Friday, June 26, 2015

How Does a Former Military Intelligence Analyst Make Sense of Dylann Roof, the White Right, and Domestic Terrorism?

We have a very smart and eclectic readership here at and WARN.

One of those essential voices and frequent commenters is James Scaminaci III.

I always feel smarter after reading his comments and observations about national security issues and military affairs. Why? Because he is a very well-trained social scientist who also has experience as a working, in the field, military intelligence analyst. 

In the aftermath of the Charleston Massacre, and the commercial news media's many deficiencies in their coverage of the complexities regarding that horrible event, I reached out to James and asked if he would be so kind as to offer up a guest post.

He kindly complied. There is some excellent and smart work in James's essay. I do hope that folks take his insights to heart as they work to protect the Common Good and keep America safe from white supremacist terrorist thugs like Dylann Roof.


I am a former civilian senior military intelligence analyst that worked for the Department of the Army at the U.S. Department of Defense’s European Command (EUCOM).  During part of my tenure I was a member of Joint Task Force Provide Promise that was tasked with providing humanitarian aid to the Bosniak (Muslim) victims of Bosnian Serb genocide.  I also served four years inside Bosnia & Herzegovina (B-H) as a senior intelligence analyst attached to the Stabilization Force (SFOR) tasked with identifying the networks of political-criminal power structures thwarting implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement.  Fundamental to that analytical task is understanding how words (policy and rhetoric) are translated into action, and, how words are used to frame and encompass a movement.

It is established fact that the genocide in B-H began with the Serbian Academy of Science’s false assertions that Croats and Muslims planned a genocide against all Serbs living outside of Serbia.  They were joined in this propaganda war by the Orthodox Church, which gave it a religious endorsement.  Promoting both of these efforts were state-controlled television, radio, and print media.  Of course, this propaganda barrage of Serbs facing an existential threat was the pretext justifying Milosevic’s attempted territorial conquests against Croatia and B-H, and, the genocide of the Bosniaks.

What has this to do today with the right-wing in America?  Everything.

What distinguishes modern social movements—noted for the lower prevalence of bureaucratic structures and a higher propensity to use multiple types of networks—from previous models of social movements is the idea that what holds these modern movements together is the narrative, the structure of ideas, the core values, and belief in action.  Ideas are the structure and the glue of modern social movements.  That is the reason why, according to scholar Jennifer Jefferis (Armed For Life), that the federal government could not bring conspiracy charges against the Army of God.

Jefferis noted that the “ideological frame of religious belief can act as an intangible alternative to the violence-inducing elements of structure.”  Moreover, Jefferis reported that after two years of grand jury investigation that the grand jury “concluded that the individuals were linked by an idea, not an organization.  As a result, there was little law enforcement could do, and Army of God members, affiliates, and supporters continue to meet without fear of repercussions.”

Eugene Gallagher, in a scholarly article for the journal Terrorism and Political Violence, noted that “Religion…is at the heart of many of the ideologies on the contemporary radical right.”  Specifically, he was writing about the range from the Patriot militias to the neo-Nazis, though they do not share the same religion.  However, his observation regarding religion is true for the entire movement.  One cannot understand the actions of the Republican Party and the Christian Right, often acting in tandem, without considering the religious basis and motivations for their policies and actions, according to former Christian Right operator Frank Schaeffer.

And we know from scholarship and field studies that the right-wing exists on two levels: the public or visible level, and, the secret, underground cell level.  In many cases, a public entity will also have a secret entity.  More than personnel linkages, what holds underground secret cells together is the common narrative and common understandings, combined with military-like discipline.

Additionally, these above and below ground entities have evolved a tactic that spans the entire range of the paramilitary right—from the Patriot militias to the neo-Nazis—that allows a member who wants to go “operational” to sever all ties with the group and erase all possible linkages between the group and the member.  We know this because strategists of these groups openly discussed developing and using this tactic in the 1990s as they were adapting the core ideas of “leaderless resistance” as an organizational response to law enforcement penetrations.

How is violence and terrorism part of the right-wing?  The common narrative structure provides the key to understanding this problem.

Professor Michael Barkun in his seminal book, A Culture of Conspiracy, noted that the “New World Order theory came to constitute a common ground for religious and secular conspiracy theorists” once the bipolar structure of the international system underwent a significant shift in the late 1980s with the demise of the Soviet Union.”

What makes this New World Order conspiracy theory and narrative so powerful is that it comes in religious and secular versions, as well as versions that can cater to anti-Semites and racists.

Pat Robertson took the racist, anti-Semitic version and with minor revisions in 1991 published his book, The New World Order, for the Christian Right’s adherents to absorb.  By the mid-1990s, Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition, at the time, the Christian Right’s premier political mobilization vehicle, and partnered with the Free Congress Foundation’s National Empowerment Television (NET), a “nation-wide, interactive, 24-hour television network” for spreading right-wing messaging and enabling grassroots mobilization.

