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Scriptures for America

Scriptures for America

ALTERNATE NAME: Scriptures for America Worldwide

LEADER: Peter (Pete) J. Peters

YEAR ESTABLISHED OR BECAME ACTIVE: 1977

ESTIMATED SIZE: 100

USUAL AREA OF OPERATION: LaPorte, Colorado

OVERVIEW

Scriptures for America Worldwide is an organization based in the United States that allegedly claims to be devoted to preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. The organization was earlier known to be a part of the Christian Identity Movement (an affiliation of extremist groups) that claimed that Christians, and not Jews, are the "true Israelites" and are favored by God. However, reportedly, the Scriptures of America (SFA) later denounced the association.

Peter J. (Pete) Peters, the pastor of the LaPorte Church of Christ in LaPorte, Colorado, heads the Scriptures for America ministries around the world. The organization is also referred to as SFAW.

HISTORY

Peter J. Peters, the pastor of the LaPorte Church of Christ in LaPorte, Colorado, is the self-proclaimed head of Scriptures for America Ministries Worldwide. Peters became the pastor of LaPorte Church, allegedly a Christian Identity church with nearly 100 worshippers in the state of Colorado, in October 1977. Peters' position as the pastor is thought to have provided him a platform to illustrate and expand his extremist views. LaPorte Church claims that it is an autonomous, nondenominational Christian church that was inspired by the New Covenant Scriptures (thought by many to be another extremist entity).

According to published reports, the activities of SFA first came into the picture in 1985 after the local media in Colorado reported that the members of The Order, a terrorist group of the 1980s, had attended the LaPorte Church. The media also provided information that claimed that this visit by The Order came during a period when the group was thought to be very active. It was during this time (the mid 1980s) that The Order was allegedly accused by U.S. government authorities for involvement in various terrorist activities including bombings, robberies, and forgeries. This incident was followed by reports in 1987, when two prominent members of The Order were found guilty under charges of murdering Alan Berg, a Jewish talk-show host in Denver, Colorado. Media reports further mentioned that in 1984, Berg had interviewed Peters, the alleged head of SFA, and had challenged him on his views of white supremacy. Allegedly, this did not sit well with Peters, who according to the media played a prominent role in the murder of Alan Berg.

In 1988, the state of Colorado held a vote to determine whether gays and lesbians should be provided civil rights. The SFA, under LaPorte Church, reportedly acquired the advertising and broadcast rights for this event. However, allegedly, members of SFA propagated anti-gay ideologies in a bid to prevent homosexuals from being provided civil rights. The state government ruled that the church was not following the regulations prescribed by the campaign reform law, which imposes rules on what can and what cannot be broadcasted, and fined the institution. After repeated reminders, the church reportedly failed to pay the required fine amount and eventually in 1992, the savings account of the church was acquired by the state government. Political experts state that the government also auctioned off the assets of the church in order to settle the account. Peters was allegedly displeased with the proceedings and blamed the government for the entire debacle.

PHILOSOPHY AND TACTICS

Experts on religious extremism allege that Pete J. Peters has often misused his authority as the pastor of LaPorte Church and proclaims the belief that Jews and people of color, including African Americans, are inferior to Caucasians. Allegedly, SFAW states that people of all races, excluding Caucasians, pose a threat to human civilization. Furthermore, SFA appears to condemn homosexuality and encourage its followers to renounce homosexuals.

LEADERSHIP

PETER J. PETERS

Pastor Pete J. Peters, the self-proclaimed leader of the Scriptures for America, claims to own a ranch in western Nebraska. He graduated from the School of Agriculture, University of Nebraska, and holds a Bachelor's degree in Agricultural Business and Economics from Colorado State University.

It is reported that Peters had served the U.S. Department of Agriculture before he formed Scriptures for America. Additionally, Peters has a baccalaureate degree in Sacred Literature in Bible and Bible-related Studies from the Christ Bible Training School in Gering, Nebraska. His wife, Cheri, is also known to support her husband and adopt his philosophies.

