The Inverted Image: Antisemitism and Anti-Catholicism on the Internet

Mark Weitzman

The Simon Wiesenthal Center


Originally presented at the Fifth Biennial Conference On Christianity and the Holocaust sponsored by The Julius and Dorothy Koppelman Holocaust/Genocide Resource Center and the Campus Ministry at Rider University, October 18-19, 1998. Reprinted here with the kind permission of the author.


In a comment published at the end of a 1971 address by the late Rev. John Oesterreicher, one of the pioneers of the Jewish-Catholic dialogue, Rabbi Irving Greenberg, another early pioneer, declared that “Nostra Aetate,” specifically “the Declaration on the Jews, is a new direction, and not a final statement.”[1] The more than a quarter of a century that has elapsed since that optimistic comment have seen tremendous growth in the relationship between Jews and Catholics.  Although this growth has not come without difficult moments, the momentum has continued to push the relationship forward.  A major part of this new growth has involved the sweeping away of old stereotypes that distort the reality of both Jew and Catholic.  As the historian David Flusser wrote: “Sound scholarship removes obstacles and paves the way for truth and mutual understanding.”[2] But at the same time as we try to sweep away those harmful stereotypes from the narratives and discourse of normative religious and social life, we must also accept that the perpetuation of those stereotypes continues not just on the fringes, but penetrates even into the center of our society.

            The eminent historian of antisemitism, Gavin Longmuir, has described the continuation of these prejudices clearly: “maintenance of prejudicial stereotypes is less a function of the sociological and psychological conditions and stresses of a society than it is a function of the society’s memory.  However such beliefs may have been engendered initially, they have become an accepted part of a society’s traditions, and they will tend to endure so long as those responsible for preserving and communicating the society’s official conception of the past refuse to confuse or reformulate them. In our society, that is the function of historians and the relevant authorities of the historical religions."[3]  It is the theme of this paper to expose the continued existence of these old stereotypes that demonize both Catholic and Jew, and to illustrate how, using the new technology of cyberspace, extremists have been provided with “a new marketing tool”[4] that puts these stereotypes and prejudices in front of an potential audience of almost one billion people.

            The power of the Internet to reach people is staggering.  According to some observers, it currently “attracts an estimated thirty to fifty million observers” with predictions of “100 million” by the end of this year, and “close to one billion people accessing the diverse capabilities of cyberspace by early next century.”[5]  Ultimately this means that, as Internet expert and free speech advocate Mike Godwin writes: “It has now become possible for an individual to reach an audience of any size.”[6]  While some of its proponents see only the good that exists online[7] the reality is quite different.  Extremists (along with criminals and pornographers) have quickly realized the benefits of this new medium.  As I have described elsewhere: “The combination of inexpensive, instantaneous worldwide communication that is essentially unblockable and allows for communication without physical exposure has been an empowering experience for many in the extremist community.  (Able to enter your home) without leaving (the shelter) of their homes, these individuals have found themselves electronically linked across the globe, thus creating the illusion of an international movement.  This has led to sustained growth in their numbers.”[8]

            When five years ago, the Simon Wiesenthal Center began monitoring extremist sites online, we followed less than fifty sites.  Today, we are looking at over one thousand sites that we consider extremist in their message of radical hate and bigotry.  For many of these sites, antisemitism seems to be a central focus, appearing under a variety of themes, cloaked in religious, scholarly and socio/political garb.

                For those who follow the extremist world, the “religion” known as Christian Identity has become more and more visible as a motivating force in the fringes of society.  Perhaps the clearest example of this was the standoff in the spring of 1996 in Montana between law enforcement authorities and the group known as the “Freemen”.  While most accounts of the affair described the Freemen’s political beliefs, some accounts did dig deeper and explored, as entitled in one report, the “Freemen’s Theological Agenda”, which identified the Freemen as “adherents of ‘Christian Identity’, a theology of racism, anti-Semitism, and male supremacy that is attracting a growing number of followers in the United States, particularly among fringe groups in the West.”[9]

            On the Net, Identity appears in various guises.  (It is interesting to note that Michael Barkun’s important study, Religion and the Racist Right, published in 1994, makes absolutely no reference to the Internet - an omission which today would seriously weaken any study of extremism.)[10]  A FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions and Answers) on Israel-Identity that was composed by Identity Minister Rick Savage appeared on some of the different Identity sites.  Savage’s key points (out of the 6 that he describes as “core points”) are that “The ‘Jews’ of Judaism today admit in their own literature (referenced later in this document) that they are NOT (his emphasis) Israelites, but are impostor and are indeed Christ’s and Christian Israel’s principal enemies . . . The truth concerning the identity of modern day ‘Israel’ is vital information for the body of Christ, i.e. for true Israel, and even for the rest of the world . . . Germanic kindred (white) people are the true descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob/Israel” (The full text of the 13 questions and answers, plus the conclusion, when downloaded, total 62 pages).

            While there are many variants of Identity, its central premise is biblically rooted.  Identity minister Ronald Schoedel (who is now offline) put it this way in a 1995 homepage entitled Christian Identity Online: “The questions that Identity addresses include:  Who is Israel? (Schoedel’s emphasis) What is Israel ’s responsibility?  What are the covenants between Israel and Yahweh all about?  Once these questions are met with Biblical answers, we soon find out that the Bible is a whole new book to us” (Schoedel, Christian Identity Online).

            The answers to these questions are spelled out on, amongst others, the Aryan Nation’s homepage.  There we find Adam described as “the father of the white race only” (Adam in the original Hebrew is translated: ‘to show blood in the face; turn rosy.’ - [a trait which would exclude any people of color - M. W.]).  Thus “We believe that the true literal children of the Bible are the twelve tribes of Israel, now scattered throughout the world and now known as the Anglo-Saxon, Germanic, Teutonic, Scandinavian, Celtic peoples of the earth” (This belief is due to tracing the lineage of Abraham back to Adam).  Further, “We believe that there are literal children of Satan in the world today.  These children are the descendants of Cain, who was a result of Eve’s original sin, her physical seduction by Satan.”  Thus, according to this account, the “serpent” of Genesis was not a reptile, but an independent human appearing agent of evil in revolt against God.  This picture of the Devil as an apostate does have resonance in the words of the Church Fathers (i.e. Satan the Devil).[11] The Aryan Nation creed continues:  “We know that because of this sin there is a battle and a natural enmity between the children of Satan and the children of the most High God (Yahweh)”, so once Schoedel’s first question of who is Israel has been answered, the next response deals with Israel’s responsibility today.  The conclusion to be drawn from this Biblical exegesis of racism is a justification of racial holy war (RAHOWA, an acronym that appears frequently in various extremist writings).  “We believe that the Cananite Jew is the natural enemy of our Aryan (white) Race.  This is attested by scripture and all secular history.  The Jew is like a destroying virus that attacks our racial body to destroy our Aryan culture and the purity of our race” (these terms are strikingly similar to Adolf Hitler’s terminology.  See, for example his Mein Kampf, where Jews are described as “parasites” and “a noxious bacillus which keeps spreading”)[12].  So “there is a battle being fought this day between the Children of Darkness (today known as Jews) and the children of light (Yahweh, the Everliving God), the Aryan Race, the true Israel of the Bible”.[13]   The Dead Sea Scrolls scholar, Geza Vermes, has described the Scroll known as the War Rule as “theological writing … (which) symbolizes the eternal struggle between the spirits of Light and Darkness.”[14]  This description could just as well apply to Christian Identity today.  The Aryan Nations have their own way of putting it:  “Ultimately we believe that there is a day of reckoning.  The usurpers will be thrown out by the terrible might of Yahweh’s people, as they return to their roots and their special destiny” (All citations above are from the Aryan Nation’s homepage unless otherwise noted).

