn and violent and honorable. 

Robert came from good stock, which meant his family had some money, owned property and were educated.  His father was the mayor of Marfa, the President of the Chamber of Commerce, a businessman and a deacon in the town’s Methodist Church.  While Una Matthews was a god-fearing woman; a good mother, respectable wife and a den mother for the Boy Scouts. 

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Cult of Personality

By Christopher Zoukis

By the 1950s, Swift was delivering his ideology by means of daily radio broadcasts.  A dynamic and charismatic speaker, Swift’s message appealed to more and more people, slowly spreading across the country, appealing primarily to malcontents, those disaffected by their lot in the social and financial pecking-order of life.  These converts felt success and happiness were being taken from them by a vast conspiracy, which was composed of the government and its life-sucking taxes; the Jews, who were perceived as controlling the government; and the ‘mud people,’ who stole the jobs rightfully belonging to white people.  Righteous anger at what was happening was the common denominator among Swift’s adherents.  Richard Butler / Photo courtesy www.topsecretwriters.com

Somewhere in there, Swift hooked up with Colonel William Potter Gale, who organized anti-tax and paramilitary groups in the United States, including the California Rangers and the Posse Comitatus.  Colonel Gale introduced Swift to Richard Girnt Butler, who later founded the Aryan Nations.  Butler was an ardent white supremacist, who had never really considered the advantages of combining his racist philosophy with religion.  But he was willing to listen.  Once he heard the verbal pyrotechnics of Swift’s message, Butler saw the light.  Race and religion were the way to go.  For religion added a spiritual urgency to the hate of racism.  The result was an unprompted and spontaneous fanaticism – the army of God’s chosen people.

With Swift at the helm, aided by Butler and Colonel Gale, Christian Identity continued to grow, slowly but surely.  Then things started to fall apart for two reasons.  First, Wesley Swift died in 1970.  It quickly became apparent that Christian Identity was as much a cult of personality as it was a religion.  The movement was only as strong as its honcho.  Butler assumed control, but didn’t have the force of personality or flair of Swift.  Membership began to sag as members looked for someone to prop them up. 

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The Phineas Priesthood

By Christopher Zoukis

Within the context of the Bible, the story of Phineas is minor and unremarkable.  Yet this relatively obscure event would later be shanghaied, distorted, and adopted by members of the church of Christian Identity to promote their own supremacist agenda, which revolved around race religion.   The church of Christian Identity put forth Phineas as the template for their concept of “solitary warriors,” thus fomenting violence and terrorism.  Thus, the next step in understanding the Phineas Priesthood involves an examination of Christian Identity.  Image courtesy amazon.com

The term ‘Christian Identity’ comes from the following doctrinal statement:  “We believe the Bible identifies the Anglo-Saxon people with the Old Testament nation of Israel.”  The statement, of course, is wrong.  It reflects a misinterpretation of what happened to the Lost Tribes of Israel after their dispersion.

The Bible records – and historical evidence corroborates – that around 721 B.C. the Northern Tribes of Israel also known collectively as Samaria, were conquered by Assyria and carried away into captivity.  This was Assyria’s way of punishing Samaria for failing to pay tribute (taxes). 

What happened to these ‘lost tribes’ has always been a controversial topic among Biblical scholars, amateur theologians and Christians.  

According to some, the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel migrated to Great Britain, where they gave origin to the Anglo-Saxon or Caucasian race, which is also referred to as Aryan.  The term given to this erroneous interpretation is British-Israelism.

The first person to really buy into the idea was John Sadler, who was a member of the British Parliament.  He published a book called Rights of the Kingdom in 1649.  In his book, Sadler put forth his belief that Europeans, Anglo-Saxons, Germans and Slavs were the descendants of the Lost Tribes of Israel.  Since this was the period of British Imperialism, when the British Empire had hegemony over much of the world, Sadler’s claim wasn’t astounding.  Most of England held the position they were not only racially superior to the rest of the world, but they were also “God’s chose people.”  Indeed, circumstances served to prove the point.

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James von Brunn Goes Off the Deep End

By Christopher Zoukis

The lunch hour was almost over.  It was hot and humid.  People walked back to their places of work, eager to get out of the heat and into air-conditioned buildings.  Eighty-eight year old James Wenneker von Brunn steered his car into a parking place near the 14th Street entrance of The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C.  It was June 10, 2009.  James von Brunn / Image courtesy sezginalay.myblog.it

Von Brunn double-parked his car.  It didn’t matter, because he knew he wouldn’t be coming back.  The car would be towed.  Then it would sit in some impound yard, waiting to be claimed.  It would never be claimed.

The old man got out of the car and walked toward the building.  He carried something long and slender in his right hand.

Seeing the elderly gentleman approaching the entrance, Stephen Tyron Johns politely opened the door and held it.  Johns was a museum security guard.  His job was to protect the premises and all those in it.  Johns liked his job and he liked people, so he instinctively held the door open.

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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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