[Last updated February 28, 2017]
By his stunning testimonial and through his much scorned confessions of Germany’s Holocaust guilt, Martin Niemöller vividly illustrated that members of society must not only watch out for one another but also speak out, if we would remain blameless. That was 1946.
Then, April 4, 1967, in a speech titled Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence, another Martin again spoke of the nature of humanitarian betrayal, and that, silence is its strength. “There comes a time when silence is betrayal,” he said. One cannot claim innocence so long as he remains quiet or indifferent in the face of triple evil–racism, economic exploitation, and militarism.
A few days after this article posts, 2014 dawns. In keeping with the timeless charges of Mr. Niemöller and Mr. King, let me break silence. As a member of Indiana’s society and as a Christian, one of my greatest hopes for this coming year is Indiana’s riddance of racism. “But, we are well into the 21st century,” some will say, “Racism is a thing of the past and a matter that mainstream media exploits to sell stories.” I wish that kind of sentimental optimism were true.
I hale from Morgantown, Indiana. At age 8, my family moved to Martinsville, Indiana. As late as 5 years ago, family members of mine have been approached with white supremacy literature in the Morgantown area.
While I attended a Christian academy in Indianapolis for the first few years of my schooling, and while the earliest friend in my memory is Earland (of different racial descent than I), most of the time I shy away from telling strangers my hometown history. The embarrassment is too great, because both towns are historically known as hotbeds of racism in Indiana. This is not to say everyone inhabiting said communities are bigots, nor that racism is isolated. As many racists as one may find in Morgan County, one can find many more kind-hearted folk; and for every story of the unsavory kind, one can find concrete evidence of good things, such as the underground railroad having gone through the towns. As a 4th grader, I clearly remember touring the crypt of the church building now owned by the First Christian Church, 89 S Main Street in order to view its historical connection to the Underground Railroad. What’s more, churches like Grace Church and Horizon Christian Fellowship of Mooresville and Hoosier Harvest of the greater Martinsville area have held concerted prayer efforts and awareness activities against the spiritual blight of racism within the county.
Still, try explaining away a rumor that the imperial wizard of the KKK once lived only a few miles from your own house, and that, a residual aura of racial hatred permeates the area. Entertain for a moment the shock and horror of learning (as a junior in high school) the real reason your community is so “homogenous”–a KKK rally took place there in 1967 due Martinsville’s “strong [KKK] membership,” (according to the KKK imperial wizard, William Chaney; see link), …and a racist murder took place there in 1968, which has taken well over 30 years to solve.
Now, bring yourself into a contemporary context wherein the stigma continues to be validated. Imagine going to a high school where (at that time) racist jokes might be told between students and never challenged. Consider trying to deal with the utter humiliation (also as a junior) of your high school’s having “lost its right to host any sporting events between January 1998 and the fall of 1999 after an angry white mob verbally assaulted black basketball players from Bloomington” (Steubner, Intelligence Report, Fall 2002, Issue Number: 107). Worse still, the Council of Conservative Citizens “Undermines” Martinsville’s attempts to overcome its racist legacy.
As of 2016, the proposal for a monument solemnly remembering the young woman murdered in 1968 was rejected by the town. In my opinion, the monument should be there, because the KKK rallied in Martinsville just the year before the murder. Martinsville was a known brooding nest for racists, whether the murderers were from Martinsville or not. If the town had not been so silent about or sympathetic toward racism and the KKK, then the murderers would never have been emboldened to kill… and they might never have been in the town at all. Obviously, Martinsville has not taken a proactive stance in letting the whole world know that it regrets having been hospitable to the sickening bigotry that fomented this tragedy.
NOT A TRUE CHRISTIANITY
Most audaciously, groups such as “Christian Identity” and “Stormfront” have put the matter of racial inequality on an altogether new level of offensiveness since 2010 by touting bigotry as a valid outcome of Christianity’s worldview. In an excellent article by realcourage.org, author R.E.A.L. Organization exposes men like Matt Parrott, Ed Glasgow & Jon Harness. Of course, racism is not and never has been a valid outcome of biblical Christianity’s worldview or of its theology for that matter. The above mentioned groups and individuals try to base their bias on manipulations of the Scriptures, logic, philology and near-eastern/western history.
