On the evening of March 13 Orthodox Facebook (not to mention Orthodoxy in Dialogue’s inbox, thanks to very, very many of our loyal readers) lit up with the news that neo-Nazi, white supremacist, excommunicated (but possibly recommunicated?) hate group leader, Matthew Heimbach, has been arrested for an incidence of domestic violence involving an affair between him and his mother-in-law.
The cuckolded father-in-law is none other than Heimbach’s own partner in hate and unwitting Orthodoxy in Dialogue contributor, the Traditionalist Worker Party’s spokesman and “theologian,” Matt Parrott. (You can find Parrott’s theological masterpieces under his name in our Archives by Author.)
We got a headache trying to sort it all out. You can try for yourselves here on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s website. At the very least we now see TWP’s Faith, Family and Folk slogan—which Orthodox husband, father, and mother-in-law-boinker Heimbach loves to display on his black teeshirt—in an entirely new, keep-it-in-the-family-if-you-can’t-keep-it-in-your-pants light.
BUT THIS IS A DISTRACTION. The back-slapping schadenfreude going around the mostly white Orthonet last night makes for Exhibit A in the case of Orthodox White Privilege.
For you see, earlier the very same day we had a heart-breaking conversation with an Orthodox interracial couple who have mixed race Orthodox children. (How many times and in how many ways can we stress that this family is Orthodox?) The thunderous silence of our bishops and seminaries A FULL TWO MONTHS (yes, we’re yelling now) after we began to beg for a response to white supremacy and neo-Nazism—NOT SOMEWHERE “OUT THERE,” BUT IN THE ORTHODOX CHURCH—has this faithful Orthodox couple fearing for their children’s safety and wondering if the time has come to leave the Church.
Here’s what’s worse: This interracial couple wrote privately to their bishop about an incidence of white nationalism perpetrated by one of the leaders at a church-sponsored youth event attended by their mixed race child. DEAD SILENCE FROM THEIR BISHOP. Yet they fear to go public on Orthodoxy in Dialogue, despite our offer to allow it anonymously.
Another Orthodox interracial couple has written to tell us that they will leave the Orthodox Church when they have their first child.
A third asked if they could sign our Open Letter of January 22 to the Assembly of Bishops with pseudonyms. (Of course we allowed it.)
An African-American clergyman has shared with us his despairing question: How much longer can he and his wife and children remain Orthodox. A clergyman!
And for each of those who come to us “by night,” as it were, how many of our frightened Orthodox brothers and sisters of colour have we not heard from?
Read our lips, dear bishops and seminaries: Orthodox. People. Of. Colour. Fear. For. Their. Very. Lives. IN. THE. CHURCH.
What do they see?
They see their bishops gathering once a year to issue worthless condemnations that haven’t prevented a single same-sex marriage, not even among Orthodox same-sex couples. (Oh, the horror.)
They see their bishops marching in worthless parades for free TV time and feasting sumptuously (sound familiar?) at worthless rosy dinners that haven’t prevented a single abortion.
They see their bishops tripping over each other to attend the funeral of the world’s most famous tent revival preacher man (who died the eighth wealthiest televangelist), and very nearly to canonize him.
They see almost half of their bishops rejecting the very goal of their own Assembly. (See here.)
But let us be clear. They don’t want another “statement.” They want action. They want it to start now. They want to know what that action will consist of.
They want shepherds who actually protect sheep from wolves when they take off their Byzantine emperor costumes.
Yes, we are angry. May the Lord in His mercy confirm what is righteous in our anger, and forgive what is unrighteous in our anger.
Pray for us, as we pray in our unworthiness for you.
Addenda on 3/14/18: The Traditionalist Worker Party website (https://www.tradworker.org/) has been taken down as of this morning. According to a Daily Beast report later in the day, TWP has been permanently disbanded.
See also today’s “Getting Through to Our Bishops and Seminaries: Can You Help?“
See our extensive list of articles, letters, and editorials in the White Supremacy and Racism category near the top of our Archives by Author, especially those beginning on January 22, 2018.