Chicago-Based Racist & Anti-Semite Organizes “Freedom of Speech” Event for Anti-Muslim ACT! For America
Tomorrow, the anti-Muslim grassroots organization ACT! for America will be hosting “Freedom of Speech Day” events throughout the country. Encouraging supporters across the country to “educate” their fellow Americans by entertaining conspiracies about the supposed threat Muslims in America pose to freedom of speech, tomorrow’s events are likely to appeal to extremists of many stripes. This is certainly the case with one Eli James – the listed organizer for an ACT! event in Chicago – who also happens to be a leader within the white supremacist religious movement known as Christian Identity.
Christian Identity (CI) is a fringe strand of Christianity with a particularly vicious anti-Semitic bent. CI theology asserts that only the white race is worthy of salvation and views Jews as the offspring of Satan and, therefore, enemies of God and His chosen (i.e. white) people. Additionally, CI beliefs appeal to white nationalists by maintaining that the white race are the true Israelites and the sole group with a valid claim to the biblical land of Israel.
Pastor Eli James serves as a Pastor at the Church of the Restoration of True Israel and a leader of the Ecclesiastical Council for the Restoration of Covenant Israel (ECRCI). According to its website, anglosaxon-israel.com, the Council began in 2003 “for the purpose of furthering the Kingdom of [God], believing that we are to be a separate people from all others on this planet.” ECRCI’s website also contains information on a program known as “The Identity Challenge” which issues a challenge “to all of those Bible believers who have been taught that the Jews are ‘God’s Chosen People.’ The ECRCI takes the position that this teaching is a historical lie; and we also know that the rabbis of Judaism, although they have been teaching this doctrine for 2,000 years, also know that it is a lie.”
James also operates American National Publishing, which publishes CI literature written by James and others within the movement. While these facts do more than illustrate Eli James’ extremism, his associations with white nationalism and white supremacy extend far beyond espousing and preaching the bigoted and conspiratorial beliefs of Christian Identity theology:
An archived post on James’ site reveals he was an Imperial Kludd in the National Knights of the Ku Klux Klan for nearly five years before being forced out due to infighting among members. During that time, James brought his CI message to Klan members to add “Biblical force” to the group’s segregationist beliefs.
As a member of the Klan, James appeared at many events including a “White Pride Fest” in 2008 which, as Alabama’s News Courier reports, featured “food, games, vendors and a cross-lighting ceremony.”
In September 2011, James appeared at a Wisconsin rally organized by the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement (NSM). Video of the event shows James on the stage, standing behind NSM leader Jeff Schoep.
In 2011, James spoke at the neo-Nazi Aryan Nations World Congress.
The Anti-Defamation League notes that James also participated in events commemorating Adolf Hitler’s 120th birthday.
Also, participating in those festivities was Art Jones. This year, James and Jones created the Second Amendment Defense Committee – whose website features a section titled “Zionists Gun Grabbers” which contains warnings that “Jews lead the Charge Against the Second Amendment.”
Given the vehement anti-Semitism James and his associates possess, the attraction to ACT! for America seems peculiar. ACT!, like many others within the organized Islamophobia movement, is decidedly pro-Israel. In a 2007 speech, ACT! founder and president Brigitte Gabriel told an audience, “The difference, my friends, between Israel and the Arab world is the difference between civilization and barbarism.”
ACT! understands that it cannot endorse the extremism of someone like James if it wishes to attain the national prominence it so desires. However, by acknowledging James’ involvement with the organization’s efforts, one must recognize that the motivations of ACT! for America stem from the same bigotries that inspire the fringe extremists it counts among its supporter base.