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This transgender ‘folly’ is going to collapse, just as Eugenics did

“This very, very complex thing is being over-simplified,” says a world expert on the transgender phenomenon.


Dr. Paul R. McHugh is University Distinguished Service Professor in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he served as Director of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Psychiatrist-in-Chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital from 1975 to 2001.

In a distinguished career that began with his training at Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Dr. McHugh has taught at Cornell, the University of Oregon, and since 1975 at Johns Hopkins. He was the co-creator of the Mini Mental States Examination, one of the most widely used tests of cognitive function, and he sponsored the work that resulted in The 36-Hour Day, a bestselling guide for families and caregivers of patients with Alzheimer’s and other dementia conditions.

In the 1980s and 1990s, Dr. McHugh and Dr. Phillip R. Slavney published The Perspectives of Psychiatry and Psychiatric Polarities, which may be said to have embodied the tenets of the influential “Hopkins School” of the discipline. For the wider public, Dr. McHugh has published on psychiatry — both its findings and its failings — in The American Scholar, First Things, Commentary, Public Discourse, the Weekly Standard, and The New Atlantis. His books for general readers are The Mind Has Mountains (2006), a collection of his essays, and Try to Remember (2008), which concerns his role in debunking the “recovered memory” fad in psychotherapy. In 2015, the Paul McHugh Program for Human Flourishing was established in the Johns Hopkins Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

I note that Dr. McHugh is not Professor Emeritus at Johns Hopkins, which is worth remarking upon because this week he turns ninety years old. He is still a full-time faculty member in the university’s school of medicine — teaching, mentoring psychiatry students, and caring for patients. We spoke on Monday after he had spent the morning in the psychiatry department’s weekly grand rounds.

Matthew Franck: In Psychiatric Polarities, you and Phillip Slavney wrote that “mental life is dependent on the brain. … Yet mind and brain are not identical. Indeed, they are so different that the nature of their relationship is the fundamental mystery in psychiatry and the source of many of its conflicts.” Would it be fair to say that the successes of modern psychiatry stem from work that recognises this mysterious relationship of mind and brain, while its failures stem largely from therapeutic interventions that ignore this mystery or try to explain it away?

Paul McHugh: I think that mystery remains a great mystery, but is perhaps best resolved at the moment by seeing mental life as an emergent property of the brain. It emerges from it, but it doesn’t emerge as smoke; it remains an interactive process.

There are some aspects of human disorders and human mental life that depend upon the brain for their sustaining, but they don’t depend upon the brain for their generation — things like grief, and maybe post-traumatic stress disorder, and things of that sort. They depend upon an appreciation of the person, of what was there and was lost (for grief), or what was there and was frightening (for PTSD). The brain follows the mind in that way.

So the fact is that the narrative capacity of the human mental experience can be the source of various forms of psychiatric distress that psychiatrists try to help the patient both understand and perhaps re-script in a way that makes living with it more easy. And none of that actually depends upon the psychiatrist directly tinkering with the brain’s substance or the material itself.

So when we were, in the Polarities, saying that this is the issue, these two things, we didn’t mean to say that everything that the psychiatrist could successfully do would depend upon his working with the brain. He could make lots of mistakes there, as the frontal lobotomy experience demonstrated better than any, and then some abuse of medications today demonstrates.

But he could also make mistakes in the narrative by presuming things that were not there in actuality but were put in by him, or her, the psychiatrist, because they made a better story. I don’t think all the mistakes that psychiatrists make are related either to the area of the brain they work in or the area of mental life and its trajectory. They can make mistakes in both places.

MF: I know that you and your colleagues at Hopkins have really merged these questions in neuropsychiatry so that you’re attending to both brain and mind. But there have been schools of thought in psychiatry that emphasise one overwhelmingly at the expense of the other.

PM: Yes indeed, and that is the thing that we’re trying to avoid by making it clear that there are different methods that employ one or the other, or sometimes both together in a coherent way. But you know, I did train in neurology as well as psychiatry. My teachers made sure that at least I was exposed to the ideas on both sides of that very interesting emergent property.

MF: In one of your essays in The Mind Has Mountains, you observe “the power of cultural fashions to lead psychiatric thought and practice off in false, even disastrous, directions.” Two such fashions that captivated psychology and psychiatry in recent decades were “multiple personality disorder,” also known as “dissociative identity disorder,” and the idea of “repressed sexual memories” from childhood that adults can “recover” under therapy. What accounts for such therapeutic fevers gripping the mental health professions?

PM: That’s a very good question. I’m not sure I understand why we’re so vulnerable to this. It may well be in part that we are a discipline that cannot often use bodily material, like an autopsy or something, to prove ourselves right or wrong.

We have to use the power of persuasion to persuade patients and others to thinking the way we want them to think. And although that’s the fundamental principle of psychotherapy — psychotherapy is a persuasive enterprise, after all, that’s what it is, it’s nothing else but persuasion — persuasion, not only in psychiatry but maybe even in a democracy, its great vulnerability, as Tocqueville said, is the tyranny of popular sentiments.

The tyranny of popular opinion can hold in thrall a whole population, after all, for a while. I think psychiatry is vulnerable to that because it works with phenomena of mental life and problems of mental behaviour, and therefore is liable, without another kind of tradition or another source of knowledge, to be carried away. It happens about every ten or fifteen years.

MF: I recall your saying as well in that book that psychiatrists don’t have the sort of grounded reality of specialising in the skin or the eye or something about which there cannot be endless arguments once the evidence comes in.

PM: That’s right. The material evidence of the physical body has a great salutary effect on people who have strong opinions about things, as William Osler said long ago. He said, you know the great thing about the consultant is, he comes in and does the rectal that you forgot to do. The great thing about doctoring is that it’s a fundamental business; you stand on the bottom of life, and it’s one of the joys of it.

Why, though, psychiatry gets swept by these fantasies is still a further question. In part, I used to just think it was the Freudian commitment to suspicion of other people and of society and everything — it was one of the schools of suspicion —

MF: Sure, that there’s a dark id everywhere you look.

PM: That’s right, that somehow or other we’re always under the control of somebody else. Nietzsche and Marx and Freud were all of the same kind of calibre. I used to think that. I also think there’s a love on the part of psychiatrists for being men of the secret and having their own magical secret.

If somebody comes along and tells you “Here’s a wonderful magical secret that will open to you the nature of the world and the nature of humankind,” it’s usually silly in the long run. That’s usually picked up by people who have no traditional background of their own. After all, it’s a kind of golden calf; you come down from the mountain and really try to bring them something, and what do you find them doing? Dancing around the golden calf.

MF: The appeal is to make some idol of a solution to some big problem.

PM: That’s right. And although Moses thought it was only his people, his people were — are, of course — all of us.

MF: In 2016, you and Dr. Lawrence Mayer published a 143-page monograph in the pages of The New Atlantis titled “Sexuality and Gender: Findings from the Biological, Psychological, and Social Sciences.” This publication generated a good deal of controversy, coming not long after the Supreme Court’s creation of a constitutional right for same-sex couples to marry, and just as the issue of “transgenderism” was beginning to heat up. What prompted you and Dr. Mayer to undertake this project, and what should we take away from it?

PM: I was prompted by the idea that I ought to at least say something in this matter, because so many ideas were floating around, and if I couldn’t speak, who could? And when I looked at the scientific evidence of these things, the very idea that these things were immutable, and discrete, and people were “born that way,” it didn’t work from the science point of view, and they might, in our society, not be such good ideas, not good things for people to believe. So I thought, “Well, if I can’t speak at my stage and my development, nobody can speak, and I’ll see what happens.” So, it was very interesting. I found it extremely interesting.

It caused a ruckus, and that didn’t surprise me. But what did surprise me was how many people would say, well, you know, “This is just wrong,” but would never show me any evidence. Dean Hamer, whom I have admired and thought of as a very coherent geneticist and student of homosexuality down in NIH, said “This has all just been disproven, it’s bad science,” but he never pointed out anything or said, “Here’s the article that proves it.”

He was saying, “Look, this is the way we read the science today,” and he spent a lot of time talking about how this wasn’t a peer-reviewed article. Of course it wasn’t a peer-reviewed article. It wasn’t intended to be put out into the science literature. It was to try to evaluate what we thought the science literature taught to the ordinary public, like somebody would write in the New Yorker. And the useful way to refute such a thing is not to say “Those guys are stinkers!” or something. They should say “He’s overlooked something, and here’s the thing that he’s overlooked.”

It turned out that afterwards — long afterwards — people would say, “Well, you know, he’s right, but he shouldn’t have said it.” What it came down to was “He should have kept his mouth shut.” The reason they keep saying it is the usual explanation for not wanting to get all the truth out — that somehow it’ll encourage people to abuse other folks. Of course, we didn’t want that, and we don’t think that the truth is going to lead to anything other than further truth, as things go on.

MF: And better treatment of people. It’s interesting to me that you brought up that critique of peer review, because I had a follow-up on that front. I heard that a lot too when that long piece came out, that The New Atlantis is not a peer-reviewed journal, or that the work you and Dr. Mayer did was not peer-reviewed. And my first thought on hearing that was, well, of course not, what you and he did was the peer review. That is, you two, very knowledgeable in your field, did a comprehensive survey of studies in the field that had been peer reviewed in order to draw conclusions for a wider public about what we know and don’t know about sexual orientation and gender identity.

PM: It seemed to me they just didn’t want the conversation to go on. This way of calling it not peer-reviewed was to say that I was saying something that was supposed to be a new discovery. I wasn’t saying anything new, I was saying “This is how I read the literature.”

MF: People who dispute the way you and Dr. Mayer read the literature should not just say, “Well, that’s bunk.” After all, you were not reporting your own research but that of many, many others. They should point to these and those studies that you draw conclusions from and either show why they’re wrong or why you’re drawing the wrong conclusions from them.

PM: That’s right, and that’s what we said at the end of our article. We knew it was going to cause a fuss. Okay, go at it, and tell us what’s wrong.

MF: The bottom line of the monograph, it seemed to me, was that we still don’t know a great deal about the provenance of homosexuality and transgender or gender dysphoria. We have no particular reason to believe that either phenomenon is innate or biologically based or immutable.

PM: That’s right. Especially not immutable. That’s the most important thing.

MF: In a later piece in The New Atlantis, in 2017, you and Dr. Mayer were joined by Dr. Paul Hruz, a pediatric endocrinologist, in cautioning medical professionals against using puberty-suppressing drugs with children who present with gender dysphoria. Given the increasing incidence of patients presenting such psychological symptoms since that time, especially adolescent girls who wish to transition to “being” boys, as Abigail Shrier has written, this looks like it was a very timely intervention on your part. What is the concern, exactly, with these puberty-suppressing drugs?

PM: They come at a time when the person, the child, is not prepared to think about what their life would be like. Remember, puberty occurs between nine and fourteen when you’re a girl, and between eleven and fourteen when you’re a boy. These are children.

