Hell, Fire, and Damnation

By Christopher Zoukis

Up to this point, Hoskins would not have been described as a religious or spiritual or mystical personality.  This changed in the mid-1960s.  For Hoskins got religion.  His spirituality, previously dulled by insufficient stimulation and by a lack of human compassion, emerged and shone in zealous splendor.  Hoskins was narrow-minded and saw no need for religion, because to his way of thinking religion was weak.  It preached tolerance, love, forgiveness, and turning the other cheek.  Hoskins had no tolerance for such namby-pambyism.  He wanted the Jesus of the Second Advent, not the whimpy Jesus of the First Advent, which was what religion taught.  At the Second Advent, Jesus came back with eyes like fire and a tongue like a sword, with which he killed his enemies.   Willis Carto / Image courtesy www.nndb.com

Hoskins finally found it.  And when he did it was transforming, life-changing.  For his spiritual awakening nurtured the seeds of a new and fervent vocation:  unreasoning religious fanaticism.

It happened like this.  Hoskins had descended into the pit of alcoholism.  “On April 28, 1965, at 4:00 in the afternoon, in the green rocking chair on the front porch,” Jesus showed up.  Only this Jesus wasn’t a Jew, he was a Nordic from the great Aryan race.  As Hoskins said, “When He saved me all He got was a drunk with a nervous breakdown who couldn’t work and who had no money.” 

Hoskins became a devotee of the hell-fire and damnation preaching of Jerry Falwell.  Falwell was an old-line fundamentalist, who hated Jews, abortionists, non-whites and government interference.  But Falwell was smart too.  He didn’t want to be stamped as a rightwing nutcase.  It was more profitable to be conservative than radical.  So he preached a watered-down version of Christian Identity, a version that made it more palatable to the average champion of the status quo Christian.

Falwell’s preaching was music to Hoskins’ ears.  He had found a kindred soul, a fellow warrior of the White Way.  Hoskins began attending Thomas Road Baptist Church, where Falwell held sway every Sunday, preaching the truth of God’s word.  Which in reality had little resemblance to the truth or to God.  More accurately, it was the Jerry Falwell show and the word being preached was the Gospel of Jerry Falwell.

Soon enough though, Falwell’s message lost its attraction as far as Hoskins was concerned.  The message was too bland, too diluted.  In a word, Falwell’s message was “moderate.”  Hoskins wanted something raw, something more pure, something unadulterated by mainstream politics and kowtowing to the unenlightened.  In other words, Hoskins wanted hate, extremism and a call to action.  For to Hoskins’ way of thinking, nothing would change without action brought on by conflict.  White people needed to confront their enemies and destroy them.

Hoskins decided to go his own way.  Falwell’s way was okay for those who simply desired to talk about change.  But Hoskins didn’t want to just talk about change.  He wanted to implement change.  So Hoskins moved on to the church of Christian Identity.  As he told an interviewer from the Aryan Nation’s magazine White Rebels, “The only political system in which I have complete confidence is theocracy, although the South African government is doing a pretty good job too.”

It was at this time he began publishing his financial newsletter The Hoskins Report.  At the same time, he was attending Identity gatherings throughout the South.  These gatherings were quasi-religious meetings, featuring an assortment of Identity preachers, who proclaimed the superiority of the white race and backed up their belief with carefully selected passages from the Bible.  Along with the preachers, there were keynote speakers.  The speakers, ranting and raving like little Hitlers, exhorted their listeners to follow the true, white Christian way of life.  The white Christian way of life included everything from not paying their taxes to bank robbery and hate-crimes.  The gatherings were a combination of religion, politics and cheerleading.

Hoskins became a familiar figure at these meetings, making numerous important connections.  He hooked up with Willis Carto.  Carto was considered a founding member of the anti-Semitic movement in the United States.  Carto published two neo-fascist rags.  Western Destiny and a newspaper called The Spotlight.  At the time, The Spotlight was the most prominent publication of the extreme right.  Widely read by white supremacists, it carried a lot of weight.  Hoskins contributed articles and op-eds to both publications.