“I speak these words certainly holding no brief for Germany or for Nazism. ... I do ask, however, that an insane world will distinguish between the innocent Jew and the guilty Jew...”
As a student of the racist mind, I naturally study anti-Semitism. But only today for the first time did I hear one of America’s most renowned Jew-baiting rabble-rousers – the Rev. Charles E. Coughlin, the Michigan-based “Radio Priest.”
Father Coughlin during the 1930s had a weekly radio audience of millions. As a populist, he strongly denounced Communism... but also the capitalist “money changers” who were responsible, he said, for the spread of Communism.
Coughlin aimed the spear point of his rhetoric at those all-powerful “atheistic Jews” pulling the strings of both international capitalism and international Communism.
Two months ago, the domain name www.FatherCoughlin.com was registered by a Canadian (under the name Val Volk) as a “memorial” for Charles Coughlin, who was born in Canada. Announcing the launch of FatherCoughlin.com on a Catholic website, Stephen Volk wrote:
“[I]t's time to call a firm halt against the decades of unwarranted liberal slander towards Father Charles Coughlin… While this man should by now be hailed as one of America’s great heroes – who tirelessly fought for the poor during the Great Depression – his name is still being sloshed in the mud of liberal propaganda.”
Good luck with that rehabilitation project, dude.
I downloaded a few sound files of Father Coughlin’s radio speeches from a Jewish guy, Steve Schwartz, a self-described “amateur historian” who runs vasculata.com.
Now I’ve uploaded a couple of 7-minute segments from one speech in particular, titled “Persecution and Christianity.” It was originally broadcast on December 11, 1938.
One month after Kristallnacht, the free world was coming to grips with the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany. But Father Coughlin had a couple of other points to make. One, Nazism itself was a “defense mechanism” against (Jew-inspired) Communism. Two, the Soviet Communist persecution of Christians was worse.
Click here to hear the first 7-minute segment on my Vox audio stash.
Click here for the second segment, in which Coughlin defends himself, in a sneering tone, against the charge of anti-Semitism.
According to the 1992 book “Seasons of Grace: A History of the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit,” Father Coughlin’s increasingly strident anti-Semitism in late 1938 was an embarrassment to Archbishop Edward Mooney, even though the archdiocese pre-approved all of Coughlin’s radio speeches.
“Archbishop Mooney himself effected substantial changes in the broadcast of December 11, 1938,” wrote Leslie Woodcock Tentler, “but was unable to persuade Coughlin to alter the subject of the address.”
So if you listen to those two audio bites above, try to imagine what this speech sounded like before the archbishop toned it down.