            For the Identity adherent, this struggle has already begun.  The Aryan Nation’s homepage quoted above also has documents that include a Declaration of Independence dated March 12, 1996, that states that “the Aryan people in American are, and of rights ought to be, a free and independent nation, (and) that they are absolved from all allegiance to the United States of America.’  The cause of this action is the “history of the present Zionist Occupied Government (ZOG) of the United States of America, which has, as its “direct object - the establishment of an absolute tyranny . . .(and) as one of its foremost purposes, the eradication of the White race and it’s culture” (Declaration of Independence, Aryan Nations homepage).  Accompanying this document is a detailed “platform for the Aryan National State ” (Ibid.) 

            Mark Thomas, a former Aryan Nations representative in Pennsylvania , now in federal prison, had a World Wide Web edition of his publication, “The Watchman” where he described himself as “a Two-seedline Identity minister” (referring to the division between Adam’s Aryan and Cain’s Satanic Jewish seeds, or descendants.[15]  Thomas rejects not only Judaism, but Christianity as well.  In his words, “I cannot overemphasize how completely opposite the original truth called Identity is to mainstream Christianity.  If the one is right, then the other is Satanic, they are diametrically opposed from each other.”

            Another site that exists as an antisemitic religion is Matt Hale’s World Church of the Creator site.  Hale, a 25 year old student from East Peoria , Illinois , has turned this almost moribund group into one the fastest growing extremist sites on the Internet.[16]  Creativity is a pseudo-religion that “is established for the survival, expansion and advancement of our white race exclusively…”[17] and sees itself as being in resistance to the “Jewish Occupational Government of the United States .”[18]  Listed on the site are 38 different “contact points” across the U.S. , including 3 from Australia , Canada and Sweden .  Hale’s site maintains links to 12 specific Creativity sites (including one each for women, teens and children),[19] amongst their other links.  He also recognizes the power of cyberspace, and even has a page devoted to how his followers can work on “Expanding Creativity on the Web.”[20]

            While the sites above are examples of religious antisemitism, some “patriot” sites also embrace antisemitism.  For example, two of the most notorious and virulent antisemitic books in history, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and The Turner Diaries, can be found at the site of the Minnesota Militia.[21]

            Another site, Be Wise as Serpents, exists to “expose a composite serpent which has devised sinister plans concerning EVERYONE.  We will expose something they call The New World Order.”[22] This site has sections dealing with the themes of Common Law, Apostasy[23], Talmudism[24], Revisionism (Holocaust Denial), Protocols (The Protocols of the Elders of Zion), and Conspiracy.  The Common Law and Conspiracy sections are full of links to sites that deal with those typical “Patriot” themes.[25]  The very first icon on this page is a link to Carl Klang’s homepage, where “ America ’s #1 Patriot singer” sells his albums which contain lyrics similar to those sung by the skinhead bands which are discussed below.  On Klang’s most recent album, Extremist, the song “The News Behind the News” has a refrain that goes:

                        “It’s the news behind the news and the methods you can use

                        It’s the blueprint and the plan you can rely on

                        And it’s written in the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion.”[26]

            Resistance Records is an example of a site that sells what can best be described as skinhead music.  Bands with names like RAHOWA, Final Solution and Extreme Hatred all are advertised on this site, and samples of their music are available.   Albums with names like Nordic Thunder’s Born to Hate contain songs with titles like RAHOWA’s “Third Reich” and “Triumph of the Will” (named after Leni Riefenstaht’s notorious Nazi propaganda film).  The lyrics of RAHOWA’s “Third Reich” (sung to the tune of Jerry Lee Lewis’ classic rock song “ Great Balls of Fire”) give a clear idea of the themes that are dealt with:

                        “We kill all the niggers and you gas all the Jews

                        Kill all the gypsies and the commie too…

                        You just killed a kike, don’t it feel right

                        Goodness gracious Third Reich.”

The albums can be purchased with standard credit cards (Visa, MasterCard).  Two years ago 50,000 such albums were sold over the Internet.[27] Music has thus become a propaganda tool for extremists.                                 

            Antisemitism also appears in the guise of scholarship on the Internet.  Holocaust Denial sites, also known as revisionist sites can easily be found.[28]  The Institute for Historical review, the world center of Holocaust denial, has an elaborate site that includes online entries from the print Journal of Historical Review (the Institute’s pseudo-scholarly journal).  Despite oft-repeated denials of antisemitic motives[29], these entries do illuminate the thinking of these self-styled scholars.  One entry, reprinted from the Journal, entitled “ Switzerland in the Grip of the Traditional Enemy,” is introduced :

Our country is today involved in the greatest foreign policy

crisis since the Second World War.  It faces a powerful enemy

who, paradoxically, hardly anyone dares to name because in

the western world he enjoys a kind of state protection, and because

he portrays itself in the image of the eternally persecuted.  In this

situation, the blackmailer has been able to appear as the poor,

persecuted victim, and to take advantage of most people’s good

nature and sense of fair play.

Although the author, Bernhard Schaub, does not spell out who this enemy is, it is not too difficult to realize he is referring to Jews.  Later he adds that the world will come under control of the New World Order, and this order will “not be directly democratic, nor will it respect developed cultures… (but) this truly ‘New World order’ will be: one world, with one government, one (mixed) race, ruled by one ‘chosen’ people, one god (Yahweh), and one cult – the Holocaust.”[30]

           Another entry, a review of an “Iconoclastic Polish Journal” (stanczyk) discusses the denial articles printed in the Polish journal and then adds, “To the extent that Christian, and especially Roman Catholic leaders, embrace this Holocaust religion, they accept a ‘Judaization’ of Christianity, and betray their own religious principles and heritage.”[31]  Another “respectable” site, Australia ’s Adeilade Institute, embarks on “the final intellectual journey of the 20th century” by claiming that “it is too cheap for us decry our work as that of ‘hate-mongers, ‘anti-Semites,’ ‘racists,’ or ‘neo-Nazis.’”[32] However, deeper in the site we find Institute associate David Brockschmidt, addressing an “Open Letter to the Leaders of World Jewry” where he writes that “the anti-Gentilism and the hate for everything that is not Jewish makes me sick because this hatred takes us back to the roots of antisemitism – your anti-Gentile Babylonian Talmud.”[33]  Brockschmidt actually claims to be writing out of the “horror that antisemitism is on the rise again!”[34]  For Ernst Zundel, the Canadian Holocaust denier and Neo-nazi, there is no pretense.  On his site we can read “The problem confronting Western civilization is… ‘how to be fair to the Jews.’  Obviously they respect no quota idea in their power or influence;  otherwise there would have to be only a few Jewish appointees in Clinton ’s administration, in Hollywood , or the mass media.”[35]  “One topic deserving of much larger treatment… is that of ever more open practice of kabbalistic rites (referring to the lowing of a shofar, a ram’s horn during a Jewish mystical rite reported in two stories [Feb. 10 and 19, 1998] that appeared in the Toronto Star) in an attempt to harness global control – or should one say, prevent the slipping of control? – by our opposition.”  The Z Gram concludes by declaring, “I don’t know about you, but I feel that global Super-Power Zion believed to be ‘invincible’ relying on the blast of a ram’s horn transmitted through the lapdog media is counting on our ignorance in a rather transparent and desperate way.”[36]

            It thus has become apparent that in any search for extremism on the Internet, the usual subjects are found as targets.  The subjects are the familiar targets of American extremism, “people who could not be assimilated in the national community because of their religion or ethnicity,” as David Bennett describes in his history of the American Far Right.[37]  We have seen how, for example, antisemitism is a preeminent theme for extremists on the Web.  Other targets include blacks, gays, liberals, foreigners, women, pro-choice advocates and other similar groups.  However, one group that was conspicuously present in the list of traditional American targets is conspicuously absent when we think of  targets.  I am referring, of course, to Catholics, particularly Catholics in the U.S.

