A famous Arkansas televangelist states his theology about the "Kenites" is not anti-Semitic. The evidence argues otherwise


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BRANSON, Mo. — It"s a lengthy method to go to church, specifically for a congregation used to watching its pastor on tv. But the flock of Shepherd"s Chapel is choose no other. Twice a year, virtually 4,000 of its members will certainly fly or drive from points across the country to this Ozarks tourist destination, finest recognized for the neon kitsch and also wholesome family entertainment of the Highmethod 76 Country Music Boulevard, to watch Pastor Arnold Murray, hold of the long-running TV Holy bible research program, "Shepherd"s Chapel."

The strapping, 6-foot-4-inch octogenarian, known as "The Sarge" to his followers, has obtained an audience that numbers in the millions. "Shepherd"s Chapel" has actually been on the air for at least 3 decades and is broadcast in nearly eexceptionally major and also mid-dimension U.S. city.

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At Passover this April 5 (Murray calculates the date for Passover according to his own interpretation of the Jewish calendar), the 81-year-old Arkansas pastor is all smiles as the packed audience in the Grand also Palace country music hall rises to offer him a long standing ovation before he"s even said a word. His child Dennis introduces him as a male that is "taking names and also kicking dragons." One woguy can not contain herself. "We love you, Pastor Murray," she yells out. Murray jokes that he need to obtain her number before pushing earlier his sleeves and opening his King James Scriptures. "Let"s acquire to work," he commands. And they execute. The audience is so rapt that throughout the 45-minute sermon the just sound they make is the onionskin rustle of countless Bible pperiods turning. But tbelow are some things they"re not being taught.

One of them is the reality that Murray"s 1958 minister"s license was signed by the late white supremacists Roy Gillaspie and Kenneth Goff, 2 at an early stage ideologues of Christian Identity, a racist theology that"s been well-known among Klansmen, neo-Nazis and also other white nationalists for a number of decades. Most Identity adherental fees think the Bible is the history of the white race, who are viewed as the real "favored civilization."

Gillaspie was the pastor of the Church of Jesus Christ, a seminal Christian Identity procedure — headquartered at Gillaspie"s Bellfreduced, Calif., church — through a handful of congregations in The golden state and also Arkansas, one of which was led by Murray. (Murray"s Church of Jesus Christ in Gravette, Ark., was the precursor to his Shepherd"s Chapel, in the same area.) The Intelligence Report has actually acquired Church of Jesus Christ newsletters dated 1978 that are signed by Murray.

Goff, for his part, was the founder of the Colorado-based Soldiers of the Cross Training Institute, a school that trained Christian Identity leaders consisting of Dan Gayguy, a renowned anti-Semitic leader throughout the 1980s. In 1958, Goff"s pamphlet, "Reds Promote Racial War," claimed the Scriptures supported racial segregation. A 1969 Soldiers of the Cross newsletter penned by Goff explains babsence civil civil liberties protesters as seeking "to submerge our society and religious heritage under a flood of cannibalism, voodooism and beastly jungle sex orgies."

Arnold Murray is still associated to somepoint called Soldiers of the Cross. According to Arkansas public records, a corporation by that name is doing business as Shepherd"s Chapel in Arkansas, and also Murray is registered as the corporation"s agent. Murray"s house, his church residential or commercial property where the TV studio and also satellites are located, and numerous parcels of land in Gravette, Ark., are all noted as the residential property of Soldiers of the Cross.

Despite these ties to the roots of the Christian Identity movement, Murray this particular day publicly disavows racism, and also his followers incorporate a tiny minority of non-whites. Even so, Murray preaches frequently about a race of evil world, descended from Cain, borne out of "the Serpent Seed" of Eve"s sexual union with Satan in the Garden of Eden. He calls them the "Kenites" and identifies them in his 1979 Shepherd"s Bible as human being "that slipped in among the Jewish world in Jerusalem and also case to be God"s liked people, when in truth they are of Lucifer." He also mentions that "in 1967 … Jerusalem dropped to the Kenites throughout the 6 day war"; the Israelis, in truth, won the Six-Day War. In one sermon, Dennis Murray speaks of "the Kenites, that are responsible for the slaying of Christ." (In the majority of Judeo-Christian heritages, the Kenites are a nomadic clan of Midianites and also a people into which Moses married.)

