Monday, January 26, 2015

Wesley Swift and the Church of Jesus Christ - Christian

Rev. Wesley Swift, founder of the Church of Jesus Christ - Christian

When Joe Jeffers was asked about British Israelism’s implications for non-Anglo-Saxon peoples, the preacher was always at pains to stress that he wasn’t a racist or an anti-Semite. Like most advocates of the doctrine, he maintained that he primarily preached God’s love for all humans, and that if anything, having a bloodline from the ancient Israelites made White Christians more obligated to behave gently and righteously towards people of color and modern-day Jews.

No such disclaimers troubled the career of Reverend Wesley Albert Swift, late of Lancaster, California. The founder of the Church of Jesus Christ – Christian, Swift spent over three decades proudly transforming British Israelism from a largely-harmless Biblical revisionist doctrine, into a racist ideology that portrayed non-Whites as sub-humans and Jews as Satanic schemers, and inspired religious-based terrorism that has claimed lives across the United States.

Like so many other Christian figures that have put their distinctive marks on the Golden State’s spiritual culture, Wesley Swift was an East Coast transplant. Born in 1913, he grew up in Jersey City, New Jersey, the son of Richard C. Swift. The elder Swift was a minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church South, a sect that split from mainstream American Methodism because of the latter’s anti-slavery stance. 

In his teens, young Wesley heard the call to spread the Gospel, and his father’s Church licensed him as a preacher when he was a mere 18 years old. The freshly-ordained young minister then trod off to Los Angeles, where he studied at Philip E.J. Monson’s Kingdom Bible College. Monson was best known a representative of Howard Rand, the founder of the Anglo-Saxon Federation of America and an advocate of British Israelism.

"British Israelism" theologian Howard Rand

The form of British Israelism that Rand and Monson taught deviated sharply from the versions preached by Californian Christian leaders like Joe Jeffers, Gene Scott and the Armstrongs. Unlike original British Israelism, which claimed modern-day Jewish people – “the tribe of Judah” – were related to Saxons and Celts via the “Lost Tribes of Israel”, Rand and his followers taught that the Jews of the 20th Century were Canaanites – descendants of Isaac’s son Esau, who had lost his birthright as Patriarch of the Israelites to his brother Jacob, and had married outside the Abrahamic lineage. As a result, so-called “Jews” were actually Semitic impostors, whereas the true Israelites had been dispersed into Northern and Western Europe, and were the White race of today – a Chosen People blessed by God to dominate all His Creation.

Married to this was an even more sinister concept: the so-called “Two-Seed Theory”. In Randian British Israelism, this was the idea that Adam and Eve were the first true humans, created by God in about 7400 BC to have dominion over “the beasts of the field” – the prototype pseudo-humans who preceded them in the six days of creation, and who were identified with the non-White races. The fall from Eden came when Eve, yielding to the temptations of either Satan or a demonic entity in the form of the Serpent, mated with the creature and birthed Cain, the murderer of Adam’s birth son Abel. After killing his half-brother, the demon-child Cain then married into the Hittite beast-tribe, forming the Canaanite line that Esau later joined. 

The "Two-Seed" theory held that Canaanites
were the descendants of Eve and the Serpent

Although versions of the two-seed theory had been taught in ancient Jewish writings, as well as the Gnostic Gospel of Philip and other Christian Apocrypha, the early Church rejected the concept. But 20th Century fringe-Adventists like Rand rediscovered it, and used it to literally demonize Jews, seeing them as serpentine connivers and a pseudo-human pestilence that had lied and tricked the White race into economic and political servitude, and spiritual and racial alienation. Their racist and anti-Semitic variant of British Israelism told White Gentiles: You are the lost children of Israel. Throw off the yoke of false, Judaicized “Christianity” and reclaim your birthright as the Chosen People of God, and as the masters of the planet.

Swift absorbed and embraced this doctrine during the 1930s. For the rest of the decade he worked as an itinerant preacher, mounting the podium at any Southern California church that would host him, and bringing the Gospel of Randian British-Israelism to any audience that would listen. Swift’s best gig of the era was at Aimee Semple MacPherson’s Foursquare Temple, where he served as a warm-up act for the fading Pentecostal superstar.

Somewhere on the pastoral circuit, Swift met San Jacinto Capt, a California-based Baptist minister. Capt later claimed to have set up the young preacher’s first ministry in Temple City – a “Pyramid Study Group” where his flock, like so many other fringe-Adventists, delved into the mysteries of Egyptology and what they foretold for American and Christian destiny.