            The history of anti-Catholicism in the U.S. has been well documented.  From the beginning of the colonial period when according to one expert, “the earliest target was Roman Catholicism,”[38] to the modern period, where another writer goes to the extremes of claiming “that anti-Catholicism is ‘the last remaining unexposed prejudice in American life,’”[39] the existence of anti-Catholicism has been a constant, differing only in appearance, extent and influence.  Although the election of John F. Kennedy and the reforms begun by Vatican II signified that the climate had changed dramatically,[40] anti-Catholicism was never erased from the American scene, only diminished and sublimated.  Today, the most aggressive group monitoring anti-Catholicism, the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, would even disagree with that assessment.  On their Web site, the League claims that “today’s band of anti-Catholicism is more virulent and more pervasive than ever before in American history…quite simply, Catholic bashing has become a staple of American society.”[41]  Yet even with that pessimistic assessment, the Internet has not been investigated or analyzed by researchers for its Anti-Catholic propaganda.[42]   It would almost seem that no one expects to find vestiges of classical bigotry in this new medium.

            My own research demonstrates quite a different story.  Along with the other forms of extremism described earlier, one can find anti-Catholicism to be visible as well.  While the numbers are certainly nowhere near as large as the antisemitic or racist sites, they are nonetheless present.

           When we begin to look at these sites, we can quickly see that they basically represent traditional themes, with only the medium being the difference.  These themes are certainly not novel.  As David Brion Davis has written: “There was a cultural continuity between such movements (of counter-subversion) and the traditional European response to radical religious sects and secular brotherhoods; anti-Catholicism, of course, was as old as the Reformation, and its principal arguments and accusations changed very little over the centuries… images of the subversive group, while often borrowed from the ruling classes of Europe, were adapted to fit the fears and half-conscious yearnings of the American people.”[43]   For example, one theme that reappears is the graphic description of the supposed sexual activities of priests and nuns that can be best described, in Davis ’ terms as, “a fantasy of licentious orgies and fearful punishments.”[44] 

           This theme, with its European roots[45] peaked in the United States with the publication in 1836 of the notorious “Awful Disclosures of the Hotel Dieu Nunnery” by Maria Monk.[46]  The book relied on its “alluring pornographic overtones”[47] to sell over 300,000 copies (second only to Uncle Tom’s Cabin) before the Civil War.[48]  In summary it “focused wholly on sex and sadism…corrupt priests…terrorizing innocent young women…moving between seminary and convent, priests were in league with evil mother superiors to arrange ‘criminal intercourse.’ Deep in the cellars were the bleaching bone of infants born of these illicit affairs, strangled immediately after baptism.”[49]

            Today we can find all of these purported details updated and are dredged up  electronically.  One Web site has a section on personal testimonies that includes one called “A Nun’s Testimony.”  This anonymous document, when downloaded, comes out to 67 pages of what can only be described as an updated version of “Awful Disclosures.”  Replete with sex and sadism, it purports to tell the story of a Catholic woman, born in 1897 who from the age of 13, when she entered a convent boarding school, until she was “saved” in 1946, underwent incredible torture and torment at the hands of priests and nuns.  All the themes of the “Awful Disclosures” are there – including the subterranean tunnels, infanticide, rape, mutilation and torture.  Incredibly, the anonymous heroine survives all of her tribulations, and ultimately is born again, finding salvation in an unnamed version of Protestant fundamentalism.[50]   The sensitive subject of pedophilia has also been sensationalized by the Anti-Catholic extremists.  The same site as above has a section called Catholic Priesthood: Repository of Perverts, subtitled “notorious for child molestation-why?”, that lists 25 postings of various articles accusing Catholic clergy of sexual misconduct.  One posting is a link to an article that concludes by alleging that “there are at least 1,000,000 direct victims of (Catholic) clergy sexual abuse and between 4-6 million indirect victims in the U.S.[51] In a search run on ten major search engines under the deliberately provocative heading “Catholic sexual abuse,” one search engine (AltaVista) turned up the virulently anti-Catholic entry “Catholic Priesthood: Repository of Perverts” that I cited earlier, as the first choice of information on this topic.  It is important to note that search engines do not list their entries according to quality, accuracy or any other form of selective preference; rather they rely on various differing algorithmic methods to make their lists.[52]

            The reliance on testimony by ex-Catholics is a big part of on-line anti-Catholicism.  In this, as in so many other ways, the antisemitic and anti-Catholic sites have many parallels.[53]  The variety of ex-Catholic testimony on the Web ranges from the pornographic testimonies cited above to the “Testimony of a Former Irish Priest,” by Richard Peter Bennett.  Bennett’s sober spiritual autobiography describes his career in the Church, including his ordination at age 25 (in 1963), his studies ( Angelicum University in Rome ), and his growing disillusionment with the Church, starting in 1972 and characterized as a conflict between the Bible and the Church. (This “Church-Bible dilemma” is a prevalent theme in much of the anti-Catholic material that I reviewed).  By 1985, at age 48, Bennett had left the Church, come to the U.S. (from Trinidad ) and had a “new birth.”  Today, Bennett’s mission is rescuing Catholics from their disastrous spiritual state, as he wrote: “my hearts desire and prayer to God for Catholics is that they may be saved.”[54]  While Bennett’s journey is not inflammatory in itself, his testimony is also found at more virulent sites, such as jesus-is-lord, where it is introduced with the hope that “this testimony will open many eyes, ears and hearts to the dangers (my emphasis) of Catholicism.”[55]  Also at that site can be found another testimony, headlined as “Testimony: Escape from the Roman Catholic Religion and into the Arms of Jesus” and introduced as demonstrating just “how insidious Romanism (emphasis in the original) is.”[56]  Other forms of personal testimony can be found at the “Former Catholics for Christ” homepage, or the Mission to Catholics homepage.

