Matthew Heimbach is a white nationalist and an Orthodox Christian (see photo). Many of you already know this story. For those who don’t, I’ll sum up the major points: People found out that this guy was recently received into the Orthodox Church and raised hell because he, and several other individuals, seemed to believe that Orthodoxy was consistent with their racist beliefs. Mr. Heimbach was recently excommunicated, pending repentance and renunciation of his beliefs. Since then, some of his compatriots have come out to insist that they are not racist at all, and the entire thing is a big misunderstanding pushed by anti-white communist leftists who are in the pockets of the Jews (read the comments).
I try not to write when my emotions are raw, and this whole thing has me reeling. It will take me days, or more, before I am able to work toward an intelligent response. Right now, I just cannot help but wonder what’s wrong with us. Seriously, Orthodoxy in America has a problem. What do I mean? You might think I am over-reacting. This is an isolated incident of a few white guys in a very racist city (Bloomington, IN) not understanding that Orthodoxy frowns upon using crosses as weapons to push a racist agenda. But I wonder what the chances are that somebody could not “get” the church’s teachings about this:
(Addendum: Some might say that there are no canons about using crosses as weapons. That is true. And in my home, there are no rules about not peeing on the television. Because there are some things you just should not have to make rules for.)
33 thoughts on “We’re Broken: First Thoughts on Orthodox Racism”
"As the author of… a powerful, thought-provoking novel "
And humble too!
Please post the video when it comes available. Of course, my understanding is that the Slut Walk episode brought attention to the fact that some white supremacists were finding a home in Orthodoxy. To wit, the episode itself was a catalyst for the excommunication, not the cause.
Peter Bylen Amazing. People need to be aware of the tremendous racial and ethic diversity of Orthodoxy we celebrate and venerate in every Liturgy! Sure, this diversity has its problems, some serious, but that is part of the package of being a diverse communion.
Gavin James Campbell Exactly. Being persecuted for a position that bishops are in favor of is not a reason for excommunication. That is the reasoning from his spiritual father and we need to respect that. This is a matter now between Matt, Father Gillquist, and the bishop.
Michael Venerates Saint Chrysostom I know I am not fit to judge others' piety, but I am very sure that referring to anyone in a denigrating manner is worthy of confession. If ethnic appropriation of Orthodoxy is a problem, and if we support the view of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, then the American problem is the evangelical convert who clings to American, conservative, individualism. Orthodoxy is not a "conservative" tradition. It is Orthodox. To confuse this with any political point of reference is the true source of heresy here. This was a critical argument in much of St. Maximos the Confessor's important work. We we do well not to ask saints to pray for us if we misunderstand who they are and what they teach us.
As the author of "Hold Back This Day", a powerful, thought-provoking novel (amazon.com) that Matt Heimbach himself promotes on his blog, it is imperative that those who wish to be properly informed about this – the most explosive issue of our times – should read. As the foremost white nationalist novelist in the world I can say without equivocation that America's downfall rests on the outcome of my tale.
Michael Venerates Saint Chrysostom No, I'm afraid not. You are resorting to adolescent insults.
Of which I do not return.
Libtard isn't an insult. It is a fact.
Michael Venerates Saint Chrysostom Son, I've been Orthodox for over twenty years. And Orthodox Christians do not insult one another with words like "libtard".
Libtard. Welcome to V2 'Orthodoxy'
You should tell your priest and your bishop that you agree with Matthew Heimbach's views. That way, you can get excommunicated, too.
Brad Griffin He got excommunicated for his racist views, which are NOT compatible with Orthodox Christianity.
Dave O'Neal I was referring to the fact that the Orthodox Church does not perform such marriages.
The one praising Sodomites.
David: In all truth, American Orthodoxy joined as it has been to ethnic groups, has a long history of xenophobia, and dare I say anti-semitism. I know these are not shared in every church by every person, but it has been an attitude that exists in many jurisdictions. You must have been reading the news about anti-gay rules, laws and enforcements in Russia which have been praised by OC church officials there and in at least Serbia and Greece. Surprise, in each of these countries the right wing-traditionalists are becoming more public and inflicting violence on LGBT people with impunity. Some are winning elections. This movement has strong ties and approbation in the OC in those countries. That this "movement" has found a home in American Orthodoxy "surprises" many people. WE've been reading how this guy MH was known within the parish with his beliefs, (not that all approved), and that in some of these White Separatists group, Orthodoxy is spoken of as a welcoming place. I've been posting about how the Orthodox church has become a place where homophobic people have come to have their bigotry blessed by the Orthodox Church. It's helpful that most Orthodox churches are majority or completely white. Don't you think that such people read about the way Orthodox jurisdictions have denounced not just equal marriage, but indeed LGBT self-definition? . If you had any question that LGBT people, love, sex or marriage are not universally accepted by all Orthodox, you should take a moment to read the flurry of denunciations of marriage equality coming from one jurisdiction's Synod after another, including from the OCA Synod. Read those other groups like Monomuckus who in almost every post denounce the "immorality" in the USA with LGBTQ acceptance as its primary manifestation–that and anything having to do with Pres. Obama's "socialist" agenda. These criticisms are racially motivated. Did you think people didn't notice the blessing by the Orthodox church on the anti-gay agenda in Russia? Nor do these attitudes drop by the wayside when people immigrate to the USA. The truth is, we at this point don't know how pervasive this white separatists/racism is throughout the country in the varied jurisdictions, parishes and missions. There's no evidence to say that it is pervasive or not. We often can only see what we can accept in an organization like the OC. Look how stunned are Catholics concerning the priest sexual abuse and the extent of the cover-up.
