Christian Identity Movement and Mainstream Research Proposal
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He says, "The South was right, my friends, there is no doubt about it" (Taft and Holleman). Thus, the Christian Identity movement is strongly connected with one's personal feelings towards Jews and those of non-Anglo-Saxon origin, seeing them as obstacles. Robin succinctly defines these problems when he lists the basic beliefs of the Christian Identity movement. Robin states that the Christian Identity members believe in a "very conservative interpretation of the Christian Bible" in addition to their beliefs about race and descendants" (Fairley para. 21).
Although their beliefs are certainly rooted in ancient history, the Christian Identity movement does not act in a way that truly supports Christian beliefs for two reasons. First, they both ignore the doctrine that Christianity is for everyone and use violence. The fact that Christianity is for everyone is seen not only through the way that many mainstream churches act today, but also through Biblical stories and allusions. An important one consists of Paul of the road to Damascus. Paul meets God in that instant, who tells him that what he has been doing -- persecuting those who do not live by the letter of the law -- is wrong. Instead, God shows Paul that Christianity is for all -- sinners, Jews, Gentiles, and the like. Further, Jesus' actions in the Bible can be interpreted this way. Jesus shows that his teachings are for women, children, and poorer ethnic and social groups. Phillip baptizes and Ethiopian, and disciples are called upon to share their gospel throughout the earth -- showing that Christianity is for all.
But the Christian Identity group does not believe this way. By believing that Jews are Satan incarnate and that other races are simply animals, Christian Identity members deny the fact that Christianity is for everyone. Instead or accepting other groups, like those in their holy book do, the members of the Christian Identity movement shut them away,
mocking them and even wishing them dead. Thus, they deny Christianity's fundamental teaching that its doctrine is for all and that all are equal in the sight of God.
In addition refraining from acting as true Christians in this regard, the Christian Identity members use violence in order to further their cause. According to Tuft and Holleman, Christian Identity movement members have been linked to enough crimes to put them on the FBI's watch list. Just some of the crimes that Tuft and Holleman attribute to the members of this group are murder, robbery, and kidnapping. The authors describe a gruesome scene where a Christian Identity member killed several and began shooting at a Jewish daycare. These actions violate some of Christianity's most precious rules -- the Ten Commandments, which require Christians to refrain from murdering or stealing. Christian Identity members have done both of these things. Thus, the Christian Identity members do not uphold the fundamental values of Christianity. While Christianity supports diversity, equality, and non-violence, the Christian Identity members support just the opposite.
Thus, an exploration of the Christian Identity theory allows readers to understand just how far the label of fundamentalism reaches. While Christians may scorn Islamic fundamentalists for their violence -- and they are certainly right in doing so -- they must remember that Christian fundamentalist groups go as far as to kill and harm based on the presence of color. Thus, an examination of this group proves Ruthven's statement that many of the conflicts around the world are caused by this particular brand of religion. And the conflict of fundamental groups against their mainstream groups and others will continue.
Fairley, Allison. "Christian Identity Movement." The University of Virginia. 1998. The
Religious Movement's Homepage. 5 June 2009.
Ruthven, Malise. Fundamentalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.
Tuft, Carolyn & Joe Holleman. "Inside the Christian Identity Movement." The Ross
Institute. 5 March 2000. 5 June 2009.
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