ANTISEMITISM [III]: Its prevalence within the Christian RightBy Skipp Porteous
A study by the Institute for First Amendment Studies found a prevalence of anti-Semitism within the Christian Right. While some of the prejudice and hostility toward Jews is concealed, much is blatant. Stereotyping of Jews is widespread; and anti-Semitism in the form of aggressive missionary activity threatens the very existence of Judaism.
Several disturbing trends indicate that -- unless sweeping changes are made -- anti-Semitism within conservative Christianity will not only continue as a long-term problem, but will escalate sharply. Thousands of private Christian schools and Christian home schools utilize anti-Semitic textbooks. These textbooks include the "original" McGuffey's Readers, which have enjoyed a tremendous resurgence in recent years, and books published by Bob Jones University Press for use in Christian schools.
Additionally, the Christian Right's anti-abortion movement has anti-Semitic overtones. Anti-abortion groups such as Operation Rescue and Life Dynamics list "Jewish doctors" as the leading performers of abortion.
So-called "humanism" is under attack by the Religious Right in schools and other institutions across the country. Condemnation of humanism has anti-Semitic roots. Though seldom mentioned, Christian Right leaders link humanism with Judaism, saying "Judaism grew out of the rejection of Jesus Christ and steadily became humanism."1
Other disturbing observations involve a melding of extreme right-wing anti-Semites and their mainstream counterparts. Pastor Pete Peters, a nationally known anti-Semitic Christian Identity preacher, has found a home on the Keystone Inspiration Network. This Christian "family" network is available on cable TV in approximately 120 cities across the country.
The Rev. Donald Wildmon, the Methodist minister who heads the American Family Association (AFA), is no stranger to accusations of anti-Semitism. Though he denies being anti-Semitic, he has emerged as the darling of the anti-Semitic Liberty Lobby. In fact, his AFA has a special spot on Liberty Lobby's LogoPlex, an extreme-rightist computer bulletin board service.
Ofttimes, only the most blatant anti-Semitic incidents are reported. Much of the anti-Semitism within conservative Christianity goes unnoticed and unreported. Some forms are so subtle that only those familiar with the code words and innuendo can spot it.
Stereotyping is among the most common form of anti-Semitism. This is evidenced by the words of many well-known Christian leaders, among them the Rev. Bailey Smith. "I don't know why God chose the Jew," Smith said. "They have such funny noses."2
Outward appearance, though, is not the only way some leaders characterize Jews. The Rev. Dan C. Fore, former head of the Moral Majority in New York, said, "I love the Jewish people deeply. God has given them talents He has not given others. They are His chosen people. Jews have a God-given ability to make money...They control the media, they control this city."3
"A few of you don't like the Jews and I know why," said the Rev. Jerry Falwell. "He [sic] can make more money accidently than you can make on purpose."4
A second form of anti-Semitism involves missionary activity directed at Jews. Many conservative Christian leaders hold the view that Judaism is an invalid religion, that Jews who don't believe in Jesus are "unsaved" or "incomplete." The offensiveness of this type of anti-Semitism should be obvious, but often goes unnoticed.
"It's interesting at great political rallies," preached the Rev. Bailey Smith, "how you have a Protestant to pray, a Catholic to pray, and then you have a Jew to pray. With all due respect to those dear people, my friends, God Almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew. For how in the world can God hear the prayer of a man who says that Jesus Christ is not the true Messiah? That is blasphemy."5
The Rev. Jerry Falwell sanctioned this viewpoint in his book, Listen, America! "The Jews are returning to their land of unbelief. They are spiritually blind and desperately in need of their Messiah and Savior. Yet they are God's people, and in the world today Bible-believing Christians are the best friends the nation Israel has."6
Falwell correctly points out that he and other American fundamentalist Christians support the nation of Israel. It should be noted, however, that this support is for a piece of real estate, the land of Israel, and not necessarily for the Jewish people.
Pat Robertson, too, thinks of Jews as "spiritually deaf" and "spiritually blind." In the end times, Robertson believes, Jews will be brought in as "offerings to the Lord."7 He predicts mass conversions of Jews to Christianity, and toward this end, Robertson built a Christian radio station in Lebanon to beam the Gospel into the Jewish state, which Fundamentalists believe will eventually be inherited by Christians. For the present, Jews occupy the land as caretakers.
Many Christian organizations presume an obligation to convert Jews to Christianity. While Jews for Jesus may be the most well-known of these groups, according to Mark Powers, national director of Jews for Judaism, more than 450 missionary organizations specifically target Jews in the United States, Canada, and Israel. More than 350,000 American Christians now identify themselves as former Jews; 140,000 of that total call themselves "Hebrew Christians."
One group, the Christian Jew Foundation (CJF), publishes a newsletter called The Message of the Christian Jew. An ugly article by Charles Halff, the group's executive director, titled "The Blindness of the Jew"8 stated:
"Gentile Christians sometimes wonder why Jewish evangelism is such difficult and discouraging work. Our missionaries are spat on, ridiculed, threatened, maligned, and sometimes physically abused.
