A Georgia Cadillac

By Christopher Zoukis

In the Spring of 1987, Hoskins was speaking at an Identity gathering in Georgia.  Sponsored by the Georgia Peach Church of the Last Days, the event was held at a local amusement park.  Lakeside Amusement Park was run by one of Georgia’s great showmen, David Beck.  Of Germanic descent, Beck described himself as “an impresario of the old school.”  Which meant he had a taste for fountains and fireworks, along with rollercoasters.  Beck, who had been married four times, was an ardent believer in Christian Identity.  And his park reflected his religious beliefs.  Image courtesy ajc.com

Lakeside had an array of fountains – most of which were topped with water-spouting eagles or mystical warriors – designed by Beck himself.  Beck had expanded Lakeside’s gardens, turning them into outdoor wonders.  There was a huge ballroom.  Its ceiling supported by great wooden arches from which dangled Teutonic chandeliers.  A platform had been erected at one end and hundreds of chairs sat in neat rows in front of the speaker’s podium.

As the event unfolded, Hoskins sat in a chair behind the podium, waiting his turn to speak.  There were a total of five guest speakers.  Three of who sat near Hoskins.  The fourth man was already at the podium, exhorting his listeners in a high-pitched, darting voice. 

Thirty minutes later, Hoskins arose and approached the podium.  His features were heavily Germanic in structure and provided him with a powerful presence.  His voice, deep and sturdy, could rumble easily or roar vehemently.  Whichever he did, galvanizing blue eyes gazed steadily, gauging reaction to his words.  All in all, Richard Kelly Hoskins was a handsome man and a persuasive orator.

Today, he emphasized the usury practices of banks and the perfidy of bankers, who were Jewish, of course.  Whenever he paused – to catch his breath or for effect – the audience applauded.  No one would ever accuse Identity adherents of lacking enthusiasm.

When Hoskins finished, he received a standing ovation, piercing whistles and even a few wild rebel yells.  After one final bow, Hoskins returned to his chair.

The next speaker was a man no one had heard of before.  Introduced by the Pastor of the Georgia Peach Church of the Last Days as “Webster Smith – scholar and author,” the man was tall, thin and impeccably dressed in a dark suit and white shirt.  The audience bestowed a round of polite, welcoming applause upon Smith.  Then sat back to listen.

Smith began slowly.  His voice was strong and smooth.  His subject matter was the story of Phineas – the Levitical priest in the Old Testament book of Numbers.  As he proceeded, Smith’s voice grew stronger and stronger.  Soon he was caught up in the rapture of his subject.  And so was the audience.  Smith soared into a hell-fire-and-damnation singsong, holding his listeners spellbound.  Hoskins was mesmerized by what he was hearing.

Christian Identity had been serving up the story of Phineas for a long, long time.  But always as a side-dish.  Never as the main course, as Smith was doing.  As Hoskins listened, his mind swirled like a tornado.  Here, he knew, was the fulcrum around which the church of Christian Identity should be wheeling.

Smith concluded his fiery sermon by shouting, “The law of the Lord must be sustained – whatever the cost!”  Thunderous applause exploded toward the podium.  Smith nodded and sat down.

All the preaching and speechifying was followed by food and fellowship.  Hot dogs, hamburgers, baked beans, bread, potato salad, ice cream and pies galore.  Since it was a religious gathering, beverages consisted of coffee, soda pop, iced tea, lemonade and water.  However, many pocket flasks were produced with amazing dexterity.  The contents were added to lemonade, making what was called “a Georgia Cadillac.”