            The papacy is a common target of many of these sites.  The Pope, according to one “purposely misinterprets scriptures,”[57] according to another he is a hypocrite, who “parades around the world as a champion of freedom and truth for everyone, that is everyone except those in his own Romish system.”[58]  Another asks the question, “has the Pope apologized for Persecutions?” and answers “Don’t be deceived by the clever manipulations of false teachers.  The Pope has not repented, and the Roman Catholic Church has not substantially changed” for if he had, “a repentant Pope would cast aside his blasphemous title,” and “would acknowledge that the papacy, through its blasphemous claims and sacramental gospel, has led multitudes to eternal hell.”  (This is attributed to David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist News Service, in Oak Harbor , Washington .)[59]  The same source also has another article entitled “Pope Exercising Supremacy, Destroying Books.”[60]

            Although Bernard McGinn concluded his major study of the Antichrist by writing that “It may no longer be possible for most of us to believe in the legendary figure of a coming individual who will sum up all human evil at the end of time,”[61] McGinn had earlier noted the “belief in a literal antichrist held by millions of Fundamentalist Christians.”[62]  Yet, while noting this belief, McGinn wrote that “even the Evangelical Fundamentalists, for whom Antichrist is certainly alive and well, have been uncomfortable with a papal Antichrist.”[63]  This certainly is a change from 19th century extremism that often linked the papacy to the Antichrist to serve as a spur to action.[64]  However, on the Web, we see this identification of the Pope as the Antichrist still exists.[65]  One Web site has a heading that claim “Conclusive Proof from the Bible that the Pope is the Antichrist,” as an advertising hook for a book entitled “Earth’s Final Hours,” that is available through the Web site.  This book “shows conclusively that the Pope is the antichrist.  After reading this book you will have no doubt about what the papacy really is or what it intends to do to the world in the near future.”[66]

            Another site entitled “Vicar of Christ or Antichrist,” goes into greater detail by laying out twelve Biblical proofs that contrasted with twelve Catholic Church teachings, leads to a moment of decision that is framed in the starkest of terms:  “Will you serve the King, Jesus Christ, or will you serve the Antichrist, the Pope?”[67]  A similar method is also followed by the site titled “Roman Catholicism Exposed! The King James Bible vs. The Roman Catholic Church,” validated by the proof text “And they worshipped the dragon (the Antichrist)… Revelation 13:4, KJV, King James Bible.”[68]

            If the pope can be the Antichrist, it should come as no surprise that we can find sites that link Catholicism with Satanism.[69]  One Ed Tarkowski uses his site to lay out a “6000 Year Overview: Satan’s Effort to Hinder God’s Plan.”  In this plan “the Devil made the early church the point of reference,” (instead of God, the thrust is now on “man losing dominion”) and thus gave humanity “a false starting point.”  “Satan’s mystery religions, their initiations and their rites, disguised and modernized, have now penetrated many aspects of Christianity.”  Tarkowski’s definition of the generic term Christianity is made clearer shortly after, when he writes that “Satan has saturated the Church with the Dominionist doctrine…”[70] Sometimes the attempt to defame another belief can be less than impressive.  An example of that is found in a personal testimony entitled, “Raised Catholic with a Penchant for the Satanic.”  Here the Satanism of the Church is made explicit.  It consisted of requiring the author to take “ a psychological compatibility quiz” in order to marry his Catholic wife.”  In his own words he “felt so depraved submitting to this Satanism, but at the time it was worth it to marry my wife.”  Ultimately, the marriage broke up and his wife entered a shelter for "“illegal Mexican immigrants and abused women” and our witness went to his priest for help.  Again, in his own words, “well I told the priest and he acted surprised and that he didn’t know (yeah right).  I basically was fed-up at the Satanism of Catholicism at this time, but went back to the pretending to try and get them to reconcile us.”  Later in his text our witness acknowledges that he has been accused of wife beating and raping and has a court imposed restraining order against him.  Nonetheless, the Web site still sees fit to post this sorry story under the heading “Satanic Catholic.”[71]  Not all the charges of Satanism came from the gutter.  Another site breaks the sensational story, “The Devil, You Say?  Archbishop, Former Jesuit Claim Satanists Skulk in the Vatican .”  This story, by-lined by one Jay Nelson, quotes Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo as saying, in a 1996 conference, (Fatima 2000 International Congress on World Peace, Rome, November 18-23, 1996) that “Now the third dimension [of evil] is the most dangerous… The third dimension is people who follow instruction in satanic sects… Now with this third dimension, I’m sorry to say, our Church is so protected now that he is like an animal protected by the government… The devil within the Church today is actually protected by certain Church authorities from the official devil-hunter in the Church – the exorcist” (needless to say, Archbishop Milingo is identified in the article as an “official exorcist” and author of “Face to Face with the Devil”).   In the aftermath of these controversial remarks Milingo was further quoted as saying that “Certainly there are priests and bishops (who are followers of Satan).  I stop at this level of the ecclesiastical hierarchy because I am an archbishop, higher than this I cannot go.”  According to press reports quoted on the on-line article[72]  Milingo cited the statement by Pope Paul VI who was reputed to have said after the Second Vatican Council ‘From somewhere or other the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God,” and then Milingo added: “I have not heard that anyone has seen him leave.”  After this, the article turns to the controversial American author, Malachi Martin, who verifies Milingo’s assertion.  He “is a good archbishop and his contention that there are Satanists in Rome is completely correct.”  Martin ties in some familiar themes in a quote from his 1990 book, The Keys of This Blood, in which he wrote “The cultic acts of satanic pedophilia are considered by professionals to be the culmination of the Fallen Archangels rites.”[73]  The on-line article then wonders why the story is ignored in the American press, except in two sources, one of which is described as “a conservative pro-Marian Catholic newsletter associated with the group that sponsored” the conference where Archbishop Milingo originally made his statement, and the “organ of the John Birch society a right-wing political group… it is this account that this article is largely based on.”  Tucked away toward the end of the article is the opinion of an unnamed associated press researcher that Milingo is a “big old mouth” full of “ a lot of insanity” and thus his opinions are essentially ignored in the “American news media.”[74]

            An example of how the Internet has empowered extremists can be seen from the career of Jack Chick.  A Californian, he achieved a modest degree of notoriety in the early-mid 1980’s, by producing a series of comic (and regular) books that, in the words of once scholar “illustrate the lingering force of this (anti-Catholic) hostility.”[75]  The theme of the books was, in the words of another expert, “Maria Monk returned in 1984.”[76]  Although the books sold fairly well, times had indeed changed and, as Mark Noll is quick to point out: “Protestants from very many backgrounds joined Catholic spokesmen in denouncing the books; the Christian Booksellers Association, which represented largely a conservative Protestant constituency, expressed its regret over the publications; and evangelical journalists contributed much of the hard information that exposed the comic books as fraudulent.”[77]  Today however, Jack Chick maintains a Web site where the interested reader can read (or download) a complete copy of Chick’s 500 page book, Smokescreens, along with 35 other tracts.  The list of products for purchase includes the tracts, available in English and in 60 other languages,[78] books, T-shirts, comic, posters, and videos.  In his introduction to Smokescreens, Chick openly lays out his agenda: “Now we believe at Chick Publications, that the whore of Revelation is the Roman Catholic Institution… You see, the Jesuits influenced people, and they started setting up smokescreens (hence, the book’s title) during our times… and when that smokescreen came up we started the whore of Revelation in a different light… There has been a multi-million dollar campaign made through the media to convince people that I am a bigoted, anti-Catholic hate literature publisher… The truth is, I love the Catholic people enough to risk my life and my business… to pull them out of the false religious system they’re now serving.”  The book’s chapter titles illustrate its obsessions:  “A 20th Century Inquisition” (this refers to the Holocaust, which according to Chick, resulted because “the Jesuits had secretly prepared World War II, and Hitler’s war machine was built and financed by the Vatican to conquer the world for Roman Catholicism.)[79], “The Whore of Revelation” and concluding with “Blueprint for Catholic America,” which exposes “the Roman Catholic Institution’s plans to take over the United States.”  Once that happens “when the Vatican take control of the United States , every pastor and his family will be shot in the head.”[80]  Other books on Chick’s list include Dave Hunt’s, A Woman Rides the Beast, which “offers proof that the Roman Catholic Church is involved in Antichrists future empire, making it impossible for (Catholic and Protestant) to work together,” and a series about a 19th century “ex-Catholic priest” that includes proof “that it was the Jesuits who killed Lincoln and explains why.”  Also included are the original comic books of 1980’s notoriety, the “Alberto” series.  This series of six comics revels in all the familiar charges (i.e. Catholicism “cannot save,” no one can leave the Jesuits alive, “infiltration of Protestant organizations,” “the Vatican is using its occult force to deceive millions,” and how “the papacy fulfills Bible prophecies of the Antichrist."[81]  Other targets of Chick include Islam, Freemasonry, and Judaism, which is portrayed in one comic (Where’s Rabbi Waxman) as incomplete and inadequate unless belief in Jesus is acknowledged.[82]  This immense site demonstrates exactly how the old-style extremism can be easily updated and made even more accessible by the new technology.

