God on their side? Neo-Nazis and religion

With the furor over Confederate statues, the parading of swastikas on the streets of Charlottesville and controversial statements about neo-Nazis from President Trump, extremist groups with racist ideologies have come under the microscope. What’s there isn’t pretty, especially in terms of religion. While the vast majority of religious groups, denominations and leaders have denounced race-based supremacists – white nationalists, neo-Nazis, Klansmen and the like – many such groups and their leaders have roots in religion — Christianity, Islam and Judaism. And the link isn’t limited to white groups; there are racially-oriented supremacist, nationalist and separatist groups of African-Americans, Muslims and others. This edition of ReligionLink looks at the religious ideology that motivates some racial extremist organizations.

Background

Organizations

Monitoring groups:

Religious supremacist groups:

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, these organizations are among those that express religious reasons behind their separatist, racist or supremacist ideology. Note: Where possible, the links below go to the group’s website. Some groups have seen their sites removed by internet hosts because of racist content. In those instances, the link goes to the SPLC’s description of the group. The quotes come from the group’s website or from the Southern Poverty Law Center’s documents on the group.

  • America’s Promise Ministries – “We believe that a prayerful study of the Bible and a general knowledge of World History pro­vides convincing proof that the Anglo-Saxon, Celtic, Scandinavian, Germanic, and related peoples, often called ‘the Christian nations,’ are the racial descen­dants of the tribes of Israel.”
  • Christian American Ministries – This groups has the identical language regarding religion on its website as America’s Promise Ministries.
  • Christian Revival Center  – “We believe that the Anglo-Saxon, Germanic, Scandinavian, and kindred people are THE people of the Bible – God’s separated and anointed Israel.”
  • Church of Israel – “The proper identification of the Anglo/Israel and kindred
    peoples of the earth is imperative if one is to make any biblical and historical sense of the major and minor prophets of the Bible.”
  • Church of the National Knights of the Ku Klux Klan – “The WHITE RACE: The irreplaceable hub of our nation, our Christian Faith, and the high levels of Western Culture and Technology.”
  • Covenant People’s Ministry – The church’s forums section is frequently used to air racist, nationalist and supremacist views.
  • Imperial Klans of America (aka United Klans of America) – ” A Christian brotherhood among our race must be revived to help save the world from the powers that be.”
  • Israelite Church of God in Jesus Christ – This black supremacist group claims people of color are the “true” children of God; its leaders have preached anti-Semitism.
  • Kingdom Identity Ministries – “We prefer the culture and abilities historically demonstrated by Christian White men over that of all other races.”
  • Kinsman Redeemer Ministries – “Kinsman Redeemer Ministries is a calling to White people to gather together and worship the one true God … “
  • League of the South – “While we have no religious requirement for membership, as an organisation we do recognise the legacy of Christianity and the universal sovereignty of the triune God. Most League members are Christians, and we base our movement on Christian principles. Trinitarian Christianity can not be separated or removed from Southern society or culture without both ceasing to be Southern.”
  • Nation of Islam – Founder Louis Farrakhan has made numerous statements defaming Jews and white people.
  • Yahweh ben Yahweh – “God is black. The opposite of God is evil. The opposite of black is white. So what do you think white is?”

National sources

  • Alex Amend

    Alex Amend is the research director at TheSouthern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project where he manages a team of researchers and analysts who monitor hate groups and extremist movements in the United States. He can discuss the religious roots and relationships of multiple racial extremist groups in the U.S. He participated in a panel on hate groups and religion at the 2017 conference of the Religion News Association.

  • David Nirenberg

    David Nirenberg is a professor of history at the University of Chicago, where he specializes in medieval Christians, Jews and Muslims. Much of his work has focused on anti-Semitism.

    Nirenberg told The Atlantic Charlottesville made him reassess the danger of contemporary anti-Semitism, which he had thought was less virulent than older expressions.

    Contact: 773-702-3423, nirenberg@uchicago.edu.
  • Ed Stetzer

    Ed Stetzer holds the Billy Graham Chair of Church, Mission and Evangelism at Wheaton College and serves as executive director of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism. He was formerly the executive director of LifeWay Research, a division of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, one of the world’s largest suppliers of Christian products and services. Through LifeWay, he conducted research on American evangelicals. He is also an expert on church planting and blogs on a variety of subjects about American evangelicalism for Christianity Today.

    Writing in Christianity Today, Stetzer described the white nationalist movement as “antithetical to the gospel.”