Posts Tagged “holocaust denial”

'Illinois Nazis ... I hate Illinois Nazis!' / Still from Blues Brothers film, via MemeGeneratorMy heartfelt congratulations go to the Illinois Republican party! I’ve got to hand it to you for demonstrating your lack of anything resembling character or integrity. You’ve gone and let a well-known anti-Semite and Holocaust denier become the sole entrant in the GOP primary for a Congressional seat. As the Chicago Sun-Times explains, that means he’ll represent Republicans on ballots in the 3rd District of Illinois (Archive.Is cached article):

Arthur Jones — an outspoken Holocaust denier, activist anti-Semite and white supremacist — is poised to become the Republican nominee for an Illinois congressional seat representing parts of Chicago and nearby suburbs.

“Well first of all, I’m running for Congress not the chancellor of Germany. All right. To me the Holocaust is what I said it is: It’s an international extortion racket,” Jones told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Indeed, Jones’ website for his latest congressional run includes a section titled “The ‘Holocaust Racket’” where he calls the genocide carried out by the German Nazi regime and collaborators in other nations “the biggest blackest lie in history.”

At first blush this might seem to be a tempest in a teapot, since Jones isn’t like to win, as the Sun-Times points out:

Republicans didn’t bother to muster a credible candidate because the district is so Democratic. There is always a debate if parties should recruit candidates to run races they are highly likely to lose.

So I get it: No Republican is likely to win, so what’s the point in running anyone? Still, the state GOP was aware of this particular gadfly; he’s been running for offices for decades:

He ran for Milwaukee mayor in 1976 and 13th Ward alderman on Chicago’s Southwest Side in 1987.

Since the 1990s to 2016, Jones has jumped in the GOP 3rd Congressional District primary seven times, never even close to becoming a viable contender.

The bottom line, then, is that Illinois Republicans — for economic and strategic reasons — chose to leave their 3rd District ballot wide open, knowing full well that Jones — a repeated crank candidate — would dive right in and fill that vacuum. That is … they purposely allowed themselves to be represented by a Holocaust-denying anti-Semitic nominee. They couldn’t even be bothered scaring up some “sacrificial lamb” candidate to at least keep this hateful wretch from infesting their ballot line — yes, even though he has little chance of being elected.

As I said, this is precisely what I’ve come to expect of Republicans. (And yes, I used to be one, back in the day. So more than most folks, I know whereof I speak.)

Hat tip: Friendly Atheist.

Photo credit: Blues Brothers, via MemeGenerator.

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Israel Parade N.Y.Normally this is the sort of offense I’d chalk up to the juvenile vandalism impulse and not assign it any metaphysical motive. But the nature of a recent cyberattack strongly suggests it was just such an event. The New Jersey Jewish News reports on the takeover of some Jewish Web sites (WebCite cached article):

Anti-Semitic hackers invaded the websites of 50 Reform synagogues before Shabbat on Nov. 23 with an hour-long video that argued that the Holocaust did not occur. …

The hackers appear to be a group calling itself “Moroccan Ghosts,” according to Jeffrey Salkin, New Jersey community director of the Anti-Defamation League.

According to the group’s Facebook page, the Moroccan Ghosts targeted synagogues belonging to the Union for Reform Judaism because they consider the organization, said Salkin, quoting the website, “one of the most significant and very extreme Zionist assemblies that supports Israel in America.”

These sites were all hosted by the Union for Reform Judaism. As the NJJN explains, this is not the first time the group has hacked into sites in order to promote their Holocaust denials. They appear to subscribe to a view common in the Arab world, that the Holocaust was fabricated by the Jews in order to evoke sympathy for them and justify granting them their own state in the Levant.

The folly of this view is clear when one realizes that Jews had been living in the Levant for many centuries; by World War I the British, who then controlled the region, had expressed the goal of establishing a Jewish state there. For Jews to have gone to the elaborate machinations required to “stage” the Holocaust, merely to justify something that a lot of folks (in the occidental world at least) already supported for decades by the 1940s, seems more than a little excessive.

The irrationality of this claim, however — as with just about every elaborate conspiracy theory that’s ever been cooked up — escapes those who hold it. Telling them there’s no evidence for their conspiracy doesn’t work, because they view the lack of evidence ironically as evidence in favor of it (“See how effective the Jewish cabal was? They successfully cleaned up all traces of what they did! What better proof could there be?”).

Photo credit: Johnk85, via Flickr.

Hat tip: HartfordFAVS.

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FILE PHOTO OF TRADITIONALIST BISHOP RICHARD WILLIAMSON / CNS NEWS SERVICEI’ve blogged a number of times about the ultra-conservative Roman Catholic order known as the Society of St Pius X (or SSPX). Among other things, this crew is so whacked, that they cling to the delusion that the geocentric model of the solar system is correct. Even so, SSPX’s insane wingnuttery wasn’t enough to prevent the Vatican from reaching an accord with them and bringing them back into the Catholic fold.