"David Zauber, our CJF missionary in Georgia, is a Jewish Christian--and weighs probably 150 pounds, soaking wet! He was passing out Gospel tracts near the subway a few years ago, when a Jewish man knocked him down with his fist. By the time David caught his breath and got back to his feet, the man had disappeared into the crowd. This is just one example of the difficulties our missionaries face.
"We wonder, why are the sons of Israel so belligerent and hard-hearted?"
Halff answered his rhetorical question. "As we look at Jews today, we see that they are blinded by tradition; they are blinded by prejudice; and they are blinded by self-righteousness." He adds, "The majority of them live by the Talmud, rather than by the Old Testament. Judaism is a religion of works and tradition. One such tradition is the practice of waving a chicken overhead and chanting, 'This is my sacrifice!' We know this is absolutely contrary to the teaching of the New Testament, since the blood of Messiah (Jesus) had been shed for the sins of many, and 'there is no more offering for sin' (Hebrews 10:18.)"
One entire issue of The Message of the Christian Jew9 dealt with anti-Semitism. While acknowledging the most overt types of anti-Semitism, the writers failed to see how Christian missionary activity is a threat to the very existence of Judaism. In fact, an article by Gary Hedrick, the group's president, utilized a strange approach.
"Let us not forget, however," Hedrick wrote, "that a more subtle form of anti-Semitism is now sweeping our land. It's known by a variety of names, but most notably as the 'Two-Covenant,' or 'Dual-Covenant' movement. Its proponents claim that the Jewish people have their own Sinai Covenant and therefore have no need of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
"Can you think of a more diabolical form of anti-Semitism than the view that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is for Gentiles, but not for Jews?"
Anti-Semitism and Christian schools Ads in Don Wildmon's AFA Journal tout the original McGuffey's Readers, which were not only Christian but anti-Semitic, racist, and sexist.
With an estimated 500,000 children being taught at home, the home school movement is a rapidly growing phenomena. Newsweek's Sam Allis called Christian Fundamentalism "the backbone of the home-school movement." One series of books, McGuffey's Eclectic Readers, popular with both Christian schools and home schools, influence the minds of tens-of-thousands of impressionable youngsters.
These are the same books originally published in 1836 by the Rev. William H. McGuffey. With 19th century sales of 125 million copies, McGuffey is considered "the author of the most popular schoolbook ever written." McGuffey's original Readers were, according to the current publishers, "Christ-centered." In time, though, most of the religious references were removed.
McGuffey's original Readers, now reborn for use in Christian homes and schools, are sexist, racist, and anti-Semitic. While the Readers reflect the time in which they were written, their use today indicates a giant step backward in human relations. The sexist aspects of the Readers promote "proper" roles for men and women. Among the racism portrayed is the constant referral to Native Americans as "savages." The anti-Semitism found in the McGuffey's Readers takes several forms.
A line from the Eclectic Third Reader warns students about the perils of rejecting Christianity. "It will cost something to be a Christian: it will cost more not to be so."10
In the same Reader, Christianity is championed as the only dependable religion. "There are no principles but those of CHRISTIANITY, to be depended upon in cases of REAL DISTRESS." (Emphasis in original)11
Jewish veneration of the Scriptures is denigrated. "The Old Testament has been preserved by the Jews in every age, with a scrupulous jealousy, and with a veneration for its words and letters, bordering on superstition..."12
McGuffey suggests that the rise of Christianity was not only predicted in the Old Testament, but was a result of Jewish infidelity toward God -- a common anti-Semitic theme. The Reader mentions "...the Jews as the keepers of the Old Testament." Then, "It was their own sacred volume, which contained the most extraordinary predictions concerning the infidelity of their nation, and the rise, progress, and extensive prevalence of Christianity."13
In one fell swoop, McGuffey obliterates Jewish moral law, and all other moral teachings before Jesus. "The morality taught by Jesus Christ was purer, sounder, sublimer, and more perfect than had ever before entered into the imagination, or proceeded from the lips of man."14
In Lesson XVIII, dealing with Divine inspiration of the Gospel, the Eclectic Fourth Reader asks, "Why is it inconceivable that the book is fiction?" The answer, "The Jewish authors were incapable of the diction, and strangers to the morality, contained in the gospel..."15
A short story called "The Blind Preacher," recounts a blind minister's sermon about the trial and crucifixion of Jesus. The story reinforces the notion that Jews are responsible for the death of Jesus. "We saw the very faces of the Jews, the staring, frightful distortions of malice and rage."16
In fact, every single reference to Jews in McGuffey's Readers is negative. No effort is made to explain Judaism, or to teach what Jews believe.
The McGuffey Readers series is frequently advertised by the Conservative Book Club on the back of the Rev. Donald Wildmon's magazine, the AFA Journal, and in Pat Robertson's Christian American. The ads proclaim: "The ORIGINAL McGuffey's Readers were different. They were Christian." Copy in the ad says, "...give them some of the memorable poetry and prose of our Anglo-American inheritance..."
