Sunday, December 02, 2007

Is the Cohen Center for Holocaust Studies at Keene State College
politicizing the Holocaust?

In an article published by the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights and found here:
http://www.catholicleague.org/rer.php?topic=The+Church+and+the+Holocaust&id=52, Richard C. Lukas writes:

"Nowhere is the politicization of history and its practitioners more evident than in the recent writings of a number of historians of the Holocaust era. The temptations of glitz, glamour and money seem to have influenced some historians to sensationalize their subjects to get noticed by the media. Instead of writing history as it really is—filled with complexity and nuance—these historians offer us morality plays. They consist of monocausal interpretations of complicated subjects with the lines of good and evil sharply etched.

Too often they allow their biases, prejudices and personal histories to blemish the integrity of their craft. Today it is intellectually acceptable to target certain individuals and groups for the death of five to six million Jews. Pope Pius XII, once widely praised by Jewish leaders and communities, has now become the most conspicuous target of a number of pope bashers, who have created a quasi-historical genre of their own. The writings of John Cornwell and David Kertzer are distinguished by their obsession to depict the Papacy in the worst possible light. In his highly publicized tome, Hitler’s Willing Executioners, Daniel Goldhagen wants us to believe that ever since the nineteenth century, the German nation wanted to eliminate the Jews.

According to this bizarre interpretation, Hitler was almost an incidental chapter in the history of the Holocaust. Is it now historically acceptable to place collective responsibility on the entire German people that was once employed by anti-Semites against the Jews? It is the same Goldhagen who was allowed by the editors of the New Republic to write an article that suggests there is a moral equivalence between the Roman Catholic Church and the Nazi party.

Theologian Michael Novak perceptively observed:

'The reason Goldhagen is quite guilty of the charge of anti-Catholicism lies in the breadth and passion of the smears he spreads across a broad history, the distortion and hysteria of his tone, the extremity of his rage and the lack of proportion in his judgments.'"

In a letter written by Henry F. Knight, the Director of the Cohen Center for Holocaust Studies at Keene State College which may be found here: http://keeneweb.org/cohencenter, Mr. Knight writes (in part):

"The St. Benedict Center, home base to the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the religious community known also as the Crusade of Saint Benedict Center, sees itself as the guardian of traditional Roman Catholic truth, especially the pre-Vatican II teaching extra ecclesiam nulla salus — “outside the Church there is no salvation.” More specifically, the Benedict Center has been cited by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a religious hate group that opposes the re-examination of traditional forms of antisemitism in Church teachings or its liturgies."

But the Church's teaching that "Outside the Church there is no salvation" is still the teaching of the Church. However, the Church has always interpreted and understood this teaching in a very different way than the Saint Benedict Center in Richmond, New Hampshire - which is not affiliated in any way with the Roman Catholic Church.

What is most troubling is Mr. Knight's assertion that there have been "traditional forms of anti-Semitism in Church teachings or its liturgies." This accusation has often been employed by individuals who are anxious to discredit the Catholic Church so that they may more easily promote an agenda which is at odds with Catholic teaching.

It is noteworthy that Keene State College offers a course entitled Women and the Holocaust (HOLO 254), the description of which reads:

"Explores gender in Central Europe in the 1930's and 40s and women's experiences under Nazi rule - in ghettos, camps, and anti-fascist resistance - and as Holocaust survivors. Examines connections between the Holocaust and present-day manifestations of anti-Semitism, sexism, homophobia, nationalism, masculinity, and feminism." (Source: http://www.keene.edu/catalog/courses/HOLO.cfm)

This is disturbing because the word "homophobia" is employed by homosexual activists as a semantic weapon in the cultural war. Arthur Evans, co-founder of Gay Activist Alliance (GAA), explains how the homosexual movement came up with the word homophobia to characterize their opposition:

"By good fortune, George Weinberg, a straight psychologist who had long been a friend of our community, regularly attended GAA meetings. Watching with fascination our zap and the media responses, he came up with the word we had been struggling for - 'homophobia,' meaning the irrational fear of loving someone of the same sex....The invention of the word 'homophobia' is an example of how theory can be rooted in practice. The word didn't come from an arm-chair academic viewing the movement at a distance....Instead, it came from personal interactions among active, thinking people who acknowledged a shared value: the transformation of society for the better." (Arthur Evans, "The Logic of Homophobia," http://gaytoday.badpuppy.com/garchive/viewpoint/101600vi.htm).