By the 1940s the racist British-Israelite doctrine promulgated by Swift didn’t exactly have mass-appeal in a nation fighting a total war against advocates of another Jew-bashing, master-race ideology. But the Southern Californian pastor attracted one major convert to his cause: the legendary preacher and rabble-rouser Gerald L.K. Smith.

Populist firebrand Gerald L. K. Smith
Originally a Disciples of Christ minister, Smith was a charismatic speaker and demagogue whom iconoclastic journalist H.L. Mencken called “the greatest orator of them all, not the greatest by an inch or a foot or a yard or a mile, but the greatest by at least two light years.” Smith first got involved in radical politics as an organizer for Louisiana Governor Huey Long’s Share Our Wealth movement.

When Long was assassinated in 1935, Smith took over the movement, and joined with controversial “radio priest” Father Charles Coughlin and pension-advocate Francis Townsend to form the Union Party, which ran populist Congressman William Lemke against Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1936 Presidential election. When Smith’s rhetoric became increasingly racist and anti-Semitic in the late 1930s, his former allies split with him, and during World War II the Federal Government tried (but failed to convict) him for sedition.

Smith met Wesley Swift in 1947, three years after the sedition trial. Impressed by the 34 year-old preacher, who he called an “eloquent and crusading clergyman,” Smith hired Swift initially as a bodyguard and chauffer, but soon made him the West Coast representative of his “Christian Nationalist Crusade,” and shared the pulpit with him on his California lecture tours. 

Poster advertising a talk by Smith and Swift in Hollywood

Still a potent speaker who could easily rally disaffected and angry Americans, Smith and his protégé filled Los Angeles’ Embassy Auditorium in 1949, as well as other venues across Southern California, one of which they claimed was picketed by “nearly 20,000 Reds and their Dupes.” Their talks merged nascent Cold War paranoia with “Biblically-based” anti-Semitic and White-Supremacist rhetoric drawn directly from British-Israelite sources. They asserted that America was under siege from Jewish Communists who were manipulating everything from Hollywood to race-relations in a plot to bring down White Christian civilization. 

But Wesley Swift wasn’t content to merely share a podium with Smith, and act as his California agent. Now a rising star of the postwar American far-Right, Swift was making waves across the state’s political and spiritual landscapes all by himself. In 1946 he attempted to resuscitate California’s dormant Ku Klux Klan when he burned a cross on a hillside near Big Bear Lake, and lectured to American Legion posts about “the new Klan” and its mission to save America from Communism and race-mixing. When the Attorney General’s office investigated Swift’s doings that year, it found that not only had he organized his own KKK faction, the Christian Knights of the Invisible Empire, but that he’d built a private rifle range in the backyard of his Lancaster ranch, and was conducting paramilitary training for Klansmen in the Antelope Valley desert. For his part, Swift refused to cooperate with the investigation.

Swift's formation of an Antelope Valley-based KKK chapter alarmed California officials

Around this time, Swift founded his own religious denomination: The Church of Jesus Christ – Christian. Originally known as the Anglo-Saxon Christian Congregation (in a seeming hat-tip to Howard Rand), the Church was formed specifically as the spiritual arm of his racist, anti-Semitic and anti-Communist crusade,  and dedicated to disseminating Swift’s version of British Israelism.

The denomination grew steadily throughout California in the 1950s, planting branches in San Francisco, Oakland, Lancaster, Riverside, Hollywood and San Diego. There was also a Church center in St. Petersburg, Florida under the Rev. Oren Potito, Swift’s East Coast coordinator and an organizer for the National States’ Rights Party, a Neo-Nazi/Klan fusionist group whose leaders would later serve time for bombing a Black church in Birmingham and a Jewish temple in Atlanta. Swift’s own lieutenant and co-preacher in California, the Rev. Charles “Connie” Lynch, also served as the NSRP’s state leader, as well as a “traveling parson” at Ku Klux Klan rallies across the South.

Swift’s most important associate in California, however, was William Potter Gale. Gale, formerly the youngest Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army during World War II and a close associate of General Douglas MacArthur, retired from the military in 1950 and worked afterwards as a securities trader. 

