Anglo-Israelism (also called British Israelism) is a pseudoscientific and pseudohistorical doctrine held by certain Christians based on the unsupported hypothesis, first proposed in the 16th century, that people of Western European and Northern European descent, especially those in Great Britain, and the native peoples of the Americas, are the direct lineal descendants of the Ten Lost Tribes of the ancient Israelites. It has been thoroughly debunked by historians, researchers and former adherents of the doctrine.
A well-known American preacher of Anglo-Israelism was Herbert W. Armstrong, radio preacher, premillenialist and founder of The World Wide Church of God. The particular doctrine identified with his preaching is called Armstrongism, and his church has been defined as a cult.
The American WASP culture of the 18th through the 20th centuries was at its root fundamentally a form of Anglo-Israelism. The acronym W.A.S.P. denoted "White Anglo-Saxon Protestant", descendants of colonial-era immigrants from the British Isles, England especially, and Wales and Scotland who belonged to the Presbyterian, Congregationalist, and Episcopalian (Anglican) denominations of Protestantism. Historically, "Anglo-Saxon" referred to the language of indigenous inhabitants of England before 1066, especially in contrast to Norman French influence after that. Since the 19th century it has been in common use in the English-speaking world, but not in Britain itself, to refer to Protestants of principally English descent. In the United States, the term White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASPs) has been used as a disparaging term to indicate an ethnic group known for forming the dominant social class of powerful white Americans of British Protestant ancestry. Some WASPs trace their ancestry to the American colonial period. The Daughters of the American Revolution are a typical example of WASP heritage. The wealthiest families in America during the 18th and 19th centuries were white Episcopalian industrialists and financiers in the North and owners of vast plantations in the South.
Up into the 1940s, WASPs dominated American society and culture. The term WASP is often used in a historical context as a pejorative to classify their historical dominance over the financial, cultural, academic, and legal institutions of the United States. Although WASPs had a strong influence, they did not actually control American politics. They usually were very well placed in major financial, business, legal institutions and had close to a monopoly over high society, due in some cases to nepotism. Nevertheless, they were dominant in the leadership of the Whig Party, Republican Party, and Democratic Party. The post-World War II era saw a steady movement of new groups into high positions, where WASPs developed a style of understated leadership.
Edward Digby Baltzell stressed the closed or caste-like characteristic of the group by arguing that "there is a crisis in American leadership in the middle of the twentieth century that is partly due, I think, to the declining authority of an establishment which is now based on an increasingly caste-like White-Anglo Saxon-Protestant (WASP) upper class."
Originally, the W in the acronym may have meant "wealthy" rather than "white," as the term WASP has historically referred only to an elite group, not to all people of English descent. A man may be white, but that does not make him either of Anglo-Saxon origin or a Protestant, or wealthy. The American people in the sixties broke with the tradition of WASP hegemony when they elected John F. Kennedy as president. He was white, wealthy, and of Anglo-Saxon ancestry, but he was not Protestant: he was Roman Catholic. The term is usually used by elitists to distinguish upscale WASPs from ordinary folks of various other White ethnic origins, predominantly Italian, Corsican, Sicilian, Maltese, Cretan, Eastern European, and northern Middle Eastern ancestry from around the Caucasus and the Urals around the Caspian and the Black Seas, none of whom had Anglo-Saxon ancestry. The term is also used in Australia, New Zealand and Canada for similar elites. Today it is used more broadly. Sociologists sometimes use the term very broadly to include all Protestant Americans of Northern European or Northwestern European ancestry regardless of their class or power.
The first published mention of the term WASP was provided by political scientist Andrew Hacker in 1957, indicating WASP was already used as common terminology among American sociologists, though there the "W" stands for "wealthy" rather than "white", as the term originally referred only to elite individuals, not to everyone of English descent:
They are 'WASPs'—in the cocktail party jargon of the sociologists. That is, they are wealthy, they are Anglo-Saxon in origin, and they are Protestants (and disproportionately Episcopalian). To their Waspishness should be added the tendency to be located on the eastern seaboard or around San Francisco, to be prep school and Ivy League educated, and to be possessed of inherited wealth.
