On the Attack of the Southern Poverty Law Center
Arrogant Harassment against
Our Catholic Rights
Atila Sinke Guimarães
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Some days ago, Tradition in Action was strongly attacked by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) website which, as far as I can see, is one of these “tolerant” organizations devised to intolerantly attack anyone who seriously disagrees with Judaism.
TIA was placed among The Dirty Dozen traditionalist organizations in the United States that SPLC fears more. The dozen are listed in alphabetical order, not allowing me to realize the extent of its fear of TIA.
Curiously enough, several of these 12 organizations are just one-man entities, noble and respected entities no doubt, but without means to have great influence on the ensemble of Traditionalism. This exaggerated importance given indiscriminately to the 12, along with the announced fear they raise in SPLC, induces me to ask if there is something else in the picture. Indeed, it seems fitting for a fund-raising industry like SPLC to produce inflated dangers that will help scare their naïve donors to open wide their wallets. The remarkable superficiality with which the SPLC four-part report deals with TIA in order to reach sensational conclusions on Judaism leads me to think that money could well be one of its objectives.
Two Treatises is another article of the report. It analyzes the two main books that influenced American traditionalism. The first and more hated is We Resist You to the Face, among whose four authors I and Dr. Marian Horvat, president of TIA, are included.
Yet another piece is New Crusaders that focuses on personalities such as Mr. Mel Gibson and conferences of the Traditionalist movement, such as the ones promoted by Catholic Family News. And finally, Radical Powerhouse is an article turned to denigrate the Society of St. Pius X.
The entire four-part dossier is a piece of detraction to stimulate public hatred of American Traditionalism. SPLC, an organization whose alleged goal is to avoid hate, is therefore betraying its ends. The report is a trumpet sounding a manhunt against these organizations and personalities. Let us see in which direction this hallali will go: against the hunted or against the hunter.
Here I am defending only TIA, Dr. Marian Horvat and me, who were slandered as guilty of anti-Semitism and being morally “dirty.” Let me clarify that I have not been delegated by any of the other organizations or personalities to speak for them. My article is just a first action I am taking to clean our good name from this defamation.
I think the report made some fundamental mistakes regarding TIA that cause its attack to backfire against the aims of SPLC. I will analyze them.
1. Confusion between religious and racial opposition to Judaism
Purposely or not, the report mixes up two things that are fundamentally different.
One thing is the bi-millennial fight between Judaism and the Catholic Church based upon the Church’s acceptation of Our Lord Jesus Christ as the Messiah expected in the Old Covenant. The Catholic Church is the assemblage of those who believe and preach that Jesus Christ is the Messiah and the true God Incarnate. Judaism denies Christ’s mission and combats the Catholic Church because of Him. This is a religious fight that has been taking place since the time of Our Lord, and most probably it will finish only in the end times when, according to Scriptures, Elias will return to convert the Jews before Jesus Christ comes in glory to judge all the living and the dead.
Another thing is the racial and pagan persecutions made from 1936 to 1945 against Jews and Gypsies by Nazis in many parts of Europe. Even today, their doctrine of racial supremacy and racial aggression has followers who approve those persecutions and would like to restore Nazism in contemporary States in order to continue them.
What are the positions of TIA regarding these different realities?
Regarding Our Lord Jesus Christ, we enthusiastically profess His Divinity and the corresponding dogmas listed in the Catholic Creed. Therefore, we are loving members of the Catholic Church and profoundly disagree with Judaism, that is to say, the Jewish religion.
Regarding Nazism, Catholic doctrine opposes it. We at TIA are very careful in following this orientation of Catholic teaching. Therefore, we fight Nazism as much as possible in face of the other more necessary fights we are engaged in. We fight it first as a lunacy of some thinkers who imagined a German racial supremacy over the peoples of the world. But also, as Nazism presented itself concretely, we combat it as an occultist, pagan, socialist, and despotic demagogy.