Anyone who’s had a ten-year-old girl or boy around knows that he or she is under your protective wing, in the sense not only of making sure he or she eats and is not abused today, but that he or she doesn’t make a mistake in their own decisions that will reverberate forever for them. We don’t let them get tattooed, we don’t — I wouldn’t let my daughter have her ears pierced until she turned sixteen. So these are very young children.

Secondly, this is a very complex process, puberty. Puberty is one of the great transforming neuro-endocrine events in anybody’s life. And we know only some parts of it; we do not know, for example, what triggers puberty. Back in 2005, the journal Science published its, I think, 125th anniversary issue, and they said, here are 125 big problems that remain for science. One of them was “What triggers puberty?” It’s a big mystery.

But one of the things we do know is that the human being is very different from the ordinary animal. With the animal, if they successfully go through puberty — and they go through it rather young — at the end of that, fundamentally, they are the complete being that they’re going to be. With human beings, some of the most interesting individuating characteristics of themselves occur only after puberty, probably with a combination of the intellectual powers and the energy that sexual development brings.

So I don’t think any child — and any parent, for that matter — can make an informed consent to permit the blocking of puberty and the transmission of another sex. That’s the first thing: you don’t have an idea what you’re doing. So how can you have an informed consent about it? Because nobody knows.

As important, and a reason for thinking that judgment is affected, is that children, young people, who believe that they belong in the opposite sex, if permitted to go through puberty normally, 85 to 95 percent of them will at the end of that time say “No, I am who I am.”

But if you give them the puberty blockers at age nine or ten, only 5 or 10 percent at the end of that time will say “I don’t want to go on further.” They always want to go on further. Something has changed in them. One of the things that change must be the way their brain is shaped when this triggering comes along for puberty. It gets thwarted. And the idea that it’s all reversible, that’s still very debatable.

Finally, the most important point is that scientists have one great vulnerability. They can be dealing with the most complex issue and try to oversimplify it and make it seem like a simple issue. In this case, we want to make a boy look like a girl — okay, so we’re going to do it with these hormones. Wait a minute: you don’t know this is a complex issue of the brain, neuro-endocrine relationships, hormones and — things that Paul Hruz knows even better than I. This very, very complex thing is being over-simplified.

MF: And there are real physical detriments that can come about in terms of bone mass, fertility, growth to mature height, all sorts of things.

PM: And who, at age eleven, knows? You might lose your fertility at age eleven; well, okay, you don’t know quite what that is. You might not know, given the other kinds of pressures that come into play. We don’t know all the pressures that are behind this gender dysphoria epidemic that we’re having, but we do have a lot of reasons for believing that social pressures on vulnerable and suggestible young people are at play there.

MF: In your own career, you’ve been standing athwart this for a very long time. In 1979, a few years after you came to Johns Hopkins, you directed the closing of the university hospital’s gender identity unit, responsible at that time for what we then called “sex-change operations,” and now it’s fashionable to call “gender-affirming surgeries,” after finding that such surgical transitions did not improve the overall mental health of patients. For this alone, you have been on the “enemies list” of transgender advocates for a long time. (Such surgeries were resumed at Hopkins in 2017.)

You have likened our “transgender moment,” as Ryan Anderson calls it, to other psychiatric fashions that ultimately collapsed under the weight of evidence against them — or due to the dearth of evidence for them. Transgenderism seems to be at peak strength today, in medicine, law, and public policy. Are you still sanguine about its ultimate collapse, like that of other culturally based phenomena in mental health sciences?

PM: I’m amazed at the amount of power and weaponry that it’s gotten behind it now, with the government and law and even medical organisations getting behind it, but I’m absolutely convinced that this is folly and it’s going to collapse, just as the eugenics folly collapsed.

Eugenics was quite as powerful, after all. I’m reassured that we psychiatrists have been everywhere before. Fortunately, Adolf Meyer, my predecessor at Johns Hopkins, was one of the few psychiatrists in the world, really, who said “I don’t think we can go this way with the eugenics movement.” And so I feel I’m in good company by saying this is going to collapse.

It’s going to collapse, particularly, in relationship to the injury to children, because these people are already beginning to build up evidence for the misdirection they were sent on. In Britain, the Keira Bell case that has just been handed down from their High Court is recognising the very inadequate psychiatric approach that was taken to leading this girl to now be a very damaged person. So it’s coming. And what’s going to happen in my opinion, at least with the young, the people under the age of twenty-one, will be that there will be huge lawsuits.

I can tell you exactly how the suits are going to play out. You know that person is going to wake up at age twenty-five and realise that that she’s got a five o’clock shadow, she’s had various mutilations in the body, she’s infertile, and she’s going to say, “How did you let this happen?” And then parents are going to say, “Well, the doctor said…” So they’re going to say “Let’s sue the doctors.”

They’re going to go to the doctors and say “What did you do this for?!” They’ll say, “That was a standard treatment for transgendered,” and the person is going to say, “But you see, I wasn’t transgendered, I was a child!” And they’re going to say “Holy smoke, you’re right, we can’t tell who’s transgendered, in truth.” And then the insurance companies are going to bail out, and a lot of people are going to be injured in reputation. But we’re going to be left with a number of much more injured patients. I’m very sure this is going to happen.

MF: In one respect, it almost seems as though psychiatry has confessed its lack of any answer to the problem of gender dysphoria and farmed out the solution to the endocrinologists and the cosmetic surgeons. They’re inviting those specialists in other fields to tinker with the body to conform to a dysphoria in the mind, rather than treating the dysphoria in the mind, which is the province of psychiatry.

PM: Exactly. And by the way, when I did actively close down the psychiatric role in permitting the gender surgery — after all, I couldn’t stop the plastic surgeons from doing it if they wanted — I just was saying that we in the department of psychiatry were no longer going to endow it with our permission. One of the plastic surgeons came up to me and did say, “Oh, thank goodness. How would you like it to get up in the morning, Paul, and face the day slashing away at perfectly normal organs, because you guys don’t know what’s the matter.”

MF: That’s interesting! So what you had the power to put a stop to was the referral to the surgeons.

PM: That’s right.

MF: And the surgeons would not proceed without it.

PM: That’s right. And the reversal [in 2017] was that the plastic surgeons came and said we’re going to take this up again. They didn’t wait for our permission to open a clinic at Johns Hopkins. In psychiatry, I was no longer the director, and our department didn’t fuss about it.

MF: So the resumption in 2017 was not owing to a decision in psychiatry but a decision over in surgery.

PM: That’s it, a decision over in plastic surgery. The nice thing is, the director of plastic surgery came and told me he was going to do it. But it was their decision, not ours.

MF: A slight change of topic here. As someone who has been a faithful Catholic his whole life, you have sometimes been characterised — I would say uncharitably — as a man whose professional outlook is unduly influenced by his religion. But the Catholic Church teaches, as you and I both know, that there is nothing science discovers that contradicts the faith. So what is really going on when this charge is aimed at you?

PM: I’m always surprised by that. I’m told that my views about repressed memory, that that was going to protect Catholic priests from being punished for abusing people. I never said that the truth wasn’t the truth with those men. I’m always very surprised by this charge.

I do say that I am an orthodox Catholic guy. Thank goodness I was raised with it, because of the wonderful Catholic realism that places you solidly on the ground in relationship to human nature and the human condition. But I never thought that in this area, it was my religion that was determining how I would think about it.

I suppose I have to say that when I was first fascinated by psychiatry when I was at the Medical School at Harvard, it might have been the relentless attacks by the Freudians on the nuclear family that shocked me, because I felt that the nuclear family was the source of all kinds of wonderful reflections on each other that permitted one to go out into the world. Instead, the suspicious Freudians saw it as a place of dominance and the like.

That may well have had something to do with my devotion to both my family and to the Holy Family that I had grown up thinking of as models. I would have thought if somebody wanted to say, “Look, his religion shielded him or protected him in this way, or blinded him in this way,” that would be an interesting conversation to have. But what does a tradition, a Judeo-Christian tradition, in particular, that honours the father and mother — how does it come at a discipline in medicine that begins to say that that’s the source of all your mental troubles?

But in these other matters, no-one can say what aspects of oneself affect how you think about a problem. Obviously, we’re creatures ourselves, and a lot comes out of where we are and who we are, and we don’t always completely know. But I believe that my positions on these matters, on these matters in particular, relate to the science and the psychiatry that matters. And that anybody of any persuasion or no persuasion at all will eventually come to agree with me.

MF: Yeah, “He’s a Catholic psychiatrist, therefore… ” seems to me to be a deflection from the discrete issues that should be directly tackled on the evidence and the arguments. Of course, there are many people in your profession, who are Jewish or Protestant or have no particular faith, who agree with you on the fundamental questions you’ve worked on in your career. But what you’re saying is that your Catholicism has actually made you in some respects a stronger, better scientist.

PM: I’ve always thought so. I think Christianity was the foundation of science. After all, “In the beginning was the Word” — the Logos. Well, that means something, to make science reasonable. That’s what I’ve always thought. But you know, I’ve been amazed, because I’ve been attacked this way now, even at Hopkins — which is a wonderful institution, by the way, and it has for the most part protected me. And I didn’t have these kinds of things said about me, at least right out, since I was in high school. So it was a big surprise. Although I’m sure that anyone would say that, as you go through life, you don’t know what other people are thinking about you.

I had a very funny one: when I was admitted to Harvard Medical School, I had to have an examination by one of the doctors there — a physical exam to make sure I was well and all. They did that for every medical student. And about ten years later I happen to come across my record that had been written by this chap, one of the doctors in Boston who said, “rosy-cheeked Irish boy who’s done well to come as far as he has.”

MF: I think we’ve found the title for our interview: “Rosy-cheeked Irish Boy Who’s Come a Long Way.”

PM: That was pretty funny. I mean, it does show you the climate that you’re in that you didn’t realise. I had no idea this was crossing his mind.

MF: One last question. Tell us, please, about the work of the now six-year-old McHugh Program for Human Flourishing. What do you hope that it will contribute to the future of psychiatry and to public understanding?

PM: I hope it’s going to be a rich contribution at the end of my career at Hopkins. My aim is to point out, and to help young psychiatrists, and all doctors for that matter, to understand that after you get somebody over a condition, often they have still a ways to go to be the kinds of people that they were intended to be when they were started off.

What began, for me, as a kind of public health hygiene, mental hygiene for the patient — saying “Look, this is the kind of thing you’ve got to do, you’ve got to think in terms of family life, work life, educational life, and community, and particularly often religious life, to be what you want to be” — has now transformed itself into an understanding of where the education of doctors tends to fall down. It tends to fall down in the very areas of the humanities and the understanding of human capacities that doctoring used to be founded on, before the sciences could really take it up and make it go.

So I’m hoping that people will see that an understanding of what human beings really can be emerges out of helping them through their physical as well as their mental illnesses, but then requires a continuing prescription for how they can continue in that way. And this way, I think, it will enrich the education of doctors in general, just like I think our Perspectives of Psychiatry has helped enrich an understanding of medicine in relationship to the conditions that afflict people mentally. So we’ve had a wonderful experience with it.