Two companies, Mott Media, of Milford, Michigan, and Thoburn Press, of Tyler, Texas, publish the "original" McGuffey's Eclectic Readers. The seven-volume set has been reprinted from the originals.
Several organizations that provide textbooks to Christian home schoolers promote the use of McGuffey's Readers. One, Christian Liberty Academy Satellite Schools (CLASS), now publishes its own Eclectic Reader. Michael McHugh, curriculum administrator for CLASS, reported that his organization sold between 5,000 and 6,000 of the Thoburn McGuffey's Readers to home schools.
Since 1982, Mott Media has sold a whopping 100,000 sets of the Readers. "Last year  we started our Home School Book Club," Joyce Bowen, Mott Media's general manager, said. "In less than a year we sold between 4,000 and 5,000 sets to home schools."
The widespread use of McGuffey's Readers is a good indication of what children are being taught about Jews in many Christian schools and home schools. With the rapid growth of these schools, this should be of concern to caring Christian parents and responsible Christian leaders.
In other Christian textbooks, anti-Semitism exists by omission. The curriculum used by many Christian schools neglects Jewish accomplishments and positive contributions to history. This is documented by Albert J. Menendez in Visions of Reality: What Fundamentalist Schools Teach, a report on the textbooks used in Christian Fundamentalist schools:
"Surprisingly, Jews and Judaism are almost invisible in these volumes. No mention is made of any Jewish contribution to U.S. history nor are any Jewish personalities in literature, sports or the arts mentioned. There is no reference to justices Frankfurter, Brandeis or Cardozo. The only Jews mentioned are Karl Marx, who is called 'an atheistic German Jew,'17 and Sigmund Freud. It is noted that Jews were persecuted in Catholic countries but nothing is said about anti-Jewish discrimination in Protestant countries. Jewish supporters of Columbus are mentioned, as is the suggestion that Columbus may have been seeking a refuge for Jews.
"One passage in a world history text, however, blames Jews for the crucifixion of Jesus. 'The Jewish religious leaders, whose blindness and hypocrisy Jesus had denounced, sought to put Him to death. They brought Christ before the Roman governor Pontius Pilate, charging that Christ had disrupted the state...Although Pilate found no fault in Jesus, he desired to maintain the peace. Giving in to the Jewish demands, he sentenced Jesus to death by crucifixion.'18 In addition, we are informed, 'God used the destruction of Jerusalem to separate the early church from its Jewish environment and to scatter Christians throughout the Roman Empire.'19
"And one strange passage in a biology text says, 'The Jews were pruned for the Gentiles' sake, but they were also pruned for their disbelief.'"20
Anti-Semitism and anti-abortion
These Jewish stereotypes of doctors are featured in Bottom Feeder, a crass anti-abortion comic published by Life Dynamics.
There are indications that the Christian Right's anti-abortion crusade has anti-Semitic components. In 1989, Newsweek magazine reported that Randall Terry, founder of the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue, said, "We have tried to do some outreach to the black and Jewish communities," but admitted that those efforts have failed, "...and that he is critical of the Jewish doctors, who he believes perform a large number of abortions."21
In doing research for this report, Operation Rescue National referred us to Life Dynamics Incorporated, a Christian anti-abortion organization based in Dallas, for specific information on abortion. Life Dynamics is an important research arm of the Christian Right's anti-abortion crusade. According to Life Dynamics, 26% of all doctors who perform abortions are Jewish (A spokesperson for Planned Parenthood called this figure "ludicrous.") Considering that Jews comprise only 2% of the population, this figure is disproportionately high.
The thought is not lost in Life Dynamics' popular Bottom Feeder "joke book." Bottom Feeder is an assortment of hackneyed jokes aimed at doctors who perform abortions. The jokes and cartoons are crude, scatological, and suggest that abortionists have sex with animals. Significantly, Bottom Feeder contains a number of references to Jews, and consistently portrays in cartoon form doctors who perform abortions as having exceptionally large noses, an age-old anti-Semitic allusion to Jews.
Examples of Bottom Feeder's references to Jews include a list of the "four shortest books in the world." One is entitled "Famous Jewish Astronauts." One joke favors Adolf Hitler over an abortionist. It goes, "Q. What would you do if you found yourself in a room with Hitler, Mussolini and an abortionist, and you had a gun with only two bullets? A. Shoot the abortionist twice."
Aware that a high percentage of Jews are liberal and pro-choice, the anti-abortion movement targets Jews as "baby killers."
Additionally, a considerable number of the people involved in groups such as Operation Rescue, Lambs of Christ, and Missionaries to the Preborn, teach their children at home, using McGuffey's Readers and other materials mentioned in the section on Christian schools and home schools.
