On this edition of Parallax Views, Stuart Wexler, author of America's Secret Jihad: The Hidden History of Religious Terrorism in the United States (Counterpoint Press, 2015), joins us to uncover a far-right anti-Semitic movement known as Christian Identity and what he argues is its often overlooked role in stoking violent hate crimes and white supremacist terrorism across the United States for decades.
First, however, Stuart relates an uplifting story about how students of his Government and Politics class at Highstown High School drafted The Civil Rights Cold Case Records Collection Act. In this amazingly inspiring story, Stuart's student lobbied social media and Congress to the point that they gained enough support for the bill to end up on President Trump's White House Desk. President Trump then signed that bill into law. Put another way, these young students made history.
Stuart Wexler and His Students
From there we pivot into a lengthy conversation about Stuart's excellent book America's Secret Jihad: The Hidden History of Religious Terrorism in the United States. Stuart details the origins of the Christian Identity movement and its peculiar interpretation of the Bible. In addition to noting its apocalyptic, millenarian nature, Stuart explains how Christian Identity's adherents believe in a variation of a discredited theory known as British Israelism, which argued that the English are the true descendants of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel. Furthermore, they hold that those generally understood to be Jewish by mainstream society are, in actuality, bearing false witness and belong to a "serpent seedline" they describe as "The Synagogue of Satan". Put in layman's terms, Christian Identity's adherents believe that Jews are demonic entities.
Despite the admittedly fringe nature of these beliefs and the movement itself, Stuart makes the case that Christian Identity's extremist orientation has left a trail of violence in its wake dating back to the days of Civil Rights. He also describes how the movement eventually came under greater scrutiny in the 1980's through the activities of The Order (aka The Silent Brother or Bruder Schweigen) and The Covenant, The Sword, and The Arm of the Lord. Moreover, Stuart argues that Christian Identity's fingerprints and presence can be found in or around the periphery of historical events such as the Ole Miss race riots of 1962,the siege of Ruby Ridge, the Oklahoma City Bombing, and possibly even the Atlanta Child Murders. Stuart also argues that today the traces of Christian Identity extremism can be found in the recent Pittsburgh and San Diego synagogue shootings.