Religion: A Sinister Search for Identity

Far-right groups use theology to justify violence and racism

"God said what he meant and meant what he said," proclaims Richard Girnt Butler, 66, of the Church of Jesus Christ Christian. Butler sounds like just another Fundamentalist country preacher--until he reveals his peculiar interpretation of God's word. He is one of the leaders of the increasingly troublesome Christian Identity movement, which preaches the most corrosive theology in America, blending hatred of blacks and Jews with visions of an imminent apocalypse and advocating--and sometimes practicing--armed violence to achieve its goals.

Butler's seven-building complex, with its WHITES ONLY sign at the gate, nestles amid towering evergreens near Hayden Lake, Idaho. The tranquil...

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