Friday, July 15, 2005

Soldiers of God: White Supremacists and Their Holy War for America

Well, you can probably tell that I have a slight obsession with reading about Christian Identity and racism lately. As a matter of fact, I'm fascinated with Orcinus' posts about eliminationism and am really looking forward to "The Fire Next Time" on PBS (Sunday or Monday). But I'm going to take a break, as all that radical right/racial right reading sort of gives me a headache after a while - I grabbed four Terry Pratchett Discworld books this time (I'm sort of treating it as a single 1000 page book - Klund pointed me at them, I think I'm currently on books 5-8) and I won't even bother to review them - there's plenty of commentary out there about Pratchett, mine would be extraneous.

Soldiers of God is an excellent book about Christian Identity. The authors try their hardest to be non-judgemental and just report about the religious movement from the perspective of those within the movement, and with very few slip ups, that's exactly what they achieve. While it's not inclusive of everything about Identity, it does cover a lot of ground. So, rather than focusing on what Christian Identity is (it's "racial religion" - white people are the chosen people, you just have to read the Bible the right way), I'd like to point out a few of my favorite things:

1.) When we came back from the Scottish Festival in Farmington the other day, there was a KKK documentary on the History Channel, and Katie asked, "why the heck are they all wearing kilts" (good question if you were just at a Scottish Festival). Soldiers of God provides the answer..."It's not a cross-burning. It's a cross-lighting."..."The cross does burn, of course, but that's not the point. It's not some kind of Satanic thing or a desecration, but a Christian ritual that originated in the Scottish highlands. It represents the light of Jesus Christ in the world, the advancement of Christian faith. Do the news reports ever tell you that?"..."Cross-lighting is also a call to arms, " Jim Stinson adds. "The old clans of Scotland would signal with burning crosses on the hillsides to call their people. We're doing the same thing--calling our people." And, of course, if you're black and they're burning them in your yard, it's either a.) a sign that they're calling people to arms in your yard or b.) there's a call to arms going on and you're not part of it, so you better be worried you're on the wrong side. (p. 160).

2.) The authors were around the racial right too much - as my sister would say, Oriental is not a race or a type of person, it's a rug.

3.) Many on the racial right are obsessed with nordic symbology - neo-Odinism, runes, fake runs (writing in "Viking" in class), etc. I can't imagine what this says about Tolkein. (p. 213)

4.) Everything is a conspiracy. I tried to explain this to BiggTree today - even global warming is an attempt by ZOG (the Zionist Occupied Government) to get all nations to work together toward solving an issue just to trick them into working together so much they embrace the U.N., and subsequently, the United Nations, driving us further into their nefarious grasp.

5.) The Number of the Beast is everywhere, whether it be 666 or 616. Soldiers of God notes: "One woman, a fundamentalist Christian of the non-Identity variety, makes the observation, "They already have a central computer somwhere in Europe that has access to every bit of this information. And do you know what they call this super computer? It's called the 'Beast.' You can't believe in prophecy and at the same time believe that this is some kind of coincidence."" (p.130). Let me point out that I work for a company that gathers and republishes an amazing amount of information, the kind of company whose executives you might find in an e-Week article meeting with Capitol Hill to discuss data security and the recent leaks of other companies, the kind of company you worry might know so much about you that it frightens you - the kind of company that gave me XML today that noted a particular document was scaned in 3020 and related to events that took place in 6010. That's right, they can predict the future almost 3000 years out. More appropriately, this should tell you that even in the most data-centric companies, in the most anal-retentive data-should-be-perfect companies, there are errors in the data. You should be less worried about 666 and more worried about the fact that you're going to end up the victim of a data error, like in Brazil.

I'd like to expand on that whole motif, by the way. The Wikipedia article about The Number of the Beast/666 is wonderful. You get great trivia like:

"The anti-impotence drug Viagra has a molecular weight of 666.7 g/mol."


"The first Apple Computer, the Apple I was sold for $666.66."


"Former U.S. president Ronald Wilson Reagan had six letters in his first, middle, and last name. He also lived in Bel-Air California, in house number 666 on his block, until wife Nancy Reagan had it changed to 668. Another interesting numerological oddity regarding Reagan, is that the sum of the enumerated phrase "Ronald Reagan President and Chief Executive of the United States of America" equals 666."

Guess I should have saved all that for Halloween! As a matter of fact, Boing Boing had an article just yesterday about 666, RFIDs (the little chips you put under your hand for GPS and credit card use), Katherine Albrecht, and a slide show that urges you, "FLEE FROM IT!". Sure, but primarily because they're poking you with a hollow needle, not because they're checking whether you're on the can or running your hand over the scanner at Home Depot and chintzing on a $4 hammer instead of the kind with the tuning fork in the handle.

"Turns out, Albrecht also believes that RFID tags may be the Mark of the Beast described in the New Testament's Book of Revelations. (Link to page about RFIDs of the Beast.)"

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