George Weinberg thereby classified moral opposition to homosexuality as a phobia: "I would never consider a patient healthy unless he had overcome his prejudice against homosexuality." (Quoted in Jack Nichols, "George Weinberg, Ph.D - Badpuppy's February Interview," http://gaytoday.badpuppy.com/garchive/interview/020397in.htm

That Keene State College would buy into the use of this semantic weapon is very troubling. There are inevitable religious consequences to this rationale. A sexual morality which is in accordance with Natural Law and the moral teachings of the Catholic Church (especially as expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church) is then viewed as harmful since it engenders "prejudice" and "irrational fears."

And what of that course being offered by Keene State College - HOLO 254? What exactly will students be taught as the course examines "connections between the Holocaust and present-day manifestations of..homophobia"?

I shudder to imagine.

10 comments:

Marie Tremblay said...

Is the Cohen Center for Holocaust Studies at Keene State College portraying moral opposition to homosexuality as indicative of both mental illness and a genocidal mentality?

This is extremely disturbing to faithful Catholics who oppose homosexual ACTS on moral grounds even while loving the homosexual PERSON.

Does KSC consider us to me mentally incompetent and dangerous?

Matlee said...

Paul, what a travesty. I get the impression that KSC wants to portray Catholics and other Christians who accept God's Revealed Word on homosexual acts as being somehow unstable. The better to propagandize for the legitimization of these acts and same-sex "marriage."

Frightening!

Susan said...

Paul this post is just outstanding. You have articulated so eloquently our concerns regarding the Cohen Center. I fervently pray that these serious and very substantial concerns aren't simply dismissed by officials at Keene State College as they were by a couple of individuals who left comments here calling us "overly sensitive."

I don't know that they appreciate just how offensive those words were. It's not only Jews who were murdered during the Nazi Holocaust. Blake left a comment at the Keene Sentinel Blog citing a Catholic League article which details how five million "others" were killed as well - many of them Catholics, Protestants etc.

Their lives also had value. While remembering the Jewish victims let's not forget the Gentile victims as if their lives were of secondary importance or had no importance at all.

The Holocaust or Shoah was a most terrible crime against humanity. It should not be used as a tool for either bashing the Catholic Church or propagandizing for a political or moral agenda.

Elizabeth said...

Paul, I was just so hurt by all of this that I posted this comment at the Keene Sentinel Blog.


"I'm angry. It was my impression that many of us who are Catholic and have been opposing the Saint Benedict Center were working with residents of Richmond who were simply concerned about a pseudo-Catholic group which is so obviously motivated by anti-Semitism.

But now it seems that SBC Watch (the Blog authored by the Provosts) has teamed up with the Cohen Center to foster an anti-Catholic agenda which portrays the traditional teachings of the Church as "anti-Semitic" and Catholics who accept the Church's teaching on homosexual acts to be somehow mentally-ill (the code-word is "homophobic"). There is even a course being offered by this center which attempts to equate opposition to homosexuality with a genocidal mentality as I believe Marie put it.

I am so very angry. What a shame that SBC Watch and the Cohen Center have decided to reject hospitality for Catholics faithful to the Church and to create even more division within our already divided county."

Paul, thanks for your article. I wish it could have been different. I had some reservations when SBC Watch started posting anti-Catholic comments which at the time were addressed by Susan and others. I just thought this was all a misunderstanding. Now I am really alarmed by these developments.

Marie Tremblay said...

In my comment (the first in this thread) I meant to write, "Does KSC consider us to BE mentally incompetent and dangerous" not "us to me." Darn typos.

