Racist group to meet in Indiana


Cincinnati Post/May 13, 2000
By Kevin Osborne

A Colorado man considered the national leader of a white supremacist, anti-government movement known as ''Christian Identity'' will hold a Memorial Day gathering for his followers at a Greater Cincinnati campground. The West Harrison, Ind., campground, owned by the Church of the Nazarene, was unaware of the group's affiliation when the facility was rented.

The owners have since been assured by event organizers that no ''hate-oriented'' or ''militant'' activities are planned, they said Friday. Scriptures for America Ministries is sponsoring the May 27-29 event at the Higher Ground Camping and Retreat Center in West Harrison, about 20 miles west of Cincinnati.

The organization is headed by Pete Peters, a LaPorte, Colo., minister who is pivotal in the Identity movement. Peters speaks at Identity events nationwide, sells books and audiocassettes about the movement's teachings and hosts a shortwave radio program.

Scriptures for America's Internet Web site describes Peters' mission as ''revealing to the Anglo-Saxon, Germanic, and kindred peoples of the world their true Biblical identity.''

The Christian Identity movement, or Identity as its followers prefer to call it, holds that white Europeans are the true descendants of the Biblical Israelites. All other humans are soulless predecessors, with Jews considered the Satanic descendants of Cain, created when Eve mated with the devil, according to the movement's theology.

Most followers believe a racial war is imminent, and that the U.S. federal government wields too much power and should be replaced with a fundamentalist theocracy. The group also wants to separate the races, expel Jews from the United States, ban interracial marriages and impose the death penalty on homosexuals.

Lester Ferguson, chairman of the campground's board of directors, said the facility doesn't support Peters' group.

Typically, the campground's users include business executives, church groups, 4-H clubs and high school bands, he said.

''It's just like a hotel that rents rooms. We provide the facility, we don't endorse the groups or their programs,'' Ferguson said. ''When bands rent it, we don't play the trombones, or decide if their music is good or bad.''

Once the campground was notified about the group's background, it contacted Peters to learn more about what was planned. Pamphlets for the event describe it as a Bible conference, featuring Peters and speakers from Ohio, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Mexi co, Texas and Virginia.

''I've been given a verbal guarantee there's not going to be any hate doctrine pushed or preached,'' Ferguson said. ''I suppose nobody can be sure what they're going to do . . . I can't guarantee anything, I can only go by what I was told.''

The telephone number for Peters' home in LaPorte was temporarily disconnected at the owner's request, according to a recording Friday. Calls to his church and another office were not returned.

Most churches denounce Christian Identity.

''To try and hijack the Bible and claim that God prefers one group of people over another is a misrepresentation and distortion of what the Bible is all about,'' said the Rev. Duane Holm, of the Metropolitan Area Religious Coalition of Cincinnati.

Timothy McVeigh, convicted of the 1995 bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City that killed 168 people, reportedly was a regular listener to the Christian Identity broadcasts.


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