This coy suggestion embodies what historians call the "British
Israel" theory--the idea that the English nation, not the Jews of
Europe, is the rightful heir of God's Covenant with Abraham. One of the
major figures in the growth of this anti-Semitic ideology in the U.S.
was Howard B. Rand. Rand's Anglo-Saxon Federation worked with William B.
Cameron, Henry Ford's anti-Semitic ghostwriter, to link British
Israelism with the American far right wing.
In The Making of
America, Rand is quoted as writing, "When the time came for the
United States of America to adopt a Constitution, our forefathers
modeled it after the perfect Israelite system of administration."
Political scientist Michael Barkun in
a recent interview called Rand "the face of British Israelism in the
1930s and 1940s." In his 1996 book, Religion
and the Racist Right: The Origins of the Christian Identity Movement,
Barkun demonstrates that "British Israelism" is the foundation of
what today is called Christian Identity religion--the racist and
anti-Semitic right, much of which is headquartered not far from Malta,
Lurking behind these words is the idea that the
Constitution is not only a religious document, but a tribal one--written
by one kind of people, white Anglo-Saxons, and enshrining their
superiority. The Constitution is "ours"; immigrants, non-Christians,
Jews, Presidents with funny names are here in "our" country by "our"
sufferance, and the time has come to take "our" country back. None of
this is quite said; but it hangs in the air. "The divisions are going to
become greater and greater," Lester Pearce warns the students at Our
Savior's Way. "It's not between the haves and the have-nots. It's
between the haves and the entitled. Have you ever seen an interview
aunt? She says, 'they owe me.'" The one bright spot is Arizona's
permissive concealed-weapon law, he explains. When the U.N. troops
arrive, "they're going to have trouble."
Once the seminar
begins marching through the Constitution itself, there aren't many
surprises: regulatory agencies, the Federal Reserve, paper money,
national parks, Social Security, Medicare, the Environmental Protection
Agency, disaster aid for Katrina victims, hate crime laws--all are
The Bill of Rights doesn't apply to
the states--that's "a complete misinterpretation of the Fourteenth
Amendment." The First Amendment was enacted only to protect "the
religion of America. . . . When the Founders wrote the Constitution
there were no Islamics here--there were a few Jewish." As for free
speech, "Can I go into a crowded theater and yell 'fire'?" (This sparks
the only sign of rebellion the whole day--someone, not me, calls out,
"Yes, if you're an asshole.")
Amendment--allowing the income tax--was adopted more or less as a joke.
The Seventeenth Amendment--direct election of Senators--must go. The
Nineteenth Amendment violated states' rights by forcing them to give
women the vote.