The Serpent Seed is a belief ripped directly from the peras of "seedline" or "two-seed" Christian Identity theology, the hard-line version of the theology that holds that Eve was impregnated by Satan and also offered birth to his child, Cain, explained as the initially Jew. That is, Jews are viewed as biologically descfinished from Satan, and are allegedly hard at occupational preparing the earth for his dominion. Identity adheleas additionally argue that whites, not Jews, are the real Hebrews of the Holy bible, and also that non-whites are sub-huguy "beasts of the field" created without souls.

While Murray does not outright endorse these hardliner views, by fostering the "Serpent Seed" doctrine on 225 broadcast stations he"s gone better than any Christian Identity preacher in pushing what seem plainly to be anti-Semitic Identity teachings right into the mainstream.

"This is absolutely Identity theology, inasa lot as he presents a two-seedline discussion, identifies the occupants of Israel with the descendants of Cain, and calls the mating of the Serpent via Eve the primal sin," Michael Barkun, the leading scholar of Christian Identity and a political science professor at Syracusage University, told the Intelligence Report.

Kenites, Cainites and the JewsIn the atrium of the Grand also Palace, a stately nation music hall, teenagers are as widespread as senior citizens. Southern drawls mix through Wisconsin and Southern Californian accents. About two dozen black families are in the audience and a white womale wearing a pink hoodie with the words "Homeland also Security" superenforced on a photo of four equipped American Indians.

Over the course of the weekend, the Murrays will certainly anoint 2 dozen babies with oil and baptize 83 adults and adolescents following door, in the indoor pool of the Radisboy Hotel. There"s a rock concert feel to the weekend, both intense and also oddly impersonal for a spiritual gathering. When either of the Murrays" sermons end, his followers quietly file out of their chairs and also make their way back to the parking lot, only briefly loitering for conversation or fellowship.

Racount does a month go by without the elder Murray warning his followers around the Kenites. "Bmuch less your heart if you have ever been deceived by the Kenite, and also I am speaking currently on the spiroutine level, if you have actually ever really thought that team was the chosen of God, you were deceived by Satan," Murray states in one well-known audio tape sermon. "Repent of that even even more so than your individual sins in the individual sense."

Although Murray claims on his website, "Anyone saying that I usage the word to describe Judah is not informing the fact," it"s not tough to figure out why many of his followers — and others — equate Kenites through Jews.

In one composed sermon, Murray says that "the Kenites slipped in among the Jews." In an audiotape sermon dubbed "Demons," he states of the Kenites, "Why do you think their own Talmud is the filthiest item of literary works ever written? Due to the fact that they"re at house with it. They love it. It"s their cup of tea. It"s Satan"s cup of tea."

"Murray is a little distinctive in one respect, and that is the focus on "Kenites,"" Barkun, the scholar, told the Report. "None of the central numbers in the development of Christian Identity … stop of the Kenites. Rather, they discuss descendants of Cain and periodically Cainites. … However before, tright here shows up to be a little number of Identity pastors that trace Biblical ancestry from Cain via the Kenites (were they somehow attracted by the comparable sounds of the names?).

"Murray is obviously one."

For their part, longtime Shepherd"s Chapel students, seeking to avoid what they feel is Satanic deceit, think they should learn how to "identify" a Kenite. On Web forums wright here Shepherd"s Chapel followers congregate, tbelow is much debate over the racial identification of the Kenites. On a Shepherd"s Chapel MyVoid group, some ask whether the Kenites could be of Oriental genealogy. But over on TheSeason.org, a long-running forum for Shepherd"s Chapel students, there"s little bit ambivalence. Many essays, citing the anti-Semitic hoax, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, case that the Kenites and also the Jews have actually lengthy plotted world domination.

