The Christian Identity movement holds the distinction of being No. 1 on the FBI's list of most dangerous hate groups. Extremist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, the Aryan Nation and The Order have embraced the movement's racist, gay-bashing and anti-Semitic doctrines to justify acts of violence.
Violence has followed Identity followers themselves. In the past year, claiming they were acting under the authority of "God's Law," Identity followers have been charged in the slaying of a gay couple and the killing of a postal worker in a shooting spree at a Jewish day-care center.
The movement is estimated by the FBI at 50,000 strong and growing, particularly in Missouri, where there are 17 Christian Identity affiliates. California is second with nine.
Identity followers are suspected in the shootings of two Missouri Highway patrolmen: the 1985 murder of Trooper Jim Linegar and the 1994 attempted murder of Trooper Bobbie Harper.
Last weekend, the Identity movement gathered in Branson, Mo., to sing gospel songs, praise "Yahweh" (God) and celebrate the superiority of the white race.
Post-Dispatch reporters Carolyn Tuft and Joe Holleman examine the beliefs of Identity members and their movement, and the implications it will have on race and ethnic issies in coming years.
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