Col. William Potter Gale, in clerical garb

Introduced to Swift by San Jacinto Capt, Gale, who had organized the guerrilla resistance in the Philippines during the war, lent a distinctly paramilitary tone to Swift’s operations, helping the preacher found the Christian Defense League as an umbrella group to bring together the various religious and political far-Right groups that cross-pollinated in Swift’s world. Gale also started the California Rangers, a secretive guerrilla corps that acted as the Church and League’s armed militant wing.

As the Civil Rights movement gained steam, and the Fifties became the Sixties, the rhetoric of Swift, his associates, and his followers, got louder and more strident. Using British-Israelite exegesis, Swift insisted that God created the races not only separate but unequal in one publication called THE MYSTERY OF INIQUITY:

And God spoke out then, against these Hivites that came out of the Hittites. He spoke out against the Amorites, the Canaanites. He spoke out against the Perizzites, the Jebusites. And he told His people not to mix with them, not to have covenants with them, not to intermarry with them, for they would teach His people to serve other gods. They would have no spiritual capacity, and the spirit of God would not cohabit in any of their mixed-blood offspring. Such offspring, He said, would be totally unable to understand the truths of God. So God was calling for segregation!

Jews fared no better in Swift’s doctrines. The preacher was quoted as saying “All Jews must be destroyed,” and in a 1962 sermon, stated "the days are going to come when there's not going to be any of them (the JEWS)  in the United States either, because the Bible says so in the book of  Zechariah .... The destroyers of America (the JEWS) are going to discover that it's not the best place to remain inside of these United States, as America wakes up." Colonel Gale seconded his spiritual leader, ranting, “You got your nigger Jews, you got your Asiatic Jews and you got your white Jews. They’re all Jews, and they’re all the offspring of the Devil.”

Gale, who preached Swift’s teachings at his own Ministry of Christ Church in Glendale, later claimed that he coined a new term to describe this Jew-baiting, White-supremacist form of British-Israelite Adventism: Christian Identity. Like many other heterodox Christian doctrines, Christian Identity maintained that apocalyptic Biblical prophecy was being fulfilled in the modern world, and called on its followers to repent and join its struggle against principalities and powers of evil. Unlike most Christian millenarianism, however, the Identity creed prophesied that its believers would not be raptured into the Kingdom of God in the Last Days, but would have to fight to establish the Kingdom on Earth, in an all-out war against Satan’s worldly minions: the Communists, the “mud races,” and the Jews.

Some of Swift’s followers took his battle cry to heart. In August 1963, California Ranger George Joseph King Jr., the son of a retired Admiral, was busted for attempting to sell a .50 caliber machine gun and a British Sten submachine gun to undercover agents who posed as prospective Rangers. King allegedly assured the agents that he could get almost any type or amount of illegal weapon they desired. 

One year later, agents raided the Cucamonga home of Christian Defense League member William H. Garland, a self-described “patriot” who wanted to fight off “invaders,” and seized nearly 100 arms, including fully-operational machine guns, 105MM rockets, and bomb-making equipment. And in 1965 another Swift follower, Keith Gilbert, was caught with 1,400 pounds of stolen TNT; when asked what the explosives were for, he replied that he planned to blow up the Hollywood Palladium when Rev. Martin Luther King spoke there.

Alarmed, the California Attorney General’s office once again delved into Swift’s doings. In 1965 it issued a 100-page report, California Rangers, where it theorized that the Church of Jesus Christ – Christian was a front for the Rangers and a networking device for extremist organizations, and that both Swift and Gale were working to dominate the spiritual and political worlds of the Californian far Right. 

Not all Golden State ultra-Rightists, however, were impressed with Swift and his approach. Don Sisco, a onetime American Nazi Party member who would later gain notoriety writing survivalist manuals under the pen-name Kurt Saxon, recounted how underwhelmed he was with the pastor during a 1964 visit to his Hollywood church:

One night [Swift] raved, "There are 60,000 niggers training with guns in Arizona". A few months later the Watts riots broke out. Where were the "60,000 niggers"? Another time he said, "There are 60,000 Red Chinese hidden in Baja, California, brought over here by submarines". (He was hung up on the number 60,000).
Those in the audience were all southern Californians and had to know that Baja is a barren desert peninsula which couldn't hide or support 60,000 field mice, much less 60,000 Chinese troops. Besides, at that time, the Chinese had only 30 WW II subs, hardly enough or the type of vehicles to transport 60,000 men.
The thing that impressed me about this was, first, Swift was a liar. Second, his audience believed him, even though such lies were preposterous and could be believed only by an exercise in credulity. That is, training the mind to accept absurdities as a test of faith and loyalty, in a pathetic desire to belong.