MF: Human flourishing is not a typical phrase in the vocabulary of medical professionals.

PM: It was a term that seemed to me to be the appropriate term. By the way, several people in my department thought it was a very Catholic term, I was surprised to see.

MF: If they think that Aristotle belongs to the Catholics, I guess we’ll take him.

PM: Right, that’s what I said to them, I thought it goes back to Aristotle.

MF: It’s a humanistic enterprise.

PM: It’s a fundamentally humanistic enterprise. Medicine is a humanistic discipline that uses science to accomplish what all human beings would like to see for themselves, in their capacity to sustain themselves. But ultimately it is to aim for a person who could be what God intended him to be. And, of course, it’s illuminating for me, like anything else in teaching. Once you start off on this, then you discover all the things that become important for yourself to learn.

MF: One really final question, for the record: Dr. Paul McHugh has no current plans to retire, correct?

PM: No plans to retire, no! Not me. I’m pressing on. I’m not retiring. I can’t carry on quite as much as I could before, but for the duties that I’m doing within the department, which are full-time for me, I’m going to continue as long as I can.

Republished with permission from The Public Discourse.

COLUMN BY

Paul McHugh

Dr. Paul McHugh, M.D. is the University Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. From 1975 until 2001, Dr. McHugh was the Henry Phipps Professor… More by Paul McHugh

Matthew J. Franck

Matthew J. Franck is Contributing Editor of Public Discourse. He is also Associate Director of the James Madison Program and Lecturer in Politics at Princeton University, Senior Fellow at the Witherspoon… More by Matthew J. Franck

EDITORS NOTE: This MercatorNet column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

On the Nature of Complicity

Randall Smith: In the future, will America’s bishops renounce their failure to condemn politicians who support abortion as German bishops have recently done for their former support of Nazism?


In a column last year titled “Politicizing the Eucharist?” I pointed out that no one now claims that when Archbishop Rummel of New Orleans excommunicated three Catholics for publically encouraging people to defy his order to de-segregate the Catholic schools, he was “politicizing the Eucharist.”  Rather, Rummel is now praised highly for his singular courage, especially since his condemnation was so contrary to the more “accommodating” views of many of his fellow southern Catholics.

I also mentioned Cardinal Adolf Bertram, the ex-officio head of the German episcopate in the 1930s, who ordered Church bells rung in celebration of Nazi Germany’s victories over Poland and France and who sent greetings to Hitler on his 50th birthday in the name of all German Catholics, an act that angered his fellow bishops Konrad von Preysing and August von Galen.

The subject of whether the bishops should speak out publically against the treatment of the Jews arose at a 1942 meeting of the German bishops at Fulda. The consensus was “to give up heroic action in favor of small successes.”  In the 1933 Reichskonkordat between the Holy See and the German government, Church leaders pledged to refrain from speaking out on issues not directly related to the Church.  Repeated violations of the Konkordat on the part of the government, including closing churches and church schools, did not change their minds. And it also didn’t keep bishops like Bertram from endorsing government actions they favored, such as opposition to communism and the subjugation of Poland.

If you imagine I am being too tough on these German bishops, then perhaps you should read the twenty-three-page report made public last May by Germany’s Council of Catholic Bishops in which they admitted “complicity” by their predecessors who did not do enough to oppose the rise of Nazi regime and its mistreatment of Jews.

In eighty or ninety years, will future U.S. bishops be submitting a similar document of their own, confessing the “complicity” of their predecessors who did not do enough to oppose the abortion regime?  Will Catholics of that time be as baffled about our present bishops and prominent Catholic politicians as we are about the accommodationist Catholics of Nazi Germany?

How could Catholics of that time have failed to understand the evil staring them in the face? And why did they “accommodate” a regime that had labeled Christianity, and Catholics in particular, as “enemies of the state”?  Was it perhaps because so many leaders of the regime had been raised Catholic and some were still rosary-carrying church-goers?

Who, in retrospect, would not look back in shame at a German bishop who called questioning the Catholic commitments of Catholic Nazi leaders “offensive because they constitute an assault on the meaning of what it is to be Catholic.” Because “being Catholic means loving the Church; being Catholic means participating in the sacramental life of the church; being a Catholic means trying to transform the world by the light of the Gospel”?

And yet those are the words of our own Bishop McElroy of San Diego about those who question Joe Biden’s Catholicism.

And we transform the world in the light of the Gospel how?  Is it not by opposing the killing of innocent human beings?

In retrospect, we would suspect that a bishop who had said about the treatment of Jews, as Bishop McElroy has about abortion, that “To reduce that magnificent, multidimensional gift of God’s love to a single question of public policy is repugnant and should have no place in public discourse” had little or no serious concern for the lives being lost.  “Sure, abortion is bad, but what about global warming!”  “Sure the ill-treatment of Jews is unfortunate, but what about the future of Europe!” Wouldn’t we consider that to be repugnant?

What would anyone say now about a Catholic politician as prominent as Mario Cuomo if, during the 1930s in Germany, he had said:  “I accept the Church’s teaching about Jews, but must I insist others do so?  Our public morality. . .the moral standards we maintain for everyone, not just the ones we insist on in our private lives – depends on a consensus view of right and wrong.  The values derived from religious belief will not and should not be accepted as part of the public morality unless they are shared by the pluralistic community at large by consensus.” That statement would have worked equally well for Catholic segregationists in the American South.

If that Catholic politician in 1930s Germany had available to him the “seamless garment” argument used by Mr. Cuomo, he might have said, “I grant that the treatment of Jews may have a unique significance but not a preemptive significance.”  “The Jewish question is an important issue for Catholics, but so is the question of the injustice of the reparation payments we have been forced to make along with all the resulting hunger and homelessness and joblessness, all the forces diminishing human life and threatening to destroy it.”

All the forces diminishing human life and threatening to destroy it?  Like . . . oh, I don’t know . . . abortion?

Who, in retrospect now, wouldn’t find such a “Catholic” politician either an obvious liar or a delusional hack?

If you find my comparison between the Catholics who enabled the Nazis and modern Catholics who enable abortion troubling, perhaps you should read Anne Applebaum’s article in The Atlantic titled “History Will Judge the Complicit.” Take out all the tendentious stuff about the numbers at Trump’s inauguration and a phone call with the Ukrainian ambassador and replace it with Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden’s support for abortion and for policies that result in the closure of faithful Catholic institutions, and then change the title to “On the Nature of Complicity: Abortion’s Catholic Enablers and the Judgment of History.”

That judgment is unlikely to be any kinder to them than it has been to their German predecessors.

COLUMN BY

Randall Smith

Randall B. Smith is a tenured Full Professor of Theology. His book Reading the Sermons of Thomas Aquinas: A Guidebook for Beginners is available from Emmaus Press. And his book Aquinas, Bonaventure, and the Scholastic Culture at Paris: Preaching, Prologues, and Biblical Commentary is due out from Cambridge University Press in the fall.

EDITORS NOTE: This The Catholic Thing column is republished with permission. © 2020 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.org. The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

American Flag, Bibles Reportedly Burned In Portland Riots


Rioters in Portland were caught on camera putting bibles and an American flag into a fire outside of the federal courthouse, which has been a focal point in the protests that have been ongoing for more than a month and a half, numerous sources reported.

Peaceful protests during the day reportedly transitioned into fires being set Friday night, largely without the presence of police or federal officers, according to KOIN.

A Ruptly video shows someone with a “Black Lives Matter” sign beside them adding objects to a fire, where a Bible is seen amid the flames.

What appears to be a separate bible is seen charred in the streets, still burning.

Less than a week prior, protesters in Portland were setting fire to a Trump flag that was hanging on the fence of the federal courthouse, cheering as it fell to the ground.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler attended the protests and was hit with tear gas after rioters reportedly set the courthouse on fire.

The courthouse has been set on fire several times during the riots, which were prompted by the May 25 death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody.

Gabriel Agard-Berryhill, 18, was charged with arson for allegedly setting the courthouse on fire Tuesday.

COLUMN BY

MARLO SAFI

Culture reporter.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Twitter piles on Richard Dawkins over Eugenics tweet

The eminent expert in communicating science botches his explanation.


Twitter may not be the best medium for explaining the science of eugenics to a wary public, as the sometime Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford, Richard Dawkins, discovered this week.

Professor Dawkins, now aged 78, renowned as an evolutionary biologist and as the author of best-sellers about genetics and atheism, most recently Outgrowing God, chose to tweet about eugenics. This may have been prompted by a Twitter storm about back room boys at 10 Downing Street (of which more below). His words were not calibrated to endear him to the public:

Reactions? They ranged from “You absolute pin-headed simpleton” to “How’d the application of this play out in 1940s Europe?” to “The thing about people who believe in eugenics is that they always believe themselves to be the superior kind of human. No-one ever thinks that it could make people like them obsolete”.

Dawkins had to back-pedal very quickly to explain himself:

Dawkins was clearly not playing in the First Division this week. Professors in the Simonyi chair are supposed to make the public sympathetic to science, as its website explains:

The task of communicating science to the layman is not a simple one. In particular it is imperative for the post holder to avoid oversimplifying ideas, and presenting exaggerated claims. The limits of current scientific knowledge should always be made clear to the public.

Even scientists were exasperated. Dave Curtis, the editor of Annals of Human Genetics (a journal which was once titled Annals of Eugenics), posted a long Twitter thread explaining why humans cannot be bred like cattle and roses, contra Professor Dawkins. First, “humans have long generational times and small numbers of offspring. This would make any selective breeding process extremely slow”. Second, humans live in very different environments and most of the variation in their traits is due to the environment. It would be very difficult to identify individuals with ideal traits.

“We should bear in mind,” he adds, “that harsh selection pressures have been acting on humans up to the present and that there may be very little scope for overall improvement. In any event, we can confidently say that selective breeding to improve desirable traits is not practicable.”

The long and the short of the matter, in Dr Curtis’s opinion, is this: “People who support eugenics initiatives are evil racists. Also, modern genetic research shows that eugenics would not work.”

It’s surprising that Professor Dawkins thought that his puff for human eugenics would be applauded. James Watson, who won Nobel Prize in 1962 for discovering DNA, has become a non-person after expressing eugenicist opinions which were interpreted as racist.

Just a whiff of eugenics was enough to force the resignation of one of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s advisors recently. Opposition research on Andrew Sabisky, a political “contractor” at 10 Downing Street, uncovered six-year-old opinions which were quickly denounced as eugenic and racist.

For example, in a comment on a 2014 blog post made by a user called “Andrew Sabisky”, it was suggested that compulsory contraception could eliminate a “permanent underclass”. It read: “One way to get around the problems of unplanned pregnancies creating a permanent underclass would be to legally enforce universal uptake of long-term contraception at the onset of puberty.”

