LEADER: James P. Wickstrom
USUAL AREA OF OPERATION: Wisconsin
Yahweh's Truth (YT) is both a socio-religious group belonging to the Identity Movement (IM) and a radio broadcasted program led by a white supremacist known as Pastor James Wickstrom. The Two-Seedline Racial Covenant Identity, or Identity Movement (IM), claims that the Anglo-Saxon race descends directly from Adam and Eve, through the lineage of Seth. Therefore, YT and IM claim that the Anglo-Saxon race is the true Israelite people, whereas Jews would be the descendants of Cain, who, according to this theology, was begotten through the intercourse of Eve with Satan, the Serpent of Eden.
One of the branches of the Aryan Nations, led by Charles Juba, and some other white supremacist groups do sponsor the Yahweh's Truth doctrines and theories advocated by James Wickstrom. Through the interpretation of the biblical texts and apocryphal biblical literature, YT preaches that white American men and women should fight against government and its institutions, should oppose globalization policies, and prepare for a final armed conflict against the authorities and other racial opponents. The ultimate goal of YT and the Identity Movement as a whole is to overthrow the U.S. government through military conflict. Aryan Nations, Montana Freemen, Ku Klux Klan, the Church of Jesus Christ-Christian, Posse Comitatus, and some other neo-Nazi militia groups are either directly associated with or can be considered different expressions of the Identity Movement. The Identity Movement is practically undistinguishable, for instance, from the Church of Jesus Christ-Christian, the Christian Identity, Kingdom Identity, or the Aryan Nations, besides being the cradle of Yahweh's Truth (YT). YT, along with the previously mentioned groups, is at the same time a political and religious movement aiming at the social and political destabilization of the United States in order to restore the white men's power and self-determination through the formation of separated, independent townships.
JAMES P. WICKSTROM
James Wickstrom, born in Michigan in 1942, joined the military service in 1964. After serving in Vietnam, he was discharged in 1966. His first contact with the Identity Movement and Posse Comitatus took place in the early 1970s through Thomas Stockheimer, who led the Wisconsin Posse Comitatus and was a Christian Identity's preacher. Together, they started a study group in Wickstrom's home, with approximately 45 other participants. The group was disrupted when Stockheimer was arrested in 1974 for assaulting an IRS employee in his own home. Two years later, Wickstrom moved to Schell City, Missouri, where he founded the Mission of Jesus the Christ Church in 1977. In 1978, he moved back to Wisconsin to form a chapter of the Posse Comitatus near Shawano County. This Posse chapter was named Constitutional Township of Tigerton Dells. Self-appointed as the "National Director of Counter Insurgency" of this separatist township, Wickstrom acted as judge and municipal authority as well as pastor.
Wickstrom started spreading both the Identity and Posse ideology to the farmers of the region and to the small town population nearby. According to Floyd Cohran, who grew up in a farm nearby, in times of deep economical crisis among small farmers, Wickstrom was preaching that Jews were to be blamed for their difficulties. In concert with federal authorities and its disastrous policies, Jews wanted to take away their land. Therefore, not only the federal government was illegitimate, but they should organize militia groups to lynch IRS agents, Jews, and any other individuals who represented a hindrance to the sovereignty of the people. By 1980, Tigerton Dells had became a center for militia training. As the FBI discovered in 1985, they also had a large stock of illegal weapons, ammunition, and explosives. Under Wickstrom's advice, several farmers stopped paying their debts and taxes, and ended up actually losing their properties. Between 1981 and 1983, Wickstrom received a great deal of attention from the press, being interviewed by Larry King, Geraldo Rivera, and Phil Donahue. In 1983, he was arrested and convicted to serve thirteen months in jail for illegally forming the separatist Constitutional Township of Tigerton Dells. After his release, he continued to preach Christian Identity throughout the country as a self-proclaimed Aryan Nations' Chaplain. He was accused of planning to distribute counterfeit bills totaling $100,000 in 1988, but the trial was nullified. However, after Victor F. Rizzo, who was indicted for conspiracy to the purchase of counterfeit U.S. currency and the possession of unregistered firearms and silencers, acted as a witnessed against Wickstrom. Wickstrom was convicted in 1991 to serve thirty-eight months in federal prison.
