Aryan Nations was founded by Richard Girnt Butler in the 1970s as the political arm of the Church of Jesus Christ Christian, part of the religious movement called Christian Identity. Aryan Warriors, as they are called, believe it is their duty to fight for the preservation of the Aryan race against the scourge of international Jewish communism, which they believe seeks the destruction of the white race.
Butler was an associate of Wesley Swift—the founder of the original Church of Jesus Christ Christian in 1946 and Christian Identity’s most successful proponent. Butler’s goal for Aryan Nations has long been to build a white homeland in the northwest of the United States.
Aryan Nations reached its peak of popularity and influence in the mid-1980s, following years of inflation, sluggish economic growth, and the farm crisis. The group occupied a forty-acre compound in northern Idaho, which was known by many in the survivalist right as the international headquarters of white nationalism.
By 1986, Aryan Nations claimed over 6,000 members nationwide, had created eighteen state offices, and began hosting the Aryan World Congress, an annual convention of Ku Klux Klan members, skinheads, and various other neo-Nazis. Like most Identity Christians, Butler preaches that only Aryans are descended from Adam and are engaged in a millennial struggle against the forces of darkness, the Jews.
Jews are the literal children of Satan, the descendants of Cain, who was the offspring of Eve’s physical seduction by Satan. By controlling the international banking system and promoting such practices as abortion and intermarriage, “world Jewry” is gradually forcing the extinction of the white race. According to the Aryan Nations platform, “The Jew is like a destroying virus that attacks our racial body to destroy our Aryan culture and the purity of our Race.”
Consequently, Aryan Warriors prepare for a coming race war, “a day of reckoning” when the enemy will be defeated and Christ will establish his true kingdom on earth. In 2000, Aryan Nations was forced into bankruptcy and the sale of its compound and name after a jury awarded over six million dollars in a lawsuit brought by Victoria and Jason Keenan.
The Keenans claimed that they had been assaulted and shot at by security guards outside the Aryan Nations Idaho compound. Although its future is in doubt, several former Aryan Nations members have founded splinter groups, and the aging Butler, now well into his seventies, has named a successor and insists the group will rebuild.