The Christian Right anti-abortion movement often refers to abortion as "the Holocaust in America." [Newsweek, May 1, 1989] This phrase is notable only for its shock value. To even remotely equate the two, especially in such a cavalier manner, offends not only Jews, but everyone who is aware of the horrors of the Nazis. Rabbi Balfour Brickner, Rabbi Emeritus of the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in New York, said, "The Holocaust stands alone...There are no legitimate or acceptable analogies."
Bait and switch
For years, anti-Semitic innuendo has cleverly passed as simply an attack on humanism. By employing a sort of "bait and switch" tactic, the conservative Christian right has shifted all the blame for the world's ills from the Jews to "humanists" -- whom conservatives suspect are mostly Jews anyway. The theory here is that humanism is a "secular religion" that evolved out of modern Judaism. Instead of saying that Jews control the financial institutions, the media, the entertainment industry, and education, it is now the humanists who are in control.
This is borne out in the teachings of Rousas John (R.J.) Rushdoony, a former Presbyterian minister who is known as the "father of Christian Reconstruction." While Rushdoony is not well-known outside the circle of conservative Christian leadership, his influence within the movement is substantial. Rushdoony is a prolific author and his books approach best-seller status, shaping contemporary Christian thought since the 1960s. Rushdoony, a profound Christian thinker, is never afraid to say what some other Christian leaders are merely thinking.
According to Gary North, Rushdoony's son-in-law, "Rushdoony identified the underlying problem a generation ago: 'JUDAISM grew out of the rejection of Jesus Christ and STEADILY BECAME HUMANISM [emphasis added], and the Talmud is essentially the exposition of humanism under the facade of Scripture.'"22
Judaism became humanism! To grasp this concept is to understand why some notable Christian leaders exhibit hostility toward humanists. Leaders of the radical Christian Right know that many influential Jewish leaders are wholly secular. That is, they embrace Jewish culture, without observing the rituals of Judaism.
Another Christian writer is the Rev. Tim LaHaye, former leader of the Moral Majority. LaHaye is married to Beverly LaHaye, head of the 600,000-member Concerned Women for America organization.
In his 1980 book, The Battle for the Mind, LaHaye unleashed a vicious attack against humanism. Jews have traditionally been accused of everything for which LaHaye blames humanists. Our country is "...controlled by a small but very influential cadre of committed humanists..."23 Pornography is the fault of "the humanist controllers of the American Civil Liberties Union and their humanist partners in moral crime--the judges who were appointed by the humanist politicians."24
"When the humanists came to America, their obstacles seemed overwhelming. But rather than waste their resources, they concentrated on using four vehicles to penetrate the minds and lives of our people: education, the media, organizations, and government."25
"We have already seen how John Dewey and his fellow humanists took over education..."26 While Dewey wasn't Jewish, many of his colleagues were.
"Space does not permit a detailed account of how newspapers from coast to coast were gradually purchased by powerful, monied interests. As radio came into view, it was bought up by some of these same interests. Later, when TV licenses became available, the humanists flooded the field. Today, it is all humanistically controlled."27
"This news is carefully edited before being sent out to the daily papers. Who does the editing? Who hired the editors, and what are their beliefs? Anyone really familiar with humanism can recognize its influence in the way the news is managed."28
"It is obvious, by the degenerate programming that has appeared in recent years, that the three major networks (ABC, NBC, and CBS) are predominantly controlled by amoral humanists."29
"Not all the fifty or so people who control network news are committed humanists, but most of them are."30
"The humanists see TV as a vehicle, first, to indoctrinate and second, to make money. Shortly after learning that Norman Lear was the producer of the most amoral 'comedy' series on TV (such as the infamous Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman), I had lunch with a Christian businessman who told me how relieved he was to have sold his cable TV stations. Guess who bought them? Norman Lear."31
"There is one easy way to illustrate whose team Hollywood has really been on during the last fifty years. They rarely make a film that shows Communism as a world aggressor or murderer of the people -- particularly of their own. Anti-German and anti-Japanese films abound..."32
"Sixty years of Communist crime against humanity provide ample material to draw on, but not if you're afraid to show humanistic socialism in a bad light."33
Why, in LaHaye's opinion, are humanists "soft" on Communism? It is entirely possible, if not probable, that the Rev. LaHaye equates Socialist/Communist Jews with Humanists. In many instances, the words are interchangeable.
In "A Special Jewish History Issue" of The Truth At Last34, a tabloid published by Dr. E.R. Fields in Marietta, Georgia, the assertion is made that "the original founders of Communism were all Jews." The author names Lenin as "a secret Jew." Furthermore, the article states that these Communist Jews came to America and established "the U.S. Communist Party and other socialist groups." This echoes LaHaye's theories on "humanists" coming to America to establish socialist groups, armed with a plan to penetrate and control the minds of the American people.
Oftentimes, conservative's use of "humanism," "socialism," "communism," and "Jews" are interchangeable. Of course, "humanism" is a more palatable word when speaking to the general public.
