'Torn' tells story of marriage to white supremacist
A panoramic view of the former Aryan Nations compound after it was cleared, and the land was used as a peace park. Photo by Diana Gissel.
Staff Writer | July 15, 2022 1:00 AM
SANDPOINT – A woman’s story of being married to a white supremacist under Richard Butler will be shared at today’s Bonner County Human Rights Task Force 30th celebration.
“Torn: Married to a White Supremacist”, written by Christine Eddy, will get its debut and beginning of its press tour at the anniversary event.
Written by Eddy, and posthumously published, the book details her life with her husband, a member of the Aryan Nations under the leadership of Richard Butler. Robert Irving Eddy, who became Butler's aide-de-camp, was a Sandpoint resident where he and his wife raised their three children.
Taking place over the course of 27 years, Christine Eddy’s daughter Marie Eddy said the autobiography chronicles and depicts a life of conflict. Spending her life with a man whose ideology conflicts with her own. Raising her children with a man who participates in the conflict of intolerance. Conflict with her husband as Christine Eddy, as self-described in the book “devout God-loving Catholic,” pushed against the views of her husband and his church, known as the Church of Christian Identity.
In a compendium of her life, Christine Eddy also explains why in face of many conflicts, she chose to stay. “Torn: Married to a White Supremacist” is the true story of her mother’s struggle to protect her family, of her determination to survive, and her ultimate triumph over hate, Marie Eddy said.
Throughout her marriage and even after his death in 1987, Christine Eddy never told anyone that her husband — an ex-Marine, and a police officer — had one more uniform in the closet. In an interview given to the Southern Poverty Law Center before her death in 2018, Christine Eddy said it took encouragement from Spokane author Sarah Conover and the women of a writing group to find the courage to tell her story 30 years later.
Christine Eddy spent the last years of her life detailing and perfecting the story of her life. Since her mother’s passing, Marie Eddy has spent the past several years pulling together the components of her mother's life to honor her legacy.
The history of the human rights task force, having come together due to the violence in the area caused by the Aryan Nations, Christine Eddy’s deep roots in the community, and as a perspective on a piece of history, comes aptly intertwined with the BCHRTF 30th anniversary and will be officially presented at the event this afternoon.
Marie Eddy will take the podium in the Granary District to give her first-ever book presentation in a moment she said will mark the closing of an emotional circle for herself, and her family. After the unveiling during the event, Marie Eddy said she plans to tour the area after a second presentation in Spokane. Sharing her mother's story, Marie Eddy said has “special meaning” as she finds her mother's story to be a very personal one.
“She overcame her shame and fear, and she was brave enough to finally tell the truth about her life behind those doors. Not many people have that kind of strength, and I am deeply proud of her and this book,” Eddy said.
The Bonner County Human Rights Task Force 30th anniversary celebration kicks off at 4 p.m. in front of Matchwood Brewing, in the Granary District and will end after a performance by Paz Rainbow & Nights of Neon at 8 p.m.