A racist evangelist has mass-mailed an anti-Jewish speech he delivered at the Aryan Nations compound to thousands of households in North Idaho. "I believe this kind of speech targets Jews living in North Idaho for violence," said a member of the Jewish community, who asked not to be identified. Civil rights leaders agreed.
The 10-page reprinted speech calls on white racists to rally at the side of Aryan Nations founder Richard Butler in a civil damages suit set for trial Aug. 28 in Coeur d'Alene.
The anti-Semitic speech was delivered July 15 at the Aryan Nations Congress by self-styled evangelist R. Vincent Bertollini, who was accompanied by Carl E. Story.
It was the first time Bertollini and Story have been seen attending the annual gathering of racists. Both appeared with Butler in 1999 at an Aryan Nations lecture at North Idaho College.
The two wealthy, retired business executives live in Sandpoint and head what they call the 11th Hour Remnant Messenger, which preaches white supremacy. The mailing uses anti-Semitic terms to describe Morris Dees, co- founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which is bringing the suit against the Aryan Nations.
"Jew supremacist Morris Seligman Dees now has a personal vendetta to financially bankrupt our dear Pastor Richard Butler and destroy the Church of Jesus Christ Christian," Bertollini said in his speech. "We believe that righteousness and goodness will prevail and that Yahweh God will send a clear message to the likes of Jew supremacist Dees: `Your day in the sun is over,'" Bertollini said.
The 11th Hour Remnant Messenger was responsible for two mass- mailings in North Idaho in 1998 that also were controversial and prompted citizen reaction.
One of the earlier mass-mailings was a videotape of Butler, taken at his Aryan church headquarters near Hayden Lake. The other was a large poster tracing Cain and Abel's descendants in the Bible in an attempt to justify racist beliefs tied to a religion known as Christian Identity. The full-color posters on glossy paper were printed, commercially folded and mailed at an estimated cost of $10 apiece.
The 11th Hour Remnant Messenger preaches that white people are the true children of God, while Jews are impostors and offspring of the devil. The religious teachings are similar to the Christian Identity message promoted by Butler and his Aryan Nations.
Butler invited Bertollini to be a guest speaker at last month's Aryan Nations Congress, which attracted an estimated 150 participants. Bertollini and other guest speakers "were especially regarded" at the event, the Aryan Nations Web site says.
"They came by any means necessary to help rekindle the fire inside all of us," Aryan Nations spokesman Drew Bostwick said. Bertollini couldn't be reached for comment Wednesday.
His speech, titled "The War of All Wars," begins by saying white people are losing a war against the Jews, who are characterized as an "evil and wicked enemy."
"Understand this," Bertollini says in the mass-mailing. "The black is not our enemy! The oriental is not our enemy! The Indian is not our enemy! These races are simply tools and puppets of our real enemy" - the Jew.
The mass-mailings, using a bulk mailing permit issued in Sandpoint, apparently targeted the 83815 ZIP code area, mostly the northern portion of Kootenai County.
Residents in Coeur d'Alene, Hayden and Sagle reported receiving the mailing. "It's yet another mass-mailing of a hate message," said Tony Stewart, spokesman and board member for the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Rights.
"There's no question this particular mailing, with its message of bigotry and prejudice, targets the Jewish community," Stewart said. "Once again, that hate message will be rejected by the people of North Idaho," he said.
The mailing likely will be discussed at Monday's meeting of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Rights, Stewart said.
In Seattle, the regional director of the Anti-Defamation League said that office had received telephone calls about the mailing. "This is the latest in a string of large, hate-filled mailings" from the 11th Hour Remnant Messenger, ADL regional director Brian Goldberg said. "Even of greater concern to us is the appearance of a newfound friendship and relationship with Rev. Butler and the Aryan Nations," Goldberg said.
"For us, there's an obvious implication in this mailing of support and solidarity with the Aryan Nations and its cause," the ADL official said. "Part of the concern for the ADL and I'm sure other civil rights groups, is the apparent wealth and resources behind the 11th Hour Remnant Messenger," Goldberg said.