"The American Ethical Union, founded in 1889 in New York City, was a federation of over thirty ethical societies that had been initiated by Felix Adler (Jewish) more than a decade earlier. New York became the capital of the humanist movement, which then spread across the United States."35
It is common knowledge that there are more Jews in New York than in any other city in the United States. (On extremist computer bulletin boards, New York is often referred to as "Jew York City.") It is well-known that many Jews who wanted to retain Jewish ethics, without the religious observances, led the Ethical Culture movement.
LaHaye considers the American Civil Liberties Union, headed by Ira Glasser and Nadine Strossen (both Jewish), "The most effective humanist organization for destroying the laws, morals, and traditional rights of Americans." LaHaye adds, "The anti-Christian attitude of the ACLU is not only evident in its persistent attack on moral legislation but also in its efforts to compel our country to become totally secular."36
LaHaye refers to "humanist attorney" William Kuntsler (Jewish) as "Communist oriented." He then attacks the Humanist Manifesto II, which like the original Humanist Manifesto, "criticizes religious dogmatism and denies the existence of a Creator."
Dr. Tim Madigan is the editor of the humanist magazine Free Inquiry. His publisher, Dr. Paul Kurtz, drafted the Humanist Manifesto II, which LaHaye so despises. Madigan said that he thinks about a third of the signers of Humanist Manifesto II were Jewish.
The Rev. Tim LaHaye's crusade against humanism parallels almost every anti-Semitic movement in recent history. In fact, Jews do have considerable influence in some of the arenas LaHaye writes about. Are these similarities coincidental, or is the campaign against humanism -- attributing society's every evil to supposed humanists -- really a covert attack on Jews?
LaHaye is not the only conservative Christian minister whose assault on humanism raises serious questions about anti-Semitism.
The alleged anti-Semitism of the Rev. Donald Wildmon
The Rev. Donald Wildmon, founder and head of the American Family Association (formerly the National Federation for Decency) has, by design or chance, espoused Rushdoony's idea that modern Judaism is really humanism. With Wildmon, it is sometimes difficult to tell what group he's attacking -- humanists or Jews. It appears that in his mind they are one and the same.
In Wildmon's view, television network executives (a majority of whom are Jewish, according to a Lichter-Rothman survey he often quotes) are in a deliberate conspiracy to promote "anti-Christian" television programming to undermine Christianity.
Wildmon made his first anti-Semitic innuendo before a convention of the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) in 1985. And as early as 1981, Wildmon said, "Most television producers are of the Jewish perspective."37
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) of B'nai B'rith wrote to Wildmon after a number of NRB attenders expressed concern about his presentation. "Your remarks imply that Jews create and condone anti-Christian programming," the ADL wrote on June 18, 1985. "You seem to be saying that the fact that there are so many Jews involved with commercial television programming is an explanation for the anti-Christian nature, as you see it, of that programming." Wildmon ignored the ADL's letter.
In 1985, Wildmon wrote a book called The Home Invaders, published by Victor Books, of Wheaten, Illinois. Anti-Semitic aspersion is carefully woven into the book.
In one section, Wildmon states, "Only a relatively small handful of people determine what Americans can and will see on network television. These people are overtly hostile to the Christian faith."38
He doesn't say who "these people" are until the next chapter. Wildmon's modus operandi is to quote someone else and then add his interpretation. In this case, he made use of a remark by columnist Pat Buchanan: "If he [playwright Christopher Durang] were as anti-Semitic as he is anti-Christian, he would neither be collecting awards nor staging any more plays."
Wildmon's interpretation of Buchanan's statement: "Buchanan is no doubt referring to the fact that Hollywood and the theater world is heavily influenced by Jewish people."39
In his NFD Journal40, Wildmon again raised the specter of a conspiracy among network executives (stating that 59% of them are Jewish) to create prime time "anti-Christian" programming. Wildmon concluded, "What we are witnessing by the networks and advertisers is a genuine hostility towards Christians and the Christian faith. This anti-Christian programming is intentional and by design. It took me years to believe that, and to be willing to say so publicly, but it is true."41
Time and time again, in his AFA Journal (formerly known as the NFD Journal), Wildmon has used the same inflammatory rhetoric.
On October 27, 1987, Wildmon wrote a letter to major television advertisers demanding that they stop advertising on shows that had an "anti-Christian" bias. Using the Lichter-Rothman study, he again blamed Jews for this objectionable programming.
Stuart Lewengrub, director of the ADL's southeast regional office, in a letter42 to Robert L. Brannon, then vice president of the Holiday Corporation, wrote: "ADL initially sought to communicate with him [Wildmon] in a low key, non-accusatory, manner. I've enclosed a copy of a letter ADL sent Wildmon when he first began to employ the anti-Semitic innuendo. We were trying to give him the benefit of the doubt, at least insofar as his singling out the Jewish background of those 'anti-Christian' media folks was concerned. It is evident that he has little desire to alter that approach..."
He continues, "Based on what I understand about Wildmon, he tries to evade the 'anti-Semitism' issue by noting that the study on which he based his statistics was conducted by Jews (the Lichters and Rothman), which is true, but irrelevant to Wildmon's use of those statistics."
