Manifestations of hate, Cochran Floyd

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[*********PNEWS CONFERENCES************]
From: Education & Vigiliance Network

By Floyd Cochran

Fueled by the rhetoric of talk radio, motivated by the preachers of
bigotry and encouraged by a climate of hate, the organized racist
movement has launched a campaign of terror and violence. A campaign of
terror that would lead to the ultimate destruction of the United
States. There are some in the racist movement who wish to break up
the United States along racial lines, for instance the Pacific Northwest
would be for whites only, southern California for the Hispanics and
so forth. There are others who believe that the end of the world is
approaching and that they are commanded by God to assist Jesus
Christ in setting up his kingdom right here in white America, by
any means necessary. But whatever their belief, race is their
unifier, and violence is their weapon.

>From the late 1980s to 1993, racist organizations such as Aryan Nation
tried to build a mass movement. Taking a page from David Duke the Aryans
went mainstream – using various social-wedge issues such as affirmative
action, the environment and gun control without much success. By 1993
Aryan Nation was developing other tactics. The Aryan Nation strategy
appears to be twofold: set up three and four-man underground cells and
build a movement on the information superhighway. Using fax
machines, computer bulletin boards, operating web sites, the
organized racist right is building a vast network. A network that
doesn’t appear at rallies or marches, but one that sells records,
books, and CDs along with advocating the torching of churches and
armed revolution.

In the last five years, the racist elements of the right wing have
gone on the offensive, with crimes ranging from Skinheads murdering
their families, to black churches in flames, to bank robberies in
several states, to the bombing of federal buildings, to armed
stand-offs in the mountains of Montana and Idaho. The connections
between the organized racist movement and these various crimes stretch
like a web across the country. At the center of this web of hate are
the racist preachers of the Christian Identity movement. Christian
Identity is the religious mask of organized hate groups such as
Aryan Nations. Christian Identity teaches that only whites are the true
people of God, that people of color are born without souls, and Jews
are the literal children of the Devil. Teaching that God is a
bigot armed with a gun, the Christian Identity believer believes
that it their God-ordained duty to engage in acts of violence to
further their goals. Along with developing this theology of hate,
the racist groups have developed a plan of action based on a concept
called “leaderless resistance”.

Leaderless Resistance as an idea has been floating around the racist
movement for years. But it took the glue of Christian Identity, the
Internet and Aryan Nations’ Ambassador Louis Beam to bring it
together. Beam teaches that the true believer should not join above
ground groups, but instead form small independent cells that take
matters into their own hands. The small cells are taught to size up
the situation in their areas and then act. The Oklahoma bombing is
a good example of leaderless resistance in action. A small two and
three man cell, allegedly inspired by the racist book The Turner Diaries,
killed 189 people. A more recent example of leaderless resistance
has been the so-called “Midwestern Bank Bandits” a.k.a. Aryan
Republican Army. These bigots robbed 22 banks throughout seven
states. One of the Nazi robbers admitted giving over $250,000 to Aryan
Nation and other white supremacist groups. This four-man cell came
together under the guidance of Christian Identity leader “Pastor” Mark
Thomas, who is the Aryan Nation leader in Pennsylvania, Thomas
doesn’t directly tell people to go out and commit crimes, instead he
tells them that God sanctions crime and violence. Thomas’s other
disciples in hate have killed their parents, and desecrated a
York, Pennsylvania synagogue. Thomas is a good example of
leaderless resistance at work. On the Internet Thomas teaches that it
is biblical and therefore ok to burn churches, knowing full well
that someone reading his sermons will act. Sunday sermons are
another place for the believer to get ideas about the course of action
one should take.

In 1991, Aryan Nation sent me to the South for six months. During that
time I worked and worshipped with many people who openly talked
about burning down places of worship. Often “Pastor” Van Herrel
of Sevier County, Tenn. would sermonize on the need for cleansing the
land by fire, then hold up his cigarette lighter to emphasize what
he was advocating. Van Herrel preached that convicted murderer Byron
De La Beckwith is an example of how true “white men” should act.
Beckwith is the convicted killer of Medger Evers, field organizer
for the N.A.A.C.P. Many of the people that Van Herrel would
“minister” to have been convicted of crimes that were inspired by
their racist beliefs. One of the first people that Van Herrel
introduced me to was Bobby Norton, who

was the official Aryan Nation leader in Tennessee. Norton had
recently been released from prison for his role in vandalizing the
West End synagogue in Nashville. His home in Murfreesboro, Tennessee,
has been the site of many Aryan Nation gatherings. In January of
1992, Aryan Nation founder Richard Butler traveled to Tennessee to
inspect his troops and attend Ku Klux Klan rallies. At one such racist
rally several of us gathered outside and talked about the need to
burn and vandalize churches. Aryan Nation realized long ago that
for the African – American community the church plays an important
role, and that by attacking churches they (Aryan Nation) can
succeed in intimidating the African – American community.
Recently, there have been news reports stating that at various Klan
gatherings a booklet called “The Bible Answers Racial Questions” is
being sold. This booklet claims that the bible calls for the
destruction of Black churches and that “race mixers” should be put to death.

Drawing on the tactics of leaderless resistance, operating on the
racist principles of Christian Identity and heeding the call of
violence and racism in the name of God, the Phineas Priest are at
war. The Phineas Priest see themselves “as racist warriors from God”.
Taking their name and ideas from an old testament story, the
Phineas Priest believe they are on a religious crusade for the
white race and God. According to Klanwatch Senior Intelligence
Analyst Mike Reynold “The danger stems from their basis in
extremely held religious beliefs. To become a Phineas Priest means to
commit armed robbery, arson, sabotage, kidnapping and murder”. “It is a
commitment to a holy war” Reynolds’ concluded. This past spring
in the city of Spokane, Washington, a Planned Parenthood office was
bombed along with a local newspaper office. As the bombs were going
off a local bank was robbed, the robbers left behind a letter filled
with Christian Identity language and signed with the symbol of the
Phineas Priest.

The organized racist movement has and is evolving and changing.
Probably the greatest single change of the organized racist right
wing has been the development of the Christian Identity religion.
Numbering in the hundreds just 30 years ago, today Christian
Identity has grown to include several thousand believers. As a
former believer of the Christian Identity faith, I know from personal
experience the seductive power of Identity. I also saw how seductive
racial hate can be when taught in the name of God. And there-in lies
the problem, from the Christian Coalition to the hard core
believers of Christian Identity, God is used as a tool to hate
someone. For myself it was easier to believe that my personal hatreds
had a spiritual connection, It gave meaning to what I was doing and
thinking. It gave me a religious compass so to speak.

And finally I wish to add that this article is not an attack on
the Christian faith as a whole. I hope that it is used as a wake
up call for those in the Christian faith. In fact I believe it is
the duty of the Christian community to stand up and point out God
is not hate. Point out that Christ himself once said that “Neither Jew
nor Gentile, neither Male nor Female, we are all one in God.” No
Prejudice, No Hatreds. No Nazis

Editors’ Note: Floyd Cochran was once a lay minister in the
Christian Identity religion and spokesman for the Aryan Nation. Floyd
left behind the doctrines of hate in 1992 and has spent the last
three years writing and speaking out against organized bigotry and
hate. Today Floyd is the Director of EDUCATION & VIGILANCE NETWORK, a
Pennsylvania based informational center.

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