In April of 2014, white supremacist Frazier Glenn Miller, Jr., also known as Frazier Glenn Cross, shot and killed a boy, the boy’s grandfather, and a woman near a Kansas Jewish community center while shouting “Heil Hitler!” In a dark twist of fate, all three victims were white Christians. This week, Miller was convicted of capital murder. At his trial, he said he “wanted to kill Jews, not people,” and responded to the verdict with “Sieg Heil” and a Nazi salute.
CNN has reported that Miller is a neo-pagan who also “self-identified as an atheist,” who uses anti-Christian rhetoric.
Here I take a deep dive into that characterization, and I will explain at the end why I think it’s worth the effort.
CNN Reports on Miller’s Religious Beliefs
On Monday, CNN reposted a story purporting to describe the influences that shaped Miller’s violent, racist life:
According to Cross’ 1999 autobiography, he is an adherent of Odinism, a neo-pagan religion that experts say has become one of the most vicious strains in the white supremacist movement.
“I’d love to see North America’s 100 million Aryan Christians convert to the religion invented by their own race and practiced for a thousand generations before the Jews thought up Christianity,” he wrote, describing Odinism as “the religion for a strong heroic people.”
In his autobiography, “A White Man Speaks Out,” Cross wrote that he had prayed to the Norse god Odin to spark a race war in the United States.
The story cites a more in-depth analysis of Miller’s religious views that CNN published titled “The Accused Kansas Killer’s Neo-Pagan Religion,” written by Daniel Burke, CNN’s Belief Blog co-editor:
Frazier Glenn Cross is a white supremacist, an avowed anti-Semite and an accused killer. But he is not, as many think, a Christian.
… He also founded racist groups like a branch of the Ku Klux Klan and the White Patriot Party, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Both groups have deep ties to Christian white supremacists. But according to Cross’ 1999 biography, he is an adherent of Odinism, a neo-pagan religion that experts say has emerged as one the most vicious strains in the white supremacist movement.
“The faith’s obsession with genetic purity, racial supremacy and conquering supposedly lesser peoples is a recipe for violence,” said Josh Glasstetter, campaign director for the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Burke based his characterization of Miller as an Odinist on these quotes from his 1999 autobiography, A White Man Speaks Out:
“I’d love to see North America’s 100 million Aryan Christians convert to the religion invented by their own race and practiced for a thousand generations before the Jews thought up Christianity. Odinism! This was the religion for a strong heroic people… And Valhalla does not accept Negroes. There’s a sign over the pearly gates there which reads, ‘Whites only.'”
… “Christianity is the second biggest trick the Jews ever played on us,” he later writes. “The biggest was legalized abortion!”
The article implies that Miller retained from his Christian upbringing only a sentimental nostalgia limited to requesting that his funeral music include, along with the Nazi-favored “Flight of the Valkyries,” the Christian hymn “The Old Rugged Cross.” The rest of the article focuses on the dark side of Odinism:
An ancient Viking religion, Odinism resurfaced in northern Germany in the 19th century, where Nazis later appropriated its themes and gods. Odinist mythology “was a bedrock belief for key Third Reich leaders… [and] influenced the creation of the American Nazi Party, which was founded in 1959.
Odinism has lately gained in popularity among white supremacists who believe that Jesus is too peaceful and too Jewish to worship, said [Jonathan] White [an expert on religious extremists]. “It’s hard to get a violent god out of Jesus.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center warns of a Odinist network run out of a California prison, where Asatru, another neopagan religion with roots in Iceland, has also taken root.
Other outlets soon followed Burke’s lead, and Miller’s Wikipedia entry now lists him as an Odinist. Neo-pagans responded with outrage to the article’s original headline of “Frazier Glenn Cross’ Racist Religion: Odinism” and the fact that no neo-pagan was interviewed for the story. In response, a quote from a neo-pagan spokesperson distancing Odinism from white supremacy beliefs was added and the headline modified.
Burke talked also with David Embree, a university instructor who in 2012 had invited Miller to speak to his religious studies class as part of an examination of fringe beliefs:
[Embree] said that [Miller] presented himself as a traditional monotheist when he ran for Congress in 2008. But when he spoke at Embree’s classroom in 2012, his views had apparently changed, the professor said. “He essentially self-identified as an atheist,” Embree said. “The more overtly Christian groups in Southern Missouri have pretty much shunned him.”
