The following is excerpted from
Michael Barkun: Religion and the Racist Right - The Origins of the Christian Identity Movement, The University of North Carolina Press (Chapel Hill and London), 1994, ISBN 0-8078-4451-9 (pbk.), 0-8078-2145-4 (cloth).
If you happen to live in the US, I hope that your are sufficiently horrified to buy the book.
From the Introduction [pp viii/ix]:
Christian Identity is built around three key beliefs. First, Identity believes that white "Aryans" are descendands of the biblical tribes of Israel and thus are on earth to do God's work. Second, Identity believes that Jews are not only wholly unconnected to the Isrealites, but are the very children of the Devil, the literal biological offspring of a sexual dalliance between Satan and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Third, Identity believes the world is on the verge of the final, apocalyptic struggle between good and evil, in which the Aryans must do battle with the Jewish conspiracy and its allies so that the world can be redeemed. By any criteria, these are beliefs that place Identity at the farthest margins of American religion, but they also suggest its potential political volatility.

An example of British-Israel milleniarism (pp. 132f):

The apocalyptic scenario for World War II was advanced in astonishing concreteness, due perhaps to the large number of retired military officers in the movement. As has already been mentioned, Colonel MacKendrick went so far as to write a letter on October 25, 1940, to Lieutenant General A. G. McNaughton, the commander of Canadian troops in Britain, alerting him to the shape the war was about to take. Germany would attempt the capture of the Iranian and Iraqui oil fields, along with the pipeline to Haifa, and attack the British fleet in the Mediterranean. Mussolini, in the meantime, would initially conquer Eqypt and Palestine, but would be defeated and slain in Palestine, as the combined armies of Russia, Turkey, Persia, and Germany gathered against Jerusalem. But the king of England would meed the challenge by calling a National Day of Prayer, and supernatural forces would defeat the unholy coalition ``in the Great Day of Almighty God by the Omnipotent power of our Lord and we will be saved to carry on into the NEW ERA as decreed in the Holy Write.'' There is no indication of General McNaughton's response to this curious religiomilitary analysis, but MacKendrick's approach was by no means unique.
(And such ideas are alive and kicking, just look what I found in one of my favourite newsgroups today.)

A general comment on conspiracies (pp. 171f):

The attraction of this fabric of legend, deviant exegesis, and racialism is that it was compatible with existing secular conspiracy theories about Jews. One could accept the notion of the Jews as ``the Devil's spawn'' without rejecting beliefs about cabals of international Jewsh bankers, Jewish Bolsheviks, or the Elders of Zion meeting to plot world conquest. All could be assimilated to the belief in satanic paternity, which created a kind of superconspiracy -- what Conrad Gaard called ``the great conspiracy'' -- of which all smaller plots were elements. [...] Paradoxically, as far as conspiracy theorists are concerned, the more innocent the putative conspirators appear to be, the more clearly they are implicated, for their apparent innocence is taken to be proof of their complicity. Thus the theory becomes a closed system of self-referential ideas, from which all contradictory information has been excluded.

Chapter 9 presents some of the numerous Identity groups (Identity is not a monolithitic entity, but instead splintered up into dozens of "churches" and "movements"). One of the most weird argumentations is the follwing (p.191):