Having used internet history to make Sabisksy history, the media moved on to savaging Dominic Cummings, a key advisor to the PM who had hired Sabisky . A blog post from 2014 contained ideas which were described as eugenic. He suggested that the UK’s National Health Service IVF service should offer human eggs sorted by IQ to make a level playing field for rich and poor parents who want babies with a high IQ.

Prof Richard Ashcroft, a medical ethicist at City University, told The Guardian that this was nonsense: “This idea that we can use biological selection to improve individuals and society, and that the state through the NHS, should facilitate this, really is pure eugenics.”

The fracas demonstrates the schizophrenic attitude of the public towards eugenics. On the one hand, the word “eugenics” evokes racism and Nazism. It is this sense which has been weaponized to undermine the new PM. On the other hand, parents who want perfect children are encouraged to eliminate “defective” embryos. The media happily provides a platform for bioethics to promote such ideas. Another Oxford professor, Julian Savulescu has often explained why he supports eugenics:

“We practise eugenics when we screen for Down’s syndrome, and other chromosomal or genetic abnormalities. The reason we don’t define that sort of thing as ‘eugenics’, as the Nazis did, is because it’s based on choice. It’s about enhancing people’s freedom rather than reducing it.”

COLUMN BY

MICHAEL COOK

Michael Cook is editor of BioEdge.

FOR MORE ARTICLE ON EUGENICS CLICK HERE.

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The New York Times Has a Jewish Problem by Hugh Fitzgerald

An editor at the New York Times has recently apologized for having written several anti-Semitic and racist tweets. Tom Wright-Piersanti is a senior staff editor at the Times. In the years 2008-2010, Wright-Piersanti wrote several offensive tweets, which were uncovered  by the website Breitbart.

On New Years’ Day 2010, Wright-Piersanti tweeted, “I was going to say ‘Crappy Jew Year,’ but one of my resolutions is to be less anti-Semitic. So… HAPPY Jew Year. You Jews.”

The previous month, during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, Wright-Piersanti shared a picture of a car with a lit menorah on its roof and wrote, “Who called the Jew-police?”

“I have deleted tweets from a decade ago that are offensive,” Wright-Piersanti tweeted  after the Breitbart article was published. “I am deeply sorry.”

He also mocked Native Americans, and Afro-Americans, for which no doubt he is also “deeply sorry.”

Amazing how “deeply sorry” people are about so many things the minute they are found out, but not one minute earlier. Perhaps he is “deeply sorry” only because those tweets came to light. They were not just “offensive,” but disgusting. In any event, Wright-Piersanti apparently needn’t worry about his job. As of this writing, he’s still at the New York Times, a paper that has a Jewish, and latterly an Israeli, problem. It recently published two antisemitic cartoons in its international edition. The more offensive of the two depicted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a guide dog (a dachshund) wearing a Star of David collar and leading President Donald Trump, who is wearing a black kippah. Anyone of sense would have seen this cartoon as antisemitic, save apparently the editor at the Times who approved the cartoon. And the Times, just like Wright-Piersanti, said it was “deeply sorry.” Yes, it was “deeply sorry for the publication of an anti-Semitic political cartoon” that appeared in its international print edition. And the Times has decided to stop publishing cartoons from non-staff members. It has also said that it will also overhaul its bias training to have an emphasis on antisemitism, according to an internal note from the Times’s publisher, A.G. Sulzberger. What about training on how to bring a modicum of fairness to reporting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Or would that be asking too much?

The Times has had a “Jewish problem” ever since Hitler came to power in 1933. So let’s go back to the 1930s and 1940s, before there was even an Israel for the Times to be anti-Israel about, to see how, and to ask why, the most influential paper in the world, owned by Jews, paid so little attention to the murderous threat of Hitler and the Nazis as it grew throughout the 1930s. It was precisely because the paper was owned by Jews, who were determined not to have their paper be thought of as an organ of special pleading about Jewish suffering, that the New York Times failed so miserably, in its under-reporting of the Holocaust and the antisemitic crimes during the 1930s that led up to its final, murderous efflorescence. In her brilliant Buried by the Times: The Holocaust and America’s Most Important Newspaper, Laurel Leff notes that Arthur Hays Sulzberger, who became the publisher in 1936 (though he was effectively the publisher from 1933, because of the illness of the previous publisher, Adolph Ochs) and continued in that post until 1961, at the most critical period for the Jews of Europe, had studiously refrained from having anything to do with Jewish organizations or causes. He (Arthur Sulzberger, the publisher of the Times) refused to donate to the United Jewish Appeal or the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. He wrote in 1934, “I am a non-Zionist because the Jew, in seeking a homeland of his own, seems to me to be giving up something of infinitely greater value of the world. … I look askance at any movement which assists in making the peacemaker among nations merely a national Distribution Committee, favoring instead the National Missions of the Presbyterian Church.” In 1948, he wrote, “I know of no difference in my way of life than in that of any Unitarian.”

Sulzberger was committed to an odd definition of journalistic balance. The Times refused to run letters to the editor that attacked the rise of antisemitism in Germany, so that it would not also have to offer space to those supporting antisemitism.

Instead of speaking of Jewish refugees, Times editorials tended to speak of German refugees. Arthur Hays Sulzberger refused to intervene with American officials to get a visa for a cousin, Fritz Sulzberger, advising him in 1938 to stay in Germany. So indifferent was he to what was going on in Germany, apparently, that he thought as late as 1938 that Jews should remain in Germany and ride out the storm. His misreading of reality was astonishing. By that year, it should have been clear that staying in Germany amounted to a death sentence. In 1933, Jews had been discharged from all universities, and then from all civil service jobs. Long before Kristallnacht, there were boycotts of Jewish shops, Jews were attacked, even beaten to death, on the street, Nazi rallies were held where Jews were hysterically denounced; a phrase from a 19th-century antisemite, Heinrich Treitschke, was recycled  for use by the Nazis: “Die Juden sind unser Unglück!“(“The Jews are our misfortune”).

Yet in 1938, the publisher of the New York Times was advising a relative to remain in Germany. A. H. Sulzberger didn’t want to hear about all the atrocities German Jews were enduring. And he didn’t want his paper to make too much of such things either.

The threat to Jews was always minimized by the Times. Early in the war, the Times ran a campaign of nine editorials and three front-page stories that urged Congress to allow British families to send their children to safety in America, but made no such campaign on behalf of the Jews. Those British children might have been in danger from V-2 rockets, if they lived in the East End of London, but the Jews in Nazi-occupied countries faced certain death if they were not brought to America. The New York Times – under Arthur Hays Sulzberger – didn’t care enough to call for their admission.

Nor did the Times think helping Jews find refuge from the Nazis outside of America was a cause to promote in its editorials. When the British issued the White Paper of 1939, restricting Jewish immigration to Palestine to 15,000 a year for five years, the Times ran an editorial praising the move as necessary “to save the homeland itself from overpopulation as well as from an increasingly violent resistance on the part of the Arabs.” That White Paper effectively kept hundreds of thousands of Jews, who might have escaped from Europe in time, from being admitted to Mandatory Palestine. Churchill thundered against it as unjust and cruel. But not according to the New York Times; its editors thought the White Paper was perfectly correct in permitting no more than 15,000 Jews a year to find refuge in Palestine from the Nazis. Otherwise, the editorial absurdly claimed, Mandatory Palestine would be “overpopulated.” On what basis did the Times editors make that claim? Israel now has a population that is six times the population of Mandatory Palestine in 1939, and it is still not overpopulated. And the Times actually thought that it was preferable in 1939 to keep Jews in Europe, where they were almost certain to be killed, in order not to anger the Arabs in Palestine. The Mandate for Palestine’s provisions, that required Great Britain, as the Mandatory authority, to “facilitate” Jewish immigration and “encourage close settlement by Jews on the land,” were to be ignored so as not to upset the local Arabs.

Arthur Hays Sulzberger lived among, and wanted to be accepted by, other people of great wealth, including many non-Jews, and he did not wish to be thought of as caring too much for the fate of Europe’s or Palestine’s — Jews. In that he succeeded, and for that he deserves endless obloquy in the history books. Assimilated and anti-Zionist, he instructed his editors to downplay news about the suffering of Europe’s Jews so that the newspaper would not appear to be too concerned with Jewish matters. He was a horrible man.

There was very little reporting in the Times on the rising antisemitism in Nazi Germany all through the 1930s. Atrocities against Jews in Germany, which began in the streets soon after Hitler took power in 1933, were mentioned intermittently, almost always in a few paragraphs deep inside the paper. Even Kristallnacht, November 9-10, 1938, when Jewish homes, hospitals and schools were demolished by Nazi attackers using sledgehammers, received less treatment in the New York Times than it did in many other newspapers around the world. The rioters destroyed 267 synagogues throughout Germany and Austria and the Sudetenland. Over 7,000 Jewish businesses were damaged or destroyed; 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to concentration camps. Hundreds of Jews were murdered, often beaten to death by mobs. This had no visible effect on the editorial and reporting policies set down by Arthur Hays Sulzberger.

Why did this underreporting at the Times matter so much? It mattered because it had a direct effect on the sense of urgency among American Jews, and on the attitude in the government about rescuing Jews from the Nazis.

When the Holocaust began in earnest, and news about the roundups of Jews sent to concentration camps – labor and death camps were distinguished, though in the “labor camps” the inmates were often worked to death — managed to filter out, the New York Times continued to give such reports a few paragraphs deep within the paper. It did the same with reports from the Eastern Front, about the gassing of Jews in the mobile gas vans, about the mass shootings right on the edge of open pits into which those killed would topple. The paper never connected the dots of the Nazi efforts to exterminate the Jews of Europe, never presented it as part of a comprehensive genocidal plan. Its coverage of the murders of six million Jews was absurdly small, given the world-shattering size of the atrocity; this “Jewish news” from Europe was most often covered in a few paragraphs in the back; more attention was given in the Times to business, movies, golf championships, and racing news than to the Holocaust. Sulzberger, the publisher, was not haunted by what was going on in Europe. He gave his own attention to such pleasures as vacationing at Knollwood on Saranac Lake, in the Adirondacks. Knollwood was an enclave consisting of seven or eight luxurious “rustic cottages” that belonged to leading members of “Our Crowd,” that is, the assimilated and rich German Jews of New York, members of the Harmonie Club, families who had arrived in the 19th century from Germany and looked down on the recent Jewish arrivals from Eastern Europe. They were glad to host a celebrity refugee from Germany – Einstein went twice to Knollwood, and his photograph is still on display in one of the “cottages” – but didn’t want to be unduly bothered with unpleasant news from Europe. And Sulzberger was one of them.

That failure by the New York Times to report adequately throughout the 1930s on the growing danger to Germany’s Jews was not without consequences, as shall be discussed tomorrow.

