Silent Brotherhood

By Christopher Zoukis

Robert Mathews began raising cattle, got married to a woman named Debbie McGarrity, a woman of Scottish descent.  When she proved infertile, they adopted a son.  Mathews, though, really wanted a child from his own loins.  So he started seeing a woman named Zillah Craig.  She, too, was of Scottish descent, as Mathews didn’t want to taint his bloodline.  They had a daughter and his marriage to Debbie went to hell.

He got a job as an electrician at the Bunker Hill Mine Company, which tore raw zinc out of the ground.  The mine closed due to poor management and the sagging price of zinc.  So Robert got a job at the Portland Lehigh Cement Company.  Yet he remained dissatisfied with his life.  Something was missing.  It was as if he had mislaid his soul. Richard Butler

So he started looking for it in all the wrong places – extreme right wing politics and warped interpretations of history.

Like Solomon in the Bible, Mathews decided that knowledge might make him happy.  So he read a lot of politics and history.  Most of what he read supported a racist interpretation of history.  From this junk, Mathews concluded that he wasn’t the problem.  He wasn’t a loser after all.  The real problem was that the white race was being polluted and challenged in its supremacy by other races. 

So Mathews started another club, a club for white people only.  He invited other white supremacist families to Washington State.  He called it the “White American Bastion.”  And to learn more about starting his own country within a country, he visited the Aryan Nations, a group started by a guy named Richard Butler.  The Aryan Nations were white power exclusionists.  They were white.  They wanted power.  And everybody who wasn’t white and didn’t want power was excluded from their club.

Aryan Nations dreamed of a whites-only kingdom, which would be located in Idaho.  And of course, Richard Butler would get to be king.  They advertised themselves as Christian Nazis.

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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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