Christian Identity: An American Heresy

David Ostendorf

Abstract


Christian Identity is a belief system so strange, indeed bizarre, that most 

Americans who know anything about it dismiss it outright and relegate those 

who believe it to the quaint and quirky fringes of the nation’s religious 

subcultures.  

How seriously, for example, can one take the notion that God created 

Adam as a white man and that other races are sub-human? Or the belief that 

the lost tribes of Israel traversed Europe, landed in Great Britain, and crossed 

the Atlantic to inherit—as white Christian racialists—the promises of God? Or 

that Jesus came only to reach out to and save this particular “Israel,” 

comprised solely of white supremacists? 

Little wonder that Americans do not take this ideology seriously, or that 

American Christians and their church leaders pay it scant attention. An 

occasional news story on the white supremacist movement may mention 

Christian Identity, and most readers quickly recognize the obligatory 

description of its basic racist and anti-Semitic beliefs. 

In American history, and particularly in American Christian history, these 

ideas are not as bizarre as they may seem at first glance. 


Keywords


Christian Identity, religion, American, America, antisemitism, anti-semitism

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