PART 2

Under-reporting by the New York Times on Nazi antisemitism, and the deliberate placement of such abridged stories deep inside the paper, had terrible consequences for the Jews of Europe. First, American Jews who relied on the Times for their information, in that pre-television era, had no clear idea of the extent of the antisemitic horrors being perpetrated, and how, as the Nazi war machine extended German rule over much of Europe, Jews trapped in those occupied lands were being systematically slaughtered – gassed in camps or mobile vans, shot, burned alive, worked deliberately to death — in the Endlosung, or Final Solution to the “Jewish problem.” Had they been better informed, and in a timelier fashion, American Jews — properly alarmed — would have made much greater efforts to rescue their relatives, and other Jews, too. They would have sent money, and money given to bribe the right rat in the right office might mean that life-saving visas could be acquired, both for exit and entrance. That money could also pay for transportation out of Nazi-occupied Europe, and for the services of passeurs who could smuggle Jews into such safe havens as Switzerland or Spain or Turkey. Such sums from America could prove useful for desperate Jews, too, in other ways — to pay for lodging, food, and transport – if they were on the run. Suppose that the New York Times had all through the 1930s, instead of scanting on its coverage of Jews in Germany, devoted many pages to their situation, culminating in Kristallnacht? Suppose the Times had reproduced the pages of Der Stürmer, published photographs of burned-out synagogues, reported on Jews who had been fired from their jobs, had their shops destroyed, were beaten to death on the streets of Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Frankfurt, Nuremberg? What if the readers of the Times, the “newspaper of record,” had learned early on about the first camps that opened, at Dachau and Buchenwald? What if the Times publisher had been someone who thought the Nazi persecution and murder of Europe’s Jews was, after the world war itself, the most important story in the world, and did everything he could to make sure it was given the prominence it deserved? Between the outbreak of World War II, on September 3, 1939, and its end on September 2, 1945, there were 2,190 days. What if there had been a Times story about Europe’s Jews on every single one of those 2,190 days? Surely American Jews, and not only Jews, would have done much more, if they had been properly informed. They could have held rallies, raised money, pressured their Congressmen to open the gates to Jewish refugees – damn the peacetime quotas! — and made the rescue of Europe’s Jews, those that had not yet been killed, a central  issue, a moral and political issue, a campaign issue.

Had more been known, and known earlier about the German murders, then many Jews (but not only Jews) in America would have gone all out to rally support in Washington, enlisting the aid of those who, such as Senator Robert Wagner of New York, already were aware of what was going on in Germany. The Roosevelt Administration might then have been persuaded to pressure the British, who knew they would need American aid and goodwill in the mighty contest to come, to end the their illegitimate blockade that prevented Jews from reaching Palestine. Had American Jews been better informed by the powerful New York Times, the paper they relied on, more of them might have mobilized their financial power, and found ways to send money to Jewish organizations in Europe, for distribution to those trying to escape. Some Jews might have evaded the British blockade and entered Palestine. It is too often forgotten that ships could still leave from the Rumanian port of Constanta, on the Black Sea, throughout the war. And money could ensure that harbor masters looked the other way as ships left their ports with their human cargo. Jews might then have made it, if they had the money to buy the right visas and to pay for that transport, all the way to North Africa, where Vichy French officials were not able to police the populace as easily as they did in France itself. It was possible for Jewish refugees to disappear from view in Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, where hundreds of thousands of Sephardic Jews lived and could help them. Franco’s Spain, though Fascist, was another place Jewish refugees would not be harmed, but they needed money both to buy their entry visas, and to live on while searching for work. Turkey was another possibility, a place where some Jews found refuge, and many more might have, had they had sufficient means for travel, entry visas, living expenses. The most famous German literary scholar of the 20th century, Erich Auerbach, a Jew who had fled Nazi Germany in 1935, wrote his masterpiece Mimesis while living securely in Istanbul during the war. Some Jews managed to get to Egypt, and from there they went through the Sinai Desert, by motorcar or horse or camel or even on foot, pedibus calcantibus, and made it — despite the British blockade — to Palestine.

All these conceivable avenues of escape required money, not just for transportation, and food and lodging while on the run, but always for bribes to the right rat in the right office who – for a price — could supply the right papers. Had the antisemitic attacks in Germany in the 1930s, and the first news of mass murdering of Jews in the camps, been fully reported on by the New York Times,  American Jews would surely have raised huge sums and sent money to those in peril. Money could buy lives: the Cuban president, Federico Laredo Bru, who prevented the German Jews on the ship St. Louis from disembarking at Havana in May 1939, forcing the ship, with its Jewish passengers, to then try American and Canadian ports, where the ship was turned away. Ultimately the St. Louis returned to Germany, and the would-be refugees were imprisoned by the Nazis and many, of course, were then killed. The Cuban president might have changed his mind had he been offered enough money. And had the chorus of rage and pity for the refugees  been heard loud enough in Washington, perhaps the St. Louis would have been permitted to dock at an American port, and its desperate human cargo permitted to disembark. But the Times did not make clear what the inexorable fate for those refugees would be; the chorus never became loud enough. Washington, shamefully, failed to act.

Second, the under-reporting of the Holocaust by the Times also affected official Washington. Few American politicians in the late 1930s realized the full extent of the antisemitic persecution by the Nazis. Had the antisemitic attacks, had Kristallnacht and then the beginning of the mass roundups for the camps been extensively covered, there might have been more calls from Congress to admit Jewish refugees. And those in the government who opposed the admission of Jewish refugees, who met with little opposition, could more effectively have been countered. Instead, the State Department’s Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, the antisemitic Breckenridge Long, who had been put in charge of all matters related to war refugees, did everything he could to prevent Jews from being admitted to the U.S. Ultimately, the effect of the immigration policies set by Long’s department was that, during American involvement in the war, ninety percent of the quota places available to immigrants from countries under German and Italian control were never filled. If they had been, an additional 190,000 people could have escaped the atrocities being committed by the Nazis. Had the New York Times reported fully and truthfully on the Nazi murders, it is even possible that political pressure from Congress would have forced the dismissal of Breckenridge Long, and thereby not just hundreds of thousands of Jews could have filled the refugee quotas for Germany and Italy that had been closed to them, but other Jews might have been helped by an American government now willing to expand its refugee program beyond the quotas set earlier, for those in the greatest peril – i.e., Jews in Europe. The American government might also have used its influence to persuade other countries in this hemisphere – Mexico, Brazil – to take in Jewish refugees.  The Americans also could have used their ships to transport desperate  refugees from European ports. In the Dominican Republic, where the dictator Rafael Trujillo said he would welcome Jews to the city of Sosua where, he believed, they would help build the country’s economy, only several thousand could take advantage of this offer; there were not enough vessels to transport the Jews eager to resettle.

The New York Times has never adequately examined its own role in reporting on the antisemitism of the 1930s and the mass-murdering of Jews in the 1940s known as the Holocaust. The paper has reported on Laurel Leff’s study, Buried With the Times, and recognized the truth of the indictment she presents. But that is not enough. The Times should dedicate an entire issue, or more if necessary, of its Sunday Magazine to a thorough self-study, quoting in their entirety the Times reports (and where they were placed in the paper) on the attacks on German Jews throughout the 1930s, including Kristallnacht on November 9-10, 1938, and then, it should also reprint those those articles — where there were any – which it published about the Holocaust itself. How did the Times cover the roundup of Jews at the Vel d’Hiv in Paris, of the reports by Jan Karski, who had learned in detail about the death camps in Poland, had visited the Warsaw Ghetto, and who came to Washington to inform President Roosevelt about what he had seen and heard? On July 28, 1943, Karski personally met with President Franklin Roosevelt in the Oval Office, telling him about the situation in Poland and becoming the first eyewitness to tell him about the Jewish Holocaust and the Warsaw Ghetto. During their meeting, Roosevelt asked about the condition of horses in Poland. According to Karski, Roosevelt did not ask one question about the Jews.

How was the farce of the “model camp” at Theresienstadt (the camp where the Nazis showed “happy, healthy Jews” with their orchestra, and painting classes, to visiting Red Cross personnel) presented in the pages of the Times? What did it let its readers know about the numbers of Jews being sent to the death camps of Auschwitz, Belzec, Treblinka, and what exactly happened in those camps?  The Times has a duty not merely to endorse Laurel Leff’s study, but to show how badly it covered the Holocaust by reprinting what it reported at the time.

Take, for example, the story published in the paper on July 29, 1942, about the liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto. The story bore the headline “Warsaw Fears Extermination” instead of “Jews in Warsaw Fear Extermination.” It was published on Page 14, and was not even a stand-alone story; it consisted of a handful of paragraphs next to an ad for Emerson spinet pianos. The Times should reprint that story in all its nauseating brevity. It should reprint the other stories in the Times – the handful of disjointed reports, a few paragraphs here or there, about the labor camps, and the death camps, about the mobile gassing vans, about the Jews burned alive, about the mass shootings of Jews on the Eastern Front. And it should list the many examples of anti-Jewish “actions” that were known at the time, but that the Times chose to ignore altogether.

In 1944, for another example of minimizing Holocaust news at the paper concerns how it reported on Hungarian Jews. The Nazi regime, in its death throes, set about deporting to the concentration camps the Jews of Hungary, the last large group of European Jews who had remained mostly untouched by Hitler’s extermination campaign. In July 1944, the Times published an article of only four column inches citing “authoritative information” that 400,000 Hungarian Jews had already been forcibly transported to their deaths and an additional 350,000 were to be killed in the next few weeks. It ran on page 12.

Only four column inches, on page 12, were devoted to the fate – the murder — of 750,000 Hungarian Jews. What if the story had been on page 1, and given not four column inches but fifty, or one hundred column inches? What if there had been photographs of Hungarian Jews, starving and exhausted, waiting to be transported to the death camps? Surely there would have been a furor in Washington, and a renewal of previous appeals for the American Air Force in Europe to bomb the rail lines to Auschwitz, to save the 350,000 Jews who had not yet been killed but soon would be? Such a suggestion, to save Jews from mass murder, had been made months before about a different group of Jews, and had been rejected by Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy as too “disruptive to the war effort.” Perhaps with more coverage of the Hungarian Jews in the Times, instead of a handful of paragraphs on page 12, McCloy would this time have been forced to agree.

Neil Lewis damningly notes:

From a journalistic standpoint, it is perplexing, if not stupefying, years later to see how the Times covered the attempted annihilation of European Jewry. The paper published many articles, several of which recounted precisely the horror of what was happening, while at the same time egregiously underplaying them—even given the context that much else was occurring because most of the world was at war. Thus, the historic horror was never meaningfully conveyed because it was reported only in unrelated bits and pieces, and relegated to inside pages.

Lewis is too mild in his criticism here. It is not true that the Times “published many articles” about the Holocaust. And certainly not the thousands the subject deserved.

It would be salutary for the New York Times to begin its inquest into its own journalistic performance with a sincere mea culpa. Something like this:: “Between 1939 and 1945, the New York Times published more than 23,000 front-page stories. Of those, 11,500 were about World War II. Twenty-six were about the Holocaust. Now we will show you exactly what was reported by the paper, and what was minimized, or downplayed, and what was ignored. And we will attempt to tell you why.”

That is the reckoning with its past that the New York Times owes to posterity.

