William (aka Bill the Godfather)

William (aka Bill the Godfather)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The racist(s) in our spiritual home

Forget the LA Clippers and Donald Sterling. We have a brewing scandal involving an overt racist in the Orthodox Church here in the United States. And it is generating a firestorm on the internet. It appears that on Lazarus Saturday a young man with well known connections to the White Supremacist movement was received into the Church without first abjuring this serious sin. Making things even worse, he has been publicly promoting Orthodoxy as the logical home for his fellow wing nuts. Apparently others are claiming to have joined. I must say that I was not surprised to discover that he had come through the Roman Catholic ultra-traditionalist Society of St. Pius X, which has a long track record of tolerating extremists, especially anti-Semites. In my experience, a lot of these fringe types quickly get disillusioned with real Orthodoxy and start looking for the "pure faith," leading them into one or another of the Old Calendarist sects, which are often just as racist and anti-Semitic.

This is pretty much burning up the Orthodox blogosphere right now but the essentials can be found on Fr. Oliver Herbal's excellent blog.

Note: This post has been reviewed and slightly edited for tone after a comment suggested, I think fairly, that it was a bit too sensational.

12 comments:

John (Ad Orientem) said...

A quick reminder that I have a zero tolerance policy towards racist or extremist commentary on this blog. See the guidelines linked in the sidebar if you have any questions.

Unknown said...

John, I respect your blog, but I find the title of this entry a bit inflammatory. There are racists everywhere and axiomatically priests do not know all the sins of their spiritual children. It takes time for them to react.

As such, I don't think that this is a particular and pervasive problem in the Orthodox Church, which is the situation that would warrant the type of title you gave. A bit of patience may have helped.

As Father Ernesto says on his blog, I wonder what would have happened if the situation he explains here - http://www.orthocuban.com/2014/05/when-a-priest-must-do-what-is-painful-and-difficult/ - took place in today's Internet age.

Hopefully this fellow does not get 'disillusioned with real Orthodoxy' and actually repents. It may take some time. It is unfortunate that he has made his sin public. I hope this doesn't serve as a barrier to his repentance.

lannes said...

If one Orthodox church out of hundreds or thousands chooses to accept a racist catechumen, what is that to you?

Visibilium said...

The Antiochians are well known for their experimentalism.

John (Ad Orientem) said...

Thanks for the comment Vis. After taking a look I think you have a valid point. I have slightly edited the post and its title accordingly.

John (Ad Orientem) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John (Ad Orientem) said...

Iannes,
Private sin is not an issue to me. But public sin, especially when the convert is claiming that the Church endorses his sin, IS a problem. We all have a duty to repudiate that sort of nonsense quickly and sternly.

August said...

I am not going to go track down every last thing Hiembach has said in order to determine whether or not he is worth this much ire, but I can say what I just read sounds a lot like progressive nonsense- the entire American Orthodoxy must rise up against this Evil Racist! The progressive instinct to terminate whoever is guilty of wrongthink is what permeates Fr. Herbal's post. If Hiembach really is racist he will either repent or self-destruct. Both he and Fr. Herbal need to repent of the idea that protesting is helpful. Protesting seems to me to be entirely contrary to St. Paul's advice.

Unknown said...

I have zero tolerance from Orthodox bloggers who repeatedly insinuate that Old Calendarists are racist or bigoted.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

So far as I can tell, the Church has apparently never had a problem with a distinct ethnicity drawing a line around itself and keeping itself the dominant ethnicity within its borders. They even get their own Local Church, if they keep it that way for long enough.

It's kind of silly for everyone to erupt over this white American convert while ignoring the patent ethno-nationalist character of the mother Churches. That's why we have overlapping jurisdictions in America, after all. Any Orthodox bishop who makes a public statement on Mr. Heimbach needs to be reminded of this, and asked what they intend to do about it. (I'll save you the bother--they intend to do NOTHING. Mr. Heimbach, on the other hand, will apparently be required to do penance.)

Bob said...

As an outsider (and please correct me if I am out of line here), it seems to me that speaking out about a public sin kind of trumps overlapping jurisdictions. Perhaps the Bishop in my diocese cannot discipline a congregant in another diocese, but if the person is engaged in a public sin, I should hope the Bishop would address it at the very least.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this opinion?

John (Ad Orientem) said...

I note that the matter appears to have been firmly addressed by the priest and bishop directly concerned, with the appropriate correctives applied. As such I now believe this is a private matter between a new convert and his spiritual father.

Comments are now closed.