How do you stop people from hating others? Idaho, especially Northern Idaho, has a bad reputation of racism due to the hate group Aryan Nations calling this their home. Negative propaganda and hate campaigns have come and gone within the community of Coeur d'Alene and have painted the citizens of our city in a negative light, folks from around the country have been given the perception that they aren't welcome here and that the people of our area are hateful racist degenerates.
This article is about those who have hurt our community though hate, and those who have healed it with love.
Recently small pockets of hate have begun to emerge yet again in our area. There is a counter movement rising to meet it and show the rest of the country that these views are not the stance of our community. We are inspired by the Love Lives Here CDA campaign and will tell you how we can all do our part to stand together with other citizens that value love and acceptance above all.
A History of Hate in North Idaho
In the early 1970s a group known as the Aryan Nations were founded in Northern Idaho casting a shroud of hate that stained our community for the last half a decade.
“Aryans are Nordic in their blood......North Idaho is a natural place for the white man to live.” -Richard Butler
Richard Butler purchased land and began construction of his compound in 1973. The Church of Jesus Christ Christian was founded 4 years later by Butler along with the creation of the Aryan Nations.
Butler continued to grow his following creating a philosophy of religious racism called Christian Identity.
“In simplest terms,” writes Bill Morlin at Boise State University’s The Blue Review, “Christian Identity believers are convinced that the Bible tells them white people of Northern European ancestry are God’s chosen — direct descendants of Adam and the ‘true Jews.’”
Groups of people from around the country united by hate flocked to Hayden Lake, Idaho to join the movement Butler started. The group grew quietly over time, keeping mostly to themselves as members of white nationalists joined. Butler even began recruiting local farmers who were struggling though an agricultural crisis by offering land in exchange of participation in his movment.
More then 100 members a year came into the area to join the hate group, sparking other extremist groups, one was known as The Order, they were the most infamous.
The hate spread through groups like The Order, who were eventually charged by a federal judge in the 80's for assassinations, bombings, and bank robberies until the leader of The Order was killed in a shootout with FBI agents years later in Whidbey Island, Washington.
The Order's actions were never linked directly to Butler, but he used the press and exposure to rally more to his cause. By the late 90's the group had grown so much that Butler became more forward with his hate campaign, formally deciding to arrange a march though the streets of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.