Other NET partners included the National Rifle Association, Eagle Forum, Concerned Women for America, the Family Research Council, Accuracy in Media, the Cato Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and Borderline from John Tanton’s white nationalist Federation for American Immigration Reform.  Borderline featured white nationalists such as Sam Francis who joined the racist Council of Conservative Citizens and Jared Taylor, founder of racist American Renaissance.

Thus, the New World Order conspiracy and the ideas of “cultural Marxism” spans the entire right-wing, from the Christian Right to the Tea Party movement to the Patriot militia, the non-violent white supremacists, and into the Hard Right of the KKK, the neo-Nazis, and the racist skinheads.

The New World Order conspiracy theory posits that domestic secular liberal elites have conspired with, take your pick—globalists, internationalists, insiders, Jews, international Jewry, banksters—to exploit and enslave, take your pick—Christians, the white middle class, the white race.  According to the conspiracy theory, the domestic secular liberals work to undermine traditional Judeo-Christian values by promoting the rights of African-Americans, women (feminism and reproductive rights), and LGBTQ rights.  Thus, all domestic secular liberals pose an existential threat to Christians, the white middle class, and the white race.

Moreover, the Free Congress Foundation was instrumental in spreading William S. Lind’s writings on “cultural Marxism” or “political correctness” not only into the Republican Party throughout the Christian Right, but into the Hard Right via Patrick Buchanan’s campaign rhetoric, the anti-Semitic Barnes Review, and the racist Council of Conservative Citizens.  Lind’s “cultural Marxism” thesis was also instrumental in forming the worldview of Norway’s Christian terroristAnders Behring Breivik.

It is important to note that in the Free Congress Foundation’s writings on “cultural Marxism” or “political correctness,” that it is imperative that wealthy, white, conservative Christian males maintain their dominance of the political-economic-social pyramids.

In the Free Congress Foundation’s initial 1987 book, Cultural Conservatism, by William S. Lind and William H. Marshner, the authors suggested that a “grand synthesis of anti-Western foreign policy with welfare rights, gay rights, and feminist rights threatens to become the next ‘conscience’ of the Democratic party.”  They claimed that through “several decades of cultural drift” that America was at a “crossroads of the spirit” and must choose between cultural conservatism and a “unified agenda of cultural radicalism.”  In their view, “cultural radicalism” aims to “eliminate ‘sexism’ and ‘homophobia’…elimination of male aggressiveness…and elimination of dogmatic religion.”  “Cultural radicalism” promotes “abortion on demand.”

The Christian Right’s existential threat rhetoric is visible in the current Christian Right propaganda barrage regarding the Obama administration’s so-called assault on “religious liberty,” the “persecution” of Christians, and the future imprisonment and disarmament of Christians for their beliefs.

This existential threat must be met in two fundamental ways.

The first way, which they have been doing since the early 1980s, is to wage Fourth Generation Warfare (4GW).  4GW was originally developed by the Free Congress Foundation’s William S. Lind in two articles published in the Marines Corps Gazette (1989 and 1994).  4GW posits that modern conflicts are between a central state actor (the federal government) and a non-state actor (the Christian Right and the right-wing).  The central objective of 4GW is to undermine the legitimacy of the federal government, and, at the appropriate time of one or more concurrent systemic crises [see On War #300], to contest the territorial control of the federal government (nullification and secession).

Gary North, arguably one of the most important strategic thinkers of the Christian Right and informal advisor to Ron Paul (Tea Party movement) and Stewart Rhodes (Oath Keepers), wrote:

“Precinct by precinct, town by town, county by county, a decentralized political movement could begin to undermine the legitimacy the existing political structure.  It can do so politely, helpfully, and sympathetically.  The central issue is legitimacy.  The supreme goal is to undermine the legitimacy enjoyed by the prevailing central state.  This task is doable. We have the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve System working for us: a debt disaster to be funded by fiat money.  When the dollar dies, political legitimacy dies with it.  This is the central premise of my recommended strategy.”

Prior to this open paramilitary conflict, the right-wing must prepare itself organizationally (form church-based militias, Patriot militias, underground cells) and contest the legitimacy of the federal government, according to an Oath Keepers’ strategic document.

We know about 4GW from several sources linked to the late Paul Weyrich’s Free Congress Foundation.  Weyrich is the architect of the Christian Right and employed William S. Lind, the originator of 4GW.  In 2001, Katherine Yurica of The Yurica Report discovered a key strategy document produced by Weyrich’s organization called “The Integration of Theory and Practice.”  In this document, the FCF stated:

“Our strategy will be to bleed this corrupt culture dry. We will pick off the most intelligent and creative individuals in our society, the individuals who help give credibility to the current regime….Our movement will be entirely destructive, and entirely constructive.  We will not try to reform the existing institutions.  We only intend to weaken them, and eventually destroy them….We will maintain a constant barrage of criticism against the Left.  We will attack the very legitimacy of the Left….We will use guerrilla tactics to undermine the legitimacy of the dominant regime.”