            Many other categories of anti-Catholic extremism can be found on the Internet, such as anti-Jesuit[83] and anti-Marian.[84]  But for reasons of space the last category that I will discuss here can best be described as the merging of religious and socio-political extremism.[85]  For some people, religious and current events are coming together in an apocalyptic vein.  The United States and the world are trembling at the verge of disaster, all brought on by Satanic forces.  Elaine Pagel’s description of “Christians in this world (who) still struggle against evil in ways that they experience as demonic attack”[86] is particularly apt.  The Pacific Institute warns, “Can you see it coming?  America will soon lose its Constitution… already we can see the beginning of these sad events in the Waco massacre, where the U.S. government slaughtered helpless and defenseless women and children with a battle tank![87] When the New Order[88] is institutes, freedom will be gone from the earth… Our book tells the heartbreaking story of the death of America as it is described in Bible prophecy.”[89]  How this New World Order is being implemented already is described by another site, where, under the heading of New World Order News, a news story about the successful experimental implantation of a computer chip into the arm of a scientist, thus enabling him to be computer tracked, draws the following comments:  “In days to come (maybe not so far away) a world crisis will meant that every ‘dissident’ to the New World Order must either be imprisoned or tracked… to return to a world ruled by Antichrist, complete with chip, would mean being FORCED (their emphasis) to partake in his adoration and submit to his rule.  This it represents a denial of the Lord.”[90]  The Bible Believers Web site, which originates in Australia, based  (in their own words) in a “tiny congregation” headed by “Brother” Anthony Grigor-Scott, a non-denominational minister, uses the power of cyberspace to send their message worldwide.  They also see the NWO (New World Order) coming.  “Satan’s servants have been working on the NWO conspiring for six thousand years… one short article will show how close these people are to realizing their planned NWO… this private global police state… [that] will mean your enslavement.”[91] Who is behind this plot?  The answer varies somewhat.  In one spot, we can read that “The Roman Catholic Church and WCC (World Council of Churches) and Protestants headed by Incarnate Pope + Satan incarnate,”[92] in another, it returns to the Rothschild’s, the famous Jewish banking family.[93]

            Grigor-Scott’s antisemitism and Identity influence is further spelled out in his on-line article, “The Blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not.”  There he writes, “The Land of Israel has been settled by apostate Jews, most of whom are NOT descended from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob…(and) a measure of serpent seed… Israel was settled for material gain by the communists and international bankers, who by devious means, control the United States and most, if not all, other government.  Very soon they will control the world through the NWO headed up by the Pope through the UN”[94]

            This amalgamation of antisemitism and anti-Catholicism is not unique.  Another example can be found at the homepage of Michael Hoffman’s Campaign for Radical Truth in History.  This site, which is one of the most virulently antisemitic on the Internet, contains an article entitled, “John Paul II: The Judas Iscariot of our Time”  The Pope is accused of “preaching a false gospel,” of “negating and betraying… scared scripture,” of “fraud,” of hurling anthemas “at the pre-eminent Judas Iscariot of the late 20th Century.”  Why is the pontiff thus excorciated?  Because he is in “obeisance to the Talmudic Pharisees of today… the direct spiritual heirs of the assassins of Jesus Christ.”  He “is completely smitten with… the Jewish world leadership, He caters to and pimps for them”  More specifically, Hoffman is reacting to the Vatican statement of November 2, 1997 , that “Christians who yield to anti-Judaism offend God and the Church itself.”  According to Hoffman, by “discarding the traditional Christian (view), John Paul II has virtually admitted, by his actions and pronouncements, that the Pharisees were right to crucify Christ.” Hoffman’s antisemitism forces him to lock himself into such a rigid traditionalism that ultimately he ends up cursing and condemning the Church along with the Jews.[95]  

            While our survey of religiously motivated antisemitic and Anti-Catholic sites has been drawn from either fundamentalist Protestant or racist (Identity, World Church of the Creator) sources, mention must also be made of the Nation of Islam’s site.  There, in the most recent online edition of the Final Call (the official newspaper of the Nation of Islam) we can find, for example, a published interview with Louis Farrakhan where Farrakhan defends his antisemitic and anti-Catholic history.  When questioned about past remarks such as his 1994 statement that: “Catholicism has been by white people, for white people, to subject black people to a white kind of theology that strips is of ourselves” or Khallid Muhammad’s (former chief spokesman of the N.O.I.) infamous description of the Pope as “the old no-good Pope – you know that cracker, somebody needs to raise that dress up and see what’s really under there,”[96] Farrakhan would only say “while we were bring burned at the stake and hung on trees and castrated and dehumanized, the Catholic Church did not speak on our behalf… yet the Church is the bastion of love, but all of this hate is coming toward us out of the Church.”

            The same tone is evident in the remarks about Jews.  When questioned about an essay that appears on the Nation of Islam Website that said: “Jews control… American society and government, all presidents since Franklin Roosevelt in 1932 are controlled by Jews,” all Farrakhan would say is that “For the small number of Jewish people in the United States , they exercise a tremendous amount of influence on the affairs of the government.”  Faced with his line “Who controls Black art… sports figures… intellectuals… politicians?  When I talk to the Jews, I’m talking to a segment of that quorum that holds my people in their grip,” Farrakhan responded: “And that is true.  What controls the… NAACP? The Urban League? Black Politicians?”[97]

           In his important essay, “Some Themes of Counter-Subversion: An analysis of Anti-Masonic, Anti-Catholic, and Anti-Mormon Literature,” David Brion Davis describes the way that these “subversive groups” were seen as an “inverted image” of American society, at least in its nativist idealized form.  Davis ’ description rings just as true today.  Once again the familiar targets of extremists are under attack.  But today, it is not only the image of the group or the society  that is “inverted.”  The image of cyberspace is also inverted.  For, not only does there exist, as its proponents enthuse, a “Digital American Revolution,”[98] that is “an immense opportunity in freedom of speech and democracy;”[99] it must also be recognized that there is a communication medium that can ultimately “reach an audience of any size”[100] and is “potentially impossible to stop,” [101] and this medium contains over a thousand sites that can best be described as extremist propaganda.[102]

            The late Jewish theologian Abraham Joshua Heschel in his classic essay “No Religion is an Island ,” wrote that “in our age anti-Semitism is Anti-Christianity and that Anti-Christianity is anti-Semitism.”[103]  Heschel meant that all of us Jew, Christian, Moslem, Buddhist or other (including atheist and agnostic) are “all part of God’s design for the redemption of all.”[104]  But unless we all recognize the dangers and responsibilities, along with the benefits, posed by the new technology, we are all at risk together in a world where the serpent of extremism, the fruit of the new technology and human nature once again threaten to set back our hope of progressing toward redemption.