No less a hard-Right avatar than John Birch Society leader Robert Welch also condemned Swift. In a paper called “The Neutralizers”, he charged that the preacher’s virulent anti-Semitism and fanatical Christian-Identity preaching were alienating potential allies in the fight against Communism. The Bircher chief felt Swift was an embarrassment to the patriotic American Right, and thought it would be a grievous strategic victory for the Reds if “everybody else should come to believe everything he is teaching.”

Yet Swift’s message was still getting through, far beyond the confines of his Southern California home territory. Lacking the national-radio pulpit of predecessors like Father Coughlin, Swift instead took advantage of a new technology to spread his doctrines: cassette-tape recordings. Although not nearly as gifted or forceful a speaker as Coughlin or Smith, Swift nevertheless had a singular talent for explaining Christian Identity concepts in his sermons, and he regularly recorded them, then duplicated the tapes onto cassettes and sold them to followers across America. 

As the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the general Zeitgeist of the Sixties drove White racism out of the respectable American mainstream, there still remained a considerable audience for these tapes. “Listening parties” were held across the besieged Southern states, where far-Right radicals terrified by the end of Black segregation and White supremacy found in Swift‘s preaching a righteous spiritual rationale for fighting back against what they saw as a Godless Communist takeover of the country.

In the book The Awful Grace of God: Religious Terrorism, White Supremacy, and the Unsolved Murder of Martin Luther King, Jr., authors Stuart Wexler and Larry Hancock made the case that Swift’s taped sermons, along with the agitation campaigns of Church preachers like Connie Lynch and Oren Potito, and the crimes of their followers in the KKK and the NSRP, were intended to provoke a race war that would spread from the beleaguered South into all of the United States, and would bring about Federal repression, a full-scale revolution, and the eventual victory of White Christendom over the forces of Communism, Zionism and “race mongrelization.” 

Using previously-unreleased FBI records, the authors also revealed that Swift’s Church of Jesus Christ Christian acted as a front for the Army of White American Kingdom Evangelists (AWAKE), a militant British-Israelite activist organization. AWAKE in turn supplied its most talented agitators to “The Christian Knights”, an elite paramilitary whose inner core members were groomed for terrorism against Black, Jewish and Left-wing leaders and groups. 

Mug shot of Thomas Albert Tarrants III

One of these core members was Thomas Albert Tarrants III, a young Klansman who bought a rifle from Swift with the expressed purpose of using it to kill the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and who was  imprisoned after a bloody 1968 shootout with Mississippi cops.  Wexler and Hancock believe that Tarrants, who later repented of his violent racism and became an Evangelical minister, was part of an underground KKK/NSRP terror network that had taken to heart Swift’s cassette- and pamphlet-driven White-supremacist teachings, and had made the killing of King a primary mission since the early 1960s. This network, they maintain, had provided James Earl Ray, who would later be convicted of the civil rights leader’s assassination, with financial incentive to commit the murder, as well as cover within its ranks. If true, this made Swift the intellectual author of, if not an active co-conspirator in, one of the greatest crimes in American history.

Yet back in Lancaster, Swift’s physical ministry was fading rapidly. Observers of the time noted that while the preacher could still fill meeting halls, he wasn’t able to hold onto a solid cadre of Californian followers, and his string of churches across the state rapidly began to close down. A big blow came when Gerald L.K. Smith dissociated himself from Swift’s organization, and migrated to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, where he built a “religious theme park” that featured a 67 foot-tall statue of Jesus (“The Christ of the Ozarks”) and a 4,100-seat amphitheater that hosts an annual Passion Play based on the one in Oberammergau, Germany.

In 1965, further troubles came when Swift quarreled with William Potter Gale about the Christian Defense League and its role in their operations. The Colonel-cum-Reverend split with Swift shortly thereafter, claiming years later that he thought the Lancaster preacher was “a pig,” and that he had defrauded some of his most loyal followers in an investment deal. Gale continued to preach Christian Identity doctrines for the next twenty years at his own Ministry of Christ church, now relocated to a Gold Country ranch near Mariposa, California.

Before his departure, however, Gale introduced Swift to a middle-aged, Los Angeles-based aerospace engineer who would later, help make the Church of Jesus Christ – Christian, under an appended name, synonymous with American White-racist crime and terrorism.