When you connect all the dots and put all the pieces of the puzzle together, a terrorist attack from a ’lone wolf’ is not unexpected, though the time, place, and target are impossible to predict.  A ’lone wolf’ does not even have to be a member or a former member of a group.  A ’lone wolf’ need only absorb deeply the ideology and resolve to act true to the ideology—whether motivated by his need to fulfill his own dying wish, to spur others to action, or to spark a racial civil war.  

Whether or not ’mental illness’ is the intervening variable between ideology and action, is actually irrelevant because the movement counts on individuals who are not so well grounded to act out their ideology.  Meanwhile, Patriot militia and other paramilitary groups integrated into the movement’s as yet unknown command-and-control structures, probably multiple political or religious entities or networks, train and wait for their time, an estimate consistent with William S. Lind’s 4GW strategic assessments


joe manning said...

This is a comprehensive linking of the secular and religious right and its inner dynamics which constitute something of a "lone nut machine" which regularly churns out the likes of Dylann Roof in the interests of mass terrorism. The right is galvanized by a sophisticated ideology which affords plausible deniability every time one of its terrorists commits an act against "the people" or "big gummit."

The left has no such countervailing ideology, especially since the fall of the USSR. Thus Marx et. al. condemned the social democrats of the day for institutionalizing the very the power elite that "divides and conquers" by nurturing the right wing in order to dampen rising expectations.

Consequently, the FBI and State Department have historically coddled the right. The FBI having started most of the KKK chapters in the South.

drspittle said...

Thank you for this cogent analysis which connects the religious and the political groups. I have 3 questions. 1. Do you see similar linkage beween these groups and the mainstream media? 2. How do you think this movement can be neutered? 3. Can you provide links to other pieces you have written? Thank you again, and I look forward to future posts and comments.

KissedByTheSun said...

@ James Scaminaci III

What exactly is the end game for these groups? I get what they're trying to destroy but what type of government are they trying to build? What happens to all the various hated others in that government? Genocide? Enslavement?

joe manning said...

The Handmaid's Tale and Idiocracy are popular concepts of rightist dystopias.

James Scaminaci III, PhD said...

What they want is that all governments at all levels are placed under biblical edicts--their own. The whole "Christian nation" and "myth of separation of church and state" is designed to inculcate this belief. Domionionism, as Chip Berlet, Frederick Clarkson, Bruce Wilson, and Rachel Tabachnick, Sarah Posner, Julie Ingersoll, and others will tell you runs throughout the right-wing.

drspittle said...

Thank you, James.

drspittle said...

That's great information. Thank you.

drspittle said...

I'm assuming James Sharlat's "The Family" is also a good source?

drspittle said...

These groups existed in the 60's when I was growing up. I recall that the media (Cronkite, et al) did not treat their ideas as legitimate and pretty much marginalized them. There were actually some reporters who called them out as "Right Wing". Why do you think there is not more dot connecting in the broadcast media today?

drspittle said...

Or as the right would put it, "God's Will".

James Scaminaci III, PhD said...

Yes, his two books are excellent. I would recommend the following authors in alphabetical sequence from a bibliography of sources for my own work:

James A. Aho, The Politics of Righteousness, 1990

Randall Balmer, Thy Kingdom Come, 2006

Michael Barkun, Religion
and the Racist Right, 1997

Michael Barkun, A Culture of Conspiracy, 2013

Chip Berlet, editor, Eyes Right!, 1995

Ann Burlein, Lift High the Cross, 2002

Victoria Clark, Allies for Armageddon, 2007

Frederick Clarkson, Eternal Hostility, 1997

Sara Diamond, Spiritual Warfare,1989

Sara Diamond, Roads to Dominion, 1995

Sara Diamond, Not by Politics Alone, 1998

Colonel V. Doner, Christian Jihad, 2012

Paul Froese and Christopher Bader, America’s Four Gods, 2010
Michelle Goldberg, Kingdom
Coming, 2007

Jean Hardisty, Mobilizing
Resentment, 1999

Chris Hedges, American
Fascists, 2006

Kathryn Joyce, Quiverfull, 2009

Linda Kintz, Between Jesus and the Market, 1997

Laurie Lebo, The Devil in Dover, 2008

Allan J. Lichtman, White
Protestant Nation, 2008

William Martin, With God on Our Side, 1996

Mark A. Noll, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, 1994

Gary North, editor, The Theology of Christian Resistance, 1983

Sarah Posner, God’s Profits, 2008

Randall J. Stephens and Karl W. Giberson, The Anointed, 2011

Katherine Stewart, The Good News Club, 2012

Mel White, Holy Terror, 2006

James Scaminaci III, PhD said...

