|Voices of Hate: Pastor Pete Peters
By James Latham
The fourth installment of Voices of Hate, The Far Right on
While there have been a limited number of Christian
Identity programs on shortwave --four-- it should be pointed out that there are numerous
guests and callers who are directly involved or supportive to the themes of Identity that
often appear on various other far-right shows. One far-right radio host/Identity leader
that stands out as being one of the most vituperative of the lot is "Pastor"
Pete Peters who has earned the very appropriate, as you will see, title of "Pastor of
Hate". It is this Pastor of Hate whom we will look at in some detail in this excerpt.
It is important to note that the other three Identity leaders: Bob Hallstrom, Dave Barley,
and Paul Hall, all contribute to the hate found on the U.S. based shortwave stations, but
often due to program style or technical incompetence, lack the serious listenership that
For example, none of the three have call-in programs or
visiting guests, a staple of the more listened to far-right programs. In the case of Dave
Barley, his delivery style and lack of articulation--he drones on as he mumbles out his
hate speech--leaves most shortwave listeners catching the much more interesting static
crashes and adjacent channel splatter. Unlike Barley, Bob Hallstrom or "Pastor
Bob" as he is known on his 15 minute Herald of Truth radio program, has a delivery
much more like a well oiled propaganda machine. It is on this program when "Pastor
Bob" has a guest "pastor" filling in, or a tape, that things can go from
the typical hate speech of a bigot, to very spacey--a White race alien space ships
fighting the Mud aliens 10 million years ago scenario. Paul Hall's radio program has shown
up little on shortwave. When it can be found, the program revolves around Identity themes
with heavy promotional ads for the Jubilee newspaper, an Identity paper of which Hall is
the publisher and managing editor.
Certainly the most active on shortwave is Pete Peters,
currently with approximately 15 hours per week of airtime being purchased for his radio
program Scriptures for America.
Peters is one of the leading figures in the Christian
Identity movement. His base of operations is his LaPorte Colorado Church of Christ of
which he has served as pastor since 1977. Peters was raised on a cattle ranch in Western
Nebraska. He received a B.S. degree from Colorado State University and spent 11 years as a
lender with the Farmers Home Administration.
Peters' religious schooling was conventional. He received
a Bachelor of Sacred Literature degree in Bible studies from Church of Christ Bible
Training School located in Gering, Nebraska. His turn to the Identity movement came about
due to the influence of Identity Pastor Sheldon Emry, founder of America's Promise
Ministries. Emry's radio ministry at its peak was transmitted by 40 radio stations. It was
one of these broadcasts that helped move Peters into the racist Identity camp. In Peters
words, "...in 1976, the seed was broadcast over the radio airwaves, on a Sunday
evening, by the late Pastor Sheldon Emry. There was a preacher that night, driving with
his car radio on, who heard the broadcast and ordered the material. He did not accept it
at first. In fact, it took a few years before the seed germinated; but when it did, it did
so in the soil of a communicator and Christian leader and has since bore fruit. I was that
By 1984 Peters' harsh racist anti-Semitic rhetoric was
attracting a growing number of violent far-right individuals including members of Bruders
Schweigen, more commonly known as The Order.
"Aryan Nations was not the only Identity organization
with which the Order maintained ties. Two key members of the Order, David Lane and Robert
Merki, attended Pete Peters's Church of LaPorte, an important Identity congregation.
Through Lane, Robert Mathews met Zillah Craig, who had also attended services in LaPorte.
Lane, who subsequently drove the getaway car in the Alan Berg assassination, brought
Mathews to Peters' church several times."2
In addition to serving up a dish full of hate from his
pulpit to members of the Order, on February 13, 1984 Peters appeared, along with long time
racist/anti-Semitic Col. Gordon Jack Mohr, on a talk show hosted by Alan Berg broadcast
over KOA, a Denver AM radio station. A self proclaimed "wild man of the
airwaves", Alan Berg's abrasive style and take no hostage approach resulted in a
hostile confrontation between himself and Peters, Mohr, and several Order members who
called into the show.
A little over four months later, on June 18, 1984 Alan
Berg was assassinated by members of The Order as he stepped out of his car onto the
driveway of his home. At least two people, David Lane and Robert Matthews, that attended
Peters' small church were directly involved.