The one at the top of the page? Absolutely agree.
Brad Griffin If he has been excommunicated in error, I'm sure it will be rectified.
It hasn't been posted yet.
Matt has been traveling on the road. He had no clue that he was going to be excommunicated over this. There were problems uploading the video, but now that this is happened, it is important to upload the raw video to YouTube for everyone can see what really happened at "Slut Walk."
Where has this video been posted?
"We know better now."
The common refrain of heretics since the beginning of time. Your task is doomed to fail. This is the Holy Ark, guided by Christ Himself. You left-wing Orthodox are the flea on the tail of the the dog. Even if you could get every Orthodox in America to apostatize with you concerning LGBT tomorrow, that would still be 0.003% of worldwide Orthodoxy. You. Don't. Matter.
Daniel Lewis This is a common refrain from people within Orthodoxy and, frankly, I'm going nowhere. The Church is as much mine as it is yours. I do not see rejection of LGBTQ people as an extension of the Holy Spirit. Divine infusion of bigotry is the worst kind and this is an example of an historic version (I think the case could be made that our fathers did not have all the information given our scientific understanding today, but, nonetheless, it doesn't make it ok). We know better now and the Church ought to be leading on the issue of inclusion, not kicking and screaming as it fights against it. The church has blood on its hands as it promotes a theology of the person that causes despair in others who have committed suicide or promotes a theology that gives hate action and gets LGBTQ people beaten, maimed and killed.
Hey. The Episcopal Church USA is always ready to welcome you with open arms– it's where people who think they know better than the Holy Spirit belong, in all honesty. Not damning themselves by taking communion in an Orthodox Church.
St John of Kronstadt, pray for us, St John Chrysostom, intercede to God for us! Shut the mouths of modernizing heretics! St Nicholas, silence these Enemies of the Cross!
What a foul picture
Honestly, this has been a revealing episode:
1.) Matt was excommunicated for peacefully standing on a sidewalk holding an Orthodox Cross and "a provocative sign" that simply read "Jesus loves you" in opposition to the values of an event called "Slut Walk."
2.) A mob of militant homosexual atheists from "Slut Walk" surrounded Matt and his friends, spit on them, and then violently assaulted them while chanting anti-Christian slurs. Thankfully, all of this was captured on video.
3.) So what happens? Matt is publicly denounced and excommunicated! Orthodoxy publicly sides with "Slut Walk" and violent homosexual atheists who physically attack a Christian in the streets for opposing "slut culture."
4.) Finally, it is true that Matt has racial views, but the "Slut Walk" event and the violent encounter had nothing to do with "racism" – his attackers were White atheists. Trad Youth was protesting the glorification of "slut culture" in Bloomington.
Good. Not much to add, except that there are many strains of bad politics and belief – I've railed against libertarians and 'esotericists' – accepted among us, and this one is clearly the most obnoxious; however, I am not happy with excommunication for that kind of reason. For behaviours, perhaps. This is not a disagreement with you, just side comment.
This is not necessarily pointed at Dunn but rather a general feeling about an underlying issue in the church as a whole.
Plenty of people have doubts about how Christians should regard gay marriage. You may consider them deluded, in sin, whatever, but to declare that "no one has any doubts" is simply untrue.
What I am not seeing in all the discussions from church folk is a targeted understanding of the underlying issue. For me, this all stems from a rejection of LGBTQ people and the fact that the church has been so recalcitrant. In some sectors, I'm not so sure that these idiots ideology doesn't match the church's. In this, I am very saddened. I am tired of the hypocritical "love the sinner, hate the sin" when we all know they just hate LGBTQ people for who they are. Frankly, I'm exhausted by all of it and want to just walk away. The reactions, for me, reveal a hypocrisy that needs some brave and powerful bishops to weed out but I fear they are core to the problem. As it is, I have been losing respect for much of the hierarchy as the issue of LGBTQ rights have been moving forward in the US and as they have been set back in other countries like Russia. I'm tired of watching people I love marginalized. LGBTQ people should be accepted into all sacraments, including marriage. The soft bigotry within the church is no better than the hard bigotry of Heimbach and his deluded cohort.
I’m involved in an Orthodox Christian ministry at a nearby maximum security prison. Years ago when we were getting our start, the prison administration was reluctant to allow us entry since there were no inmates that identified themselves as Orthodox Christian (never mind that that wasn’t even one of the classification options). Once we were given provisional consideration providing we could attract at least ten inmates, we heard that white supremacists who repeatedly attempted to infiltrate groups so they could spread their hate were considering checking us out. In light of the situation in Bosnia (Orthodox Christian versus Islam), word quickly spread that we’re the counterpart to the Nation of Islam. Fearing that we’d be shut down before we have a fair chance behind the walls, we quickly adopted St Moses the Ethiopian as our patron saint. Yep, it worked!
I fully agree.
No one has any doubts about what the Church says about gay marriage. But if people don't have the same certainty that racism is not on in Orthodoxy, we have a problem.