For one thing, major figures in the Republican Party treated them as the fringe. President Eisenhower had no patience with them, especially as he was sending federal troops to enforce SCOTUS decisions. By 1964, Goldwater and William Buckley, having used the John Birch Society for their own ends, cast them out of the conservative movement. Liberal scholars studied them as the fringe. But, they made a comeback by 1980. What many people missed or did not fully appreciate is that the Christian Right absorbed the ideas of the John Birch Society and began absorbing the ideas of the Hard Right, sanitizing them, and making them palatable to Christian conservatives. The basic conspiracy theory of the right-wing, the New World Order conspiracy theory, is essentially a sanitized, updated, modernized version of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. They now have a communications infrastructure--think tanks across 50 states, both secular and religious; Fox News; conservative talk radio; Christian television and radio; and the right-wing blogs--that overwhelm the former gatekeeper of the three broadcast networks. David Neiwert has written two excellent books on how right-wing or conservative media figures and outlets sanitize ideas from the fringe to the mainstream. To give you an example, Waco was the last time the federal government had information dominance vis-a-vis the right-wing. Look at the Cliven Bundy fiasco. Fox News and all the right-wing outlets were firmly on Bundy's side until he said, "Let me tell you one more thing I know about the Negro." Then, most ran and hid. Now, most local media were not on Bundy's side. And, we have journalists to borrow someone's apt analysis think that if one side says the sun rises in the east and another side says it rises in the west, journalists will say it rises somewhere in the middle. We don't have critical journalism anymore. We have stenographers.

drspittle said...

Thank you.

drspittle said...

Yes, I've read where the traumas of Watergate and the Vietnam War, plus busing African American students to "white schools", were all factors in Americans wanting to "pull back" by the time 1980 came around. But the formal coalescing of "mainstream" Republicans and the right began in 1968 with the Southern Strategy, which gained traction due to anti war demonstrations and riots. Though my dad was a professional broadcaster on radio, he majored in History and his library included many books about the right wing starting with the Klan, American Firsters and Nazi sympathizers in the 1930's as well as John Roy Carlson's classic "Undercover". My father was convinced that right wing forces were part of a conspiracy to murder JFK. (I thought Dallas 1963 provided an accurate picture of the right wing in 1963).

seeknsanity said...

This is a very good article outlining the rabid right's tactics and motivations.

It would be interesting to know what the author believes the role of the moderate christian is in these plans?

I believe that these groups also use the moderate to do the work of keeping the heat, or spotlight, off of the entire christian movement, allowing the christian right to dominate and implement their plans. Much like what was describe in the above lone-wolf scenairio. What christian is going to fight too aggressively against what can be pointed out as an interpretation of scripture from their religious book? I have a feeling that many moderates may tsk the rhetoric that comes from the wing nut, and even express disagreement but, can't help but feel that society, itself, could use more of a shift towards their doctrine.

I suspect the humanitarian movement to spread democracy abroad, where neither humanitarian aid, nor democracy, comes without an overt effort at christian conversion,is also part of the insidious plan to shape the world to thier liking. Thus, the spread of christianity to places where it is not in abundance, not just this country.

Remember, these are the people who get the positions of high authority in the defense and intelligence industries. And, as shown above, are intelligent enough to know how to get the action they want without, stated intent or fanfare.

seeknsanity said...

Kevin Phillipes, American Theocracy, 2007

James Scaminaci III, PhD said...

If by "moderate Christian" you mean mainstream Protestant, then I would point out that mainstream Protestant churches are under severe attack from the Christian Right. Frederick Clarkson (and others) have written about the attack by the Institute on Religion and Democracy on mainstream Protestant churches like the Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, etc. The attack mainly focuses on their support for same-sex marriage and gay rights.

But, there is also a conservative, dominionist Christian movement called the New Apostolic Reformation. Writers at Talk to Action website are experts on this movement. There are also conservative Christians who view this NAR as heretical. Many people who are part of this religious movement do not really know that they are part of it or aware of the NAR.

The Assembly of God, for example, has twice declared the theology of the NAR, plus its earlier variants called the Latter Rain or Manifest Sons of God heretical. The NAR uses stealth tactics to undermine evangelical, fundamentalist, Pentecostal, and charismatic churches from the inside through essentially sleeper agents and cells.

Here in Pensacola, they sponsor an annual "Pray for Pensacola" which is a 40-day event of prayer and fasting. "Pray for Pensacola" is tightly linked to the NAR's local representative, Pensacola House of Prayer, which is the subsidiary of the NAR's International House of Prayer in Kansas City. They attract ordinary Christians who think they are doing good and then hope to recruit them. Once recruited, they then bring the NAR messages into their own church and the subversion begins. Of course, "Pray for Pensacola" also tries to attract the pastors and reverends so that the penetration is also from the top.