[1]  John M. Oesterreicher, The Rediscovery of Judaism, N.J., 1971.

[2]  David Flusser, in his Introduction to his volume of collected essays, Judaism and the Origins of Christianity, Jerusalem , 1988, p. xii.

[3]  Gavin Langmuir, Tradition, History and Prejudice, in Langmuir, Toward a Definition of Antisemitism, Berkeley , 1996, p. 46.

[4]  Abraham Cooper in the Introduction to the New Lexicon of Hate: The Changing Tactics, Language and Symbols of America ’s Extremists (A Simon Wiesenthal Center Report, Los Angeles, 1997) p. 1.

[5]  See, for example, Brian M. Werst, A Survey of the First Amendment “Indecency” Legal Doctrine and Its Inapplicability to Internet regulation: A Guide or Protecting Children from Internet Indecency after Reno v. ACLU, Gonzaga Law Review, Vol. 33, nu, 1,  1997-1998, p. 208.

[6]  Mike Godwin, Cyber Rights, New York 1998,  p. 298.

[7]  “Governments of the industrial world… you claim that there are problems among us that you need to solve… Many of these problems don’t exist” – from Electronic Frontier Foundation’s head, John  Perry Barlow’s Cyberspace Independence Declaration, quoted in Credence Fogo-Schensul, More than A River in Egypt : Holocaust Denial, the Internet, and International Freedom of Expression Norms, Gonzaga Law Review, vol. 33, nu. 1, 1997-1998, p. 272.  See now also Godwin’s recent book, Cyber Rights.

[8]  Mark Weitzman, Harnessed to Hate: Theology and Technology as Tools of Extremism, an unpublished paper delivered at the 27th Annual Scholars Conference on the Holocaust and the Churches, March 1998, p.1.  Much of the following analysis is taken from that paper.

[9]Freemen’s Theological Agenda”, Washington Post, April 9, 1996 . 1996.;  For similar descriptions see, for example, “Freemen Theology Raises Risk of Violent End to Stand-off, Daily Iowan”, April 3,  Freemen Leader a Man with a Mission”, Chicago Tribune, April 15, 1996.; and “A Radical Religion Motivates Montana ‘Freemen’”, Seattle Times, April 3, 1996).

[10]  Richard V. Pierard’s article “The Contribution of British-Israelism to Antisemitism Within Conservative Protestantism” in the volume “Holocaust and Church Struggle-Studies in the Shoah XVI”, (Lanham, 1996) edited by Hubert, Locke and Marcia Littell, pp. 45-68, while containing an excellent short summary of Identity’s origin and theology, also does not address how Identity’s message is delivered.  David H. Bennett’s history of right-wing activity in America , The Party of Fear, (New York, 1995) in its second (1995) edition, does refer to Identity’s success in “effectively using the information highway to carry its message across the Internet,” (p. 441) but does not go into any detail.  The documents collected by Lyman Tower Sarget, Extremism in America, (New York, 1995) all come from print, not electronic sources.  Kenneth Sterns’ A Force Upon the Plain (New York, 1996), which is the best recent overview of extremism, does make mention of Internet use, including a good analysis of the basic issue of extremism on the Internet (pp. 226-231), but almost all of his references are to militia use (see however, p. 45 where Stern uses some of Pastor Pete Peters’ postings on the Internet to introduce a short summary of Identity).

[11] Jeffrey Burton Russell, in his book Satan in Early Antiquity, ( Ithaca , 1991) p. 82 describes Irenaeus as viewing Satan as “entering the Garden (of Eden ) and either taking the form of the serpent of using the serpent”.  He bases this on Irenaeus 3:23;4 pref. 5.22-23.  Earlier he notes that , “In Dial. 103 Justin (Martyr) offered the false etymology that the word “Satan” derived from the Hebrew sta ‘apostate’ and nas, ‘serpent’,” p. 66, n. 29).  Actually the Hebrew for serpent is “nachash”, but (Leslie W.) Barnard (Justin Martyr, p. 108) observes that Justin as a Samaritan might have pronounced the word “nas”.  The etymology is also found in Irenaeus, but if the Samaritan explanation is correct it follows that he derived the idea from Justin”. The Gnostics also had a similar conception of the role played by the serpent.  Hans Jonas in his book, The Gnostic Religion ( Boston 1963), described “the serpent’s action (as) the beginning of gnosis on earth, which thus by its very origin is stamped as opposed to the world and its God, and indeed as a form of rebellion”.  Jonas, in his description of Manichaean mythology also points out that “the creation of Eve had a special purpose.  She is more thoroughly subject to the demons, thus becoming their instrument against Adam . . . a seduction not only to carnal lust, but through it to reproduction, the most formidable device in Satan’s strategy.”

[12] A. Hitler, Mein Kampf, ( Boston , 1971) p. 305

[13]  Aryan Nation homepage. The battle between “children of Light” and “Darkness” reflects a common theme in ancient religion, with perhaps the most famous example being found in the Dead Sea Scrolls, where the “War Rule” calls for battle against the “Sons of Darkness”. David Flusser in his “The Dead Sea and Pre-Pauline Christianity” in the volume of his collected essays, Judaism and the Origins of Christianity [ pp. 23-74 (esp. pp. 25-28), Jerusalem 1988], compares the usage of the terms in the scrolls with its use in early Christian literature and concludes that the sect (Qumran) deems itself to be identical with the righteous of humanity and calls itself the ‘Sons of Light’.  The same appellation is also used for Christians by Paul (Eph 5:8, I Thess. 5.5) and John (12:36) and although the “corresponding sectarian term sons of Darkness” for the wicked is not found in the N(ew) T(estament), the idea which underlies it ... is expressed clearly enough”. James C. Vanderkam also agrees that “This language is hardly strange to readers of the New Testament.  Similar rhetoric appears in the writings of both Paul (2. Cor. 6:14 ) and John ( 8:12 ).  As at Qumran , John uses the light/dark contrast, not in its literal, but in an ethical sense.  As at Qumran , so in John the realms of light and darkness are in conflict.  ‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness does not overcome it’ (John 1:5, see also John 3:19-20, John 12:35-36,  I John 1:6, 2:9-10)”.  Vanderkam concludes, “Thus the followers of Jesus, like the Qumran covenantors, styled themselves ‘the sons of light’”. And, we can now add Christian Identity to the list of Biblical based sectarian movements that see themselves engaged in a conflict for the final redemption.  Vanderkam, “The Dead Sea Scrolls and Christianity,”  p. 200 in H. Shanks (ed.) The Dead Sea Scrolls ( New York 1992).

[14]  Geza Vermes, The Dead Sea Scrolls in English  ( London 1995), p. 123.

[15]   See Michael Barkun, Religion and the Radical Right, (Chapel Hill, 1994) esp. p. 191for a more detailed description of current Identity seedline theory, while Richard V. Pierard, The Contribution of British-Israelism to Antisemitism Within Conservative Protestantism, (op. cit.) pp. 60-62 offers a concise version propagated in the 1950’s by Bertrand L. Comparet, an early Identity preacher.  The seedline theory is not universally accepted by all Identity adherents.  For a strongly worded online Identity dissent from the seedline theory, see “Eve: Did She or Didn’t She? The Seedline Hypothesis under Scrutiny.”