For Some, DisillusionmentPaul Stringini, a former Shepherd"s Chapel student, told the Intelligence Report that Murray "promotes what I would certainly contact soft resentment against Jews." "He"ll say he loves the Jews, it"s the Kenites he doesn"t favor," say Stringini. "Just attempt and nail him down on it. There"s a semantic game that goes on. Frankly, the only real "benefit" which I have actually ever before checked out of learning ‘that the Kenites are" is that knowledge makes many type of human being prejudiced against Jews … assuming they are "Kenites." I understand that is not clearly what Pastor Murray teaches however that is what it does to many type of Shepherd"s Chapel students I have actually known."

Stringini knows he"s not alone among previous Shepherd"s Chapel students that left in disgust over Murray"s Serpent Seed theology. But whatever before students Murray might shed are quickly reinserted, thanks to his coast-to-coastline TV and also radio existence. That"s exactly how Stringini got involved via Shepherd"s Chapel in 1993. In 1995, he was baptized in a hotel pool at the group"s Branchild Passover. "By 1996, I owned and also had studied eextremely single-topic cassette obtainable at the time," created Stringini. He also married his wife at the Shepherd"s Chapel headquarters in Arkansas.

But the more he heard from Murray around the "trumpets" of the end times and also the "evil" of the Kenites, the much less it rang true. Stringini quit Shepherd"s Chapel in 1999 and remains among the few previous Murray followers willing to publicly slam his ex-mentor, though he says that when Arnold Murray is not talking about the apocalypse or Kenites, "he"s actually a pretty decent Scriptures teacher."

Unprefer unapologetic Identity preachers, Murray does not condone or imply violence against the "Kenites." "Let"s acquire one thing right, coming out the gate. Are you saying we should hate Judah? That would be stupid indeed," he states in one tape-recorded sermon. Instead, Murray motivates followers to emphasis their power on identifying and preventing Kenites, claiming an end-times event will certainly "take care" of them. In "Kenites," a widely distributed audio sermon, he claims this teaching comes straight from Jesus. Murray offers the New Testimony parable of the "tares," a bitter weed that Jesus warns deserve to prosper surprise in wwarmth areas and also go unnoticed till harvest. Murray likens the tares to the Kenites, including, "The angels will certainly take treatment of the tares — the tares are taken together in the fire — that"s the finish of the world — that"s how it"s going to be."

For Murray, the finish of the human being isn"t an abstractivity. The 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption that taken place throughout the week of Penteprice led him to proclaim the Antichrist would rerevolve in 1981. Murray"s fix has actually just hardened during the 27 years because that prophecy faibrought about come true. He dismisses his doubters as "numbskulls," "Bible-thumpers" and also "yo-yos."

The formula for his TV regime is deceptively simple. "Verse by verse, chapter by chapter," Murray, regularly partnered via his kid Dennis, sits in between a lumber desk and an Amerideserve to flag and interprets the King James Scriptures through the help of a Greek/Hebrew concordance. At the end of each show, he fields caller questions on international politics, end-times prophecy and scripture.

Throughout a live taping of Shepherd"s Chapel in 1998, an audience member yelled, "Blasphemer!" Murray turned approximately at his desk and also pulled out a gun. The broadactors cut to Shepherd"s Chapel"s satellite logo design yet the audio continued. "Here. Take this 9mm to that boy," Murray shelp. The clip aired on "The Daily Show" and stays widely available on the Internet, as is one more Shepherd"s Chapel clip in which Murray reaches right into his desk and also pulls out what he claims is the fossil of an angel footprint, from a pre-Adamic time once angels walked the earth.

Under the RadarIn spite of his gaffes via firearms and failed end-time prophecies, Murray has actually got incredibly little attention in the mainstream press. In the mid-1990s the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette did briefly research whether Murray"s airplanes, which he clintends are offered in the nonprofit religious mission of Shepherd"s Chapel, were in fact private vehicles and therefore taxable assets. But it did not delve into the nature or origins of Murray"s theological teachings.

Few chapel students will ever attend solutions at the actual Shepherd"s Chapel in Gravette, a tiny and also remote tvery own of 1,800 in much northwest Arkansas. Located just a couple of blocks from the town"s major street, the headquarters chapel is a previous roller rink, flanked by 4 satellites, one the size of a carousel. A rock plaque that reads, "I Am That I Am," sits in front of the church. The chapel holds videotape-recorded solutions on the first and also 3rd Sunday of eexceptionally month. Just like his live appearances at the Passover in Brankid this April, Murray seldom lingers on stage to chat with or greet his followers after his sermon concludes.