But, the NAR has a known theological "signature," if you will. For one thing, they have self-declared "apostles" and "prophets." They have a "Seven Mountains" doctrine, meaning that Christians must rule all seven major institutions of society. They talk about being the "head, not the tail." They talk about bringing nations, states, and cities under discipleship. They talk about being the last generation before Christ comes, in terms of Joel's Army or Generation Joshua. They have extensive prayer networks, engage in spiritual warfare, spiritual mapping. They have deep links to the Republican Party, especially presidential candidates and governors.

The Talk to Action website is the very best source for information. Rachel Tabachnick and Bruce Wilson are the go-to subject matter experts on the NAR.

James Scaminaci III, PhD said...

The Southern Strategy began in 1964 with Goldwater. While Goldwater was not a racist or a bigot, he turned to the dark side to win votes. The Rockefeller wing of the Republican Party was for civil rights. Once that wing was beaten in 1964 and 1968, and Nixon used the Southern Strategy and all the code words to appeal to white supremacists and white middle/working classes threatened by busing, welfare, the Vietnam War, etc., the door was open. By 1980, the architects of the Christian Right, who were linked to the John Birch Society and the white supremacists, began putting together the core institutions of the Christian Right.

By 1980, the Christian Right had been instrumental in getting Reagan elected. In the meantime, the Christian Right kept building their infrastructure. They did not always win, but they kept purging the GOP of moderates. Their first targets were moderate Republicans. And, they have used political campaigns against reproductive rights, gay rights, and voting rights to mobilize their base and keep the GOP onside.

The Christian Right's strategists, all students of Marxism-Leninism, dedicated themselves to turning the GOP into a "combat party." To do that requires a party that has no internal opposition and only one agenda. The GOP's agenda is essentially no different from the Christian Right's agenda.

seeknsanity said...

You've provide a lot of information to digest, I've only just finished filling the various links into a 'to read later' file.

Having worked in the intelligence agency do you/have you noticed the infiltration of these types? A couple years ago, I believe there was a comment on one of the progressives sites, might have been Common Dreams, who was as rabid right as they come. He would qualify his opinion with having worked in the intelligence department, which got me to wondering, just how many of these fanatics, making decisions about who or what to go to war over, there are?

KissedByTheSun said...

I'm not sure if I classify as a 'moderate' Christian but I am one of, if not the only Christians who frequently comments on this blog. I can't speak for all Christians anymore than I can speak for all black people so my comments are reflective of myself alone. As a Seventh Day Adventist I have no secret affinity for dominionist theology. Nor do I believe that there is legitimate support for it found in the Bible. Since the late 1800's our church has taught that the Bible prophesies that America will become a theocracy in the future and will force its citizens and the world to give allegiance to its apostate form of Christianity under penalty of death. The SDA church has preached and fought for separation of church and state from its inception.
This is not something that we see as an inevibility that cannot be fought but we were encouraged by a woman who we believe was a prophet to fight it at all cost

"We are not doing the will of God if we sit in quietude, doing nothing to preserve liberty of conscience. Fervent, effectual prayer should be ascending to heaven that this calamity may be deferred until we can accomplish the work which has so long been neglected. Let there be most earnest prayer and then let us work in harmony with our prayers."—Testimonies for the Church 5:714 (1889). – {LDE 127.2}

"There are many who are at ease, who are, as it were, asleep. They say, “If prophecy has foretold the enforcement of Sunday observance the law will surely be enacted,” and having come to this conclusion they sit down in a calm expectation of the event, comforting themselves with the thought that God will protect His people in the day of trouble. But God will not save us if we make no effort to do the work He has committed to our charge...." – {LDE 127.3}

And before anyone brings up Ben Carson let me bring up Judas and remind us all that there are always betrayers in our midst.

Personally I see the current movements of the 'Christian' right as fullfillment of Bible prophecy and that earths history is about to close. Yes yes I know, magical thinking that some here have no use for. But, I would rather be hated for something I do believe rather than something I do not.

seeknsanity said...

Thank you for your reply and sharing the teachings of your particular sect. I suppose I am one of those whose non-belief deserves a greater level of hatred. An attitude which is prevalent among christians, according to recent studies.

It seems, despite the various sects using the same literature, no matter who you speak to, the other isn't truly the embodiment of the religion. Yet, curiously, that party can still gain the support of nearly half the country. Which is then justified by the individual issues.

I supposed, it had to do with that umbrella like organizational structure explained above, where they can exercise influence without direct intervention. These guys, being authoritarians on christianity are not operating in a vacuum. And I believe most of the individual sects get their messaging from above via conferences, etc. which they can then impart to their moderate congregation by reinfocing or emphasizing certain scripture, by design.