[16]  Creativity was originally founded by Ben Klassen, often identified as the inventor of the electric can-opener.  Klassen committed suicide in 1993.  Bennett, Party of Fear, p. 439 briefly notes some connections between Creativity and Identity.

[17]  World Church of the Creator Homepage,

[18]  True Terrorists, article from “The Creativity Newsletter, posted on W.C.O.T.C. site above.

[19]  These are not the only such extremist sites around.  I hope to explore this phenomenon shortly.

[20]  W.C.O.T.C. Homepage.

[21] Matt Hale’s World Church of the Creator also has the Protocols, along with Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf online.


[23] See Weitzman, Harnessed to Hate.

[24] For more on this particular subject, see Mark Weitzman, The Devil Can Cite Scripture, pp. 6-14, esp. pp. 12-13.  There I identified Be Wise As Serpents only as an Identity site, an identification that was shared by Don Black’s Stormfront (the oldest and largest online “White Nationalist Resource Page,” and omitted referring to Be Wise as Serpents political “Patriotic” affiliation.

[25]  On the prevalence of these themes in the extremist world, see Stern, A Force Upon the Plain, esp. pp. 77, 90-91, 137-154, and the documents in Sargent, Extremism in America, chap. 7 and 9.

[26]  Carl Klang, “The News Behind the News,”

[27]  Resistance Records homepage .  Resistance is not the only online seller of this type of music.  See also the Nordland site at  The song lyrics are from the collection of the Simon Wiesenthal Center archives.  For the number of albums sold, see the New Lexicon of Hate, p.18.

[28]  On Holocaust Denial in general, see Deborah Lipstadt, Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory, New York 1993.  For an analysis of the historical methodology of Holocaust Denial see my article, The Blinded Muse: Ethics, Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History in J.G. Haber Ethics for Today and Tomorrow ( Sudbury 1997), pp. 402-410.

[29]  E.g. “the IHR has steadfastly opposed bigotry of all kinds”, A Few Facts About the Institute for Historical Review,

[30]  Bernhard Schaub, Switzerland in the Grip if the Traditional Enemy,

[31]  An Iconoclastic Polish Journal,


[33]  Again, on the anti-Talmudic theme see Weitzman, The Devil Can Cite Scripture, esp. pp. 6-14.

[34]  David Brockschmidt, An Open Letter to the Leaders of World Jewry,

[35]  Zundelsite Z Gram, Feb. 22, 1998 ,

[36]  Zundelsite Z Gram, Feb. 24, 1998 .  This Z Gram is signed by Ingrid A. Rimland, Zundel’s associate who frequently contributes these messages.

[37] Bennett, The Party of Fear, p. 2.

[38]  Bennett, Ibid., p. 17.

[39]  Andrew Greeley, An Ugly Little Secret: Anti-Catholicism in North America, p. 1, cited in Barbara Welter, From Maria Monk to Paul Blanshard: A Century of Protestant Anti-Catholicism, p. 71, p. 58 in Uncivil Religion: Interreligious Hostility in America (New York 1987),  ed. Robert Bellah and Frederick Greenspahn.

[40] Mark A. Noll, “The Eclipse of Old Hostilities between and the Potential for New Strife among Catholics and Protestants since Vatican II,” pp. 88-89 in Bellah and Greenspahn, Uncivil Religion.

[41] Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights Web Site.

[42]  The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, above mentioned as the most aggressive group monitoring Anti-Catholicism, found that out of the 264 incidents reported in 1997, only one was computer related, and that one involved the selling of a cinnamon bun which resembled Mother Theresa, and was called the Nun Bun, over the Internet. 1996 was no different, with only two items of cyber interest listed out of 211 incidents mentioned.

[43]  David Brion Davis, Some Ideological Functions of Prejudice in Ante-Bellum America , in D.B. Davis, From Homicide to Slavery: Studies in American Culture, (New York, 1986) p. 156.

[44] David Brion Davis, Some Themes of Counter Subversion: An Analysis of Anti-Masonic, Anti-Catholic and Anti-Mormon Literature, p. 148 in D.B.Davis, From Homicide to Slavery: Studies on American Culture.

[45] Bennett, Party of Fear, p. 44.  The use of such charges is long and varied.  For example,  Mircea Eliade, Observations on European Witchcraft, in his Occultism, Witchcraft and Cultural Fashions (Chicago 1976), pp. 87, while discussing the charges of “orgiastic practices” made against witches, notes that “similar indictments sexual orgies, incest, cannibalism were made by the pagans against the Christians” while Christian authors hurled similar charges against pagans, heretics and others. According to David Brion Davis’ analysis of the writings of the late 18th century Scottish philosopher, John Robison, “the greatest threat to Christian civilization lay in the degrading and desexing of women, a tactic common to both the Catholic Church and the atheistic Illuminati.”  D.B. Davis, Some Ideological Functions of prejudice in Ante-Bellum America , in Davis , From Homicide to Slavery, p. 159.

[46] See the recent discussion and analysis of this book in Jenny Franchot, Roads to Rome, (Berkeley 1994) especially, pp. 154-161.

[47] Richard Hofstadter, Free Silver and the Mind of “Coin Harvey ,” p. 246 in his The Paranoid Style in American Politics and Other Essays, ( New York 1965).

[48] Franchot, Roads to Rome , p. 154.

[49] Bennett, Party of Fear, p. 43.


[51] Tom Economus, Catholic Pedophile Priests: The Effect on U.S. Society, found on The Survivors of Clergy Abuse Linkup’s Homepage.  The issue of sexual abuse by some members of the Catholic clergy is covered on the Web in many ways, including official releases and statements by the Church and its various arms [cf. The Catholic Church and Sexual Abuse: A Pastoral Response on the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne (Australia) homepage, or Catholic Church Releases Statement about Sexual Abuse from the Los Angeles Times/Washington Past News service, posted at http:/].

[52] For a basic description of an algorithm see Godwin, Cyber Rights, p. 316 n. 3.

[53] For a detailed look at one aspect of that process see M. Weitzman, The Devil Can Cite Scripture.

[54] Richard Bennett, Testimony of a Former Irish Priest, found on the Berean Beacon Ministry homepage.  Berean, derived from Acts 17:10-11, is a favorite term of self-description for many anti-Catholics who embrace the idea of “searching the scriptures daily” and who endorse the primacy of the Biblical text over the Church’s tradition of interpretation. See, for example, the two articles by Dave Hunt, “Being a Berean” and “More on Being a Berean,” found on the Berean Call homepage at http:/

[55] http:/

[56] http:/

[57] Jesus Christ is the Only Way to God, http:/

[58] Rebecca A. Sexton, Religious Intolerance, http:/

[59] Way of life homepage, http:/

[60] Ibid.

[61] Bernard McGinn, Anti-Christ, (San Francisco, 1994) p. 280.  The medieval perception of Antichrist as a Jewish attack on Christianity is explored in Joshua Trachtenberg, The Devil and the Jews,  (New Haven, 1943) p. 32-43. For an example of a medieval Jewish source that did describe the pope as the Antichrist, see Kenneth Stow, The “1007 Anonymous” and Papal Sovereignty ( Cincinnati   1984), p. 23.