Christian Identity is a spin-off of British Israelism, which arose in the late 17th century and continues today in various forms and functions. The groups’ modern-day & underlying motif appears to be a bizarre (even backward) martyr complex, which screams out that European Caucasians’ good-will and heightened sympathies are abused by minority ethnicities. Consequently, the liberties of whites are undermined and “their” communities are stripped of “success.” Furthermore, Christian Identity theology declares the Christian gospel is meant only for those who are of a certain lineage–“European Israelites”–since only those of true Israel have souls for the saving. Christian Identity also holds that modern-day Israelites are not really the true Israel. Rather, Western Europeans (particularly the Anglo peoples and Celtic peoples) are the physical descendants of the “lost tribes” of Israel. To be sure, this is the same sort bad history and theology that found a place in Adolf Hitler’s mind and grew into Aryan Supremacy, as well as the desire to “purify” the Aryan race. [See also Anti-Defamation League’s summary]
The ilk of Christian Identity is not a smallish group which only hides in the corners of remote countryside. Herbert W. Armstrong‘s Worldwide Church of God–a cult by definition & near to Seventh Day Adventism (Armstrong’s ordination)–has its roots in the same Anglo-Israelism theology as Christian Identity (please see article by rapidnet.com). No wonder they claim to be the only true Christian church in the world. The United Church of God—not to be confused with the good Church of God, Anderson—is a recent splinter of the WCG faction, which is still steeped in Hebrew Law, and it gains a large following in… you guessed it… Indianapolis. This is the same lot as the Philadelphia Church of God, which is also a cult. Apparently, after the death of Herbert W. Armstrong, a further split occurred in the WCG and groups like Grace Communion International formed (2009) with the claim they are more nearly orthodox in beliefs, …as if that allays skepticism. Perhaps GCI should consider adamantly denouncing Armstrong and his tenets rather than coyly writing that his beliefs were “unusual.”
Then, there is the cultish Independent Fundamental Baptist movement, evidencing itself in Morgan County through the Martinsville Baptist Tabernacle of Martinsville, IN. Pastor David Zempel has very strong familial and ministerial ties to some of the movement’s notoriously racist leaders, such as the infamous Bob Jones University, Bill Gothard & Wayne Van Gelderen of Falls Baptist Church / Baptist College of Ministry, Menomonee Falls, WI.
DEALING WITH THE ERROR
A blog post has hardly the space or scope to cover the subject matter at hand fully. It fails to allow for an adequate discussion of the fallacies of British Israelism and Christian Identity. One wonders if he really needs to disprove something so absurd. However, there is space enough to state a few genetic, historical and biblical facts to refute them, or rather, demonstrate what biblical Christianity holds.
Genetic & Historical Refutations:
- British Historian Francis Pryor documents the Mitochondrial DNA of today’s British inhabitants are the same as Arthur Gough’s Cheddar Man (apx. 7150 B.C.) in the film Britain B.C., part 1, 21:00 – 24:43. This fact reveals those of Britain are not of near eastern descent as Christian Identity claims.
- Francis Pryor documents the invasions of Britain, and that, the genetics of the English are not Jewish. Rather, they are no different than Fresians/Holland and also that of Vikings (Danes). (Britain A.D., part 3, 7:23-10:47ff)
- While many people remark that St. Augustine refers to Angles as Germans, blonde haired and fair like angels, Francis Pryor exposes Beade’s agenda to cover up the unnecessary mission efforts of St. Augustine. Beade subsequently made up the title for a people group “Anglo-Saxon” (soon to be called English) for Roman Catholic Ecclesiastical history. According to Beade’s bias, these Anglo-Saxons were “predestined to inherit southern Britain [from Rome] rather like the children of Israel ‘inherited’ the Holy Land. So, the British are a chosen people.” Beade was also motivated by creating an origin myth for the British. (Britain A.D., part 3, 35:50ff; 38:15- 40:02) This is an appropriate and historical explanation of British Israelism’s oversight/misinterpretation of what it calls evidence. Genetics and history do not bear a British Israel. Roman Catholic ecclesiastical history, however, does… and this is in keeping with the Roman Catholic view of the Kingdom of Heaven and its Keys (Replacement Covenant Theology, etc.).
- God promised Abraham that through Abraham’s Seed (Jesus Christ), all nations (ethnicities) would be blessed. (Gen. 22:18)
- Christ was prophesied to be a light to the Gentiles and salvation to the ends of the earth, in contrast with just a redemption provided for Israel only. (Is. 49:6)
- Peter’s vision of the “unclean” and the “clean” was not merely about animals, so much as it was about Gentiles’ receiving the Gospel. Consider that the context of it was his preparation for going to Cornelius, a Roman. (Acts 10:28)
- Romans 11 describes a difference between national, genetic Israel, Gentiles and the Christian church.
December 6, 2016 The Indy Channel | The History of Hate in Indiana: How the Ku Klux Klan took over Indiana’s halls of power
June 30, 2015 Reuter’s | Announced: KKK is rallying this weekend in South Carolina — http://reut.rs/1LFrPXP
Google Search terms: “1967 KKK Martinsville Indiana”
Support Network for Those Seeking to Exiting WCG, PCG and UCG, etc.: Exit and Support Network
A man who vandalized a synagogue with Nazi symbols told federal agents his road to radicalization included meeting with the far-right group Identity Evropa and reading Ben Shapiro, Breitbart News, and the Nazi propaganda site Stormfront.https://t.co/z4QomO7ej5
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) May 26, 2019