So, my point, if I have one, is that we need moderates to recognize that they play a role in the success of these cretins. Not providing a blanket denial, but by recognizing to what end their religious sentiment is being manipulated.

James Scaminaci III, PhD said...

When I was in intelligence there were conservatives, but nothing like this. For example, I worked for BG Glen Schaffer when he was chief of intelligence at EUCOM. I did not know if he was or was not a Christian at EUCOM. He never spoke about religion. He was all business and he was a great, terrific boss. I could not have asked for a more supportive and protective boss.

I was shocked when I read the GQ (May 2009) that now Major General Shaffer, chief of intelligence for the Joint Chiefs and SecDef, was described as a Christian who put biblical scripture on the covers of the Daily Brief sent around to the principals like SecDef, SecState, etc. That is so unprofessional.

But, Glen Shaffer would have been the last person I would have suspected doing that. He must have gone "Christian" in DC. I am still not sure whether he actually believed the stuff he put on the Daily Briefing books or just put it on because Rumsfeld told him to in order to butter up President Bush who thought he was on a "mission from God."

seeknsanity said...

No, I suppose it wouldn't be as obvious. Thanks for the reply and the article.

seeknsanity said...

BTW, I've shared a link to this page on Rawstory, I hope you don't mind.

balitwilight said...

There is one thing that connects all strains of today's virulent "white" movements. It is the twisted quasi-Christian end-times mythology of a looming apocalytpic "race" war. This is a prophesied national Civil-War scale convulsion in which a besieged "white" population will take up arms against hordes of rioting "blacks", finally exterminating all "blacks" (and Jewish people) to achieve a pure new paradise of "whiteness".
The source of this violent racist fantasy is the self-styled Christian Identity novement - a "white" supremacist religious extremeist group from the 60s. Their doctrine is a corrupted bastardisation of the Old Testament. "Whites" are the original pure people; Jewish people are deceivers, descendants of Satan, and "black" people are "mud people", subhumans - literally "Untermenschen". Their end-times eschatology is the "Race" War: something I trace to the 18th century nightmares of "whites" who lived perpeturally in fear of an uprising of their enslaved populations. In 1861, South Carolina's enslaved "black" population outnumbered its "white" population by 100,000. It is not hard to see how the Christian Identity "race" war apocalypse was born in such a cauldron - embracing the terror but reversing the roles of the victimisers.
The lineage of this "race" war paranoia back to the Confederacy is what interweaves "white"-racism, gun fetishisation, and hatred of the Federal Government.
The Christian Identity movement dispersed into all of America's "white" nationalist movements in the 1970s, seeding them with variants of this apocalyptic narrative. Every sediment around America's fault-line of "White" insanity contains a layer of this dangerously potent "race" war delusion. Charles Manson was no flower-child. He called his "race" war "Helter Skelter" - and designed his 1960 massacres to trigger it. Timothy McVeigh was an acolyte of the same Christian Identity movement. When arrested after detonating a truck-bomb that killed 168 people, McVeigh had in his car pages from the "Turner Diaries": a "white" nationalist novel/bible that vividly imagines the "race" war.

This terror/aching lust for a looming "race" war has become seeded into the very consciousness of "Whiteness" today. It is not just the deadly true-believers - it is in every fearful suburban "white" person who seeks ever remoter suburbs from the "inner cities". It is the NRA and the militarization of American "whiteness" via gun culture. "Race" war is the slime that lies underneath today's predominantly "white" Doomsday Prepper culture. Consciously to most (subsconsciously to some) the prepping is for that apocalypse when hoardes of "blacks" will pour out of the inner cities, and the "white" get to open fire. It is also behind the cultural currency of Zombies - from target practice to the most popular TV show in America. Zombies are a psychological stand-in for the coming "black" hordes. This is quite literally expressed on hate sites, where references to "zombies" and discussions of the best guns to use against them are a sly code for "black" people and the coming "race" war.
This is the cancer that erupted as Dylann Storm Roof. It is now fully metastasized in American culture. It radicalises 17 year-old "Walking Dead" fans as well as 65 year-old Nixon Democrats. All of them live in this ancient "white"-guilt-fueled nightmare of slave uprising - which Christian Identity cunningly re-directed into forgiving prophesies of a righteous "race" war. This is why so many "white" people must arm, remain vigilant, and prepare to fight to reclaim "their country".

anonymous said...

James, I have felt that some type of coup would ultimately happen, and that it would involve the convergence of Right Wing politics, religion, and Patriotism. My sense was that the country was in danger of becoming a Theocracy, and that we are moving in the direction of Fascism. Thank you for this post, and providing some great resources.

drspittle said...

Do you see any signs of any GOP factions moving away from the right wing/Christian Dominionist agenda?

James Scaminaci III, PhD said...

No, I don't mind.

James Scaminaci III, PhD said...