[62] Ibid., p. 273.

[63] Ibid., p. 252.

[64] See for example, Franchot, Roads to Rome, p. 140, where she described the mother superior of the sacked Ursuline convent in Charleston , Massachusetts as a woman who had “attracted an invective conventionally reserved for the pope as antichrist…”

[65] McGinn, in his study above, gives an excellent overview of the idea of the antichrist and its historical development, including its sometime identification with the papacy.

[66] http:/  This is the homepage of the Pacific Institute.

[67] http:/

[68]  http:/  This site claims to take Catholic teachings from the book, The Questions and Answers Catholic Catechism, by Father John A. Hardon, and to contrast those with Biblical texts, to reach the conclusion that “Every single one of these heresies of the Roman Catholic Church is a diversion from the truth (John 14:6) and will consequence in hell if believed and trusted in.”  According to the site, they had over 3,800 visitors (hits) between August 17, 1997 and April 15, 1998 , when a new court was begun.

[69]  On the history of Satan see the four volumes of Jeffrey Burton Russell (The Devil, Satan, Lucifer and Mephistopheles, Ithaca 1977).   Russell presents his work as a “history of the personification of evil, which for the sake of clarity I have called the Devil.”  Russell, The Devil, p. 12.  A Jungian view of Satan can be found in Rivkah Shärf Kluger, Satan in the Old Testament ( Evanston 1967).  See also Elaine Pagel’s important book, The Origin of Satan ( New York 1995), for a convincing description of how Satan came to be invoked by many Christians against pagans and heretics.  The trading of charges of Satanism amongst Christians has many precedents.  Martin Luther described the Pope thusly: “In the devil’s name here sits the holy Pope, palpable at last; that he is the very antichrist is proclaimed in Holy Writ” cited in Heiko Oberman, The Roots of Anti-Semitism: In the Age of Renaissance and Reformation, Philadelphia 1984, p. 116, and similarly, p. 129, n. 31 “For the papacy is most certainly that true regiment and tyranny of the Antichrist.”  On the other side, Erik Erikson describes “the most famous, and in many ways rightly infamous, detractor of Luther’s character, the Dominican Heinrich Denifle, sub-archivar of the Holy See” as being motivated by “his suspicion that Luther’s whole career may have been motivated by the Devil,” Erikson, Young Man Luther: A Study in Psychoanalysis and History (New York 1962), p. 26.

[70]  All quotations from Ed Tarkowski, War of the ages: 600 Year Overview: Satan’s Plan to Hinder God’s Plan,  Tarkowski sees other elements, of current religious thought, such as the New Age and Promise Keepers movements, also as elements of Satan’s plan. 

[71] .  I have kept the language in all the citations as they are found in the original.

[72]  I.e. Il Tempo

[73]  Malachi Martin, The Keys of the Blood, p. 632, as cited in the text.

[74]  All citations are from Jay Nelson, The Devil, You Say?  Archbishop, Former Jesuit Claim Satanists Skulk in Vatican ,

[75]  Noll, The Eclipse of Old Hostilities between and the Potential for new Strife among Catholics and Protestants since Vatican II, in Bellah and Greenspahn, Uncivil Religion: Interreligious Hostility in America , pp. 93-94.

[76]  Bennett, Party of Fear, p. 346.

[77]  Noll, The Eclipse of Old Hostilities, p. 94

[78]  See appendix for a complete list of these languages

[79]  Chick also raises the issue of Catholic complicity and participation in the Ustashe terror in Yugoslavia .  While others, including the present author (LA Times, July 11, 1998 and Westchester [NY] Gannett Papers, June 5, 1998), have pointed out the differing, but nonetheless real, responsibilities born by leaders such as Archbishop Stepinac, and by Catholic (including clergy) participants in murder, war crimes and atrocities, the inclusionary labeling of all Yugoslavian Catholics, and the explicit accusation that “pope Pious XII had created a machine to…butcher ever Orthodox church member and their clergy” [Chick, Smokescreens, chapter three: A 20th Century Inquisitions,] can only be viewed as either malicious or delusional.

[80]  All citations above are from Jack Chick, Smokescreens, .  Chick claims that he received the warning about these planned murders "recently” but acknowledges that they originally date to “1949 [when] an ex-Jesuit priest told a Rev. Eubanks in California” about them. 

[81]  Chick is not alone in his use of comic book form for extremist propaganda.  See, for example, the series “White Willie,” put out by the National Alliance.

[82] All citations from Chick’s Web site.



[85]  For an earlier analysis of this alarming trend see my paper, Harnessed to Hate.

[86]  Elaine Pagels, The Origin of Satan, p. 182.

[87]  On the portrayal of the U.S. government as an enemy see Weitzman, Harnessed to Hate, p. 7-8.

[88]  The New World Order can be defined, as in the words of one militia member, as the plan “to bring people under slavery under United Nations control – [thus the] New World Order,” Stern, A Force Upon the Plain, p.87

[89]  Pacific Institute,

[90]  Tricia Trillin, New World Order News,

[91]  Grigor-Scott, Conspiracy,

[92]  Grigor-Scott, The Gospel of the Kingdom, or God Incarnate/Satan Incarnate,

[93]  Grigor-Scott, Conspiracy.  Robert Wistrich, Antisemitism (New York, 1991), p. 51, succinctly describes “the obsession (that) anti-Semites of the Right and Left (had) for generations” with the Rothschilds.

[94]  Grigor-Scott, Blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not,

[95]  Michael Hoffman, John Paul II, The Judas Iscariot of Our Time.  Hoffman’s site also contains Holocaust Denial material.  For a more detailed examination of Hoffman’s antisemitism on-line, see Weitzman, The Devil Can Cite Scripture.

[96]  Khallid’s remarks were contained in his notorious 1994 speech at Kean University in New Jersey .  The resulting outcry forced his dismissal by Farrakhan, but the two have remained close.  This online edition of The Final Call contained Farrakhan’ endorsement of Khallid’s Labor Day Million Youth March in New York City .

[97]  All quotations are from Minister Farrakhan on Meet the Press, .  For pioneering analysis of the antisemitic methodology of the Nation of Islam see Harold Brackman, Farrakhan’s Reign of Historical Error: The Truth Behind the Secret Relationship of Blacks and Jews (A Simon Wiesenthal Center Report) (LA 1992); my article, “The Blinded Muse: Ethics, Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History” (in J.G. Haber, Ethics for Today and Tomorrow (Sudbury, Mass., 1997) pp. 402-410, compares the historiography of the Nation of Islam and Holocaust Denial.  The op-ed piece by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., in the New York Times (July 20, 1992) was an important public exposure and condemnation of the Nation of Islam’s antisemitism from an African-American perspective.

[98]  Godwin, p. 293.

[99]  Ibid., p. 72.

[100]  Ibid., p. 298.

[101]  Ibid., p. 195.

[102]  Godwin’s book is the latest and most comprehensive plea for free speech on the Internet.  However, while he does discuss the issue of cyberporn and copyright infringement online, he never notes the existence of extremist hate sites.

[103]  Heschel, No Religion is an Island, reprinted in Fritz Rothschild, ed., Jewish Perspectives on Christianity, (NY 1990), p. 322.

[104]  Ibid., p. 323.


I would like to thank Dr. Eugene Fisher, of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, for his encouragement and advice; and Maria Gaynor, Denise Schulman and Abbee Corb for all their assistance.