The doctrines sponsored by Yahweh's Truth originated from the British Israelism movement of the nineteenth century, a racist theological doctrine born in England. These anti-Semitic ideas were brought to the United States at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, where they gradually gave rise to several extremist racist organizations, such as the Ku Klux Klan, under the leadership of Wesley Swift, who in 1946 founded the Church of Jesus Christ-Christian in California. Yahweh's Truth is one among hundreds of modern spin-offs of the original group founded by Swift. These groups share a common socio-theological view about race supremacy (e.g., that of the Anglo-Saxon race) and claim that non-white races are inferior and impure, because they descend from those begotten through spurious intercourse between the fallen angels, which followed Lucifer, and women.
Yahweh's Truth seems to be a movement directly derived from the Posse Comitatus, which the law enforcement authorities dispersed in 1985 through the destruction of the Constitutional Township of Tigerton Dells (Wisconsin) and Wickstrom's arrest. The community, founded by Wickstrom, had declared its independence from the United States Federation and was fomenting racial violence and tax evasion among farmers throughout the Midwest. Posse Comitatus or Sheriff's Posse Comitatus (meaning, sheriff's power of the county) was a U.S.-based white supremacist group, founded in the beginnings of 1970 by William Potter Gale, Henry L. Beach, and other followers of the Christian Identity Movement. James Wickstrom, now leading Yahweh's Truth, became the most vocal Posse Comitatus leader in the early 1980s. Based on their particular interpretation of the Bible, Posse Comitatus claimed the existence of an international Zionist conspiracy that led to the Jewish control of Western governments, especially the United States, which would be under the control of a purportedly Zionist-occupation government (ZOG). Authorities considered Posse Comitatus and the Aryan Nations the two more violent supremacist groups operating in the United States. Several Posse members were indicted for murder, racial violence, death threats, tax evasion, and bank robberies, especially during the 1970s and the 1980s. The doctrines of Yahweh's Truth (YT), preached by Wickstrom, were also at the core of Posse ideology, with the sermons and lectures defending the formation of paramilitary groups, persecution and murdering of Jews, homosexuals, and communists, as well as tax evasion. Wickstrom continues to preach through YT those ideas, along with the Posse claims of the federal government's illegitimacy.
After his release from prison, Wickstrom tried to revive Posse Comitatus in 2001 without much success, and started the Yahweh's Truth organization, first meeting in a borrowed location in Hampton Township, Michigan, and later spreading its propaganda through the Internet, radio shows, and cable television. The organization is maintained through donations and the selling of videotapes.
- Wickstrom founded the Mission of Jesus the Christ Church.
- Wickstrom was arrested and convicted to serve thirteen months in jail for illegally forming the separatist Constitutional Township of Tigerton Dells.
- Wickstrom was convicted to serve thirty-eight months in federal prison.
PHILOSOPHY AND TACTICS
Yahweh's Truth combines German Nazi theories about the supremacy of the Anglo-Saxon race and the racial inferiority of other non-white populations. Like the Nazis of the first half of the twentieth century, they dedicate an especial hatred against Jews, who are blamed for the moral and social corruption of modern societies and held as the authors of an international conspiracy to dominate the world. The modern international financial system, the international and American press, and TV news networks as well as the globalization process, according to Yahweh's Truth and other similar Christian Identity theorists, would all be strategies orchestrated by a purportedly invisible Jewish organization known as the Zionist-occupation government (ZOG), as part of such strategy for global domination. As far as the United States is concerned, ZOG would be the invisible power behind the American government and Congress, which resulted in their illegitimacy to represent the Anglo-Saxon American population.
U.S. domestic policies toward ethnic and multicultural diversity, respect, mutual understanding, and reciprocal tolerance are viewed as a means to weaken the Anglo-Saxon population by the ZOG and a menace to the white race survival. They believe that interracial marriages are not only immoral, but essentially a sin that, along with homosexuality, should be punished with death.
The alleged white Anglo-Saxon superiority and the moral validity of racial hatred is, according to YT, justified by the Bible. They believe that Lucifer, the fallen angel mentioned in the Book of Genesis, along with one-third of the angelic population were expelled from the Heavens and bound to the primordial Earth, where they assumed mortal human bodies and gave birth to a demonic race. The Serpent of Eden, who tempted Eve, would be Lucifer (e.g., Satan) himself, who sexually seduced Eve, thus begetting Eve's first born, Cain. Therefore, Cain would be the son of Satan and Eve, instead of Adam's, as taught by the three mainstream religions, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. The YT and the Christian Identity Movement alike do claim that the Jewish population and other Semitic racial groups are descendants from Cain, whereas the Anglo-Saxon race descends from Seth, the third son of Eve and Adam, begotten after the murder of Abel by Cain. These are the central ideas sponsored by YT and the Christian Identity Movement, under the name the Two Seedlines doctrine.