You are certainly correct that Christian Identity had a significant effect on the Hard Right, especially the KKK. The neo-Nazis are more influenced by Odinism. It took my several chapters to demonstrate that the Christian Right essentially had the same ideas and has come to express the same ideology in a less virulently racist and anti-Semitic form. The greatest danger is not Christian Identity, which is essentially a dead religion, literally, but the Christian Right.

They have a well developed ideology that millions of Christians believe and are mobilized to act upon. Their "End Times" beliefs are much more orientated to the here-and-now rather than a future rapture. Whether the issue is reproductive rights or gay rights, they work themselves up into a frenzy of a persecution complex. They are using the pretext of an assault on "religious liberty" to instill fear and paranoia in their base and the Republican Party base. The Patriot militia is their armed wing, not Christian Identity's. The neo-Nazis follow the Christian Right's strategic program, not Christian Identity's or the Odinists.

It took me several chapters of my book to document that the greatest danger to America is the Christian Right, not Christian Identity, though there has been a blending of their ideologies. I demonstrated that the Christian Right definitely moved to the right and that the Christian Identity leaders definitely signalled their approval of many Christian Right ideological positions. See my Chapter 11 posted on for details.

James Scaminaci III, PhD said...

No, with a caveat. The Republicans do not speak in terms of dominionism. Some do like Michelle Bachmann and Ted Cruz and Rick Santorum. But, their presidential candidates incorporate many of the key ideas of dominionism into their rhetoric.

The national GOP has become a religious party. Even former Republicans have reported that as the reason they left. This is a political party that has been captured by the Christian Right.

At some point in the past, Republican leaders may have thought they could use the Christian Right to pursue their own goals. That backfired. The Christan Right and its neo-Confederate allies own the Republican Party.

The Southern Strategy combined with its Christian strategy has essentially made the Republican Party an anti-system political party. Read the conclusion to the book, It's Even Worse Than
It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics
of Extremism. Those two moderate scholars think of the GOP as an anti-system party, with only the Democratic Party dedicated to maintaining the constitutional structures and protections. (See my Introduction on where I discuss this more fully)

Not all state-level Republican parties are as extreme as the Texas GOP. For example, I looked at the Texas GOP platform and the Missouri GOP platform, and there is not much overlap in terms of the religious ideology.

However, Republican candidates do use the rhetoric of the Christian Right, to wit, their use of the same language regarding "religious liberty." They do oppose abortion in all cases. They are opposed to same-sex marriage rights. They will talk about bringing religion into the public square and some will talk about the "myth of the separation of church and state."

The national and many state-level GOP parties use the pseudo-historian David Barton to spread his "Christian nation" and other ideological beliefs into the base.

Some of the major GOP presidential candidates are aligned with the New Apostolic Reformation, for example, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Sam Brownback, Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal, and others.

While Mitt Romney was awkward for many personal reasons, one reason for his awkwardness is that he was a relatively sane, moderately conservative Republican trying to appeal to a very conservative, very Christian, right-wing religious-political base. He just really could not pull it off.

john fremont said...

Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Sam Brownback, Bobby Jindal and Paul Weyrich are all Catholics. Weyrich was a Byzantine Melkite and not a Roman rite Catholic. How did they and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops get aligned with the Christian Right in this movement? What is their end game in being allies with these groups? I know that the Reagan administration was involved with the Pope John Paul II in thwarting the Liberation Theology movements in Central America back in the 1980's. What is the goal for these Catholics now though?

j.ottopohl said...

How do you reconcile this claim with the fact that largest number of "end times" believers (Pentacostals) are black Africans? There are hundreds of millions of more such believers among blacks in Africa than among whites in the US.

James Scaminaci III, PhD said...

I do not understand what "this claim" refers to. "End Times" is a general belief among all Protestants. In the United States, religious adherents have not had to change their "End Times" beliefs. The leadership of the Christian Right, coming from the four major strands of Protestantism, became "operational" Christian Reconstructionists. What I mean by that is that they agreed to work in the here-and-now to achieve the kingdom on earth while waiting for the rapture.

The New Apostolic Reformation is very active in South America challenging the Catholic Church and in Africa. For more information, see for example, the Talk to Action articles and book on how the Christian Right is promoting extermination of homosexuals in Africa, particularly Uganda.

Second, there is research that the Christian Right or NAR went to Africa to influence African Methodists on the gay rights issue. They then tried to manipulate the African Methodists into voting at the annual meeting to dislodge the more liberal American Methodists from the leadership.

For that, see Frederick Clarkson, I believe. But, there are articles on that.

The Black Church in America is much more of a traditional Protestant "End Times" waiting for the rapture. Since 1980, the Black Church has also adopted the Reaganism-on-steroids "prosperity gospel" or the "name-and-claim-it" gospel.

