Guest column by a former member/resident of the Church of Israel

Dan Gayman misrepresents his relationship with Eric Rudolph and lies to the media about the length of time Eric spent on church grounds, and the relationships that Eric forged there.

Dan Gayman is the leader of the Church of Israel.

Gayman claims Pat Rudolph and her sons Eric and James just showed up uninvited at his church. And that she was a “destitute widow” he helped out.

However, Mrs. Rudolph and her children were invited by Dan Gayman to attend the Church of Israel “Tabernacles Celebration” in1984 and given specific directions to the remote compound, located five miles outside the small town of Schell City, Missouri.

Pat and her sons didn’t just happen upon to compound accidentally, as Dan has said in the past.

The Church of Israel is actually difficult to find and many people get lost on their first visit.

When Eric Robert Rudolph arrived at the church with his mother he was barely 18. His father, Robert had recently died of skin cancer in Florida and Eric seemed to want a father figure in his life.

The Rudolphs once followed the teachings of Nord Davis, another Christian Identity leader in North Carolina. They knew about Dan Gayman through his teaching tapes, which Mrs. Rudolph ordered through the mail. She felt that her family had finally found the “one true religion.”

Pat’s background and “credentials” were certainly checked before she was allowed onto the church property and given a place to stay.

Although Pat Rudolph was a widow, her brother was helping to support the family. She was not completely “destitute.”

In early November 1984, Dan Gayman instructed my husband and I to take the Rudolph family into our home for the winter months. We were then a young couple just starting out and the Rudolph family seemed nice so we readily agreed.

When Pat and her family stayed at our home she was diligent when it was her turn to buy groceries and she paid Dan for our house electric bill.

Eric Rudolph seemed to feel that he had found a father figure in Dan Gayman.

During Eric’s stay he spent many hours alone with Dan discussing politics, religion and philosophy. He dated one of the Gayman’s daughters and Dan appeared pleased about this.

Eric was interested in far-right politics and read “Imperium.” He also read “Mien Kamph,” by Adolph Hitler and was a fan of Neitze.

Regarding his long discussions with Dan, I never once heard Eric mention that Dan disapproved of his reading choices. And Dan seemed to enjoy their lengthy discussions.

After a while, Gayman even asked Eric to read the Morning Prayer in church on Sunday mornings.

The Rudolph family, which included Eric, Pat and Jamie, lived within the Church of Israel compound for several months.

Eric was a good-looking boy and he was a hit among the teenage girls who attended the church. And Dan was very excited to have Eric dating his daughter and welcomed him into his home on a regular basis.

But Eric didn’t enjoy the long boring winter in Missouri with so little to do. He also grew tired of Dan’s daughter, even though she was beginning to get serious. Eric said that she was “just too dominant” for him.

Eric Rudolph eventually left and went back to North Carolina in early 1985.

But he returned in the spring to help Pat and Jamie make the trip back to Topton, North Carolina. It was then that Eric made Dan and his daughter furious by falling in love with a pretty 18-year-old girl, who had come to attend the Feast of Pentecost with her father and grandparents.

When Dan and Eric parted company in the spring of 1985, they weren’t on good terms. When asked to perform Morning Prayer for the last time, Eric used the word “Lord” instead of “Yahweh” or “Christ.”

The Church of Israel doctrine maintained that using “Lord” in reference to God was something like blasphemy. Dan specifically said the word “Lord” was “Baal worship.” But I suspect it was really just another control issue for him, like everything else.

Dan had his right hand man at the time, write a letter to Eric and Pat castigating Eric and demanding that he repent and publicly apologize to Dan, or not come back.

However, it appeared that Eric and Dan did make up, because Eric later attended Pentecost for one day the following spring.

I distinctly remember Eric striding up to Dan after a service in the small chapel on the hill. Dan embraced Eric Rudolph and they shook hands. Gayman appeared happy to see him.

Eric also attended one night a year later, during a Tabernacles celebration. He came in late. My eldest son was just a baby then and I was busy with him, so I only could speak briefly with Eric after the sermon.

I don’t know what will happen to Eric Rudolph. Perhaps he will get the death penalty. He certainly deserves to pay for his crimes if proven guilty.

What bothers me is that so many people don’t understand how dangerous leaders like Dan Gayman are.

The Christian Identity movement promotes a distrust of government officials, hatred of Jewish people and intolerance for any sort of meaningful interracial co-habitation.

Dan Gayman has much to lose if his connection to Eric Rudolph is fully understood. He is busy cultivating an upper-middle class, white-collar following now. Gayman wants to secure his little kingdom for his children and grandchildren.

Dan Gayman directly controls thousands of acres of property in Vernon County, Missouri and his reported income in donations alone over the past 5 years was almost $1 million. He and all his children live in comfortable country homes within the Church of Israel compound.

Dan doesn’t want to have the attention of the Federal Government. And he refuses to take any responsibility for the philosophy of Eric Rudolph, which apparently led to the horrible bombings that killed several people.

Unwanted attention and public scrutiny might just cause some of Dan’s regular attendees to drop out and others to seek a group or cause that is less likely to attract critical media attention.

At age 66, Gayman is willing to lie to the public about what he has taught and/or teaches. He wants to depict his church as just a benign little country congregation that supposedly adheres to fundamentalist Christianity.