The organization reportedly pronounces itself to be dedicated to advocating the gospel of Jesus Christ as well as proclaiming the "true biblical identity" of the Anglo-Saxon, Germanic, and other races that have settled globally. According to proclamations made by Scriptures for America, there are twelve tribes of Israel consisting of the Anglo-Saxon, Germanic, Celtic, Scandinavian, as well as similar sects. Members of these, especially the white-skinned people who have settled in North America, form the basic and "true" population of the United States. SFA allegedly claims that they are "genuine Christians," even asserting that Jews have openly opposed the truth and have made the Christians around the world appear evil.

To promote its propaganda, the SFA uses a number of mediums and strategies. The most prominent medium is thought to be radio and television shows. Monitor groups state that the SFA also uses audiocassettes for this purpose. According to reports, another mode of propagation is through seminars. The organization allegedly hosts frequent seminars and encourages the mingling of individuals with similar extremist ideologies. SFA also reportedly publishes newsletters and has an active web site. Other means of propagation include newsletters, brochures, taped recordings, and books.

In 1993, a few prominent members of SFA launched a controversial semiweekly radio show called "Truth for the Times." Analysts argue that, due to its controversial content matter, the show was pulled off the air in 1995. However, it was aired again later through several local radio stations.

There are reports that during a conference of white supremacists in 1992, the SFA and other similar organizations formed a coalition against the state government. Experts are of the opinion that this coalition was involved in several acts of terror against the government and its allies.

Peters is also reported to have participated in several acts of defamation of other religions, especially Judaism.

OTHER PERSPECTIVES

In 2004, an FBI strategic assessment report about the potential for domestic terrorism in the United States focused on movements associated with Christian fundamentalism, including Scriptures for America. The report mentioned that, "One of the greatest threats posed by the right-wing in terms of millennial violence is the formation of a conglomeration of individuals that will work together to commit criminal acts." The report was targeted at many Christian extremist groups—the Scriptures for America being one of them.

The report also mentioned that, "Law enforcement officials should be particularly aware that the new millennium may increase the odds that extremists may engage in proactive violence specifically targeting law enforcement officers. Religiously motivated extremists may initiate violent conflicts with law enforcement officials in an attempt to facilitate the onset of Armageddon, or to help fulfill a prophesy. For many on the extreme right-wing, the battle of Armageddon is interpreted as a race war to be fought between Aryans and the satanic Jews and their allies."

These comments were directed at Pete Peters and his SFA, among other such organizations.

KEY EVENTS

1985:
Media reports suggested that a violent extremist group, The Order, visited the SFAW Church and created a national controversy.
1987:
Two members of The Order allegedly linked with Peters of SFAW were convicted of murdering a Jewish talk show host.
1992:
The La Porte Church that harbored the SFAW reportedly lost its savings account and most of its assets in a government auction.
2004:
SFA allegedly continued its efforts in propagating its pro-Christianity ideology through seminars, taped recordings, and radio sermons.

SUMMARY

The Scriptures for America Worldwide promoted its ideology mainly through radio programs and conferences during the 1980s and 1990s. Scriptures for America reportedly continues to broadcast its philosophies through digital satellite twenty-four hours a day. In addition, it is also thought to spread its message through its web site, LaPorte Church sessions, and workshops to motivate new members to join.

As of 2005, analysts claim that the SFA has been growing. It is also thought to organize activities jointly with other extremist groups.

SOURCES

Web sites

Anti-Defamation League. "Peter J. 'Pete' Peters." 〈http://www.adl.org/learn/ext_us/Peters/〉 (accessed September 30, 2005).

Center for Studies on New Religions. "Project Megiddo." 〈http://www.cesnur.org/testi/FBI_004.htm〉 (accessed September 30, 2005).

SEE ALSO

Christian Identity Movement

Order, The

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