The engineer was Richard Girnt Butler. Born in 1918, Butler had studied at Los Angeles City College in the 1930s, during which he had also been a member of William Dudley Pelley’s Silver Legion fascist paramilitary. Later, he joined the California Rangers, and it was Commandant Gale who told Butler that the Lancaster preacher had the goods on who and what was really behind the Reds and their assorted ill-doings.

As Butler recalled years later: “I finally agreed to go there [Swift’s church] one time. And I must say, when Dr. Swift spoke, he spoke in Technicolor. The words came out and you could just see in living color what he was talking about. You could – he was a master orator, just a master orator.” Independently wealthy from patents and other sources, Butler moved to Palmdale, just south of Swift’s ranch in Lancaster, and soon became a force in the now-dwindling California ranks of the Church.

Although he still regularly preached sermons and distributed tapes, Wesley Swift was seriously ill by the end of the Sixties. He had long suffered from diabetes, untreated since he distrusted the “Jewish” American medical system. When he finally sought help at a Tijuana clinic, he expired in their waiting room of a heart attack on October 8, 1970, aged 57 years. Swift’s wife Olive Lorraine remained at the helm of his Lancaster operation for the next four decades, continuing to circulate his materials until her own death at 85 in 2005.

With Gale and Smith out of the picture, Butler took over as the heir apparent to not only the Church of Jesus Christ – Christian, but also to the multinational network of White racists and radical-Right militants to whom Swift ministered. As Seventies Los Angeles rapidly became a multiracial and politically liberal city, symbolized by Black Democrat Tom Bradley’s 1973 election as mayor, Butler abandoned Southern California, and moved his family and the Church to a 20-acre ranch near Hayden Lake, Idaho in April 1974. 

In Idaho, Butler renamed Swift’s organization the Church of Jesus Christ Christian – Aryan Nations, although it would become best known as simply “Aryan Nations.” To befit the neo-Nazi implications of the name, Swift adopted a standard for the Church that combined the cross-and-sword and Rebel-flag motifs of the American Christian far-Right, with the Wolfsangel – the “hook rune” associated with Third Reich symbolism. 

Richard Butler, backed by the Aryan Nations symbol

Butler also surrounded himself with paramilitary guards clad in blue shirts, black trousers, and Sam Browne belts, and sporting regalia reminiscent of Hitler’s Stormtroopers and SS men. These guards, many of whom were drawn from the White-racist fringe of the Skinhead subculture, maintained order at Butler’s Church services, as well as at the “Aryan Nations World Congresses” – annual rallies on the property that attracted hundreds of neo-Nazis, Klansmen, and ultra-Right radicals from across the Western world. At the Congresses, attendees swapped Nazi salutes, burned crosses, and listened to sermons by Butler, whose rhetoric was becoming even more militant than his mentor’s in the post-Sixties, racially-integrated America he inhabited and feared.

Among other the doctrines he preached, Butler became one of the first advocates of the “White Homeland” concept. He believed that if “race conscious” European-American people moved en masse to Idaho, Oregon and Washington, they could form a new White nation that would eventually secede from the increasingly-multiracial United States, and become a sort of Identity-Christian Israel. Unfortunately, most of Butler’s hardcore followers were Southerners who spurned the call to resettle in the rainy Northwest, and he contented himself with a few dozen adherents living in and around the Idaho Panhandle.

Aryan Nations member and White-supremacist
terrorist Robert Mathews

Although Butler was careful to never openly advocate violence, some of his followers took his militant preaching to its logical extreme. They formed Northwest-based gangs, and terrorized Jews, people of color, government officials, and other Identity enemies throughout the region. The most notorious of these was “The Silent Brotherhood,” or simply, “The Order”: an underground neo-Nazi group led by Hayden Lake regular Robert Mathews. The Order staged armed robberies and murders throughout the Northwest, until Mathews was gunned down on Washington State’s Whidbey Island on December 8, 1984, after a 36-hour police siege. 

Butler and his followers faced an American government and populace far less tolerant of racism, anti-Semitism, and politically-motivated violence than Wesley Swift had back in the Sixties. After the Whidbey Island siege, Federal, state and local law enforcement started a campaign of surveillance and infiltration of the Hayden Lake compound, and the national media became a constant presence just outside Church gates, especially during the World Congresses. 