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Silence From the Pulpits

The virtual silence of most churches concerning the plight of Christians at the hands of Islamic terrorists baffles me.

This is something I have pondered for several years as I have studied, read and learned about the Islamic movement, and more specifically the Muslim Brotherhood’s influence in our country over roughly the past fifty years. A recurring thought was, “Is this the way pre-Nazi Germany felt?” Let me explain.

There must be millions of Americans right now that understand, without a doubt, our country exists in a perilous situation. In addition to what we know, is an accompanying feeling that our time is short.

I remember sitting in a pastor’s office in Savannah who was a great mentor. He and I would talk on occasion about what was going on in this country. He would say, “Suzanne, what should be down is up, what is up is down, what should be wrong is right, and what should be right is wrong.” That pretty much summed it up for me, but I wondered if the German people experienced the same premonition. If they did, how many tried to alter the course of their country?

As I pondered this I stumbled upon an article entitled The Sin of Silence, by Dr. Laurence White. It was a prophetic message given in September 2000. White told about being at a Christian University several years prior to hear a prominent pastor. The speaker was introduced by the President of the university who was of German decent. The president spoke these words,

“Today is November the 9th, the 50th anniversary of “Kristal Nacht,” the Night of the Broken Glass. On this day in 1938, Nazi thugs moved through the cities of Germany smashing the windows of German homes and shops, burning the synagogues. Innocent people; men, women and children were beaten and killed simply because they were Jews. I was there as a young man and I can still hear the sound of the shattering glass. There were many of us who were Christians then but we did nothing. We looked the other way and we did nothing. That was the beginning of the Holocaust because the Jew haters knew then that no one would stop them, no one would stand in their way.”

There seem to be so many parallels today as we are faced with a similar ideology in Islam. Except this time, in addition to the Jewish people being targeted, the Christians are as well.

Dr. White spoke of the cultural war we are in with fractured families, militant homosexuals seeking complete approval, rampant abortion, and the pursuit of immediate self-gratification. “For while the killing goes on and the nation is led down the path of destruction, the church and her pastors stand silent and afraid. This country that we love, our America, is fighting for her life. Not against the military power of foreign enemies, but against the principalities and powers of this dark age. You and I, as sons and daughters of the Lord Jesus Christ, but even more so, those of you here today who are pastors of the church of Jesus Christ, are being called upon to take a stand in this moment of crisis. And let there be no one among us who doubts the urgency of this hour. To compare what is happening in America today to Nazi Germany is no mere flight of rhetorical exaggeration.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a lionhearted young pastor during Hitler’s reign. He called out the churches for their lack of action. He said, “She was silent when she should have cried out because the blood of the innocent was crying aloud to heaven. The church must confess that she has witnessed the lawless application of brutal force, the physical and spiritual suffering of countless innocent people, oppression, hatred, and murder. And that she has not raised her voice on behalf of the victims. And has not found way to hasten to their aid.”

We have very similar circumstances today. One very passionate Baptist leader, Coy Webb,  decided he was going to actually do something to help the persecuted. He was a part of a seven member medical and children’s trauma team from the Kentucky Baptist Convention who recently spent over a week in Iraq assisting other believers who daily face death in the war weary country.

Webb, obviously influenced by the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, wrote, “Our persecuted brothers and sisters are crying out to God and to the church. How can we remain silent? Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

His travels brought him into contact with one woman who said, “We now know that the plan of ISIS is to wipe the earth clean of Christians. Their goal is genocide…to eradicate every follower of Christ.” As ISIS made their way across the country, hundreds of thousands of Christians and Yizidis were displaced, tortured, enslaved or slaughtered. The one resounding question that was asked of the team was, “Will you please tell our story to the world?” Coy Webb recommends ways you can help in his article.

The kind of attacks that have been happening in the Middle East and Africa, may soon be more prevalent here. The likelihood increases as time goes on and more refugees arrive from Muslim countries with no expectation of themselves becoming truly American.

There are presently Sharia adherent Muslims living throughout this country. Those Muslims who are Sharia adherent do not recognize our Constitution as the law of the land. In general they would like to see Sharia Law govern America. Many of these believe their sole purpose is to bring about the Caliphate through any means.

As a matter of fact, the Quran teaches an obligation to engage in jihad. It is also documented that when Muslims reach certain percentages in communities they start demanding things. We see this happening in some cities like Dearborn, Michigan and Minneapolis, Minnesota, where populations of Muslims have grown tremendously.

I believe church leaders have a responsibility to educate their congregations about what is happening in this country just like the German pastors should have encouraged and kept their congregations informed and ready to act in defense of defenseless people.

I have communicated with numerous pastors and clergy either by email or personal one on one meetings about this very subject. Several have been courageous and have held special events at their churches to educate their congregations about what the doctrine of Islam really is and the threat it poses to our way of life.

Churched people, of all people, should understand the issues surrounding the Islamic movement in order to better equip their children to defend their faith. The  public schools now teach that Islam is a religion of peace and the jihadists who flew planes into the World Trade Center, were freedom fighters.

Another reason for educating the church about Islam is that it allows Christians to be knowledgeable when sharing their faith with their Muslim friends. I have heard a testimony by Dr. Nabeel Qureshi. He shared how much respect he had for his Christian friend who reached out and shared his faith with him. Qureshi has a heartrending story about how he chose to leave Islam and embrace Christianity which required him to sever all ties with his family and former life. He is an amazing man.

Courageous leadership is needed in our churches today in order to equip the people with knowledge of the enemy and encouragement to stand up, speak truth and begin to alter the course of this country for its survival. We can no longer sit in the pews and say or do nothing. There are some wonderful churches engaged in standing for truth, but many more need to join them.

May this not be said of us, “By our apathy, by our acquiescence, and by our ignorance, the church of Jesus Christ has consigned itself to irrelevance and impotence in the ongoing struggle for the soul of America.” – Alexis De Toqueville

Disobeying the Supreme Court

There is growing concern among the Christian community in America. The concern is that their Christian beliefs, which shall not be infringed, are under attack by the law givers. This has happened before during the rule of the pagan Roman Empire.

The question: Should Christians disobey the law givers?

I took the title of this column from an email I received from Dr. William Lane Craig, a noted Christian apologist. Dr. Craig in his email is responding to Nathan, an agnostic, who states, “Now, as of recent, with the legalization of gay marriage across the United States, someone pointed out to me that the Bible says that to resist the authorities would be directly against God’s wishes. To support this, he showed me Romans 13 verses 1-7. The verses seem to suggest that authority is placed by God, and we are to obey them because disobeying would be akin to disobeying God.”

Dr. Craig responds with:

Now as right-thinking people and as Christians, we cannot acquiesce in the Supreme Court’s attempt to re-define what marriage is. Five lawyers (as the dissenting justices called them) can no more change the essence of marriage than they can change the essence of a horse or a chair. So we now find ourselves in a society where there are legal marriages which are in actuality pseudo-marriages. These people are not really married, but they are legally married.

Now since, as you note, we Christians are to be submissive to the governing authorities of the society in which we find ourselves, we have to obey the laws unless they require us to do things which would be immoral, that is, contrary to God’s will or commands.

For example, when the Jerusalem authorities commanded the early apostles to quit preaching the name of Jesus, Peter and John boldly responded: “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge; for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4.19-20). Similarly, when pagan Roman Emperors commanded Christians to burn incense to the pagan gods, Christians resolutely refused, undergoing unspeakable tortures and execution rather than violate their conscience.

[Emphasis added]

Is it time for a new wave Christian civil disobedience as we saw with Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, a Democrat, who emerged from a rural jail on Tuesday, September 8th, 2015, proclaiming praise for God and indicating that her fight against marriage licenses was worth the six days behind bars?

The Three forms of Civil Disobedience

There are three forms of civil disobedience, two of which are against God’s will.

  1. The anarchist view says that a person can choose to disobey the government whenever he likes and whenever he feels he is personally justified in doing so. Such a stance has no biblical support whatsoever, as evidenced in the writings of Paul in Romans 13.
  2. The extremist patriot says that a person should always follow and obey his country, no matter what the command. This view also does not have biblical support. Moreover, it is not supported in the history of nations. For example, during the Nuremberg trials, the attorneys for the Nazi war criminals attempted to use the defense that their clients were only following the direct orders of the government and therefore could not be held responsible for their actions. However, one of the judges dismissed their argument with the simple question: “But gentlemen, is there not a law above our laws?”
  3. The position the Scriptures uphold is one of biblical submission, with a Christian being allowed to act in civil disobedience to the government if it commands evil, such that it requires a Christian to act in a manner that is contrary to the clear teachings and requirements of God’s Word.

Peaceful Christian disobedience to evil commands is mandated by God. That is today’s lesson.

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Curt Schilling and the Death of Free Speech

Curt Schilling islam tweetHe told the truth. He apologized. It still wasn’t enough. In FrontPage today, I discuss the savaging of Curt Schilling:

“Curt Schilling’s tweet comparing Muslims to Nazis is even worse than it sounds,” howled Max Fisher in Vox – one of the many voices this week screaming for Schilling’s head for transgressing against America’s new and unwritten, but nonetheless frightfully draconian, speech codes.

Fisher professes ignorance of the perp’s illustrious career, semaphoring that he is a good Leftist elitist, ignorant of Schilling’s brutish, bourgeois athletic achievements: “Curt Schilling, whom Wikipedia informs me is a former baseball star and current ESPN commentator, sent a tweet on Tuesday that seems to have emerged straight from the internet nether-void of racist email forwards.”

“Racist”? Schilling tweeted a graphic that read, “It’s said only 5-10% of Muslims are extremists. In 1940, only 7% of Germans were Nazis. How’d that go?” So where is the “racism”? What race are “extremist Muslims”? What race are Muslims in the aggregate? What race is Islam? Or did Fisher mean that Schilling’s tweet was racist against Germans?

Fisher compounds this muddled thinking by doubling down on the false claim in his headline, that Schilling likened Muslims to Nazis: “The argument here is pretty clear, even if the numbers are pure nonsense, but just so it’s not lost: Schilling is saying that the religion of Islam is akin to Nazi Germany, and that the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims are responsible for the actions of a tiny minority of extremists in the same way that Nazi-era Germans were complicit in Nazi crimes.”

Actually, Schilling’s tweet does neither of those things. It likens not the religion of Islam, but “extremist Muslims,” to Nazis, and it doesn’t say a think about all Muslims being responsible for the crimes of Islamic jihadists. And Fisher’s woolly logic is typical of the firestorm that has engulfed Schilling, as he has been removed from ESPN’s coverage of the Little League World Series and is being pilloried everywhere. Schilling himself is repentant and apologetic, but it may do no good: he may be facing more punishment, and is taking a beating in the mainstream media for being “insensitive.”

But what exactly is so offensive about his tweet? Is it that he compared “extremist Muslims” to Nazis? Surely that can’t be it. The Islamic State hasn’t murdered six million Jews, but surely would if it could, and meanwhile its gleeful bloodlust, sex slavery, terrorizing of non-Muslims and all the rest of it make the comparison reasonable.