The article fails to mention the salient fact that both of the experts quoted — Jonathan White and David Embree — are ordained Christian ministers. The “Miller self-identified as an atheist” claim has remained unquestioned, as far as I can tell, until now.
Religion in Miller’s 1999 Book A White Man Speaks Out
In his 1999 autobiography, Miller refers to Odin three times, but nowhere else either in later writings on his website or elsewhere that I’ve been able to locate. He criticizes Christians’ acceptance of biblical accounts of the Jews as a chosen people, Jesus’ perceived passivity, and modern Christians’ support for Israel. Yet throughout the book, there remains a reverence for God, prayer, the bible, and other Christian themes. In no way can Miller be construed as being anti-Christian or atheist.
First, the evidence from his book. In its introduction, he asks
If the Jews can have a Jewish state of their own, then why can’t we have a White Christian state of our own?
He warmly recalls the pivotal meeting that led to his joining his first racist group:
Ken Poole began the meeting with a prayer, followed by a one hour speech, filled with tirades against Jews, Blacks, and other non-Whites, and quoting Bible scriptures to back up his racial and political statements… they were very nice and decent Christian working people. No profanity or miniskirts here.
… I really enjoyed my first White racist meeting. It was good to talk racist politics with people who shared my views… By the next meeting, I would have an official NSRP [National States Rights Party] uniform which consisted of dark trousers, white shirt, black tie, red shoulder tabs, and a three inch in diameter shoulder patch, bearing a red streak of lightening inside a red ringed circle.
Miller proudly includes the text of a 1984 gubernatorial stump speech he gave on the statehouse steps in Raleigh, North Carolina:
These critical problems are: race-mixing, abortions, homosexuality, venereal diseases, violent crime, organized crime, corrupt politicians, non-White immigration, child abuse, school integration, pornography, the drug epidemic among our young people, and the absence of prayer and the Holy Bible in our public schools.As the next governor of North Carolina, I will form a White Christian army of 100,000. This White Christian army will wear uniforms and they will be armed, And, they will come under my supervision, as governor of North Carolina. Our banner will be the glorious flag of the Confederacy — the Southern Battle Flag.
… And, then the degenerates, the dope pushers, the pornography smut dealers, the Communists, the baby killers, and all the other anti-White, anti-Christian scalawags will flee from our land.
In four different chapters, he bemoans the supposed removal of prayer and the bible out of public schools as he does here:
… the Jews still hate Christianity nonetheless because of it’s history and potential. Under Martin Luther’s Christianity and the historical Christianity of Catholicism, the Jews were recognized as the evil parasites they were, and treated accordingly…
If belief in the divinity of Jesus Christ is a prerequisite for going to Heaven, then all dead Jews are burning in hell right now, because Jew’s have never believed in Christ. And that hand full of lying so-called Jews-for-Jesus will burn just as hot.
It was the Jewish founded, financed, and led American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) which brought about the removal of prayer and the bible from public schools. They put the Negroes in and took the bible out, at about the same time they legalized pornography and interracial marriages.
… White Christians today represent the best of our Race and the best hope for our racial survival because, generally, they are sober, moral, physically healthy, and idealistic. The Jews too recognize this potential threat and attack Christianity non-stop with the vigor and determination of trained attack dogs.
Miller doesn’t say “white Odinists” are the best. He says “white Christians” are.
Religion in Miller’s Other Writings
Just how big an influence was Christian mythology on Glenn Miller? Judge for yourself. Here are excerpts from his 1987 “Declaration of War”:
… White Patriots are now honor bound and duty bound to pick up the sword and do battle against the forces of evil. In the name of our Aryan God, thru His beloved Son, I Glenn Miller now this 6th day of April, 1987 do hereby declare total war… I declare war against [racial slur], Jews, Queers, assorted Mongrels, White Race traitors, and despicable informants… We will cleanse the land of evil, corruption, and mongrels. And, we will build a glorious future and a nation in which all our People can scream proudly, and honestly, “This is our Land. This is our People. This is our God, and this we will defend.”
