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The Role of Religion in the Collective Identity of the White Racialist Movement

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This paper applies the concept of identity to the white racialist or separatist movement, typically referred to as the white supremacist movement in many mainstream publications. While similar racial identity and shared perceptions of the meaning of racialism bind the movement together, there are other important concerns that potentially divide the movement but also have served to attract members to it. One of these potentially divisive areas, the differences in religious views, is explored here through an analysis of the white separatist literature and interviews with movement members. Three belief systems of movement members—Christian or Israel Identity, Church of the Creator, and Odinism—are examined. All three contribute to strengthening the racial identity of white racialists, but are at the same time potentially antagonistic to each other. It is suggested that this religious divide will be a key issue in influencing the future development of the movement.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Iowa State University, Iowa,

Publication date: 2001-06-01

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