Since 9/11 American’s have held a mistaken belief that the only danger to American safety and security will come from outside of the country as opposed to from within our own boundaries. While international terrorism is a real continuing threat to the United States’ safety and security, there is also a real and growing threat to American safety and security from homegrown American groups. “The number of active hate groups in the United States topped 1,000 for the first time and the antigovernment “Patriot” movement expanded dramatically for the second straight year as the radical right showed continued explosive growth in 2010.”(U.S. Hate Groups Top 1,000 | Southern Poverty Law Center, n.d.) There are a variety of reasons for this growth, the first being that American’s are angry, angry over the state of the economy, angry over issues of immigration.
The second primary reason is fear. Members of American hate groups are young white men. These white men feel that it is their god given birth right to be rulers of the world. These same men fear things that are different and that fear leads to anger and hatred. America has its first African American President; it is an African American president that is to blame for the state of the world and the plight of the white man. These types of individuals refuse to understand that the world has changed and the white man is no longer the rightful ruler of the world. Now the white man has to work and is in competition with everyone else for education and employment.
These groups are dangerous not simply because they exist but because their ideology is growing and spreading. “The SPLC documented 1,002 hate groups operating in 2010 – a 7.5 percent increase from the 932 groups active a year earlier and a 66 percent rise since 2000. It is the first time the number of hate groups has topped 1,000 since the SPLC began counting them in the 1980s.”(U.S. Hate Groups Top 1,000 | Southern Poverty Law Center, n.d.) Unlike international groups, the American government may have difficulty attempting to take a hard line with these types of groups. After all, it is difficult to argue that the government appears to be more sympathetic to the plight of big business instead of the rank and file American. Therefore, it may become easier for the home grown terrorist groups to find a sympathetic ear in the general population.
Hate groups exist in every state in the union with the exception of Alaska and Hawaii. The reasoning behind this is the fact that the citizens of those state to not feel the same sort of cultural connection to the mainland U.S. Another possibility is that both Alaska and Hawaii have large native populations that ethnically (and culturally) are not American and would not feel the same connection to the mainland culture.
One of the many extreme right wing extremist hate movement is known as Christian Identity, this movement is unique in the fact that its teaching state that Europeans are actually the decedents of one of the ten lost tribes of Israel. “Christian Identity's origins can be traced back to the nineteenth century in Great Britain, where a small circle of religious thinkers advanced the idea, known as British-Israelism or Anglo-Israelism, that modern Europeans were biologically descended from the ancient Israelites of the Old Testament-specifically, from the "Lost Tribes" scattered by invasions of Hittites, Assyrians and Babylonians. The Lost Tribes had purportedly made their way to Europe, and from them descended the modern European nationalities.” (Christian Identity, n.d)
What is interesting about the Brisish-Israelism movement was the fact that the followers felt a kinship with the Jewish community, there was no anti-Semitism. The movement would not become overly anti-Semitic until it came to the American shores. “Originally, believers viewed contemporary Jews as descendants of those ancient Israelites who had never been "lost." They might be seen critically but, given their significant role in the British-Israel genealogical scheme, not usually with animosity. By the 1930s, however, in the U.S., a strain of anti-Semitism started to permeate the movement. (Christian Identity, n.d)
It is unknown why the identity movement took this anti-Semitic turn. It is more important to note that from this point forward the identity movement(as British – Isrealism came to be known) came to teach that European Jews were false and that actually it is the White Europeans that are God’s true chosen people. “British Israelism increasingly advanced the idea - common in anti-Semitic circles in the early twentieth century - that most Jews were not really descendants of ancient Israelites, but were instead descended from an Asiatic people known as the Khazars, who settled near the Black Sea during the Middle Ages. European (Ashkenazic) Jews were thus "false" Israelites who further obscured the fact that it was really white Europeans who were the "true" Israelites” (Christian Identity, n.d)
Politically during this period the U.S. had just fought World War I and the world was just a few short years away from the rule of Adolf Hitler and World War II. During this period it was becoming easy to demonize people that were not “like us”. This same thing is occurring in modern times, the average Muslim is viewed with suspicion because “they” are not like “us”. In the 1930s this same thing was occurring, the Jews were treated differently because “they” were not like “us”. Also, during this period the White European was taking his supposed rightful place as ruler of the world (as in a period of colonial expansion attempting to spread Democracy and “civilization” across the world).
“The key figure in the transformation of British-Israelism into what was increasingly called "Christian Identity" was Wesley Swift (1913-1970), a former Methodist minister from Southern California. In the 1940s, Swift started his own church, later known as the Church of Jesus Christ Christian. He was active in extreme right-wing groups, including the Ku Klux Klan, and developed a close friendship with the nation's most prominent postwar anti-Semite, Gerald L. K. Smith. Because of the activities of Swift and associates such as Bertrand Comparet and San Jacinto Capt, Christian Identity increasingly became linked with extreme right-wing ideologies.” (Christian Identity, n.d) Wesley Swift is important for several reasons, the first being that it was under his leadership that the ideology became increasingly anti-Semitic. Under the leadership of Swift the movement began to cement a certain ideology while reaming a loose confederation of like minded individuals, historically and in modern times the Identity movement is not a highly organized group of individuals, but more small groups. More on this later.
Swift cemented two ideologies that would become the corner stone of Identity thought:
The most extreme expression of Identity anti-Semitism is the so-called "two-seed" (or "seedliner") theory, developed by Swift, his associates and his disciples in the 1960s. According to the two-seed theory, the seduction of Eve by the Serpent in Eden was sexual, Cain was the product of their liaison and Cain, in turn, was the father of the Jewish people; all Jews, therefore, are children of the devil, literally demonic. The other seedline in the two-seed scheme traces from Adam and Eve's other son, Abel, through the lost tribes to today's white European-derived believers.