This opposition is not only theoretical. At TIA we do not want to have any acquaintance or collaboration with Nazis in any of the various colors of shirts they present themselves. Those who are not affiliated with Nazism but just sympathize with it are placed in quarantine and sooner or later move away from us. We note with concern the presence of some of its promoters or sympathizers among branches of the current American Traditionalist movement. We have constantly warned our supporters and readers against the potential danger they represent. An example of such warnings can be seen in the series of articles against Distributism written by Mr. Patrick Odou, secretary of TIA. Among the promoters of Distributism in the U.S. one can find sympathizers of Nazism and Fascism. In his articles Mr. Odou frequently criticizes this association.
Hence, we also condemn the racial persecutions Nazis made against Jews and Gypsies. So, we admit the right that Jews have today to prevent similar Nazi regimes from reappearing and repeating what they did in the past.
Let the opposition of TIA to Nazism be carved in stone once and for all.
What is the position of the SPLC regarding these realities?
Without any regard for these distinctions, which should result in different judgments if justice were taken into account, the SPLC report attaches the same labels to both those who are against the Jewish religion and those who are against the Jewish race. All of them receive the offensive epithet of “dirty,” and the ambiguous accusation of “anti-Semitism.”
This generalization is, therefore, essentially unjust, as is the insertion of TIA into these accusations.
It is also essentially dishonest. During the nine years when Nazism ruled Germany, there were persecutions that produced great suffering among Jews. This fact has been repeated ad nauseam everywhere in the last 60 years. Most persons hearing about it condemn the Nazi atrocities, as we do.
However, this has nothing to do with the previous religious fight between Jews and Catholics. To issue a just sentence on that matter, each one of the historical cases should be examined individually to see what happened.
It is fundamentally dishonest for SPLC to affirm or give the impression that all previous religious disputes between Catholicism and Judaism fall under the same condemnation of Nazism. It pretends that the whole previous 1,936 years of History can be put in the same category and receive the same blame as those nine years of Nazism. The dishonesty of the SPLC consists in skipping 1,936 years of History.
2. Is it still licit according to American law to oppose
the Jewish religion?
As Catholics, the members of TIA have many doctrinal disagreements with Judaism, as well as with Buddhism, Islamism, and Protestantism, for example. This opposition is in the field of principles and is invariably expressed in an elevated language with logical and serious arguments about what truth is and how to follow it. This atmosphere of respectful debate can be verified by anyone visiting our website or looking through our books.
One example of this is a booklet I wrote: Cordial Invitation to 170 Rabbis and Jewish Scholars. Since these rabbis and scholars issued a document in 2000 counseling Catholics to review their past history in what they considered to be errors, I felt it was appropriate to invite the Jews to do a similar thing regarding the errors of the Talmud, which I pointed out in that pamphlet.
Normally, however, we do not address leaders of other religions. Most of our works are turned to help Catholics to be consistent in their faith and morals, or to denounce Catholic authorities who are misleading people from the right path. Once in a while we expose the errors of other religions to prevent Catholics from assimilating them.
Both debates and actions of clarification are made following the precepts of American Law and within its limits. We believe that this doctrinal action is permitted by law. The members of TIA, as Catholics, have a right to do this. If I am wrong in this interpretation of our Catholic rights, I would like to be corrected.
If I am right, however, I believe SPLC is abusing the law to impose that only those who agree with Judaism have the right to expound their ideas in the public arena. It is a confessional approach at variance with American law.
SPLC seems to be taking advantage of the liberties of the law to establish something like the “ideological patrols” of Mao-Tse Tong’s Red Guard during his Cultural Revolution. In my opinion, this arbitrary prey on religious Catholic rights is an abuse of American law that should be considered illegal.
3. Hate-filled behavior
Since I have already addressed that SPLC’s report is unjust and dishonest (1), and it is abusing the American law (2), let me finish by considering its intellectual authority.