Or was Schilling “insensitive” for daring to suggest that peaceful Muslims aren’t doing much to rein in their violent coreligionists? Well, let’s see. Last month, Muslims in Ireland held a demonstration against the Islamic State. How many Muslims showed up? Fewer than fifty. And in October 2014 in Houston, a rally against the Islamic State organized by the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) drew the grand total of ten people. In August 2013 in Boston, about 25 Muslims rallied against “misperceptions” that Islam was violent. About the same number showed up in June 2013 at a progressive Muslim rally in Toronto to claim that their religion had been “hijacked.”

And back in 2005, a group called the Free Muslims Coalition held what it dubbed a “Free Muslims March Against Terror,” intending to “send a message to the terrorists and extremists that their days are numbered … and to send a message to the people of the Middle East, the Muslim world and all people who seek freedom, democracy and peaceful coexistence that we support them.” In the run-up to the event it got enthusiastic national and international publicity, but it ended up drawing about twenty-five people.

Contrast those paltry showings to the thousands of Muslims who have turned out for rallies against cartoons of Muhammad or against Israel. Here are some headlines from the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo jihad massacre of Muhammad cartoonists in January 2015:

Chechnya: 800,000 Muslims protest Muhammad cartoons; protests also in Iran, Pakistan, Ingushetia, elsewhere

Pakistan: 10,000 Muslims protest against Charlie Hebdo’s Muhammad cartoons

Australia: 1,000 Muslims rally against Charlie Hebdo and the freedom of speech

Kyrgyztsan: 1,000 Muslims rally: “I am not Charlie, I love my Prophet.”

But given a chance to show how Muslims overwhelmingly reject “extremism,” only a handful show up.

So Fisher and the other Leftists gleefully stomping on Schilling’s professional corpse today should explain how exactly he was offensive or insensitive (aside from having been a member of the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks and 2004 Boston Red Sox). ESPN should restore him to active duty immediately, but it is much more likely that they will force him to issue a groveling apology first, or just fire him outright.

The savaging of Curt Schilling is disquieting proof of what I’ve pointed out many times over the years: that anyone and everyone who dares to speak a word against jihad terror will inevitably be mauled in the public square, and charged with “racism,” “bigotry” and “Islamophobia” – despite the fact that everyone, including the leading Muslim groups in the U.S., are supposed to be against jihad terror. Schilling, unprepared for the onslaught, backed down immediately, thereby reinforcing the usefulness of this firestorm as a tactic.

The ultimate goal is to inhibit all criticism of jihad terror, so that the jihad imperative can advance unimpeded. We’re well on the way there.

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ESPN Erases Curt Schilling From Baseball History

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Real Hero Jesse Owens: “Hitler Didn’t Snub Me — It Was Our President” by Lawrence W. Reed

James Cleveland “Jesse” Owens famously won four gold medals, all at the 1936 games in Berlin, Germany. But in the hearts of Americans who know their Olympic history, this African American man did more than win races: he struggled against racism.

At the time of Owens’s death in 1980 at age 66, President Jimmy Carter paid this tribute to him:

Perhaps no athlete better symbolized the human struggle against tyranny, poverty, and racial bigotry. His personal triumphs as a world-class athlete and record holder were the prelude to a career devoted to helping others. His work with young athletes, as an unofficial ambassador overseas, and a spokesman for freedom are a rich legacy to his fellow Americans.

Carter’s words were especially fitting in light of an unfortunate fact in Owens’s life: unforgivably, a previous American president had given him the brush-off.

Born in Alabama in 1913, James Owens at the age of nine moved with his family to the town in Ohio that bore his middle name, Cleveland. His first school teacher there asked him his name. With a deep Southern twang, he replied “J.C. Owens.” She heard “Jesse,” so that’s what she wrote down. The name stuck for the next 57 years.

Jesse could run like the wind and jump like a kangaroo. He broke junior high school records in the high jump and the broad jump. In high school, he won every major track event in which he competed, tying or breaking world records in the 100-yard and 220-yard dashes and setting a new world record in the broad jump. Universities showered him with scholarship offers, but he turned them all down and chose Ohio State, which wasn’t extending track scholarships at the time.

Imagine it. You come from a relatively poor family. You could go to any number of colleges for next to nothing, but you pick one you have to pay for. At 21, you have a wife to support as well. So what do you do? If you are Jesse Owens, you work your way through school as a gas station attendant, a waiter, an all-night elevator operator, a library assistant, even a page in the Ohio legislature. Owens worked, studied, practiced on the field, and set more records in track during his years at OSU.

The biography at JesseOwens.com tells the stunning story that unfolded in 1935:

Jesse gave the world a preview of things to come in Berlin while at the Big Ten Championships in Ann Arbor on May 25, 1935, [where] he set three world records and tied a fourth, all in a span of about 45 minutes. Jesse was uncertain as to whether he would be able to participate at all, as he was suffering from a sore back as a result of a fall down a flight of stairs. He convinced his coach to allow him to run the 100-yard dash as a test for his back, and amazingly he recorded an official time of 9.4 seconds, once again tying the world record. Despite the pain, he then went on to participate in three other events, setting a world record in each event. In a span of 45 minutes, Jesse accomplished what many experts still feel is the greatest athletic feat in history — setting three world records and tying a fourth in four grueling track and field events.

Ohio wasn’t the Deep South, but in the mid-1930s, it wasn’t a paradise of racial equality, either. OSU required Owens and other black athletes to live together off campus. They had to order carryout or eat at “black-only” restaurants and stay in segregated hotels when traveling with the team.

The eyes of the world were focused on Berlin in early August 1936. Five years earlier and before the Nazis came to power, the German capital had been selected as the site for the summer 1936 Olympic games. An effort to boycott them because of Hitler’s racism fizzled. It would be a few more years before events convinced the world of the socialist dictator’s evil intentions. Jesse Owens entered the competition with Americans thrilled at his prospects but wondering how Hitler would react if “Aryan superiority” fell short of his expectations.

Jesse didn’t go to Berlin with a political axe to grind. “I wanted no part of politics,” he said. “And I wasn’t in Berlin to compete against any one athlete. The purpose of the Olympics, anyway, was to do your best. As I’d learned long ago … the only victory that counts is the one over yourself.”

If, a hundred years from now, only one name is remembered among those who competed at the Berlin games, it will surely be that of Jesse Owens.

Owens won the 100-meter sprint, the long jump, the 200-meter sprint, and the 4 x 100 sprint relay. In the process, he became the first American to claim four gold medals in a single Olympiad. Owens waved at Hitler and Hitler waved back, but the nasty little paper-hanger expressed his annoyance privately to fellow Nazi Albert Speer. He opined that blacks should never be allowed to compete in the games again.

A side story of Owens’s Berlin experience was the friendship he made with a German competitor named Lutz Long. A decent man by any measure, Long exhibited no racial animosity and even offered tips to Owens that the American found helpful during the games. Of Long, Owens would later tell an interviewer,

It took a lot of courage for him to befriend me in front of Hitler.… You can melt down all the medals and cups I have and they wouldn’t be a plating on the 24-karat friendship I felt for Lutz Long at that moment. Hitler must have gone crazy watching us embrace. The sad part of the story is I never saw Long again. He was killed in World War II.

Back home, ticker tape parades feted Owens in New York City and Cleveland. Hundreds of thousands of Americans came out to cheer him. Letters, phone calls, and telegrams streamed in from around the world to congratulate him. From one important man, however, no word of recognition ever came. As Owens later put it, “Hitler didn’t snub me; it was our president who snubbed me. The president didn’t even send a telegram.”

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, leader of a major political party with deep roots in racism, couldn’t bring himself to utter a word of support, which may have been a factor in Owens’s decision to campaign for Republican Alf Landon in the 1936 presidential election.

“It all goes so fast, and character makes the difference when it’s close,” Owens once said about athletic competition. He could have taught FDR a few lessons in character, but the president never gave him the chance. Owens wouldn’t be invited to the White House for almost 20 years — not until Dwight Eisenhower named him “Ambassador of Sports” in 1955.

Life after the Olympics wasn’t always kind to Jesse Owens. When he wanted to earn money from commercial endorsements, athletic officials yanked his amateur status. Then the commercial offers dried up. He was forced to file for bankruptcy. He felt the sting of racial discrimination again. But for the last 30 years of his life, until he died in 1980 of lung cancer, he found helping underprivileged teenagers to be even more personally satisfying that his Olympic gold medals.

For further information, see:

Jeremy Schaap’s Triumph: The Untold Story of Jesse Owens and Hitler’s Olympics

David Clay Large’s Nazi Games: The Olympics of 1936

Lawrence W. Reed
Lawrence W. Reed

Lawrence W. (“Larry”) Reed became president of FEE in 2008 after serving as chairman of its board of trustees in the 1990s and both writing and speaking for FEE since the late 1970s.

EDITORS NOTE: Each week, Mr. Reed will relate the stories of people whose choices and actions make them heroes. See the table of contents for previous installments.

Washington, D.C. 1943: A Tragic History is About to Repeat Itself

On October 6, 1943, a delegation of American rabbis arrived at the White House for a personal audience with President Franklin Roosevelt. They planned to present to the president irrefutable proof that the Nazis were conducting a wholesale annihilation of European Jews.

As they arrived, the rabbis knew that this was a decisive moment—the last chance to stop the Holocaust before the last of European Jewry was extinguished.  They were denied a meeting.

The ensuing tragedy is, of course, well known. No coordinated Allied rescue was launched. The flames consumed six million Jews. Six decades later, America is ignoring the appeals of the state of Israel concerning Iran’s plans to wipe out the Jews with atomic bombs.

Today, you and I have been chosen by God to stand in defense of Israel. The Jewish people are under attack and facing threats on every side. They need to know that they are not alone, that their Christian friends around the world are standing with them.

The Jerusalem Prayer Team has made our support of Israel and the Holy City plain by building and opening the wonderful Friends of Zion Museum just 600 meters from the Temple Mount. Every day we are telling the true story of Christian love for the Jewish people to hundreds of visitors from all around the world.

We made the decision not to charge people to visit the museum in order to ensure that as many people as possible could be touched by this powerful witness. The operating costs are massive—electricity, maintenance, personnel and more—and we are continuing to improve the experience, including translating the presentation into still more languages. We need your help today so that the light of Christian love will not go out.

Your gift will allow us to continue the wonderful outreach of the Friends of Zion Museum…and feed hungry Holocaust survivors, encourage Believers to join us in prayer, and launch the new Friends of Zion Ambassador Institute. But none of this is possible without your help. Please stand with us in the gap for Israel and the Jewish people with your gift today.

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EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of the historic Rabbis’ March On Washington in 1943 to stop the Holocaust.