Lewengrub concluded, "One final thought--I am reminded of one of the most poignant comments to emerge from the Nazi Holocaust. You recall the scenes in pre-war Germany of thousands of people hurling 'unwanted' books into huge bonfires. It was said that 'A NATION THAT BURNS ITS BOOKS WILL SOON BURN ITS PEOPLE.' Prophetic, but I doubt Wildmon would understand or care."
S. Robert Lichter, a co-author of the Lichter-Rothman report, in a letter43 to Brannon, said that his survey "...drew no conclusions about the nature of [TV] programming or the precise motivations of program directors." He also said, "...we naturally abhor any imputation of anti-Semitic inferences from our survey of television producers and executives."
Stanley Rothman, the other co-author of the Lichter-Rothman report, wrote44 directly to Rev. Wildmon. Rothman strongly repudiated Wildmon's use of the Lichter-Rothman study to prove that Jewish producers are anti-Christian. Rothman stated: "The inferences you draw from our data are not justified." Rothman told Wildmon that their findings presented 'NO EVIDENCE' to support any of Wildmon's accusations, and that a new study actually proved the contrary. Wildmon ignored Rothman's letter and continued perpetrating this misinformation.
Harry E. Moore, Jr., regional director (Memphis), of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, in a letter45 to Brannon, referred to Wildmon's alleged anti-Semitism. Moore said, "I agree that whether he [Wildmon] intends it or not, there is a not so subtle strain of anti-Semitism in his madness." He concluded, "I shall keep a wary eye on Mr. Wildmon. There is no telling which way his anti-Semitic bias will lead him."
In the fall of 1988, Robert K. Lifton, president of the American Jewish Congress, in a letter to prospective members, wrote, "...when Right Wing Christians launched their unsuccessful campaign to block release by Universal Studios of "The Last Temptation of Christ," they picked a very special target. THEY WENT AFTER THE JEWS."
"The Reverend Donald Wildmon, Executive Director of the American Family Association of Tupelo, Mississippi, mailed 500,000 letters [according to Wildmon, the final total was about 4 million letters] urging recipients to bring pressure upon "THE NON-CHRISTIANS OFFICIALS WHO RUN UNIVERSAL." Lifton added, "To be sure, films on such sensitive issues are bound to upset some people, and the right to criticize them is a constitutional right that we at the AJ Congress will defend. But, as we pointed out forcefully to these fundamentalists leaders, the exercise of this constitutional right 'DOES NOT CREATE LICENSE TO ENGAGE IN BIGOTRY AND ANTI-SEMITISM."
Jewish support for Wildmon
In the AFA Journal46, Rev. Wildmon quoted a Jewish colleague, Judith Reisman, who had come to his defense against charges of anti-Semitism. Reisman's words amplify Rev. Wildmon's alleged bigotry. She said, "The statements Rev. Wildmon has made which have been misconstrued as anti-Semitic, refer instead to the role of secular humanists and their control of mass media. Reverend Wildmon has no quarrel with Judaism. Quite the contrary, he has a quarrel with secular humanists and other non-Christians." Reisman adds, "Orthodox Jewry has similar quarrels with Jewish secular humanists and other non-Christians."47
Wildmon later acknowledged that his organization has given generous financial support to Reisman's research on pornography.
The question remains: Why does Wildmon note that 59% of Hollywood's elite come from Jewish backgrounds? He not only mentions it, he repeats it ad nauseam.
In his book The Home Invaders, Wildmon states, "When the Jewish organization B'nai B'rith honored [Hugh] Hefner as their man of the year, it reflected the shallowness and sickness of those who made the decision, not the religion which gave us the Ten Commandments and, for most of us, our Lord Jesus Christ."48 Like many anti-Semites, Wildmon has no quarrel with the religion of Judaism, just with the Jewish people.
In a January 1989 AFA Journal article, "What Hollywood Believes and Wants," Wildmon stated, "The television elite are highly secular. Ninety-six percent had a religious upbringing, the majority (59 percent) in the Jewish faith."49 Again, an example of his continuing attacks on secular Jews.
In the same issue, Wildmon published an article titled "Anti-Semitism Called A Serious Problem." The headline leads one to believe that the article is sympathetic toward Jews. In actuality, it creates a diversion and plays upon the prejudices of Wildmon's audience. The gist of the article is that anti-Semitism arises out of the black community!
The article highlights that "Jews continue to be more liberal than other Americans..." and specifically points out that "Jews favor homosexual rights more than other Americans." The article stresses that "only 18 percent of the Jews" support a constitutional amendment to allow prayer in public schools.50
Wildmon is aware of his conservative audience's homophobia and approval of prayer in public schools. And, typically, Wildmon quotes from the words and findings of others to justify his own conclusions.