Butler’s meager empire was an obvious target for anti-racist activists as well, and it eventually crumbled under their attentions. When Aryan Nations security guards assaulted a woman and her son in 1998, the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit organization that monitors American “hate groups”, took the Church to court on her behalf, and won a $6.3 million judgment against them in 2001. Bankrupted, the Church turned its Hayden Lake center, along with other assets, over to the plaintiff. Shortly thereafter North Idaho College gained control of the compound, then destroyed its buildings and turned the land into a “peace park”.

Back in California, former Wesley Swift associate William Potter Gale’s Christian-Identity church also collapsed under government and media pressure. Although his Mariposa-based Ministry of Christ had eschewed Butler’s openly-Nazi sympathies, and he hadn’t drawn nearly as many thugs and crazies into his orbit as the Idaho preacher had, Gale was still very much a radical, and in 1984 formed the Committee of the States, a coalition of ultra-Right groups that called for the end of the income tax and the total replacement of the U.S. government. 

In 1986, Federal officials, who had linked the Committee and Ministry to paramilitary training and other illegal doings in California, raided Gale’s 100-acre Manasseh Ranch, arrested the frail 70 year-old Colonel and charged him and several associates with conspiracy to overthrow the government and murder its employees. Although eventually convicted, the ailing Gale was credited with jail time already served and avoided Federal imprisonment. He died on April 28, 1988, and received a military burial with honors; with his passing, the Ministry faded into history.

Memorial graphic for Col. Gale

As for Richard Butler, he fell victim to a political struggle within the Aryan Nations, and was deposed from its leadership. Still, he remained the spiritual head of the Christian Identity movement, a celebrity in the White-racist subculture who stayed active in the fringe-Right underworld until his death at 86 in 2004. 

Today at least three separate factions claim leadership of the Aryan Nations remnant. One, formerly led by South Carolina-based August Kreis III, preaches a mixture of Christian Identity, Islamic, Wiccan and Norse Pagan theology. Kreis made national headlines in 2005 when he proposed an alliance between Aryan Nations and al-Qaeda; imprisoned shortly thereafter, he quit the movement and passed his mantle onto Drew Bostwick.

A second faction, Aryan Nations Revival in upstate New York, is allied with the so-called “Phineas Priesthood”: an unorganized subculture of White-racist militants named after the Biblical hero of Numbers 25 who murdered an Israelite and his Midianite lover for their “race-mixing.” Members of this shadowy movement have been implicated in bank robberies and various other crimes.

Louisianan Morris Gulett leads the most visible Aryan Nations rump group. A convicted bank robber, Gulett has organized his own faction with tripartite membership for “Skinheads,” Klan-connected “Knights”, and outlaw-biker “SS-MC” subgroups. 

When looking at photos of the heavily-tattooed, hard-bitten Gulett, and the various other present-day Aryan-Nations would-be leaders and followers, one can’t help but marvel at how far Christian Identity has strayed from its origins among lower-middle-class White Protestants, and now largely constitutes an outlaw subculture that ministers to the criminal fringes of Euro-American society. 

Still, whether its tenets are shouted on the cell block, preached in country churches, or downloaded from the Internet, the Identity doctrines of Wesley Swift and his successors will no doubt enjoy a long half-life among alienated and angry Anglo-Americans. With Caucasians destined to become a numerical minority within the United States during the 21st Century, there will no doubt be White Americans ready to see in themselves, as Swift did, a Chosen People being chastised by their Lord for their impiety and sinfulness, much as the ancient Israelites were during the Babylonian Captivity. 

Whether one sees in Christian Identity a clarion-call to a people dispossessed of a distinct spiritual and cultural identity, or a dangerous and demented warrant for murder and terror in God’s name, one must acknowledge how well Swift and his followers re-invented the Old Testament mythos of the oppressed-yet-superior Holy Tribe for consumption in an increasingly racially-divided modern nation. Only time will tell how far and wide its influence will be felt.

The Wesley Swift Library (sermons and other materials from Swift and his cohorts)

Church of Jesus Christ - Christian/Aryan Nations (Kreis/Bostwick faction)
Church of Jesus Christ - Christian/Aryan Nations (Gulett faction)
Seymour, Cheri. Committee of the States: Inside the Radical Right. Mariposa, CA: Camden Place Communications, 1991.
Swift, Wesley A. The Mystery of Iniquity. Marietta, GA: The Thunderbolt, n.d.
Wexler, Stuart and Hancock, Larry. The Awful Grace of God: Religious Terrorism, White Supremacy, and the Unsolved Murder of Martin Luther King, Jr. Berkeley, CA: Counterpoint, 2012.


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