Three parts of the report are signed by Ms. Heidi Beirich, another – The Dirty Dozen – is anonymous. I assume it is a piece on which Ms. Beirich and several others collaborated. I will address Ms. Beirich as the author of the report. If anyone else is responsible for the accusations, I ask the favor that he consider himself included in my analysis.
I don’t know by what moral authority Ms. Beirich publicly condemns TIA, Dr. Horvat and me as “dirty” and offers us to public scorn. Is she a Catholic? Is she Jewish? Is she an agnostic?
I didn’t find any information in this regard. It would have been interesting to know something of her background. Since I don’t know, let me set aside the discussion of her moral authority.
I address only her intellectual authority.
When she opines about our book We Resist You to the Face, she affirms that “the books ends with a statement that is clearly schismatic.” A little further she quotes the editor of a Catholic newspaper who says something different: the authors of the book are “on a schismatic trajectory that can only have tragic consequences.” The difference between the two affirmations is significant. The latter remark is equivalent to saying, “If you continue on this path you will end in jail;” the former is equivalent to saying: “You are clearly in jail.” For Ms. Beirich there is no difference between the two accusations. She accuses us of being schismatics, but does not present proof. To accuse without proof demonstrates partiality on her part.
Further, I refuted that accusation of Mr. Alphonse Matt in a letter to him that soon became public. He did not reply. Bishop Bruskewitz also wrote a piece insinuating we were schismatics. I refuted his piece. Dr. Horvat also wrote an article in response. Bishop Bruskewitz abandoned the polemic. That is to say, both persons did not sustain their accusations. All this material is on our website, easy to find. Why didn’t Ms. Beirich, who pretends to have done careful research on us, include in her report the conclusion of the polemic? It seems that she had already made up her mind and was just looking for accusations. Again, it is partiality.
Regarding We Resist You, she explicitly says: “The first bombshell by contemporary radicals is the anti-Vatican diatribe …” This attack is intellectually weak, to say the least. The book was far from being a diatribe; it is a very respectful open-letter to John Paul II asking for a dialogue. It was so cordially presented that a high ranking Cardinal of the Holy See after reading it, personally gave it to JPII, who promised to read it.
Next, the accusation – “anti-Vatican” – does not make any sense. No Catholic is anti-Vatican. We criticize Council Vatican II. Perhaps Ms. Bereich doesn’t know that there is a difference between the Vatican State, and the two Councils Vatican I and Vatican II that were realized there. Intellectually speaking, this confusion is also lamentable.
Then, the report condemns one of my articles on the TIA website, because the “website cites approvingly Church actions against the Jews over the centuries, listing a series of religious edicts condemning Jews for usury and blasphemy, and banning the marriage between Catholic and Jews.” The report continues: “In the same vein, the site approvingly quotes the infamous 1492 edict of Ferdinand and Isabella, the Catholics monarchs of Spain, that expelled from the country all Jews who declined to convert to Catholicism.”
Why are these actions “dirty”? Should the Popes approve the practice of usury by Jews? Should they congratulate them when they blaspheme? Why was the edict of the Monarchs of Spain “infamous”? The report does not offer one single argument to prove its injurious adjectives. It seems that anyone who does anything against any Jew immediately falls under its irrational hate.
Therefore, regarding the intellectual viewpoint, we are facing prejudice in analysis, insufficiency of proof, irrationality of method, and violent and offensive conclusions. It is my opinion that this characterizes intellectual incompetence and a behavior filled with hate.
I conclude my analysis on the attack of SPLC against TIA and its members summarizing: It is essentially unjust and dishonest, abusive of the American law, intellectually inept and morally detestable.
Posted January 22, 2007
Related Topics of Interest
Nazism, a Gnostic-Manichean sect
Socialism and Distributism
Eric Gill, a precursor of Vatican II
The shell game of distributists
The war and the Jews
Cordial invitation to 170 rabbis
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