Finally, Rev. Wildmon regularly reprints articles by Don Feder, the ultra-conservative syndicated columnist. Although Feder is Jewish, he and Wildmon see eye-to-eye on social issues. Wildmon is quick to point out that Feder "is a Jew." This is another device people employ to mask anti-Semitism, much as racists say, "Some of my best friends are black."
Some Christian leaders denounce Wildmon
Presented with these insights about Rev. Wildmon, several Christian leaders expressed their concern to the Institute for First Amendment Studies. James Lapp, executive secretary of the Mennonite Church, wrote: "We support Mr. Wildmon in his concern for decency and positive values. We do not support some of his tactics, attitudes or biases against Jewish people."
John L. May, Archbishop of St. Louis, and former president of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, wrote, "I certainly do not agree with the obvious anti-Semitic bias of Reverend Donald E. Wildmon."
Stuart Lewengrub of the ADL said his group has corresponded with Wildmon about anti-Semitism since 1985. He said the ADL has tried in a constructive way "to lean over backward to give him the benefit of the doubt."
"He's encouraging his followers," Lewengrub said, "to believe that Jews are responsible for the kind of programming they dislike." If Wildmon's point is that Hollywood leaders are secular or atheists, Lewengrub added, he can say so without alluding to their religious background. Nor does Wildmon need to note, as he does, that the Jewish background of television executives "contrasts with society as a whole, which is 2 1/2 percent Jewish."
"There is no doubt in my mind that Wildmon has engaged in anti-Semitism," Lewengrub said. "He didn't stop. He continued doing it."
In response to these accusations, Wildmon wrote, "As far as being anti-Semitic, I am not. I have a Jewish brother-in-law. Also, AFA has supported researcher Dr. Judith Reisman, who is Jewish, generously for over two years. And my Lord was a Jew."
Wildmon and the anti-Semitic Liberty Lobby
Interestingly enough, Wildmon and his ministry are in favor with the The Spotlight, a virulently anti-Semitic newspaper. On March 7, 1994, Wildmon's smiling mug appeared in the back-page feature "Spotlight on People." The caption lauded Wildmon's opposition to gay rights, which mirror those of The Spotlight.
The Spotlight, published weekly by the Washington, DC-based Liberty Lobby, operates a computer bulletin board service (BBS) called LogoPlex. The anti-Semitism in The Spotlight is mild compared to the material appearing on LogoPlex.
LogoPlex is the electronic meeting place of Christian Identity, Aryan Nations, White Supremacists, gun owners, and Christian Patriots. LogoPlex maintains several libraries of articles relating to these themes. Anyone desiring a copy of the infamous and fraudulent anti-Semitic booklet The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion can download the entire volume to their computer. A popular article available on LogoPlex, "The Synagogue of Satan," claims to expose the Jewish people as being "false" Jews and members of the Synagogue of Satan.
On LogoPlex members can "talk" to one-another via computer, advertise goods for sale, or simply exchange information. LogoPlex also lists over 125 other radical right-wing bulletin boards.
LogoPlex's family forum includes the complete text of Wildmon's latest AFA Journal, a list of the AFA's other publications, and the names and addresses of every state AFA director. This enables White Supremacists and other racists to network with the American Family Association.
If people are known by the company they keep, the surfacing of Rev. Wildmon and his American Family Association on LogoPlex says a lot.
Anti-Semitism and Christian Identity
In Pete Peters' The Real Hate Group, Jews are depicted as rabble-rousers who manipulate the government into punishing Christians.
Christians who embrace "Christian Identity" believe that there is a difference between "true Israel" and those who call themselves Jews. They think that the true Israelites are today's white Christians, descendants of white Europeans. The blessings promised Israel in the Bible, according to Christian Identity thought, are really for the Christian church. On the other hand, Jews descend from the tribe of Judah, and most who today claim to be Jews are not really Jews, but are Russian descendants of converts to Judaism about 1,000 years ago.
Christian Identity loosely includes Aryan Nations, White Supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan, Christian Patriots, and other related groups. Almost without exception, these groups are heavily involved with gun ownership and "self-defense," and harbor an assortment of bizarre conspiracy theories. This same faction was responsible for the 1984 machine gun murder of Jewish talk show host Alan Berg in Denver.
The rising star of the Christian Identity movement is Pastor Pete Peters of the LaPorte (Colorado) Church of Christ. Peters distributes The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion and is the author of the booklets The Real Hate Group and Death Penalty for Homosexuals Is Prescribed in the Bible. Peters -- along with Ted Pike (producer of an anti-Semitic video called "The Other Israel"), other Christian Identity ministers, and the Rev. Donald Wildmon -- is a popular personality on LogoPlex.
Peters' The Real Hate Group depicts Jews as controlling television, the film industry, and the news media. It describes the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) as "the most dangerous hate group in America." Like the Bottom Feeder joke book published by Life Dynamics, The Real Hate Group characterizes Jews as having large noses.
