Rather than call off a planned conference of neo-Nazi "skinhead" youth, the Rev. Richard Butler says he may seek a permit to allow them to parade through downtown Coeur d'Alene.
The mayors of six northern Idaho towns and a Kootenai County commissioner last month asked Butler, pastor of the white-supremacist Church of Jesus Christ Christian (Aryan Nations), to call off his April 21-23 gathering of skinheads at his compound near Hayden Lake.The mayors and the commissioner said they feared violence because skinheads have a reputation of participating in serious criminal activity.
In a reply letter dated Jan. 5, Butler said the political leaders were prejudging white youth. "In this regard, we are considering requesting a parade permit for downtown Coeur d'Alene - the theme being, `PRESERVE OUR WHITE Heritage,' " Butler wrote.
Butler said in a telephone interview on Monday that he will decide whether to request the parade permit about a month prior to the skinhead gathering. He said the parade would commemorate the 100th anniversary of Adolf Hitler's birth.
Butler also said he is publishing a "discipline manual" to be distributed to skinheads who attend the conference at his compound near Hayden Lake. The manual will address one's physical, moral and spiritual health, Butler said.
Coeur d'Alene Mayor Ray Stone, who was among the mayors asking Butler to cancel the skinhead gathering, said he didn't want to comment on what he might do if Butler seeks the permit. Stone said he didn't want to give Butler any more publicity.