Christian Identity is an antisemitic, racist theology that rose to a position of commanding influence on the racist right in the 1980s. “Christian” in name only, it asserts that white people, not Jewish people, are the true Israelites favored by God in the Bible. The movement’s relationship with evangelicals and fundamentalists has generally been hostile due to the latter’s belief that the return of Jewish people to Israel is essential to the fulfillment of end-time prophecy.
Christian Identity groups dropped to nine across 2021, after holding at 11 groups across 2019 and 2020. This further reflects the continued stagnation of this radically racist religious sect. Christian Identity tenets have become more popular with some members of neo-Confederate hate groups in recent years, but the movement is failing to attract new adherents with purpose, further evidenced by its 45% decline between 2017 and 2019.
As Christian Identity continues to stagnate, the movement’s lack of significant influence shows its lack of relevance within today’s white power movement.
With the release of our 2021 annual hate map, SPLC analysts noted a growing interest in Christian Identity beliefs among a smattering of neo-Confederate adherents. The dwindling handful of individuals who have been involved with Christian Identity for decades will likely still struggle to reinvigorate interest in their efforts. All signs point to the belief system remaining niche within the white power movement, with its influence paling in comparison to its influence across the 1980s to early 2000s.
Of all the movements that have appeared within the white power movement in this country, Christian Identity is among the most radical, attracting believers who have gone on to commit acts of terrorism.
Although nominally Christian, this movement owes little to even the most conservative of American Protestants. Again, its relationship with evangelicals and fundamentalists has generally been hostile due to the latter’s belief that the return of Jewish people to Israel is essential to the fulfillment of end-time prophecy.
Identity is rooted in antisemitism and white supremacist theology, but notwithstanding its radical beliefs, it rose in the 1980s to a position of commanding influence on the racist right. Only a prolonged period of aggressive efforts by law enforcement brought about its present decline, including impactful civil litigation efforts such as SPLC’s successful judgment against Aryan Nations in 2000; multi-racial grassroots organizing campaigns marginalizing such groups in areas where they were most active, such as the Pacific Northwest and Midwest; and the demise of influential leaders.