Peters is significant because he has crossed the line between Christian Identity and more mainstream conservative Christian groups. Besides broadcasting nationally on short-wave radio, he can be seen on the fast-growing Keystone Inspiration Network, of Red Lion, Pennsylvania. This cable TV network is picked up in about 120 cities. Described as a "family" network, it carries Pat Robertson's "700 Club," Jerry Falwell's "Old Time Gospel Hour," Morris Cerullo, James Robison, Benny Hinn, and other popular evangelical Christian programming.
Some have questioned the presence of a rabid anti-Semite on a mainstream Christian cable network. The Rev. Clyde Campbell, Keystone's comptroller, said, "Some people have questioned Peters' presence on Keystone," but said the station previews his programs for anything distasteful.
"Peters is a minister of the Gospel and he does a good job," Campbell said. "Pete says he loves the Jews," Campbell claimed. "The only thing I have against Pete Peters," Campbell said, "is the continual harping on the Old Testament. I think his attitude on killing homosexuals and lesbians is unloving. Jesus provides a better way."
It is important to note that on the few occasions conservative Christian leaders praise Jews, the praise is usually limited to certain ultra-conservative Jews such as Judith Reisman and Don Feder.
In September 1993, the Christian Coalition held a "Road to Victory" conference in Washington, DC. One of the featured speakers was Daniel Lapin, an Orthodox Rabbi. Lapin, reared in South Africa, is a lively and entertaining speaker. As an ultra-conservative, his association with Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition is convenient for both parties.
On a shuttle bus from the conference to the airport, two members of the North Florida Christian Coalition discussed Rabbi Lapin's presentation, and a telling remark was overheard. "He speaks better English than any Jew I ever heard," the speaker said.
At the "Road to Victory" conference, Max Karrer, M.D., who heads the North Florida Christian Coalition, led a workshop called "Using Computers at the Grass Roots." He referred to a particular political race to illustrate Christian Coalition tactics. "As an example of how this works," he said, "we had a legislative race where we had a female Jewish lawyer -- liberal, feminist -- endorsed by NOW, who had knocked out three years ago a pro-life Christian."
Dr. Karrer's description of a "pro-life Christian" against a "liberal female Jewish lawyer," while brief, smacked of bigotry. This is typical of the kind of anti-Semitism often found in conservative Christian circles.
Anti-Semitism will always exist, but it can do so without popular support. Mainline Christian denominations have a moral duty to speak out against anti-Semitism. When Christian leaders decide to put their foot down, popular support will end.
1. Gary North, THE JUDEO-CHRISTIAN TRADITION, 1989 p152
2. THE SUNDAY(Hackensack,NJ) RECORD, June 21, 1981
3. THE NEW YORK TIMES, February 5, 1981
4. THE WASHINGTON STAR, July 3, 1980
5. THE NEW YORK TIMES, April 22, 1981
6. Jerry Falwell, LISTEN AMERICA!, Sword of the Lord Publishing, c 1980, p113
7. Christian Broadcasting Network staff prayer meeting, January 1, 1980
8. MESSAGE OF THE CHRISTIAN JEW, March/April 1994
9. MESSAGE OF THE CHRISTIAN JEW, January/February 1994
10. Eclectic THIRD READER (McCuffey), reprinted by Mott Media, 1982, p64
11. Ibid, p66
12. Ibid, p69
13. Ibid, p75
14. Ibid, p82
15. Eclectic FOURTH READER (McCuffey), reprinted by Mott Media, 1982, p67
16. Ibid, p205 Ibid.
17. Glen Chambers and Gene Fisher, UNITED STATES HISTORY FOR CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS, Greenville,SC: Bob Jones University Press, 1982, p38
18. Fisher, pp 109-110
19. Ibid, p112
20. William S. Pinkston, Jr., Biology For Christian Schools, Book 1, Teacher's Edition, Greenville,SC: Bob Jones University Press, 1991 p333
21. NEWSWEEK, May 1, 1989, p32
22. Gary North, THE JUDEO-CHRISTIAN TRADITION, 1989, p152
23. Tim LaHaye, THE BATTLE FOR THE MIND, Fleming H. REvell, 1980, p142
24. Ibid, p143
25. Ibid, p147
26. Ibid, p147
27. Ibid, p148
28. Ibid, p148
29. Ibid, p152
30. Ibid, p152
31. Ibid, p158
32. Ibid, p159
33. Ibid, p159
34. THE TRUTH AT LAST, issue number 368
35. Tim LaHaye, THE BATTLE FOR THE MIND, Fleming H. REvell, 1980, p163
36. Ibid, p166
37. PEOPLE Magazine, July 6, 1981
38. Donald Wildmon, THE HOME INVADERS, Victor Books, 1986, p49
40. NFD JOURNAL, September, 1986
41. Ibid, p22
42. November 5, 1987
43. January 26, 1988
44. February 22, 1988
45. May 11, 1988
46. AFA JOURNAL, November/December 1988
47. Ibid, p28,29
48. Ibid, p95
49. Ibid, p8
50. AFA JOURNAL, January 1989, p11
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