Freedom Writer - May 1994
Anti-Semitism:Its prevalence within the Christian Right
By 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 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
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
"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
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
"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_Jew_9 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
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
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
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
"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
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
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
"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_Last_34, 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
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
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
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_Journal_40, 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
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
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
Jewish support for Wildmon
In the _AFA_Journal_46, 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
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
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
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
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
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.
Sidebar: [ref005]Christian leaders can help diminish anti-Semitism
[ref006][ref007] Return to table of contents
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