[Dan Gayman] asks rhetorically, ``If Cain were not the offspring of Satan, there is no basis for the age old conflict between Jews and Christians. Moreover, there are no reasonable grounds for the Jews themselves claiming to be from Cain. Why is the snake chosen as the symbol of the serpent's seed in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion?'' In a like vein, he concluded that the crucification proves that Jews are not Adamites, a position he regarded as having been conclusively demonstrated by the fact that a Jewsish film company produced The Last Temptation of Christ.
P. 192f. presents us with the CSA, and some old friends no conspiracy theorists would leave out - the Bavarian Illuminati!
If Gaiman occasionally utilized indirection in his argument, there is nothing approaching subtlety in the writings published by the Covenant, Sword and Arm of the Lord. The CSA was best known for its communal settlement, Zarephath-Horeb, in southern Missouri, the most heavily militarized of all Identity communes. [...] In the CSA's version of the Illuminatist conspiracy, the plot is hatched not only by Adam Weishaupt, the Bavarian law professor who founded the actual Illuminati, but by the Rothschilds, who were seeking an instrument for Jewish conquest of the world. As the nineteenth century rolled on, according to the CSA, the Illuminati founded communism, worked out advance plans for the world wars, assassinated Lincoln and John Kennedy, and defeated the Mafia. [...] Witchcraft and the Illuminati can scarcely contain its excitement about all this secret knowledge: ``Only about 5000 people in the entire world know the true purpose of the Illuminati and its conspiracy to rule the earth.'' They know because the possess the key that allows them to unveil the true meaning of the encoded text of the Illuminati plans, which turns out to be Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged. Much of the rest of the CSA volume purports to be a decoding of the sinister plans allegedly contains in Rand's best-seller. [...] The components of the conspiracy include the ``House of Rothschild,'' a thirteen-member ``Grand Druid Council,'' ``the 33 highest Masons in the world,'' and the world's five hundred richtest families, all coordinated by a gigantic computer in Brussels. It is scarcely surprising that, having this view of the world, the members of the Covenant, Sowrd and Arm of the Lord retreated behind their fortifications in the Ozarks.
Zarephath-Horeb was raided in 1985 by the BATF, and the last months of the commune were dominated by increasingly militant rhetoric (p.216):
CSA is not content with being ``a nation within a nation.'' We want the outer nation to fall. . . . We strive as much as possible to live peacibly with all MEN - but not with aliens and traitors! . . . We will lay out the ATTACK [an acronym for Aryan Tactical Treaty for the Advancement of Christ's Kingdom] plan at various Aryan gatherings. The time has come for the Spirit of Slumber to be lifted off our people! Arise, O Israel, and Shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of our Father is risen upon thee! We shall Attack and Advance into enemy territory within the next two years. Be prepared!
Before the two years were up, the community had disbanded and its leader was in custody. In retrospect, the survivalist orientation and the expectation of an imminent Tribulation created a self-fulfilling prophecy.
From the last chapter (p. 247f.)
Identity's more thoroughgoing scepticism had opened the movement to a bewildering variety of influences beyond those that might be directly traced to British-Israelism and anti-Semitic politics. Many influences emanated from the "cultic milieu", a concept described by the British sociologist Colin Campbell [...] The cultic milieu's conception of the world is therefore a virtual mirror image of that shared by the majority. What institutions of orthodoxy consider error, the cultic milieu regards as truth -- the occult, the crank, and the pseudo-scientific. The cultic milieu therefore implies a distinctive, even forbidden, vision of the world. [..] The reaches of the cultic milieu extended to the nonreligious areas as well. Christian Identity literature combined its discussion of religion and race with encomiums to the medicinal value of garlic, attacks on processed food, and analyses of UFOs. Indeed, but for the agenda of religion, Christian Identity exhibited striking parallels with New Age literature. While the two may seem radically opposed, both draw on the cultic milieu, a common reservoir of excluded ideas, whose very exclusion from common discourse is taken as evidence of their validity.

Related Fringeness

(24.09.95) While Barkun states that there is no relation between Christian Identity and the David Koresh's Branch Davidians, some of the underlying tenets are similar. Daniel Tobias has visited Mount Carmel, where he met a Branch Davidian woman currently living there. He writes:
[..] The door to the building she was in was labeled "Messianic Jews," and she regards the Davidians (a splinter group from the Seventh Day Adventists, which observe the Jewish sabbath) as the true spiritual descendants of the Jewish people. [..]
(09.10.95) The Kooks Museum features some exposits that refer to the "Satans spawn" theories, e.g Norma Cox's Secrets and Hillman Holcomb's Christian Technocracy. The museum even features an exhibit on the Anglo-Israelites and Identity.

Parts of the mythology of British-Israelism, if not Identity itself, seem to have been picked up by German racist circles. As a by-line, Klemperer mentions in his LTI (p.144 of my Reclam/Leipzig Edition):

Auf der zum Antisemitismus verengten und zugespitzten, im Antisemitismus aktivierten Rassenidee beruht die Eigenart das Nationalsozialisus den anderen Faschismen gegenber. Aus ihr zieht er all sein Gift. Wirklich alles, auch wo es um außenpolitische Gegner geht, die er nicht als Semiten abtun kann. Der Bolschewismus wird ihm zum jüdischen Bolschewismus, die Franzosen sind verniggert und verjudet, die Engländer gar auf jenen biblischen Stamm der Juden zurückzuführen, dessen Spur für verloren galt, usw. usw.
and (p.187)
Wäre dem Führer wirklich die angestrebte Vernichtung aller Juden gelungen, so hätte er neue erfinden müssen, denn ohne den jüdischen Teufel -- "wer den Juden nicht kennt, kennt den Teufel nicht", stand auf den Stürmertafeln --, ohne den finsteren Juden hätte es nie die Lichtgestalt des nordischen Germanen gegeben. Übrigens wäre dem Führer die Erfindung neuer Juden nicht schwergefallen, wurden doch wiederholt die Engländer von nazistischen Autoren als Nachkommen des verschollenen biblischen Judenstammes angesprochen.


(31.10.95) I got a first reponse. Judge for yourself, it contains a link to an Identity site.
Last changed on 1996-01-03 18:02. Comments&corrections to