My own personal view, biased as it is and not based on research, is that while some Black churches are involved in Moral Monday protests and the like, for the most part, the Black Church has been politically inert. That may change as Black churches come under arson attacks; as Black Lives Matter activists reach out to Black pastors; as Black politicians in the South are singled out for racist attacks over the Confederate flag (this morning in Pensacola there was one); and, perhaps a realization among Black women who are the Black Church that sitting in their pews on Sunday is not accomplishing anything.

j.ottopohl said...

Your claim was that white supremacy today was an offshoot of Christians believing in "end times." Most people who believe in that theology are black Africans. I know, I live and work in Ghana most of the year. I am a member of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana and was in fact baptised in that church recently. Being as that the fundamentalist theology you claim as the basis of white supremacy today is only followed by a few million white people versus hundreds of millions of black Africans I think your claim is worthless.

James Scaminaci III, PhD said...

You are entitled to your opinion. You misstated what I had written. Quite frankly, there is a ton of literature that the "End Times" beliefs is common to all variants of Protestantism. I'm not going to debate a tiny theological point to satisfy your ego.

Churchlady320 said...

That would be inaccurate of mainline Protestantism that has come from a very different base and committed not to personal salvation but social justice. One has only to see the support for marriage equality among them to know that they do not fit this End Times view. Protestantism like Catholicism or even Judaism has wide variations in the split between the 'wisdom tradition' and the more publicized personal salvation cum rightwing politics version that is, by the way, shrinking not growing.

Churchlady320 said...

Seriously that is incorrect history and review of today's policies. Do catch up - the DOJ is investigating Charleston and the church arsons and many other issues as RW terrorism. To understand the foundations of post WW II RW power you need to read Jeff Sharlet's book, "The Family" that shows the relationship between the so-called C Street people and corporate leaders and some elected officials. They are the most powerful force globally and are the factor behind the spread of RW religious views into the Southern hemisphere, the source of the 'death to gays' laws everywhere.

Churchlady320 said...

Moderate no more. Every one of the mainline Protestant denominations has adopted a powerful position on social justice including LGBT equality, and it is for these reasons they are being seen by the religious right as a major threat to their planning. There are few within mainline progressive Christianity who are Biblical literalists - it's antithetical to their view that questioning and lifelong pursuit of understanding is paramount. You do need to unpack your assumptions about faith communities - they are NOT all the same.

joe manning said...

I'm guessing that you disagree with my saying that the demise of the USSR caused a political vacuum which the right entered since there was no longer any leftest counter-ideology. Jonathan Lethem's recent podcast on WARN corroborates and explains this contention.

And I should qualify my statement that the FBI set up most of the KKK chapters during the 60's by pointing that they supposedly did so in order to plant informants. Even so, it appears that the FBI has and does coddle, nurture, and protect the RW. For example as recently as last week the FBI director said the Charleston massacre was not a hate crime.

While The Family is an important dissemanater of recondite theocratic propaganda according to most sociological "power theorists" the power elite holds the balance.

James Scaminaci III, PhD said...

Protestantism has at least two, if not three "End Times" scenarios. Two are known as premillennialism and postmillennialism. And, I think there is an in-between one. All Protestants believe in some kinds of "End Times." That is not disputable. The premillennialists who think they are going to raptured tend not to be activists. The postmillennialists who think they are going to stick around for the tribulations, tend to be politically active. The Christian Right has managed to span both tendencies and call for all to do their best to build the kingdom here-and-now while kicking butt on liberals and secularists, and waiting for the supernatural Jesus. The Christian Right dwarfs the Christian Identity movement and is the driving force of right-wing and Republican politics. The rest is just noise.

seeknsanity said...

Right. It only took enough wind to blow in the opposite direction for a sect or two, to change course. Have to corner the markets, right? IMO you are the same. Only one thing is paramount to you and that is the spread of your religion. If you have to take positions on either side of an issue, you do and will. However, after centuries of being the predominate force upon this planet, the world is still in a horrible state, if not worse.

mr. pop pop said...

The fall of the soviet union did not create a vacuum of leftist ideology in the United States. Once the Soviet Union collapsed the ruling elites in America were no longer faced with the need to artificially prop up a white working middle class as a propaganda tool in their fight against soviet communist expansion.

Thus the fiscal safety net was systemically pulled from under the white middle class which facilitated far right extremism entry into a large portion of their body politic.

Simply stated I'm having a hard time making it somebody has to be there blame
those others not quite americans.

joe manning said...

I would argue that the implosion of the USSR was a crucial factor in the rise of global neo-Nazism. Jonathan Lethem and CD discuss this very topic in the latest WARN podcast.

I agree with your contention that the US right wing expands automatically regardless of international events and the same rule applies internationally. But certainly the crisis in leftist thought caused by the implosion of USSR acted to catalyze domestic and international rightists.