In his book Warrior Dreams author James William Gibson
gives some details of the shooting: "Bruce Pierce shot Berg with a .45 MAC-10
submachine gun, equipped with a noise suppressor, that had been bought from the head
armorer at the CSA compound in the Arkansas Ozarks. David Lane drove the getaway car while
Matthews supervised the operation."3
Peters' program themes typically revolve around Identity's
anti-Jewish, racist ideas with strong language against gays and lesbians, interracial
marriage, the United Nations, taxes, and feminists. Peters also has a strong dislike for
many of the Christian preachers who do not embrace Identity beliefs. These also include
many conservative fundamentalists, people like Jerry Fawell and others he believes to have
conspired with Jews.
Peters has the ability to bring together many factions of
the far-right movement as witnessed by the October 22,1992 meeting in Estes Park Colorado,
which he convened, that brought together members of Aryan Nations, Identity adherents,
pro-gun activists and an assortment of individuals who would later be the seeds of the
Various rantings of Pete Peters follow, however, some
explanation of his on-air style should be discussed first. While some parts of Peters'
speeches from the pulpit microphone are reminiscent of old news reels of Adolf Hitler, at
certain points Peters breaks into yelling at the top of his voice with fists visciously
pounding on the podium, his voice reaching several octaves higher.
Peters on Jews:
"Did six million Jews really die? Well now, you might
say, 'how could you deny it?' Well, first of all lets stop and think about this, is there
anything in scripture that says that you must belive six million Jews died in order to
have eternal life?" (February 24, 1997 radio broadcast)
Pete Peters directed to guest: "If you're going to
talk about Jews on my program talk about them as anti-Christ Jews." (January 9, 1997
"How many ministers have you heard ever dare mention
the word Jew in a negative since they sold us out?" (May 2, 1996 radio broadcast)
Sometimes Peters's guest turns out to be as racist,
anti-Semitic and homophobic as he, as in the case when "Pastor" Fred Phelps of
Topeka, Kansas joined Peters in a bit of Jew bashing on a January 9,1997 radio broadcast.
"So many of these Jews are homosexuals, nearly every prominent movement--groups like
the Gay and Lesbian Task Force -- nearly every one of them is dominated, presided over by
a Jew, a fag Jew." Pete Peters responded, "And that's just a fact ladies and
Peters on homosexuals:
"I want to offer something tonight (pause) and in
case there is any of you queers out there listening, know that you'll soon be going back
into the closet, if not into the grave. In a rather--" (breaks the thought) "As
far as I'm concerned that's my theology, because the Bible advocates the death penalty for
homosexuality just as it advocates the death penalty for those who practice first degree
murder, it advocates the death penalty for kidnappers." (January 9, 1997 radio
This not so veiled threat is typical of Peters'
over-the-air remarks. The message to his followers: justifiable murder of homosexuals.
Peters on food conspiracy:
"A lot of different things have happened to our
people to help castrate them and don't think it hasn't been by design. This thing of
always eating steers or heifers and then on top of that these growth hormones they give
them, or actually female hormones carry on into the meat...it makes a difference so we
always eat meat out here...we always butcher bulls and eat their testicles." (March
4,1997 radio broadcast.)
In 1995 a controversy arose over shortwave station WINB,
Red Lion, Pennsylvania and Pete Peters. Peters, eager to own a shortwave station, made a
bid for partnership in the ailing rundown station that his program Scriptures for America
was broadcast from. Peters states the following in a personal letter to his followers:
"We give thanks to the Lord for allowing us to meet the final payment on the
shortwave radio and television project. On November 11, 1993 we were able to send a
overnight Federal Express Letter containing the final payment. The Bible tells us to make
known His deeds among the people. It was He who gave us a unique opportunity to own part
of a radio station that will reach America and much of the world..." "One of the
reasons the details were withheld was due to the fact that we did not want to give the
anti-Christ enemies a chance to use their influence to stop our efforts as we had to get
several things approved by the Federal Communications Commission."
The reference by Peters to approval by the FCC and his
need to withhold the details of the transaction, meaning to keep it from public knowledge,
is in direct contradiction of the rules and regulations governing the sale of a radio
station. Simply stated these rules say that a radio station changing owners has to receive
approval of the change by the FCC and that the intent of ownership change has to be made
public, to allow the public to file a response to the proposed change.