YT and other Identity neo-Nazi groups, therefore, believe that the Anglo-Saxon race is the true, legitimate lineage of Adam and Eve, constituting the true Israelite people, who are destined to inherit the Earth at the end of time. Until then, they should wage a war against the satanic races in order to guarantee the white race's survival and to destroy the ZOG and its allies. The means to do so are twofold: to spread their own socio-theology and to prepare a paramilitary resistance. The Internet has become a very useful tool in accomplishing these objectives, using the neo-Nazi ideas as a common language to unite with other foreign white supremacist groups through the globe, including in countries such as Brazil, Argentina, South Africa, Germany, Austria, Poland, England, Canada, etc.
Communities throughout the United States are awakening to the dangers posed by hate groups and hate propaganda. Many law enforcement authorities and city councils are campaigning to make their citizens aware of the disruptive influence hate doctrines can cause, especially upon troubled adolescents. The Anti-Defamation League has suggested that citizens should be instructed to turn hate leaflets and other similar materials in to the local police, educators, religious authorities, and anti-racist organizations. The FBI Report on hate crimes for the period between 1991 and 2001 showed that hate crime incidents have more than doubled from 4,558 in 1991 to 9,730 in 2001. Anti-hate educational campaigns in schools and parental surveillance at home is essential to protect children from hate propaganda and to combat hate crimes, according to several experts.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) points to the influence of Yahweh's Truth and Wickstrom's ideas over Terry Nichols, who was convicted with Timothy McVeigh in the Oklahoma federal building bombing. The SPLC also reports that Terry's brother, James Nichols, who was a Posse Comitatus activist in the 1980s and still has ties with Wickstrom, has pledged his life to a white supremacist religion, after his brother's conviction. In an interview with Michael Moore, during the filming of Bowling for Columbine, Nichols told Moore that, "They [the American people] will revolt with anger! Merciless anger! There will be blood running in the streets!" (when the American people realize that they are "enslaved"). SPLC asserted that Wickstrom is the most incendiary Identity preacher, and through his and other similar preaching as those sponsored by his Yahweh's Truth organization and the Identity movement, hatred from one generation infects the next.
Domestic terrorism and hate crimes feed on racism and socio-religious sects that preach separatism and foster antigovernment feelings. Anti-white supremacist groups also add to the violence and extremist antisocial attitudes. The results are expressed in tragedies such as the Oklahoma bombing and the Columbine shootings, to name only two. Reporters, who interviewed Wickstrom on several different occasions, and law enforcement officials consider him one of the most vicious and insidious advocates of racial violence and antigovernment activism. In spite of Tigerton Dells' failure, several problems with the law and two convictions, the "Intelligence Report." (Winter 2002) written by Susan Buchanan, mentioned that he is now the Chaplain of the Aryan Nations' branch led by Charles Juba, where he will continue to preach his Yahweh's Truth doctrines.
Anti-Defamation League. "Michigan Community Unites Against Hate." 〈http://www.adl.org/PresRele/Extremism_72/4255_72.asp〉 (accessed October 17, 2005).
Anti-Defamation League. "Border Disputes: Armed Vigilantes in Arizona." 〈http://www.adl.org/PresRele/Extremism_72/4255_72〉 (accessed October 17, 2005).
Anti-Defamation League. "The Growing Cost of Combating Hate Crimes." 〈http://www.adl.org/learn/news/cost_of_hate.asp〉 (accessed October 17, 2005).
The Bethune Institute for Anti-Fascist Studies. "Aryan Nations: Christian Identity and Fascist Terror." 〈http://bethuneinstitute.org/documents/cift.html〉 (accessed October 17, 2005).
Southern Poverty Law Center. "A Soldier's Ransom." 〈http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp/〉 (accessed October 17, 2005).
Southern Poverty Law Center. "Return of the Pastor." 〈http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp/〉 (accessed October 17, 2005).
UNESCO Courier. "White Fortresses in Cyberspace." 〈http://www.unesco.org/webworld/points_of_views/back.shtml〉 (accessed October 17, 2005).
U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit. "U.S. v. Wickstrom, 893 F.2d 30 (3d Cir. 1989)." 〈http://www.cs.cmu.edu/afs/cs.cmu.edu/user/wbardwel/public/nfalist/us_v_wickstrom.txt〉 (accessed October 17, 2005).