Remembering the Nazi Inspired 1941 Baghdad Farhud Slaughter

Reut Cohen chronicled her family’s horrifying experience during The Farhud, Nazi-inspired pogrom in Baghdad on the 1st day of Shavuot, June 1, 1941 in an Iconoclast post about her heritage, “The Farhud and my Family’s Sephardic/Mizrahi Israeli Heritage.”  In our introduction to her post we referenced a 2014 post we did on the 73rd commemoration of the Farhud and referenced an effort to obtain Holocaust benefits for the victims of the Farhud.  We wrote:

edwin black-avatar

Edwin Black

On the occasion of the 73rd commemoration of the Farhud Ha’aretz published an article raising the question of whether it should be considered a Holocaust event, Lawyers make case for giving Iraqi Jews Holocaust benefits”.    There is ample evidence of Nazi involvement in the coup by Iraqi strongman Ali Rashid al-Gaylani, the Nazi Foreign ministry, and the German Ambassador to Iraq.  Then there was the role of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al Husseini who was living in Baghdad after he was forced by British Palestinian Mandatory authorities to leave given his role in the Arab riots from 1936 to 1939. prior to the occurrence of the Farhud, for sanctuary in Berlin as Hitler’s house guest during WWII.  Edwin Black chronicled the 1941 Baghdad pogrom and both Nazi and Hussein’s involvement in his 2010 book, The Farhud: Roots of the Arab-Nazi Alliance in the Holocaust.

Black published an op ed in today’s edition of The Algemeiner about a special ceremony at the UN Headquarters commemorating the inauguration of International Farhud Day, Remembering Farhud Day and the Arab Pogroms.   The opening stanza of his piece we thought would not be lost of Reut Cohen, Bat Ye’or and other victims of Arab pogroms in Israel and like Cohen and her family in the West:

While I was speaking to the packed room, a woman I did not know, sitting in the front row, slowly shook her tear-stained head in disbelief and muttered softly … barely audible … “I never thought I would hear these words in this building.”

The woman, it turns out, was of Iraqi Jewish ancestry. The building was the iconic United Nations Headquarters in Manhattan, astride the East River. The event was in a hall routinely used by the UN Security Council. The day was June 1, 2015. The occasion was the proclamation of “International Farhud Day” at the UN as a live global event broadcast by UN TV.

Farhud in an Arabic dialect means violent dispossession. The words I spoke that gripped the woman listening described in detail how the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, leader of the Arab community in Mandate Palestine, organized a blood-curdling massacre by Nazi-allied Arabs against Baghdad’s peaceful Jewish community on June 1-2, 1941.The ensuing mass rape, beheading, murder, burning, and looting spree was the first step in a process that throughout the Arab world effectively ended 2,600 years of Jewish existence in those lands. Ultimately, some 850,000 to 900,000 Jews were systemically pauperized and made stateless in a coordinated forced exodus from the Arab world. Many Sephardic Jews consider the 1941 Farhud, which murdered and maimed hundreds, to be their Kristallnacht.

For the past 74 years was this constellation of tragedies commonly known and/or spoken of within the Jewish community. In fact, it took years of highly acrimonious, sometimes public, debate with and pressure on the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) ‑‑ only recently successful ‑‑ to even induce the USHMM to recognize either the atrocity that occurred, or the Mufti’s role in the killing, as a Holocaust-era persecution.

Mufti-Himmler-300x225

Grand Mufti of Jerusalem al Husseini and SS Chief Heinrich Himmler April 23, 1943.

Black explains why it took 74 years for this commemoration of The Farhud to occur:

First, persecution of Jewish victims in Arab countries did not conform to the established line of study that followed the classic Holocaust definition, as archetypically expressed by the USHMM’s mission statement“The Holocaust was the state-sponsored, systematic persecution and annihilation of European Jewry by Nazi Germany and its collaborators between 1933 and 1945.” Note the pivotal word “European.” This geographic qualifier left out the Jews of Iraq as well as their persecuted coreligionists in North Africa, where some 17 concentration camps were established by Vichy-allied and Nazi influenced Arab regimes.

Second, because the persecution of Jews in Arab lands during WWII and their forced exodus was considered beyond the thematic horizon, the type of well-financed and skilled scholarship that has riveted world attention on the Holocaust in Europe, generally by-passed the Sephardic experience. Certainly, the overwhelming blood and eternal sorrow of the Holocaust genocide was experienced by European Jewry. But their deeply tragic suffering, including that endured by my Polish parents, who survived, does not exclude the examination of other groups. Years of focus on the plight of Gypsies, Jews in Japan, and other persecuted groups proves that. Undeniably, a solid nexus clasps the events of the Middle East, roiling in oil, colonialism, and League of Nations Mandates, to a European theatre brimming with war crimes and military campaigns.

Third, critics say, that many of the leading Jewish newspapers and wire services, now vastly more politicized than they were in the prior decade, did not devote sufficient space and informed knowledge to the topic. Moreover, some these critics suggest that in recent years, the Jewish press seemed to have marginalized the atrocity and its aftermath as a political discussion. “When former Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon was doing his 2012 campaign for Jewish refugees from Arab lands,” asserts Lyn Julius of the British organization HARIF – Association of Jews from North Africa and the Middle East, “hardly a day went by when certain Jewish or Israeli newspapers did not politicize the matter, or suggest Israel was exploiting the issue for political gain.”

In that vein, the day before the June 1, 2015, UN event, one prominent Jewish newspaper published an article on the Farhud, which included this observation: “Now, Jewish organizations and the Israeli government deploy it [memory of the Farhud] frequently to support their claims for refugee recognition on behalf of Middle Eastern Jews.” Before the UN ceremony, three different irate members of the audience showed me this article on their tablets, and the consensus of disdain was expressed by one Sephardic gentleman who objected, first quoting the newspaper with derision: “‘Deploy it frequently to support their claims for refugee recognition on behalf of Middle Eastern Jews?’” and then adding, “They would never say such a thing about the European Kristallnacht!” The complainers were equally astonished that this prominent article made no mention of the Mufti of Jerusalem. They felt the complete omission of Husseini’s involvement and the marginalization of their nightmare was typical of the roadblocks they had encountered during their decades-long struggle for recognition of their anguish.

Black noted the poignancy of International Farhud Day recognition:

But on June 1, 2015, yes, 74 inexcusably years late and, yes, not an hour too soon, after waiting for thirty minutes beneath a gaggle of umbrellas in the torrential rain at a narrow admittance gate on First Avenue, and then into a packed hall at the UN, attended by diplomats from several countries, human rights activists of various causes and key Jewish leaders from a communal spectrum, in an event broadcast worldwide live by the UN itself, the stalwarts of Farhud memory gathered to finally make the proclamation of International Farhud Day — and made it loud and clear. In doing so, they made history by simply recognizing history.

All they wanted was to be remembered — to change the headline on their suffering from “the forgotten pogrom” to “the not forgotten pogrom.” All they wanted was to draw back the curtain of their sorrow without an asterisk, without a parenthetical, without a “but also” or a “however” or a political catchphrase to qualify or filter their disconsolation. In short, they wanted to take their place in the annals of misery for the same reason all other Jews gather into that space: so they can help whisper endlessly the words “never again” as a beacon to humanity.

The proclamation for International Farhud Day recognized the key role of the Grand Mufti and Nazi Arab allies who organized and fomented the pogrom:

The official proclamation was read aloud that day to the world: “On behalf of Iraqi Jews everywhere who yearn to commemorate the Farhud, the Holocaust-era massacre by Arab nationalists in coordination with the Nazis, which occurred June 1-2, 1941 in Baghdad, killing hundreds of innocent Jews and brutalizing thousands more, and pillaging their property …. and on behalf of those who recognize that Palestinian Arab leaders, including the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, were central instigators of the violence in Baghdad, along with Iraqi Prime Minister Rashid Ali al-Gailani and the Golden Square coup plotters … and on behalf of those who yearn to recognize that the Farhud was the first step in the process which resulted in the forced exodus of 850,000 to 900,000 Jewish refugees from centuries of peaceful existence in Arab countries … The organizations and individuals assembled and represented here, this June 1, 2015, in New York City at the United Nations, do hereby proclaim June 1st as International Farhud Day, to recognize and commemorate the Nazi-allied massacre by Arabs, the mass forced exodus that followed, and the 850,000 to 900,000 Jewish refugees from Arab Lands. We recognize this date as a lamented day of history that should not be forgotten.”

We note the signatories and witnesses of the proclamation:

Seven parchment copies were signed by the five key organizers: Rabbi Elie Abadie of Jews for Justice in Arab Lands, Alyza D. Lewin for both the American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists and the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists, Maurice Shohet of the World Organization of Jews in Iraq, Avi Posnick for StandWithus, and myself as historian. Signing as witness for the proceedings was Malcolm Hoenlein of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. Numerous Jewish and non-Jewish organizations both here and abroad added their voices as co-sponsors, such as Philadelphia-based Scholars for Peace in the Middle EastHARIF – Association of Jews from North Africa and the Middle East in London, the Zionist Federation of Great Britain, and the Babylonian Heritage Society of Israel.

Having interviewed Dr. Daniel Williams of the Israel Allies Foundation Jerusalem Call, we were pleased to note the presence of the Congressional Israel Allies Caucus at the Farhud UN Event:

On behalf of Congressional Israel-Allies Caucus in the House of Representatives, co-chair Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), issued a public statement expressing “deepest solidarity with Iraqi and the Arab world’s Jews. Franks declared, “Today we will change the first of June from a day of a near-forgotten tragedy into International Farhud Day – a day of commemoration – when we call on the entire world to remember the disaster that befell the Arab world’s Jews, and to do justice by them and their descendants.”

Black recognized the active role of the Israeli Permanent Delegation at the UN members of the Foreign Ministry and regional Consul Generals who made arrangements for International Farhud Day at the UN.  His professional feelings as an historian and activist were summer up in this comment:

My end was simply the history. History, when connected to the present, can be a spark plug for the future.

We suspect that Reut Cohen and her family in California must find this UN commemoration abiding, yet saddened by the fate that befell their family and fellow Iraqi Jews during the barbaric Farhud on Shavuot in 1941. They may take comfort that their relatives and hundreds of thousands of other Jews expelled from Arab lands have contributed materially and spiritually to the growth of the third Jewish Commonwealth, The State of Israel.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of violence in Iraq before the Farhud in 1941. Photo by Etniel Margalit Collection.

I Was WRONG About Same-Sex Marriage [+video]

John Zmirak

John Zmirak

John Zmirak is the author of Gay Totalitarianism and the Coming Persecution of Christians: Hatred of the Gospel is boiling over into the vilification of Christians. State violence won’t be far behind, history teaches.

Zmirak writes:

President Obama, and each of the Clintons, has made a public statement parallel to my own on this volatile topic, so I stand in illustrious company as I say it: I wish to reverse my previous public statements on same-sex marriage.

The progress of law, the statements and actions of gay advocates, and the movement of public opinion have rendered my old views repugnant to me, and I now I offer a full and public retraction. Thanks to the hard work of Apple, Walmart, and the national media, I have changed my mind on same sex marriage.

I now oppose it.

Read more.

Listen to Zmirak explain why he was wrong:

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