During the latter half of the twentieth century, WASP dominance weakened, with Americans increasingly criticizing the WASP hegemony and disparaging WASPs as the epitome of "the Establishment". Since the 1960s, the power of WASPs has sharply declined as the growing influence of ethnic groups, including non-whites, forced the WASP power structure to recognize the civil and human rights of all Americans.
Those American citizens of any race or background in the United States who know nothing about Anglo-Israelism, and who are uncomfortable with the thought of electing to the office of the President of the United States a poor or lower-middle-class, non-white person, who might not be a practicing, Bible-believing, regular church-attending, Christian Protestant, are almost certainly influenced unconsciously by Anglo-Israelism. The election of Barack Hussein Obama to the White House prompted speculations by a majority of U.S. citizens that he might try to change America. The election of Donald Trump, a WASP, has not restored confidence in WASP leadership.
The Christian Identity movement (also known as Identity Christianity) has roots in a reinterpreted Anglo-Israelism doctrine which excludes the Jews and all of the darker-skinned races. It is a racist and white supremacist Protestant interpretation of Christianity which holds that only Germanic, Anglo-Saxon, Celtic, Nordic, Aryan people and those of kindred blood are the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and hence the descendants of the ancient Israelites (whose emigration and dispersal abroad was primarily a result of the Assyrian captivity) and the divinely appointed and chosen heirs of the promises of God to Israel. Their roots are deeply embedded in movements such as the Ku Klux Klan and the Nazis. They consider themselves the true Israel and view the Jews as half-devils and arch enemies. They believe all but the white race are inferior creations.
Christian Identity pastors do not mention the teaching of the Bible which forbids hatred of fellow human beings ("your neighbor") in Leviticus 19:17, and they ignore the teaching of the Bible that all human beings are related by blood in Acts 17:26. The same proof texting logic they use in support of their claims can also be used against them to prove the exact opposite:
- that the white races descended from the Ten Lost Tribes were taken captive and scattered abroad as a result of the Assyrian captivity because they were evil—evil by nature—and because they were evil God had rejected them and "cast them out". 2 Kings 17:5-18, 21-23, 35-40. They killed the prophets. 1 Kings 19:10 2 Chronicles 36:15-16.
See especially Jeremiah 4:22; 13:22-25 and Ezekiel 16:45-52.
Since they claim to be the direct lineal descendants ("sons") of the Ten Lost Tribes, what Jesus said to the scribes and Pharisees is directly applicable to them: "Thus you witness against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?" Matthew 23:31-33.
The same kind of logic was used by the Nation of Islam and the preachings of Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X and Louis Farrakhan to prove that the white man is the devil and the black race is superior, and is destined by God to rule the earth. They also use Bible proof texts.
- John Sadler, member of the British Parliament, Rights of the Kingdom, 1649.
- 18th-19th century sources include the following writers:
- Richard Brothers (1757-1824), A Revealed Knowledge of the Prophecies and Times: Correct Account of the Invasion of England by the Saxons, Showing the English Nation to be Descendants of the Lost Ten Tribes, 1794. According to The Cambridge Biographical Encyclopedia (1994) in 1793 Richard Brothers had already announced himself as the 'nephew of the Almighty' and the apostle of a new religion.
- John Wilson (1799-1840), Our Israelitish Origin, 1840, 1845.
- John Taylor of London, The Great Pyramid, Why Was It Built and Who Built It? London, 1859.
- W. Carpenter (1797-1874), Israelites Found in the Anglo-Saxons : the ten tribes supposed to have been lost, traced from the land of their captivity to their occupation of the isles of the sea: with an exhibition of those traits of character and national characteristics assigned to Israel in the books of the Hebrew prophets, London, 1874
- F. R. A. Glover, England, the Remnant of Judah, and the Israel of Ephraim, By F.R.A. Glover, M.A., Chaplain to the Consulate at Cologne. Published by Rivingtons, London, 1861. Based on research commenced in 1844.