… Go now, you sons of Odin, you sons of our courageous Viking fathers, and of our Confederate kin. Go, now and smite your enemies. Our God, Yahwey who created us will be with you always. Pray to him each day, and He will guide and protect you… Yahwey will fill your hearts with courage and strength and confidence. Become warriors. Let the blood of our enemies flood the streets, rivers and fields of the nation, in Holy vengeance and justice…
The Jews are our main and most formidable enemies, brothers and sisters. They are truly the children of Satan, as Christ tells us in St. John 8:44. The Jews are destroying our Race thru-out the world. He who fights the Jew, fights the devil. He who refuses to fight will invoke the wrath of Yahwey.
… And so, White brothers and sisters, I order you to now do your duty. Wage war against your enemies. Those who refuse will face the wrath of our God who orders me. Strike the SOBs, for your Race, your Honor, and our God.
… And, I ask that with the God who made me and with Aryan warriors in the heavens. I ask God to forgive me for my sins and for being so slow to battle… Let the battle axes swing smoothly and the bullets wiss true. So help us, God Almighty.
St. Joh 8:44, Psalms 149, 2Peter 2-12thru16, Levit 20-13, Romans 1-25, Deut 20-1, Levit20-15&16, Rev 2-9
For God, Race, Nation and Southern Honor.
In 2004, he posted this on his website:
ZOG [Zionist Occupied Government] has murdered over 30 million of our infants in the U.S., through ZOG legalized abortion. ZOG has legalized [slurs for homosexuals] and outlawed our Christian religion from all public institutions and intends to outlaw it completely. When will you stand up and protest these outrages?
In 2009, he submitted this essay to a newsletter:
And so now you know why… the government legalized the abortion murders of over 35 million White gentile infants; why fa**ots have been legalized; … why Christian prayers and the Christian bible were kicked out of public schools…
He’d reworked and shortened the above from a longer piece on his website, which concluded with:
… And so, let us come together… Then our sons and daughters and our future generations will be able to scream triumphantly from their hearts: This God is my God. This people are my people. This land is my land. And these we will defend!!! “One God, One Race, One Nation.”
In 2013, a year before his murder, he extended his praise for Abrahamic religion to Islam on a white supremacist forum:
Imagine hundreds of millions of machette swinging Sharia muslims cleansing the world of jews, [gay slur], druggies, rapists, child molesters, and bankers. Mighty pleasant to me.
Miller’s 2012 Talk to a University Class
BuzzFeed interviewed David Embree, who CNN had quoted as saying that Miller “essentially self-identified as an atheist,” about Miller’s visit to his class. Embree said nothing in the interview about Miller’s supposed disbelief. Miller himself wrote about his talk to the class in a forum post, bragging of his performance but complaining that “Only a few claimed to be christians.” He states he showed videos of his leading a march in Raleigh, NC, and of giving a speech in 1985. As we’ve seen above, his speeches during that period were saturated with references to God, prayer and the Bible. Miller also says the class discussed his book, and notes surprise at learning the instructor had his own copy.
In other words, it’s nearly impossible to believe Embree was unaware of Miller’s religious beliefs.
Given all this, where is the evidence Miller “self-identified as an atheist?”
There’s no indication that Burke asked. We’ve contacted Burke to ask him about this, but as of this writing, have not heard back. We’ll update if we learn more.
Why Does it Matter?
Why go to such effort to ascertain the beliefs of one man?
Because this should go down as a textbook example of how: 1) the media seriously needs to step up its awareness of potential bias against atheists in their “expert” sources, or even subconsciously within themselves. And 2) our cultural bias inures us so deeply to Abrahamic myths that we freak out about criminals admiring Odin or posting atheist memes on Facebook, while, as a rule, we make no mention of their being raised to worship an incredibly violent biblical god.
As journalists and experts examine the influences on Miller and explore violent Odinic myth, where was the expert on violent Christian myth? Odin was a scary god, to be sure, but what about the sadistic, warmongering, genocidal biblical god? The only reference to any traits of the Christian deity in all this was of how peaceful he is; I suspect readers here need no reminding what an incomplete picture that is.
One last item: Miller represented himself during his trial. Included in his rants and weird objections was this:
… he objected to the oath witnesses take because it doesn’t include the word God.
Bottom line: Until further evidence emerges, Frazier Glenn Miller, Jr. is most accurately described as a lifelong Christian who objects to some aspects of Christianity, and in the past, he has expressed admiration for Odinism and Islam.
But atheist? By all that’s holy in Asgard… NO.
(All images via YouTube)