But it turns out there was a wrench in the works. And that was Bishop Richard Williamson, who’s denied the Holocaust on the grounds that it turned every Jew into an “ersatz savior.” The Catholic News Service reports that Williamson has tested the patience of even the SSPX and has been tossed out (WebCite cached article):

The leadership of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X has expelled British Bishop Richard Williamson from the society, saying he distanced himself from them and refused “to show due respect and obedience to his lawful superiors.” …

Bishop Williamson had been a harsh critic of the group’s engagement in doctrinal discussions with the Vatican, which were aimed at bringing the society back into full communion with the Catholic Church. …

The Vatican knew Williamson would be trouble, right from the start of the reconciliation effort:

Even as the Vatican negotiated with the SSPX, Vatican officials said separate discussions would be required with Bishop Williamson, who not only criticized the dialogue, but has publicly denied the extent of the Nazi Holocaust of the Jews.

The bishop’s Holocaust denials were included in an interview aired by a Swedish TV network on the same day in 2009 that the Vatican announced Pope Benedict XVI had lifted the excommunication of Bishop Williamson and three other of the society’s bishops, ordained without papal permission in 1988.

Williamson’s caterwauling derailed the reconciliation, and the chaos he fostered might prevent it from coming to fruition — even in spite of his ouster:

In an early October interview with a German radio station, Archbishop Gerhard Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, confirmed that the talks with the SSPX had broken down and that no further discussions had been scheduled.

I have to congratulate the Vatican and the SSPX. Their tap-dancing around the feelings of a crazed Holocaust-denier managed to ruin everything for them. Well done, fellows. Well done!

Hat tip: Apathetic Agnostic Church.

Photo credit: CNS News Service.

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Comments Comments Off on Even An Extremist Catholic Order Can’t Handle Extremist Bishop Williamson

St. Peter's Square, 1992Readers of my blog shouldn’t be strangers to the odd semi-schismatic Catholic organization known as the Society of St Pius X (or SSPX). It was founded at the turn of the 1970s as a reaction against the reforms of II Vatican. Relations between the organization and the Vatican were never cordial, and SSPX was excommunicated in the late 80s after its founder and leader consecrated some bishops against papal orders.

Most of the time since, SSPX has continued its (ostensibly) renegade ways, railing against the modernization of the Church, even as the Vatican has tried to keep in touch with them and has worked to bring them back into the Catholic fold. The two lurched closer together in January 2009 when the Vatican lifted the excommunication on the remaining illicitly-elevated SSPX bishops.

Their reconciliation has continued over the last 3 years. Der Spiegel reports that a full reconciliation between the Vatican and SSPX is on its way (WebCite cached article):

Pope Benedict XVI may reach a decision by the end of May to allow the ultraconservative Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) to rejoin the Catholic church, SPIEGEL has learned.

At a meeting this coming Wednesday, the four cardinals of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, which oversees Catholic Church doctrine, plan to agree a proposal for reuniting the society with the Catholic Church, and will submit it to the pope.

Despite the appearance of amiability and conciliation here, the SSPX is hardly uniform in wanting to go back into the Church proper, as Der Spiegel explains:

… [A] fierce row has broken out among the four bishops of the SSPX over the planned agreement. British bishop Richard Williamson, who caused outrage in 2009 by denying the scale of the Holocaust, has taken an uncompromising stance toward the Vatican and wants to prevent SSPX from returning to its fold.

But the majority of SSPX supports the policy of its head, or superior general, Bishop Bernard Fellay, who has just written a letter urging Williamson and all SSPX bishops to end their isolation, accept the pope’s offer, and abandon a stance that is dividing the Church.

I’ve blogged a few times about the malcontent Williamson, who has yet to obey the Pope’s instructions and alter his beliefs about the Holocaust — which, as I’ve blogged, he believes was a vicious lie cooked up in order to make every Jew on earth into an “ersatz savior.”

But Williamson and his Holocaust-denying is hardly the only weird belief running around in the SSPX camp. I blogged a while ago about the SSPX protesting the heliocentric model of the solar system, claiming that by confirming Copernicus’ model, Galileo had destroyed the Church’s supremacy over humanity.

