On June 22 Pastor Dave Barley of America's Promise Ministries responded to allegations made by the Southern Poverty Law Center against the Christian Identity religion. "It is people making accusations without any validations, without any facts, playing on people's emotions," Barley said of the broad-brush tactics used by the SPLC. "A lot of people are getting hurt [by these allegations] that shouldn't be."
Barley agreed to be interviewed by The WINDS and answer questions pertaining to a recent Intelligence Report issued by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) last week. In that report the SPLC blames the Christian Identity religion for a surge of right wing terrorism in the United States. Dave Barley is a prominent minister in the Christian Identity movement who heads the America's Promise ministry in Sandpoint, Idaho.
Barley characterizes Christian Identity as a theology, not an organization. He spoke of "retreats" attended by Identity believers, but of no organization or central authority. He freely admits there are people who mingle some Identity beliefs with doctrines from other religions, and that such people are not necessarily part of the Identity movement. Barley says that he is not a racial supremacist as is purported by the SPLC and the media. He believes in separation of the races. "I don't hate people of other races," he told The WINDS. "You can listen to my tapes ... I know a lot of blacks that believe the same thing [I do] regarding separation of the races. I don't believe we can live together as one big fat happy family." Even though the White race is the true Biblical Israel, as Barley claims, people of other races will be "saved" and have a place in "the Kingdom of God."
Regarding CNN's Linda Patillo who charged that Christian Identity has a paramilitary arm called "the Phineas Priesthood" that has allegedly committed robberies and bombings:
There is so much wrong with that kind of thinking [of the so-called Phineas Priests], I don't even know where to begin. Just getting mad at the system out there doesn't give you the justification to go out there and do something like that [violence]. There is nothing in scripture that says that anyone is to go out and enforce God's law on their own, being a government unto themselves. That's gross anarchy..... If we promoted that kind of violence, they would come in here and shut us down. We may as well go knock on Janet Reno's door and ask to be arrested.
Regarding charges made by the Southern Poverty Law Center that three alleged Phineas Priests, recently convicted for bank robbery in Spokane, Washington, attended his church:
They had attended America's Promise services on two occasions ... None of these men were supporters of this ministry. They had a different political perspective.... Lots of people come through these doors. Am I supposed to ask each one, 'Will you ever participate in a bombing or terrorist act in the next few years?' That's ridiculous. This is a church.
Regarding SPLC charges that Christian Identity beliefs were a factor in the Oklahoma City bombing:
I don't [think so]. I was at Everett Ramsey's gathering [in Missouri] when the Oklahoma bombing happened. I can tell you -- everybody was walking around in shock over the situation. They were angry. They were just as confused about it as anybody else. They were thinking, "What kind of idiot would have been responsible for something like that?" ....Violence is against God's law.
Regarding allegations that convicted bomber Timothy McVeigh was linked to Christian Identity:
I haven't heard of him ever visiting any Identity gatherings. He's not on our mailing list and I've asked a number of ministers out there, "Is he on your mailing list?" "No", they said.
They [McVeigh and Nichols] were apparently connected in some way with a militia group, but militia is not Christian Identity [contrary to SPLC claims]. And so what if they attended a militia meeting and got some militia materials? Are we going to say that all militia people are bad? That's baloney. It's stupid. That's what's happening here [with SPLC allegations against Christian Identity].
Regarding the charge made by the Southern Poverty Law Center that Christian Identity is gearing up for a war against blacks and Jews in the year 2000:
I wasn't aware of that.... No, I'm not interested [in a race war], I'll guarantee you, I'm not interested. It's just not in me to pick up a gun and shoot someone. I'm not going to participate because I don't believe it's the right answer. Our mission is to preach the word of God. That is what this ministry is all about. We don't promote hate. We don't hate. They [the SPLC] want society at large to think that we do. We've never threatened any other race ... God has them [different races] for a reason. It is a part of His plan and His purpose and I accept that.
Regarding the recent media blitz by the SPLC and the underlying agenda:
They are trying to build enough public outrage and sentiment against us [Identity]. And then they're going to work on legislation, then ... prison time and death for a lot of us ... [this will continue] until you have all ... religion federally approved.
When asked if Christian Identity could realize the fate of the Branch Davidians:
Yes, that's why we don't have any guns here, although we believe in our Second Amendment rights ... they would have to come after us for something else, and they could easily create "that something else." In fact, they're busy creating that right now [with the recent SPLC Intelligence Report].... It is people making accusations without any validations, without any facts, playing on people's emotions. A lot of people are getting hurt in this situation that shouldn't be getting hurt. It's going to get worse, I would agree with Morris Dees with that.
As a few questions exposed the human face of the Christian Identity movement, the duplicity and fear-mongering of the SPLC and the media becomes more apparent. In CNN's April 24th report (Shadowy Threat of Extremist Hate Groups Quietly Growing) the story goes:
Civil rights organizations that monitor extremist groups say it is all too easy for people to become seduced by religions of hate.
The groups' leaders begin gradually, by playing on people's fears, the watchdogs say, then slowly introduce racist concepts.
"People are definitely led down the primrose path," said Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
"By the time they get to the stuff that to most people seems completely unbelievable, they've swallowed so many of the theories, so much of the propaganda and conspiracy talk, that it seems entirely believable to them.
It seems this scenario would perfectly describe the Southern Poverty Law Center and its gullible adherents who are gradually led down the primrose path to accepting what was once the unthinkable. The SPLC is doing exactly what they are accusing Identity of. They have mastered the art of vilification and stereotype, vandalizing the existence of a small group of people who lack the financial and media resources to defend themselves. When Bill Clinton lies and commits adultery, the media doesn't portray all Southern Baptists as lying adulterers, yet, this is the standard of objectivity they are using against Identity believers.
Dave Barley observed, "Most of the people out there are under a form of mind control because they haven't been taught to think on their own, to reason on their own, ask questions on their own. They pick up the paper and read it, they listen to Dan Rather and that's their god. Whatever these guys say, it must be true [to them]," he said. "They don't pick up the phone and call me and say, 'Hey, I just heard CNN say some bad things about you, is any of this true?' No."
In spite of the bigotry and persecution hurled at the Identity movement by the cultural elite, Barley reaffirmed his stand on his beliefs and non-violence. "Am I going to use the arm of flesh, am I going to take the law into my own hands here to stomp [them] out, or am I going to have faith in my God that He can take care of this? I am supposed to continue to preach the word, to tell the truth and I'm going to let my Heavenly Father take care of all this," Barley said.
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