APPLICANTS MUST GIVE LOCAL NOTICE
All applicants must give local notice in a newspaper of
general circulation in the community in which the station is licensed or proposed to be
licensed. They must also afford an opportunity for the public to file comments on these
applications with the Commission. Copies of the application must be maintained in the
station's public files or at a location accessible to the public in the community where
the station is proposed, i.e. public library, post office. Licensees who submit a license
renewal application must give local public notice of the filing by broadcasting
announcements over their stations. Any application that is designated for hearing must
again give local public notice indicating such action by the Commission.4
This somewhat quiet attempt on Peters behalf to acquire a
holding in WINB is clearly not in the spirit of the FCC rules and regulations.
The acquisition of shortwave station WINB (or part of)
would have proved a major coup for Peters and the Identity movement. It may have been
pulled off if not for the plans of another far-right broadcaster, Jeff Baker, who
interceded briefly entering into a management type contract with the owners of WINB about
the same time as Peters' investment, this just before WINB shut down operations on April
19, 1995 the day of the Oklahoma City Bombing.
Peters' attempts to get back his investment in shortwave
station WINB prompted the following statement in 1996: "Regarding other matters, the
money spent for legal fees, in our attempt to get a settlement with WINB, seems to be
paying off. We should have more to report to you in the next mailing."5
In addition to broadcasting hate speeches, Peters' has a
catalog with more than 500 offerings of cassette tapes and videos. A sampling of cassette
titles from the Scriptures for America audio/video tape catalog follows:
- "Skinheads-S.O.S. Troops of the Right" :
"When a race and their society is on the path of self destruction from integration
and violence from so called "minorities" they must band together and fight back
to survive." An outreach to Skinheads.
- "Two Radio Sermons on Homosexuality": "As
President Clinton and her husband [sic] brazenly and openly promote homosexuality, so
Pastor Peters responded on the radio with these two hard hitting revolutionary
- "Some People Don't Like Real Butter": "Learn
how dangerous margarine is and how it castrates men."
- "The AIDS Plague Farce" : "The sky is
falling,the sky is falling, so says Chicken Little. Don't worry , it's just a fairy
- "The Bible-Handbook for Survivalists (Racists, Tax
Protesters, Militants and Right-Wing Extremists)" : "The Bible is about such
people, heralding them as heroes and role models for our children."
- "Beware of Martin Luther King Day": "If the
truth would be known about M. L. King Jr.'s true character and associations, people would
feel different about this dangerous wolf in sheep's clothing."
- "God, Guts and Guns" : "The 3 G's the world
order cannot withstand. Christianity was never a pacifist religion."
In addition to his extensive audio offerings, Peters also
offers videos from his Truth for the Times television program. Topics include: Outlining
the lifestyle of the homosexual, an interview with Dr. Paul Cameron; an interview with
Pastor Fred Phelps from Topeka Kansas, opponent and picketer of homosexuals; and
Thanksgiving: it's racial, historical, and biblical significance.
Another item Peters offers his followers is something he
calls a 'Jew-Free Bible.' In Peters' words, "This means that no Jews have taken part
in its translation or publication."
Peters also offers to his followers numerous pamphlets
he's penned with titles like "A Just Look at Racism," "Death Penalty for
Homosexuals," "M. L. King, Jr.: His Dream, Our Nightmare," and
"Inadvertent Confession of a Jew."
Frequent guests that have appeared with Peters on
Scriptures for America: Colonel Jack Mohr Ernst Zündell Red Beckman Fred Philps Carl
Shortwave stations that have broadcast Scriptures for
*Current active station.
Local stations that have broadcast Scriptures for America:
- WKTQ FM, Rushville, Illinois
- KORV AM, Oreville, California
1Peters, Pastor Peter J., Report on the
Minister'sSeminar, Scriptures for America Worldwide newsletter, Vol. 3, 1996, p. 1.
2Barkun, Michael, Religion and the Racist
Right: The Origins of the Christian Identity Movement, The University of North Carolina
Press, 1994, p. 231.
3Gibson, James William, Warrior Dreams:
Violence and Manhood in Post-Vietnam America, Hill and Wang, p. 227.
4From the web page of the Federal Communication
5Scriptures For America Worldwide newsletter,
Vol. 3, 1996, p. 2.