The SSPX’s militant opposition to the Second Vatican reforms — and its other assorted crankish notions — leads me to wonder how the group and the Vatican could ever reach any kind of rational accord. I expect what will happen is they’ll both sign off on some kind of carefully-worded, loose compromise of some sort, which allows both parties to move along but not really concede anything of substance to the other.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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I’ve blogged before on Bishop Richard Williamson, who — along with the rest of his cohorts in the formerly schismatic Society of St Pius X — had reentered the fold of Roman Catholicism. It was about a year ago that the Vatican came under fire for having readmitted him (along with the rest of the SSPX), without realizing he was a Holocaust denier. Ultimately the Vatican chose to order him to take back his Holocaust denials. But, as Der Spiegel reports, even a year later, he has not yet done so (WebCite cached article):

Bishop Williamson Unrepentent in Holocaust Denial

Controversial Bishop Richard Williamson continues in his denial of the Holocaust, embarrassing both the Society of St. Pius to which he belongs and the Vatican. But the SSPX is becoming increasingly powerful despite the controversy and is attracting more and more supporters. …

The world has become a smaller place for the notorious bishop. Since he denied the existence of the Holocaust on television more than a year ago, causing serious problems for Pope Benedict XVI and almost triggering a revolt against Rome by the Catholic faithful, the ultra-conservative SSPX has kept him in virtual quarantine at its Wimbledon headquarters. Bishop Bernard Fellay, the superior general of the SSPX, likens Williamson to uranium: “It’s dangerous when you have it,” he says, but you can’t “simply leave it by the side of the road.”

Fellay knows what he is talking about. Williamson has no intention of revising his views on the gas chambers. When Nazi hunter Beate Klarsfeld sent him a book about the history of the Holocaust last year, he set it aside, unread. “The fact is that the 6 million people who were supposedly gassed represent a huge lie,” he wrote recently to his fellow members of the SSPX, noting that “a completely new world order was built” on this “fact.” The Jews, he added, “became ersatz saviors thanks to the concentration camps.”

Note carefully this last sentence, which reveals the theological source of Williamson’s denials: “The Jews became ersatz saviors thanks to the concentration camps.” (Emphasis mine) Obviously Williamson thinks that Jesus’ exclusive status as “savior” will be compromised by admitting the Holocaust occurred.

Folks, this is scary stuff. Really scary. However, the cat is now out of the bag … we can see, now, why there are Christians in the occidental world who so vehemently object to admitting the Holocaust occurred. (Of course, this does nothing to explain Holocaust denialism in the Islamic world … but that’s another matter entirely.)

One final question remains, which is why the Roman Catholic Church has yet to discipline Williamson for his disobedience (i.e. not taking back his Holocaust denials, after he was ordered to do so). That they have done nothing about this shows their lack of integrity as an organization, at best. If they wish to present themselves as a beacon of morality in the world, they’re going to have to do a better job of it than they have, and since we all know that “charity begins at home,” they need to start by forcing their own to behave morally.

Hat tip: Rogues Gallery blog at the New England Skeptical Society.

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The government of Argentina has looked into the raving lunatic Bishop Richard Williamson, and decided he no longer should be in their country, as CNN reports:

Bishop Richard Williamson, who last month denied the existence of the Holocaust in an interview with Swedish television, was ordered Thursday to leave Argentina within 10 days, the Ministry of Interior said.

“The bishop has repeatedly forged the true motive for his stay in the country, having declared that he is an employee of ‘La Tradicion’ Civil Society when, in reality, his true activity was as priest and seminary director of the Society of Saint Pius X in the neighborhood of Moreno,” Interior Minister Florencio Randazzo said in a written statement. …

“Williamson has had public notoriety following his anti-Semitic statements to Swedish media in which he questioned whether Jewish people were victims of the Holocaust,” Randazzo continued.

“For these reasons, along with the strong condemnation from the Argentine government of how statements like these harm Argentine society, the Jewish community, and all of humanity by trying to deny a historic truth, the national government has decided to demand that the Bishop leave the country or be expelled.”

Please note the initial reason given for Williamson’s expulsion: that he had come to Argentina under false pretenses. How nice of a Catholic bishop — someone whose morals, ethics and conduct should be above reproach — to have defrauded a country in his immigration papers. I’m not quite sure why a Catholic cleric, even an excommunicated one, would have needed to conceal his affiliation in a Latin American country, since the Roman Catholic Church has a massive presence in that part of the world, and lots of controversial clerics live there. It might have made more sense, had he done so in a country hostile to the Catholic church or to religious folks generally, such as China.

Given no apparent reason for his dishonesty, one must again wonder what it is that the Vatican sees in Williamson.

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The situation is worse than we’d thought, about Bishop Richard Williamson. He might already sound like a Holocaust-denying kook, but as this New York Times Lede blog entry reports, his views are even loonier than that (WebCite cached article). Among them:

1. Women should be barred from universities, because “true universities are for ideas, ideas are not for true girls, so true universities are not for true girls”

2. The September 11, 2001 terror attacks were staged (I guess this makes him a 9/11 truther?)

3. God allowed the Muslims to conquer Spain in the 8th century to punish “slack Catholics” there

4. Jews have used the Vatican II reforms to achieve world domination

Read the Lede blog entry for details on all of these, and also to see Williamson denying the Holocaust on Swedish television.

I’m not sure what’s worse, that he’s as insane as he sounds, or that there is actually an organization that ever made this guy a bishop (as schismatic Archishop Lefebvre and the Society of St Pius X did).

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