- Charles Piazzi Smyth (1819-1900), Astronomer Royal for Scotland and Regius Professor of Astronomy at Edinburgh University, Our Inheritance in the Great Pyramid, 1864, 1874.
- Edward Hine, Identification of the British Nation with Lost Israel, London, 1871, also founder of a weekly journal, "The Nation's Leader," and a monthly magazine, "Life from the Dead."
- S. Backhaus, Die Germanen ein Semitischer Volksstamm, Berlin in 1878.
- G. W. Greenwood, a monthly journal, Heir of the World, New York, 1880.
- P. Cassel, Ueber die Abstammung der Englischen Nation, Berlin, 1880.
- S. Beruatto, Britannia-Israel ossia gli Ebrei nella Questione d'Oriente, Rome, 1880.
- Rev. W. H. Poole, Anglo-Israel, or the Saxon Race Proved to be the Lost Tribes of Israel, Detroit, 1889.
- 20th century sources include:
- J. H. Allen, Judas' scepter and Joseph's birthright, 1902, 1917
- Herbert W. Armstrong, The United States and Britain in Prophecy, 1980. (a proven plagiarism of J. H. Allen's 1917 book, Judas' scepter and Joseph's birthright)
- Garner Ted Armstrong, son of Herbert W. Armstrong, Europe and America in Prophecy, 1994.
- George F. Jowett, The Drama of the Lost Disciples, 1961; Covenant Publishing Co Ltd; 16th Revised edition edition, November 1, 2009.
- "Judeo-Christians vs Identity-Christians", by Pastor Robb - Thomas Robb Ministries / PO Box 602 / Harrison, AR 72601 (christianidentitychurch.net) An extensive apologetic defending Christian Identity, and the call to defend your racial birthright.
- Herbert W. Armstrong, radio preacher in the 30's and 40's, founder of the World Wide Church of God and Plain Truth Magazine in 1950.
- See the following:
- Descendants of colonial-era immigrants from Wales and Scotland are included as WASPs, irrespective of the fact that Scots and Welsh people are not descendants of Angles and Saxons, but are predominantly descended from the Celts.
- Eric Kaufmann, "American exceptionalism reconsidered: Anglo-saxon ethnogenesis in the “universal” nation, 1776–1850." Journal of American Studies 33#3 (1999): 437-457.
- The Random House Unabridged Dictionary (1998) says the term is "Sometimes Disparaging and Offensive"
- Religious Affiliation of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America (adherents.com)
The Founding Fathers were overwhelmingly Episcopalian: White Anglo-Saxon Protestants:
- Episcopalian/Anglican 88 - 54.7%
Presbyterian 30 - 18.6%
Congregationalist 27 - 16.8%
Quaker 7 - 4.3%
Dutch Reformed/German Reformed 6 - 3.7%
Lutheran 5 - 3.1%
Catholic 3 - 1.9%
Huguenot 3 - 1.9%
Unitarian 3 - 1.9%
Methodist 2 - 1.2%
Calvinist 1 - 0.6%
TOTAL - 204
- Episcopalian/Anglican 88 - 54.7%
- See the following articles:
- Religious Freedom in Colonial Virginia (facinghistory.org)
- The Church of England in Early America, Christine Leigh Heyrman, Department of History, University of Delaware, National Humanities Center - TeacherServe: Religion Divining: Religion in America (nationalhumanitiescenter.org) "...the American colonies, lacking a[n Anglican] bishop, entrusted enormous authority to local church vestries composed of the most eminent laymen. That was especially true in the South, which led to frequent contests for control and influence between parsons and the vestry."
- Overview of Religion in the U.S. South, Charles Reagan Wilson, University of Mississippi, March 16, 2004 (southernspaces.org). "Anglicanism, an American version of the English national religion, was the first dominant religious tradition in the South, but dissenting Protestant sects, Catholics, and Jews were also present in the southern colonies. Virginia was especially significant as the home to Anglicanism, becoming the established church early on."