"One-seed" Identity adherents do not believe that Jews are physically descended from Satan, though in other respects they are no less anti-Semitic than the two-seedliners.
Many adherents, especially seedliners, also believe in pre-Adamic races. That is, they contend that Adam and Eve were not the first people created by God, but were the first created in God's image. Other previous creations, not endowed with the divine likeness, were the forerunners of all the nonwhite peoples of the Earth, the "mud peoples," who had no soul. Adam and Eve, and their Israelite descendants, were the first whites, a fact "proven" by the suggestion that the very name "Adam" means "to show blood," or blush, which they claim is only possible for whites. (Christian Identity, n.d)
Followers of this ideology believe that the Jews are either literally descendants of Satan or are somehow subhuman because they were not created in the image of God. This idea extends to every non-white race. All of these races are thought to be a biological accident or are unworthy simply because the image of God is of a white male, therefore only those white races are or were created in the image of God.
The ideology makes it easy to demonize “them” the Jew or the non-white. These individuals have no soul and are “demonic” and/or dangerous. It is the right of the white man to keep these races of people in check because they exist only to tempt the white man away from his rightful place as world ruler.
One final and significant aspect of Identity belief is that of Millennialism:
Another significant aspect of Christian Identity theology is its millennialism-the belief that the world is in its final days. Millennialism is widespread among Protestants around the world, but Identity diverges sharply from traditional forms of Protestantism. Like many evangelicals, Christian Identity adherents believe that Jesus Christ will return to the Earth following a period of "tribulation." However, Identity adherents reject the popular evangelical contention that devoted followers of Jesus will be "saved" or "raptured" before the Tribulation begins (a concept known as premillennialism). Identity is postmillennial: it holds that Jesus will not return until after the Tribulation. Many believe they are in or are about to enter into the time of Tribulation, a great battle between good and evil in which they will take part. While some Protestants are also postmillennial, Identity Christians view the apocalypse as a racial battle, which helps to create a hothouse atmosphere wherever Identity thrives. (Christian Identity, n.d)
Unlike Prostant groups that believe that they will be saved or rapture before the period of the tribulation, the Identity movement believes that the second coming will not occur until after the tribulation. During the period of the tribulation the government and economy of the U.S. will collapse and the white man will have to fight for his very survival from the hordes of “demons” or non-white races. This more so than any other aspect of the Identity movement makes them extremely dangerous. Followers believe that they are living in the final days before biblical battles described in the Book of Revelations. These individuals will stock pile weapons and do anything to defend themselves and their families from the ZOG (Zionist Occupied Government). In their view the government has been infiltrated by Jews and these individuals are in league with Satan.
Christian Identity is a loosely affiliated group of believers, by that I mean there is no Christian Identity Pope, no Vatican. Groups that follow Christian Identity ideology take some of the beliefs of the movement. They will encounter these beliefs or groups through the internet and will accept what they feel is true about the movement and reject that which they disagree. These groups have the potential to become violent and dangerous due to the fact that they are so loosely affiliated. This loose affiliation makes tracking groups difficult, it makes infiltration of law enforcement difficult and finally, an individual may not even be identified as a follower of Christian Identity until he or she acts out violently and/or commits an act of terrorism.
There individuals are increasingly being referred to as lone wolf terrorists. “U.S. Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano said Friday that the risk of "lone wolf" attackers, with no ties to known extremist networks or grand conspiracies, is on the rise as the global terrorist threat has shifted.”(Sloughfoot, n.d.) A lone wolf terrorist “or lone-wolf fighter is someone who commits violent acts in support of some group, movement, or ideology, but does so alone, outside of any command structure.”(Lone wolf (terrorism) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, n.d.)
While Director Napolitano was discussing the danger of lone wolf terrorist stemming from the ideology of international terrorist groups, the danger is no less serious among the lone wolf that identifies with homegrown ideology such as Christian Identity. This individual will be attracted to the movement but for whatever reason does not seek membership in an organized group. This individual will take it upon him or herself to further the cause so to speak through violent means. This individual will be difficult to identify and track due to the fact that they are not a member of an established group and friends and family many not know that the individual is attracted to such a group or ideology until the individual engages in some sort of violent action. “According to the FBI, lone extremists represent an ongoing threat to the United States, both domestically and overseas.”(Lone-wolf terrorism, 2007, June 7)
The world has changed and is in the process of more change. 9/11 brought the reality of terrorism to American shores. While it seemed that American National Security should focus completely on foreign groups, the reality is that American nationals are just as likely to engage in terrorism and have the potential to be even more serious.
Christian Identity . (n.d.). ADL: Fighting Anti-Semitism, Bigotry and Extremism. Retrieved January 13, 2012, from http://www.adl.org/learn/ext_us/Christian_Identity.asp?xpicked=4&item=Christian_ID
Lone wolf (terrorism) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (n.d.). Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved January 13, 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lone_wolf_(terrorism)
Lone-wolf terrorism. (2007, June 7). transnationalterrorism. Retrieved January 13, 2012, from www.transnationalterrorism.eu/tekst/publications/Lone- Wolf%20Terrorism.pdf
Sloughfoot. (n.d.). Napolitano: Lone wolf terror threat growing - CBS News. Breaking News Headlines: Business, Entertainment & World News - CBS News. Retrieved January 13, 2012, from http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57336080/napolitano-lone-wolf-terror-threat-growing/
U.S. Hate Groups Top 1,000 | Southern Poverty Law Center. (n.d.). Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved January 13, 2012, from http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/news/us-hate-groups-top-1000