Matlee said...

So let me get this straight. Just because I accept the teaching of the Catechism on homosexual acts and the inclination itself, I am now to be compared with the Nazis who committed genocide against innocent Jews, Catholics, Protestants and other individuals and groups?

By using the word "homophobia" is the Cohen Center implying that ANYONE who opposes homosexual acts is a danger to the greater community?

Perhaps the Cohen Center would like to see Catholics rounded up and charged with hate crimes? After all, if we are all mentally unstable people with a phobia which could lead us at any moment to commit genocide against homosexuals, then we are perceived by the Cohen Center as something akin to domestic terrorists who should all be detained and psychologically evaluated.

Is this what they are saying? Paul and JayG are right, the persecution against Catholics who accept the Church's teaching is escalating.

Matlee said...

Read this latest post by JayG:

http://dtf-jayg.blogspot.com/2007/11/coming-soon.html

If the homosexual movement has its way, any Church, Synagogue or Mosque which opposes homosexual acts because of religious belief will be CLOSED.

Samantha said...

I live in Keene and found this blog article through a link at the Sentinel's blog. I am also a Catholic and am just dumbfounded to see the anti-Catholicism at Keene State College. It is ironic that the school opposes one form of bigotry while endorsing another. In our culture, anti-Catholicism is considered socially acceptable. Harvard historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr once wrote that "Anti-Catholicism is the deepest bias in the history of the American people." I think it is so ingrained that most who are virulently anti-Catholic don't even realize the extent of their own prejudice and hatred toward Catholicism.

John Ansley said...

As I mentioned in a previous post, "I would challenge the Cohen Center of Keene State College to use a little more discretion in the future and to practice, and not just preach, genuine hospitality. In educating others about the horrors of the Shoah, it really isn't necessary to malign the history and reputation of the Church. Let's avoid politicizing the Holocaust for any reason and adhere to the facts rather than engaging in historical revisionism."

I also referred to an anonymous commenter who has now come out into the open, "Richmond Rising." This was the individual who left the inappropriate comment at La Salette Journey accusing Catholics of being "overly sensitive" because they object to their Church being smeared by the Cohen Center for Holocaust Studies at Keene State College.

It is most significant that this individual fails to use his/her real name and also fails in any way to address the serious and legitimate concerns which Paul addressed at his Blog. If there is a "credibility" problem, it lies with those who would slander the Catholic Church and engage in historical revisionism.

Also noteworthy is the fact that SBC Watch, a Blog hosted by a Mr. Russell Provost has published an article entitled "What would it look like if we had a Catholic America" found here: http://sbcwatch.blogspot.com/2007/11/what-would-it-look-like-if-we-had.html

Blake is right. This post is morally offensive as it constitutes an indictment of all Catholics, painting them with the same brush used to describe SBC types. Also offensive is the use of the word "homophobic," used by both the Cohen Center as well as certain people who have posted at SBC Watch. Paul has explained why Catholics find this word to be both offensive and a device to silence opposition to the homosexual agenda by Catholics faithful to the Magisterium of the Church and her teaching on the subject of homosexuality.

SBC Watch is not a credible Blog. It has effectively destroyed its own credibility by engaging in anti-Catholicism. I would urge all people of good will to avoid this Blog. I would also urge the Cohen Center to address in a meaningful way the inappropriate comments posted at its own Blog.

KSC Holocaust Studies Minor said...

I am a student at KSC and have taken Women in the Holocaust and nowhere in that course is the Catholic church even mentioned. The literature read is from women survivors some of whom were actually Catholic! Homophobia is not a main topic discussed however when it is brought up, it is in reference to the Nazi policies and actions regarding the extreme persecution of homosexuals and in no way is reflective of the Catholic church either during the Third Reich or the present day. I would also like to point out that the KSC course catalog is often vague in it's course description because of the limit on the number of words allowed to describe the course. In the future it would be wise to further investigate what a course is truly about (perhaps by contacting the professor or department that spearheads the course)before assuming an attack is being made.

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