"I"m a very exclusive perboy, nearly a loner," Murray states in one audiotape sermon. Murray states he prefers the outdoors and also maintains an intensely private life on a wooded 30-acre residential or commercial property in rural Benton County, Ark. Few biographical details are recognized about the pastor. Born in 1927, Murray flourished up in a farming family. On the Shepherd"s Chapel website, he says he offered in the Korean War as a Marine. He additionally clintends to have received a doctorate, though he does not name the institution. Murray nearly never before offers media interviews and also did not respond to researches for comment for this story. But he has actually addressed some of those that criticize him.

In a Shepherd"s Chapel website post referred to as "An Answer to Our Critics," Murray says: "To say I teach racism or exercise racism is another outbest lie. We have actually human being of all races that attfinish and also study with the Shepherd"s Chapel." While that may be true, Shepherd"s Chapel"s supporters that safeguard their church as non-racist have some former colleagues among white supremacists. On the neo-Nazi website Stormfront, an variety of former Murray students that currently pray and pastor at hard-core Christian Identity churches, have weighed in on Murray"s anti-Semitic credentials. "Yep, Murray is "lukeheat," he is half ideal, which renders him all dangerous," composed "NC patriot." Anvarious other poster going by the handle "Artemis Clydefrog" stated: "I"ve been studying with the Chapel for about 15 years. He"s not C.I. , but he does teach the "Serpent"s Seed."" " believes that blacks are precisely the same as Whites in the eyes of God," said Stormfront poster "LeBrune" with noticeable disapproval. "Just bereason he teaches about the "Serpent"s Seed," don"t think for a minute that he is a White Nationalist, promotes Christian Identity, White Separation, or also White Preservation."

But a 1997 complaint filed via the Federal Communications Commission, which regulates broadcast media, suggested otherwise. Shepherd"s Chapel"s broadcasts were among the subjects of a complaint by previous media agency MediaOne (currently part of AT&T) versus Georgia"s WNGM-TV in a dispute over market access. MediaOne alleged that "Shepherd"s Chapel," then lugged on WNGM-TV, "has actually purveyed racist dogma," citing claims by the regimen on Nov. 13 and 15, 1996, that "not all races have the right to come from Adam and also Eve," that "God created various races … and also that"s the way he wanted us to remain," and also that the Biblical flood "was to ruin those that had intercombined."

With the exception of New York City, "Shepherd"s Chapel" airs in eextremely major market in the nation, in one- to four-hour slots, usually between midnight and six a.m. For hardcore fans, a 24-hour, seven-day a-week satellite broadcast of Shepherd"s Chapel is obtainable on DirecTV. A prophecy hotline is additionally easily accessible where callers have the right to listen to a two-minute loop of Murray"s commentary on events of the day.

All that airtime doesn"t come cheap. In 1990, the Arkansas-Democrat Gazette reported that Murray invested $75,000 a month on television time. Wright here all that money comes from continues to be a mystery. Arkansas churches are shielded by state legislation from having actually to discshed their finances prefer various other nonearnings. Unlike other, more notorious televangelists, the Murrays rarely make direct appeals for funds. At Passover in Branson, a solitary discreet tithing box was unmanned in the primary room.

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But many Shepherd"s Chapel students are all also happy to donate to their pastor. For them, he"s often the initially and just religious number to have actually walked them via the Bible verse by verse. Buying his publications and sermons, or directly donating, appears less prefer tithing to them and also more favor paying tuition.

But at the Passover in Branchild, if they listened carefully, students can hear snippets of a theology that most likely was more than they bargot for, like as soon as Dennis Murray blamed the Kenites for the crucifixion of Jesus. "I"d choose to check out them crawling around the floor picking up their blood money," Dennis Murray shelp of the people his father still insistently claims are not the Jews, despite all appearances. "That"d be a picture."