Dan is so concerned about preserving the assets he has accumulated over the years; he is willing to go underground with his beliefs.

However, I lived at the Church of Israel compound in the 1980′s and know firsthand about its political and religious teachings. I know how Dan Gayman views race, abortion, homosexuality and AIDS.

Dan has been preaching a message of hatred for over 30 years. And his “Two Seeds of Genesis 3:15″ is famous amongst Identity circles.” He taught us that salvation is only for white people of Anglo-Saxon, Germanic and Scandinavian racial background and that the Jews, far from being “God’s chosen people,” were instead “The Seed of Satan.”

Dan taught us that African American’s do not have souls and for this reason, cannot “inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.”

When my family lived within the Church of Israel compound Dan told us that we had to be willing to die for our faith.

But now because he is in the uncomfortable position of having an Eric Rudolph connection he publicly misrepresents, minimizes and/or outright lies about what he teaches and has taught at the Church of Israel.

After spending his life promoting a doctrine of hatred Dan Gayman now wants to distance himself from Eric Robert Rudolph and even falsely claim that he barely knew him.

Gayman refuses to take responsibility for his influence and the effect he has had on other people’s lives.

However, when a charismatic dominant leader like Dan Gayman preaches such a strong message of hate there are often tragic consequences.

A message of hate influenced Timothy McVeigh and led to the bombing of the Oklahoma City Federal Building.

The teachings of Christian Identity ministers have had far-reaching and devastating effects. The Church of Israel alone has influenced thousands of people.

Thankfully we left that influence years ago and we pray for the victims of the y movement and hope for justice.

We also hold the leaders of this movement personally accountable for the ideology of hate, exclusion and intolerance, which they promote.

Eric Rudolph, once one of the ten most wanted criminals sought by the FBI, is now behind bars, reports MSNBC.

Indicted for terrorist bombings the white supremacist eluded law enforcement for years and had not been seen since 1998.

Many believed Rudolph was dead, his remains rotting in some remote and forgotten refuge.

But the FBI has confirmed that the alleged murderer is alive.

Rudolph was found by a Sheriff’s deputy in North Carolina, apparently scavenging for food in a garbage dumpster.

The suspicious officer brought in the apparent vagrant, who was later identified as a wanted fugitive.

A former member of the Missouri “Church of Israel” led by Dan Gayman, Rudolph grew up in a world filled with hatred, bigotry and paranoid conspiracy theories.

Beginning in childhood he was submerged in a subculture that includes as many as 50,000 Americans in more than a hundred desperate groups scattered across the country. This subculture is often called the “Christian Identity” movement.

Christian Identity believes that whites are the descendants of the biblical tribes of Israel and God’s elect. And also that the world will soon be engulfed in an apocalyptic struggle. In that struggle whites will battle against a worldwide Jewish conspiracy.

According to the movement’s proponents Jews and non-whites are actually descended biologically from Satan. That is, Satan had sex with Eve in the Garden of Eden and this union produced the other races.

Dan Gayman preaches a so-called “two seedline doctrine.” He says the offspring of Satan inhabit the Earth today, but rather slyly insists he doesn’t know who they are.

Gayman has a history of trying to carefully spin his beliefs, in an apparent effort to disarm critics.

Eric Rudolph’s mother introduced her son to Christian Identity.

The widowed Mrs. Rudolph eventually found a haven and home within Gayman’s Missouri compound, where the charismatic preacher became a mentor and paternal figure to her teenage son.

Within this controlled milieu Gayman nurtured Eric Rudolph’s hate and seemingly reinforced it.

It appears that the boy’s mindset was hardened at the Church of Israel. And the beliefs he largely learned there and amongst his other Identity brethren would be the impetus behind Rudolph’s “holy war” as the “Army of God.”

The FBI searching for Rudolph would later question Gayman. But like many hate group leaders, the prejudiced pastor would disavow any responsibility for the crimes committed by his one time follower.

However, Rudolph’s alleged crimes directly reflected the doctrinal focus of hatred inherent within both the Christian Identity movement and the Gayman church.

His targets for destruction would be gays, abortion clinics and the supposed “New World Order,” as expressed by nations coming together at the World Olympics.

How did Eric Rudolph survive for five years in hiding?

Did the subculture that created him sustain the fugitive?

What underground network of friends and support may have existed, that might have made Rudolph’s long-term survival in hiding possible?

Did such a support system suddenly collapse, forcing the fugitive to forage through garbage to feed himself?

The Christian Identity movement has spawned a litany of murderers and violent criminals.

How many more potential Eric Rudolphs are stewing in this sordid subculture, waiting to launch their holy wars?

As investigators unravel the past five years of Rudolph’s life, more will likely become known about this dark organized movement of hate that exists within America.

Since 9-11 Americans have looked outside of the country for the face of terror.

But long before that terrible day it was Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma bombing that made domestic terrorism the primary focus of the FBI.

Since that bombing of the Murrah Federal Building investigations and arrests have put many members of the Christian Identity movement, white supremacists, so-called “militia” men and an assortment of anti-government extremists behind bars.

The saga of Eric Rudolph offers compelling testimony that there are those within America that have a darkly twisted interpretation of religious scriptures, which often leads to bloodshed.

Osama bin Laden’s is not the only hate filled proponent of “holy war.”