- Episcopal Church apologizes for its role in slavery, by Gregg Brekke (ucc.org)
- Episcopal Church in Alabama, J. Barry Vaughn, St. Alban's Episcopal Church (encyclopediaofalabama.org)
- E. D. Baltzell The Protestant Establishment, 1964, page 9
- C.P. Champion, The Strange Demise of British Canada: The Liberals and Canadian Nationalism, 1964-68, publisher MQUP, 2010.
- Margery Fee and Janice McAlpine, Guide to Canadian English Usage (2008) pp. 517-8
- "WASP" in Frederick Ludowyk and Bruce Moore, eds, Australian modern Oxford dictionary, 2007.
- Ronald M. Glassman, William H. Swatos, Jr., Barbara J. Demballs, Social Problems In Global Perspective, 2004, University Press of America, Lanham, Maryland, page 258.
- Andrew Hacker, "Liberal Democracy and Social Control", American Political Science Review, 1957 volume 51, issue 4, pp. 1009–1026 [p. 1011]
- See the following sources on WASP culture:
- Eric P. Kaufmann, "The decline of the WASP in the United States and Canada" in Kaufmann, ed. Rethinking ethnicity: Majority groups and dominant minorities, Routledge, 2004.
- Joseph Epstein, "The Late, Great American WASP" Wall Street Journal Dec. 23, 2013.
- E. Digby Baltzell, sociologist and University of Pennsylvania professor, The Protestant Establishment: Aristocracy and Caste in America, 1964
- Irving Lewis Allen, "WASP—From Sociological Concept to Epithet," Ethnicity, 1974
- Where Are the English-Americans? Robert Henderson, American Renaissance, January 20, 2012 (amren.com) "But as their numbers increase there will come a point where there are enough immigrants and their descendants to overthrow the native culture. Quantity will have forced a qualitative change. That is the very real danger the United States faces."
- See the following:
- See the following articles:
- Elijah Muhammad: Religious Figure (1897–1975) - Biography (biography.com)
- See the following articles:
- Is the White Man the Devil? (answers.com)
- Summing Up: Louis Lomax interviews Malcolm X, Louis Lomax, 1963 (teachingamericanhistory.org)
- Why the White Man is the Devil (Irrefutable Proof) (blogtalkradio) "We will look at history to prove the white man is the devil."
- Minister Louis Farrakhan: Why Did God Make the Devil? (finalcall.com)
- British Israelism - Wikipedia
- Anglo-Israelism, By Joseph Jacobs - Jewish Encyclopedia
- Tribes, Lost Ten - Jewish Encyclopedia Arabia, India, Abyssinia, Mesopotamia, Afghans, Karaites of Mesopotamia, Caucasus, Britain, Japan, America.
- What is British Israelism and is it biblical? GotQuestions.
- Anglo-Israelism, British-Israelism, Premillenialism Utterly Refuted (bible.ca)
- British-Israelism, Anglo-Israelism Refuted (bible.ca) "Herbert W. Armstrong claimed to be a prophet, an apostle and the 'Elijah who was to come'. In fact he was a deluded false teacher claiming direct revelation from God when God had not spoken to him."
- British Israelism: A Serpent's Tale? (british-israelism.blogspot.com) Exposé by former follower of Armstrongism
- White Anglo-Saxon Protestant - Wikipedia
- Christian Identity - Wikipedia
- Identity: A "Christian" Religion for White Racists, by Viola Larsen (scribd.com) "The movement, also called 'Israel Identity,' has become the uniting force among many white supremacist groups."
- Nation of Islam - Southern Poverty Law Center (splcenter.org) "Its theology of innate black superiority over whites and the deeply racist, antisemitic and anti-LGBT rhetoric of its leaders have earned the NOI a prominent position in the ranks of organized hate."
- Race, Discrimination and Bigotry in Islam (islamicfinder.org) "Islam rejects the whole notion of racism and condemns it to its very core." The article includes citations from the Qur'an.
- 100 Bible Verses about Twisting God's Word (openbible.info)