Anglo-Saxon Federation of America
The Anglo-Saxon Federation of America, founded in 1933, is the oldest and largest group in the British Israelite movement.
In 1928, Howard B. Rand, a lawyer and Bible student, started conducting a small Anglo-Saxon group in his house. In 1933, he met W. J. Cameron, the founder of the newly created Anglo-Saxon Federation, and himself started the Anglo-Saxon Federation of America.
Rand was a Massachusetts lawyer who obtained a law degree at the University of Maine. He was raised as a British Israelite, and his father introduced him to J. H. Allen's work Judah's Sceptre and Joseph's Birthright (1902) at an early age. While Rand's father was not an antisemite, nor was Rand in his early British Israelite years, Rand first added an antisemitic element to British Israelism in the 1920s. He claimed as early as 1924 that the Jews were not really descended from the tribe of Judah, but were instead the descendants of Esau or Canaanites. However, Rand never claimed that modern Jews were descendants of Satan, or that they were in any way inferior; he just claimed that they were not the true lineal descendants of Judah. For this reason Rand is considered a 'transitional' figure from British Israelism to Christian Identity, but not its actual founder.
Rand is known as the first person to coin the term 'Christian Identity'. Rand had set up the Anglo-Saxon Federation of America in 1933 which promoted his view that Jews were not descended from Judah; this marked the first key transition from British Israelism to Christian Identity. Beginning in May 1937, there were key meetings of British Israelites in the United States who were attracted to Rand’s theory that the Jews were not descended from Judah. This provided the catalyst for the eventual emergence of Christian Identity. By the late 1930s the group considered Jews to be the offspring of Satan and demonised them, as they did non-Caucasian races. William Dudley Pelley, founder of the clerical fascist Silver Shirts movement, also promoted an anti-semitic form of British Israelism in the early 1930s. Links between Christian Identity and the Ku Klux Klan also emerged in the late 1930s, although the KKK was past the peak of its early 20th century revival.
The group asserts that the Bible contains the past, present, and future history of Israel.
The group also believes that the Bible determines exactly which group should take the name "Israel" based on which nation or race best fulfills the promises God made in the Old Testament. The Bible states that Israel was to be a powerful nation located to the northwest of Palestine that holds a great heathen empire in domination, is the chief missionary power in the world, and is immune to defeat in war. The Bible also mentions a group which split itself off from the parent "Israel" to become a great nation in its own right. The federation concludes that the only nation which meets the above criteria was Great Britain, and, by extension, the United States which separated itself from Great Britain later.
By the 1930s and 1940s, several groups affiliated with the federation could be found throughout the United States. However, by the mid-1970s, most of the group's membership had either died or left the group. Its magazine, Destiny Magazine, ceased publication in 1969, with the foundation publishing from that point a much more modest monthly newsletter.
The group still remains active, publishing books and accepting new members.
- Lewis, James R. The Encyclopedia of Cults, Sects, and New Religions. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 1998. ISBN 1-57392-222-6.
- "Judah's Sceptre and Joseph's Birthright".
- Race Over Grace: The Racialist Religion of the Christian Identity Movement, Charles H. Roberts, p. 9
- Barkun, pp. 45–54.
- Barkun, pp. 45–60.
- Charles H. Roberts, p. 9
- The Phinehas Priesthood: Violent Vanguard of the Christian Identity Movement, Danny W. Davis, 2010, p. 18
- Barkun, p. 140.
- Charles H. Roberts, pp. 11–15.
- Lobb, David. 'Fascist Apocalypse: William Pelley and Millennial Extremism', Paper presented at the 4th Annual Conference of the Center for Millennial Studies, November 1999
- Barkun, pp. 60–85.